Tuesday, 30 July 2019

David Batchelor - My Own Private Bauhaus at Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh

There are a selection of artists who produce work that always manages to delight me and fill me with joy. David Batchelor is one of them. No matter how bad a day I have been having, seeing his work makes me smile, cheers me up and makes me feel more positive. Simplicity is underrated. An enjoyment of colour, form, shape and surface is what I get from looking at the work. I cannot help but feel an urge to go to the studio and make work. Thank you David Batchelor - you are a star! May my own work move people and bring happiness to others in the way that your work does for me.

'My Own Private Bauhaus is an exhibition that marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus by Walter Gropius in 1919.  It is, in Batchelor’s words ‘a phrase that has been hanging around the studio for a few years’ and pays tribute to the movement through Batchelor’s personal appreciation of the square, circle and triangle.

Since he began working with colour, over 25 years ago, Batchelor’s installations, sculptures, paintings, drawings and photographs have been characterised by simple shapes and regular forms. But, unlike the pure geometry of the Bauhaus, Batchelor’s forms are, he says ‘often damaged, bent or broken; and the colours, while vivid, are neither pure nor primary.’ Batchelor’s work pays tribute to the geometric abstraction of the 1920s, but is also characterised by improvisation, informality, humour and what Batchelor describes as ‘a distrust of formal ordering systems and regulated theories of colour’.

My Own Private Bauhaus is the artist’s collective title for a wide variety of small sculptures, paintings and drawings that sit together on long, shallow, wall-mounted aluminium shelves. Made from plastic offcuts, shards of glass, found objects, metal mesh, tin tops, timber, concrete, gloss paint, spray paint and adhesive tape – individual works are arranged in irregular rows. Together they represent the diverse output of Batchelor’s practise and the interconnected nature of his colour-based work, whether it is two- or three-dimensional. 

The exhibition also includes a number of large paintings made using poured commercial paint on aluminium panels. These Colour Chart paintings become virtual sculptures with precariously colourful, off-circular forms balanced atop schematic, plinth-like bases. In turn; several smaller sculptures in the exhibition, made from the discarded tops of the tin cans from which the paint was poured, refer back to the paintings.'

Patterns and places of inspiration

On my walk back to the train station yesterday I came across a number of little shops that I could not resist popping into. I can get lots of inspiration from looking at patterns, designs, colours, forms, surfaces, fabrics and objects, and I also learn lots from shops in terms of ideas for ways to display things.

Here are a few photos of things and names of places that caught my eye


Concrete Wardrobe

Curiouser and Curiouser


Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Conference for the Birds by Marcus Coates at Out of place at the Hatton Gallery

'In the summer of 2018 the research project Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience commissioned five new contemporary artworks for heritage sites in North East England. Out of Place re-presents these artworks within the context of the Hatton Gallery, prompting a questioning of how art changes when it is relocated from its original site. Out of Place features commissioned sound-works, installation, painting and sculpture by Susan Philipsz, Matt Stokes, Fiona Curran, Andrew Burton, Marcus Coates and Mark Fairnington.'

I was enthralled by Conference for the Birds by Marcus Coates. 

The main installation takes place at Cherryburn, the birthplace of Thomas Bewick. It responds specifically to Thomas Bewick’s publication the History of British Birds (1797) which bought his detailed wood engravings and information about the bird’s lives to a mass audience for the first time. Visitors to Cherryburn can experience seven of Bewick’s engravings depicted as life-size birds gathered round the fireplace discussing their lives, knowledge and culture.

Taking inspiration from the birds Bewick immortalised in his engravings and recorded in his ground breaking book 'A History of British Birds', Conference for the Birds brings to life Bewick’s work for visitors in a new and contemporary way; shining a spotlight on the historical significance of Cherryburn and challenges facing wildlife and nature today.

