Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Papillons - Schumann

Time for a musical interlude. Here is a link to Schumann's 'Papillons', played by prodigy Claudio Arrau, widely recognised as one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century. It is one of the first pieces that started off the butterfly obsession in my work. Enjoy!

Monday, 26 November 2012

All Wrapped Up Cambridge Exhibition

I have been invited again to take part in the All Wrapped Up Christmas exhibition at Cambridge Contemporary Art gallery. It is always good to take a day to get out of London and visit this pretty city and the lovely staff at this gallery.

This Christmas they will be showing my new pieces Lineate and Coronet pictured here, as well as my Kaleidoscope screenprint.

Whilst there I also took the opportunity to visit Kettle's Yard to see the intimate exhibition of Winifred Nicholson paintings which were inspiring.

The All Wrapped Up exhibition is on from 1st December - 24th at Cambridge Contemporary Art, 6 Trinity St. Cambridge CB2 1SU Tel. 01223 324222 www.cambridgegallery.co.uk

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Tim Walker - Somerset House

Somerset House seems to be the place to be this Autumn/Winter season. I revisited the Lucian Freud etchings show at the Courtauld, (see previous post below), and ventured across the courtyard where I was equally impressed with both the Tim Walker and Paul Benney shows also currently running there.

I became familiar with Tim Walkers work from the beautiful, surreal photo shoots that he creates for both Vogue and Harpers. He creates his own whimsical vision of the world which borrows from fairytales, and Surrealism. The outsized props and models created for the shoots are fantastic, and many of the most familiar from his photographs are included in this exhibition.

The unusual props combined with the strikingly made up models, and beautiful haute-couture creations of the various fashion houses creates a strange, magical narrative for his images. This exhibition is visually one of the best I have visited as it is beautifully designed and curated. Definately one for you if you love photography, fashion or model-making.

Also on display at Somerset House are the Association of Illustrators annual Images exhibition, and underneath the courtyard can be seen Night Paintings by Paul Benney, many of whose images also owe a debt to Surrealism.

Just as impressive as the paintings is the exhibition space, which are the hidden passageways that run like a labyrinth under the courtyard which are not normally accessible to the public. 

It is like being in a crypt as there are some old tombstones mounted into the walls and water dripping from pipes which adds to the dark/moody atmosphere of Benney's paintings. Highly recommended. 

Sunday, 4 November 2012

London Olympics 2012 Revisited

I was recently commissioned to create another version of Citius, Altius, Fortius, (see my earlier post below), by the Rowley Gallery. This piece commemorates London hosting the XXX Olympiad Games, and I was really happy to revisit the theme, having been completely swept up in the feelgood factor and wave of national euphoria  generated by both the Olympic and Paralympic Games over the summer.

Another artist who takes architecture as the central theme of her work, and has documented the development of the Olympic site and building of the various sports arenas in Stratford is the wood engraver and printmaker Anne Desmet.

I became familiar with her work previously, at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, with her stunning series of huge architectural Babel Flowers prints, (above), that were on show there. These were hung next to a series of Piranesi's moody, interior etchings and there are quite clear parallels between the works of the two. Having been a lino cutter I loved the immediate graphic qualities of her work. They also remind me of the wartime woodcuts of Edward Wadsworth of the Dazzle Ships.

The transformation of the site in the east end, from demolition, clearing and development and subsequent construction of the Olympic Park site, is wonderfully documented through the beautiful graphic imagery of this series of wood engravings. These wood engravings provide a more useful document, and are stronger visually, (in my opinion), than the officially commissioned artwork by well known artists, chosen by the Olympic committee. I like the way in which she takes the art of wood engraving in a new direction by mounting the prints on unusual materials such as razor bill sea shells, slate and also mirror to stunning effect.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Affordable Art Fairs Battersea/Hampstead 2012

I will be exhibiting my screen-prints Kaleidoscope and Can't Buy Me Love, with Jealous Gallery at the Affordable Art Fairs in Battersea Park (25 - 28 Oct. 2012, and Hampstead (1 - 4 Nov. 2012). Contact Jealous if you would like complimentary tickets. 
Tel: 020 8347 7688 or info@jealousgallery.com

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Maps of the Heart

I have been creating my 'Maps of the Heart' for a good few years now. These represent geographical areas that hold a place in a persons heart, and are special to whoever commissions them as they serve to symbolise a personal connection to a place. I recently came across these funny (and cynical), examples of maps which purport to be of both men's and women's hearts. These have been produced since the nineteenth century in America originally by D.W. Kellogg. They seem highly contentious judged by todays' standards, but quite amusing nonetheless. Fickle,vain and coquettish ladies? Dread of matrimony and lacking in good sense gents? Let the battle of the sexes commence! 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Lucian Freud Etchings

Visited the Courtauld, (one of my favourite galleries), to see the small but beautiful exhibition of Lucian Freud etchings which were recently gifted to the Courtauld by the artist Frank Auerbach, who was a great friend of Freud. They met in the 1950s and remained good friends until Freuds death. Many of the etchings are signed "With love to Frank" by Freud. It was refreshing to see such beautiful graphic, mark-making and of course Freuds' customary masterly draughtsmanship. The last of the images below is a portrait of Freud by Auerbach. Highly recommended.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Untold Gold 2

The show Untold Gold is up and running and I thought I would post a few of my favourite pieces by other artists and also some interior shots of the historic Bargehouse building itself.

