Thursday, 26 June 2014

Grooving at Transmission Gallery

The annual Transmission Gallery members exhibition is a great way to get an overview of artistic activity happening in the city and beyond. This years show is as varied as ever, and has a lightness of touch.

My contribution to the exhibition is 'Grooving', a set of 4 plaster casts hung on the wall.

Monday, 23 June 2014

A stroll along Tottenham Court Road

Last week I spent a few days in London, primarily to take part in a conference held at New Bucks University. I then stayed for a couple of nights in order to visit exhibitions and catch up with friends.

I managed to fit in a stroll along Tottenham Court Road, taking the time to admire the wonderful displays in the shops. These are a real source of insertion for me. For instance, I pick up on colours, patterns and arrangements.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Tulip fields

Having been on a flight, my friend Graham sent me a message;

"on the plane magazine there were aerial photos of Dutch tulip fields ...... Google them ....... It's just so you and your work"

I see his point!

Friday, 13 June 2014

MFA Degree Show 2014 at The Glue Factory

It's that time of year again, degree show time! Wednesday evening saw the opening of the Master of Fine Art Degree Exhibition at The Glue Factory.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


It's hard to believe that 6 months ago I was the first artist to exhibit at the newly founded Glasgow gallery, 1 Royal Terrace.
6 months on, last night was the opening of the final exhibition in this season's programme. Having helped install the 5 previous exhibitions, the time came for Petter and Ruth to install their own work in the gallery. 

I went along, curious to see how they would respond to the space, and they did not disappoint.

Entering the gallery, the viewer is faced with a line of wooden beams that are standing tall, wedged between the floor and ceiling. Each beam or column has been partly burned using a stencil, so that when lined up, a kind of skyline silhouette is suggested. Petter used this exhibition as an opportunity to focus on materiality, and all his work in the exhibition is made from pine. 

Ruth's work also demonstrates her love of material and the physical qualities of what she is working with. Stratum corneum (horny layer) is one of the gallery walls that has been covered in layers of silicone, having the effect of forming a thick, sticky skin that is hard to resist touching. 

Switalski’s work builds on a longstanding interest in the liminal spaces between painting and sculpture. Often using the body as motif, her casts, films and drawings explore intensely physical and sometimes interrupted representations of these disciplines. 

Yxell works mainly in sculptural installations taking architecture as a starting point for explorations of history, time and memory, with a keen eye on the role of language.

For their joint exhibition at 1 Royal Terrace, Switalski and Yxell have found a common ground in their nigh obsessive fascination with material, resulting in two large scale interceptions in the space, flanked with smaller sculptural objects drawing loose parallels between the bodily and the architectural.

For opening hours and more information please visit

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Louise Hopkins and Carol Rhodes: Drawings, Paintings and Prints at Edinburgh Printmakers

This afternoon I thoroughly enjoyed the preview of Louise Hopkins and Carol Rhodes: Drawings, Paintings and Prints at Edinburgh Printmakers.
The exhibition presents the two artists’ responses to Below another sky an international residency programme designed to support the research and development of new work in print by artists from Scotland, Australia, Canada, India and Pakistan. The exhibition includes new prints, produced by Hopkins and Rhodes in 2013 and 2014 at Edinburgh Printmakers, alongside new and related work by the artists in other media.

Below another sky is the first collaborative programme developed by the Scottish Print Network, a partnership between Dundee Contemporary Arts, Edinburgh Printmakers, Glasgow Print Studio, Highland Print Studio, Inverness and Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen.

10 artists from Scotland and 10 from Commonwealth countries were invited to undertake research residencies during 2013 and 2014.

Below another sky takes its name from the poem ‘Travel’, published in 1865 by the Edinburgh-born author Robert Louis Stevenson. Travel – both actual and imaginary – was central to Stevenson’s work and his final years were spent on a Samoan island, now a member of the Commonwealth.

Hopkins and Rhodes were invited to take part in Below another sky because of their individual concerns with landscape, topography and travel. They were invited to show together at Edinburgh Printmakers as an opportunity to explore the ways in which these concerns are expressed and made visible in their practices. This is the first time the artists have presented a two-person exhibition together in the UK.

The artists approached the residency programme in very different ways. Carol Rhodes used the opportunity to revisit Bengal in India, where she grew up. This country has had a lasting impact upon her work: its topography, the juxtaposition of industrial and post-industrial landscapes and the tradition of Indian miniature painting are all important to her. However, her aim here was not to produce work that literally describes or represents particular locations; rather her interest lies in ideas of distance, both literal and psychological.

Fundamentally, Rhodes’ process is usually one of repeated erasure and revision within a single layer of paint. She has stated that, during her time working with Edinburgh Printmakers, the different restrictions and disciplines of printmaking have opened up a range of other qualities and potentials for her practice.