The work is presented in a slightly different fashion in the Hatton Gallery. Several seats are positioned around a large table, on which are placards with the names of a number of bird species. Visitors are invited to take a seat among the birds for a unique insight into a bird’s perspective of the world. The birds, each researched and played by wildlife experts, discuss topics from migration to predation, with each species recounting their day to day experiences.

By exploring the lives of the birds that Bewick studied and recorded, Conference of the Birds reveals how many of the experiences and challenges faced by wildlife relate to our own, and how relevant they are today as when the Bewick’s book was first published over 200 years ago.

Marcus comments “I think there is value in this attempted shift in outlook as it creates unexpected lines of questioning and enquiry. This 'play' can also reveal just as much about us to ourselves than it does about the birds.”

Monday, 15 July 2019

NewBridge Books has moved!

NewBridge Books has found a new home in the heart of Gateshead Town Centre!

Location: The NewBridge Project: Gateshead | 232-240 High Street, Gateshead, NE8 1AQ
Open: Wednesday – Friday, 12-6pm

The unique NewBridge Books artist bookshop has moved out of its premises in BALTIC 39, and moved to High Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne. 

NewBridge Books offers a selection of diverse, original and hard-to-find national and international contemporary art publications, fostering critically-engaged creativity in the region by providing both a resource and outlet for artists, writers, critics and researchers.

The shop is unique to the North East of England providing a platform for independent publishers and artists who self-publish. Some of my published books are sold at NewBridge Books along with a variety of artists’ books, zines, writing and magazines. The bookshop also hosts a programme of regular events and exhibitions related to print culture. I look forward to attending some of these, and potentially doing my own events there too!

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

The collage commences for marginendeavour

It has taken a while to prepare the billboard with the raised text, but we have now reached the time to begin collaging.

We have begun from the centre, and are collaging towards the outside of the billboard, rather like radiating beams..


Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Cheeseburn Open Weekend July 2019 - Becky Mackenzie Ceramics

Over the past couple of Open Weekends at Cheeseburn, Northumberland-based ceramicist Becky Mackenzie has been exhibiting her work. Becky Mackenzie is a ceramic designer and maker specialising in elegant and minimal pieces in very fine porcelain, bone china and earthenware.

Such thin and delicate forms are created through the slip casting process. However, it is not possible to achieve the signs of the hands using slip casting alone. She achieves this by first throwing a vessel. The resulting form has traces of the hand; the human element that went into creating the form. Mackenzie then pours the slip into the form and, when set, the indentations and gestures made by the hands when throwing the pot are transferred to the cast.

I really enjoy the non-decorative simplicity of the forms and the signs of the making process that are evident in the vessels themselves. I'm also rather partial to the colour scheme!


Monday, 8 July 2019

Cheeseburn Open Weekend July 2019 - Simon Hitchens in the gallery

I spent another excellent weekend working at Cheeseburn Open Weekend. The grounds looked stunning, with the colourful flowers in full bloom and the grass as lush as ever. The glorious sunshine added to the joy of the two days.

Based predominantly at the main reception with Tia and Ell, I had the pleasure of meeting and greeting hundreds of visitors to Cheeseburn, and the satisfaction of seeing them leave with huge smiles and many positive comments. There was plenty to keep people happy, even without the art!

This weekend saw the end of the Simon Hitchens exhibition in the gallery. His intricate drawings in the 'Thinking Beyond Rock' collection remind me of spirographs. They have been created by tracing the shadows of a rock over the course of an entire day. Every 15 minutes Hitchens traces the line of the shadow cast by the rock, and over the duration of the day as the shadow moves, the lines track the movement of the sun.

Simon explains, “The natural world is an endless source of inspiration to me, and a direct tool I use to create my work. For example, the current body of work I am pursuing requires sunlight as the source for image making, drawing shadows cast by a rock between sunrise and sunset. The resultant drawings are unique in time and space to a given location on the planet, recording the relentless rotation of the earth beneath our feet.”

Monday, 1 July 2019