A couple of weeks ago now I went to the opening of this exhibition at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery in Honiton. Richard Long was at the opening and spoke a little about his work which focuses around the act of walking.
The exhibition features work that spans 40 years of Long’s career from 1966 to 2006, starting with early experiments in the South West of England. Here began a life-long investigation into landscape as both space and material, taking Long to remote locations across the world. From photography, maps, and texts, to mark making and sculpture, this exhibition captures Long’s personal, way of being with nature and invites a moment of reflection on our own relationship with landscape and the natural world.
This was a inspiring exhibition to visit at this time for me as I have had a long gap in making any work due to ill health and a lengthy hospital admission. I have recently been discharged and have started trying to reacquaint myself with my work, whilst also looking at other artists work for inspiration.
Yesterday I visited an exhibition ‘Work in Progress’ which is by a group of OCA Students and Tutors based in the South West, at The Old Brick Workshop, near Wellington, Somerset.
Great to see this new initiative come to fruition for OCA Students, it wasn’t something that was happening whilst I was still studying with the OCA, but good to know there are some individuals who are willing to take on the task of organizing and applying for funding, etc. It was nice to see quite a number of familiar names, some that I have met, and others I may have come across on the Student forums. And, as always, great to see the work. A good cross section of work from the various disciplines, and some interesting methods of display encouraging visitor intervention- I got to play with acetates and a lightbox, taking a Polaroid photo of my effort to stick into a little sketchbook with other peoples efforts -good fun. I also enjoyed seeing the experimentation evident in much of the work, like the Seaweed drawings. I hope the exhibition is a success for them with lots of visitors.
I had seen this exhibition advertised and was intrigued that her work was made with washes of chalk – my immediate thoughts being about the fragility of the work and how it is (if it is?) fixed for a big exhibition. I hadn’t felt moved to go, but later found myself there, at Hauser and Wirth Somerset, anyway. I was blown away by the work. The scale of the work is what struck me first, and then the depth in these works which initially appear quite simple. Closer looking reveals fragments and traces of drawings that have been worked over. Figures appear through the layers in this fragile landscape.
I still found myself intrigued by her process and with a little searching later found an article that gave an insight –
‘Ackermann primes the canvas with traditional chalkboard paint before drawing out a figurative scene in chalk. The drawings are then partially washed away in vigorous sweeping gestures that oscillate between the visible and invisible, revealing only limited emphasis on method, subject and production. The repetitive steps of layering and erasure cause the chalk lines to dissolve in a cyclical process through which new abstracted images and shapes emerge. These are then further overworked with spray paint, prior to a final fixative seal.’
So, interesting for me to see that she does use a fixative -obvious really! This has been one of those technical dilemmas that I have spent time thinking about in relation to my ‘Trace’ drawings and how they might be exhibited.
Now that a few weeks have passed since the end of Somerset Arts Weeks 2017 I’m just going to reflect a little on what being a recipient of a Creative Pathways Bursary has meant for me. I was commissioned to make an Artist Book in response to a location with mentoring by an experienced artist.
As a result-
- It has been a great boost to my confidence and a good motivator to make work.
- It has given me the opportunity to explore in depth the range and diversity of what an ‘Artist book’ can be, and to practice and develop some of the practical skills required.
- It has given me the experience of working to a commission and the negotiations required to make sure the brief has properly understood, and then developing work according to a certain time scale.
- It has been great to have the guidance of a mentor with such a wealth of experience.
- As well as providing a new platform for my work, it has given me the experience of being part of a bigger project and the opportunity to be involved its preparations.
- During the event I helped steward on a number of days which enabled me to talk with visitors and get some direct feedback on the work.
- It enabled me the opportunity to spend time in creative and environmentally sensitive location at an opportune time so as to experience an ancient meadow at what must be its peak time – alive with insects and wild orchids.
- Through spending time at Dove and as part of the Creative Pathways project I have met a lot of people, many artists/creative’s, so extending my network locally.
- Through providing a focus for making that was a side step from my evolving practice, it has allowed time and space to think about my practice from a slightly different perspective and how it might develop.
Overall, I have found it to be a very rich experience and feel as though I have learned a lot during the time devoted to this project, and this has been made richer by the support and guidance I have received too.
On Saturday I was lucky enough to go to a Workshop : Material resonances with Louise K Wilson and Stephen Felmington at Clayhill Arts, nr Bridgewater, Somerset that was part of Prospectus, which is a pilot project developed by Somerset Art Works and funded by Arts Council England. Both artists gave illuminating and engaging talks about their individual arts practice – an interest in the cold War being an interest they share. In the afternoon Louise gave a Sound workshop, but I chose to join Stephen in his experimental Drawing workshop exploring peripheral vision and memory to alter focus and levels of attention.
Managed to get down to the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton today and catch the last day of Frances Hatch’s exhibition, ‘With red earth under my nails’. A fabulous collection of work focused on capturing the sense of place through the use of materials found on site. Great to get up close and be able to appreciate the textures and energy in the works, and also to have the opportunity to look through some of her sketchbooks and get a sense of her process.
‘Field of dreams’ Jenny Graham
‘Field of Dreams’ Jenny Graham
‘Being a the Dove’ Laura Burke
‘Signature’ Sue Gilmore
‘Between Two Moons’ Ama Bolton
‘Sown -Found -Foraged’ Faye Suzannah
‘Sown -Found -Foraged’ Faye Suzannah
On the final weekend of Somerset Arts Week I spent a day as Guardian of the Tree House Library Books. It was a great opportunity to take a closer look at the other Artist Books that have been made.