As with Rhodes, Louise Hopkins’ work resists the representation of a specific, actual place; instead she aims to create imagined and new places through the formal process of making the work. Hopkins was unable to travel internationally in 2013 and instead used the opportunity presented by Below another sky to find further ways of using painting, drawing and printmaking to explore what travel can mean within the studio. She has spoken of her desire to understand travel in its relation to the fundamental process of picture making - as a movement across and into a surface.

Hopkins invited other artists participating in this programme to send her objects from their home countries or residency destinations. She then used this material – specifically the forms, colours and patterns of a number of ceramic bowls and textiles – as the starting point for a new body of work. This work has been developed in direct response to conditions of real and imagined travel, exploring other places from a distance and thereby offering an alternative route to discover – or rediscover – our sense of proximity with the world.

For more information please visit

For more information on 'Below Another Sky' visit 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014


One of the problems of making rather large sculptures is storing the work after it has been exhibited. My studio is becoming rather cluttered, and its proving more difficult to find space to work, so I have made a decision to use the materials that I have got before buying anything new.

I have a range of different papers, of different sizes, and so am going to use these to make an installation of drawings.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Sir Kenneth Clark: Portrait of a Civilised Man - A Culture Show Special

To coincide with Tate Britain's exhibition on Clark opening in May, the Culture Show special presents an intimate portrait of a contradictory and elusive character who transformed our cultural landscape.

Sir Kenneth Clark was an influential figure in 20th-century British art. Born into a world of privilege, his achievements were staggering. He was keeper of the King's Pictures, director of the National Gallery, founder of the Arts Council and independent television, and best remembered as the presenter of the most ambitious arts series ever made - Civilisation. A staunch defender of Reithian values, Clark was attacked for being an elitist 'posh man in tweeds'. But he held a passionate belief that art was for everyone and made it his mission, through television, to share his love of art with the masses.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Why drawing needs to be a curriculum essential by Anita Taylor

Drawing has creative, expressive and educational value; it remains fundamental to translating and analysing the world

Drawing has seen something of a renaissance in the last twenty years in the UK. From the Campaign for Drawing to the Drawing Research Network, from the Drawing Room to the Rabley Drawing Centre, we've witnessed a proliferation of passion, effort and energy matched by increased museum exhibitions, dedicated degree courses, professors, publications and conferences.

All of the above have been established in pursuit of understanding, developing and promoting drawing, and many inside and outside the sector endure to evidence drawing as both the most sophisticated means of thinking and communicating, and an activity for all.

In the 1990s dedicated resources for drawing were much thinner on the ground. At Gloucestershire College of Art (now University) my team taught a structured programme that started with an intensive drawing course as the introduction to the underpinning systems and principles of visual language and painting in particular. The need for current exemplars was evident, more than anything to ensure the vitality of a student's application and his or her practices.

The Jerwood Drawing Prize grew in the face of this need, and developed in the wake of the Cleveland International Drawing Biennale that came to an end in 1996 after 23 years, and as the successor project for the nascent Malvern Open Drawing, founded in 1991. The project was a twin-headed opportunity: to facilitate an understanding of current drawing practice; and to provide students with professional experience as part of the curriculum to organise and understand the process of an open exhibition.

Our overarching aim was to affirm the value of drawing, and the reach of the project is more tangible than we could have imagined. We have received phenomenal support from a number of funders, champions and supporters of drawing in our establishment, joining the Jerwood Charitable Foundation family of projects in 2000 and redefining our scope as UK wide.

Having collectively raised the game and placed drawing back on the agenda – in schools, universities, in teaching and research, galleries and contemporary practices – perhaps it is time to deepen, extend and further evaluate its specific function.

Drawing remains a central and pivotal activity to the work of many artists and designers – a touchstone and tool of creative exploration that informs visual discovery. It fundamentally enables the visualisation and development of perceptions and ideas. With a history as long and intensive as the history of our culture, the act of drawing remains a fundamental means to translate, document, record and analyse the worlds we inhabit. The role of drawing in education remains critical, and not just to the creative disciplines in art and design for which it is foundational.

As a primary visual language, essential for communication and expression, drawing is as important as the development of written and verbal skills. The need to understand the world through visual means would seem more acute than ever; images transcend the barriers of language, and enhance communications in an increasingly globalised world.

Alongside a need for drawing skills for those entering employment identified by a range of industries in the creative sectors – animation, architecture, design, fashion, film, theatre, performance and the communication industries – drawing is also widely used within a range of other professions as a means to develop, document, explore, explain, interrogate and plan. This includes the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine and sport.

Surely, this should affirm drawing to be an essential part of the curriculum at all levels for all subjects, and something for which a clear commitment needs to be made. If we really want to move the STEM to STEAM agenda, drawing could be the connector at the heart of it all.

Anita Taylor is director of the Jerwood Drawing Prize and dean of Bath School of Art and Design