The exhibition continues until Sunday September 30th, from 11am - 8pm at the Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse St, South Bank, London SE1 9PH.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Untold Gold - London Design Festival

Untold Gold - The African & African-Caribbean Design Diaspora Bargehouse Festival

I will be exhibiting at the Bargehouse, (a listed building behind the iconic Oxo Towers building on the banks of the Thames), during September as part of the London Design Festival. I'm really excited to have been selected to exhibit in this show. It is titled - "Untold Gold", and is a celebration of black creative talent and the last of three annual exhibitions organised by the African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora, (the 2010 event saw 20,000 visitors to the venue!). This years exhibition aims to place the artwork of artists of Afro-Caribbean descent against the context of their athletic counterparts competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games. The AACDD exists to promote the work of artists, designers and craftspeople of African and Afro-Caribbean descent. The organisers have selected around 150 artists from all over the world showcasing a wide range of disciplines such as fine art, film, graphic design, craft, jewellery, photography, furniture design, sculpture and textiles etc. The Bargehouse building is absolutely beautiful as there is a real undeveloped rawness. It has been stripped right back to the brickwork in most places and seems positively derelict (although safely so!), in certain areas, which contrasts well with the sophistication of much of the artwork on display. The exhibition is arranged across 5 floors of the building.

I shall be showcasing my signature butterfly pieces and also showcasing some early, limited edition lino-cuts which I haven't exhibited for a good few years.


'Untold Gold' is a part of the London Design Festival and runs from September 19th - 30th 2012. Entry is free and opening hours are 11am - 7.30pm.
Venue: Bargehouse
Oxo Towers Wharf
Bargehouse Street
South Bank

Do come along and see an interesting variety of work by African/African Caribbean artists and designers.

Monday, 13 August 2012

The Fantastic Ms Fanelli

I am a real fan of Sara Fanelli's collage work, and she has created another fantastic book for children. The Onion's Great Escape, was published earlier this year by Phaidon. The story is about an onion who wants to escape the fate of the frying pan and it is up to the reader to help her escape. Several philosophical questions are posed and the reader is encouraged to interact and liberate the die-cut onion page by page from the spine of the book. Once she is liberated she is able to stand alone like a 3D doll. The book is Fanelli's usual combination of beautiful typography, and her trademark collage and hand drawn/painted illustrations.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Citius, Altius, Fortius: London Olympics 2012

The London Olympics 2012, (officially the games of the XXX Olympiad), begin in this beautiful city at the end of this week on the 27th July. I was asked to create a piece of artwork to commemorate this occasion but didn't feel particularly, inspired especially when I look at the official pieces created by well known artists that were commissioned by the Olympic committee.

I was at the Rowley Gallery last week however, and was given a copy of one of the limited edition Ordnance Survey maps of the Olympic Park over in Stratford and asked to see what I could come up with by Chris, one of the directors of the gallery. The map was created in conjunction with the Institute of Civil Engineers and as far as I understand only made available to the Institute of Civil Engineers and schools.The map charts the clean up and development of the area and construction of the various sports arenas from 2001 to the present day.

I love a good map especially the older ones where the paper quality is thicker and the graphics have a nicer quality than modern maps. I am usually loathe to cut into the vintage maps but didn't really have any such qualms about cutting into the 'Engineering the Olympic Park' map. Chris had previously supplied me with a beautiful old Michelin map and asked me to create one of my 'Map of the Heart' series which had a connection to the history of the Rowley Gallery (see Rowley Gallery blog).

My inspiration for Citius, Altius, Fortius (the official Olympic motto meaning Faster, Higher, Stronger), was the athletes arriving in London last week and also the grey skies and unusually heavy amount of rain we have been experiencing in the UK this summer. Most of the map is grey and a little drab which is an apt reflection of the wet weather we have endured. The piece is basically a metaphor for the arrival of the athletes bringing with them some much needed colour to a grey, wet, London. Like certain species of butterfly they descend on the capital (and UK), for a season, (two weeks in this case), delight us with their prescence, prowess, and beautiful bodies, before fluttering off and migrating back to their usual climes and habitats when the Games are over.

Creating Citius, Altius, Fortius, was a slight departure from my usual method of working as I drew and cut the butterflies with a scalpel rather than my usual scissors. I found this quite labour intensive, and hard on the fingers, but an enjoyable process nonetheless.

I'd like to thank Chris for providing the inspiration for the Citius, Altius, Fortius, and for allowing me to slice into his map. You can view it now along with other Olympic themed artworks at the Rowley Gallery 115 Kensington Church Street, London W8.