16 May 2017

Tate sounds mingling

Wolfgang Tillmans at Tate Modern

'if one thing matters, everything matters' the printed message on Tillmans courier bag sums up the current exhibition. I admire how 'Everything' is spread out on the very basically constructed tables.

Tillmans 'everything' tables

'if one thing matters, everything matters' the printed message on Tillmans courier bag

Janet Cardiff -  audio installation

Stepping into the ring of speakers that surround the listeners down in the tanks below the Tate galleries, separate voices come to my attention and fade away again as I walk around inside the circle. The voices change as I sit down, they form into a choral round, it stops and restarts abruptly, reminding me of once wandering into St Davids Cathedral when on holiday and happening on a full rehearsal of the Welsh Male Voice Choir, a very magical moment.

Otobong Nkanga - audio installation

An installation of white concrete balls in various sizes connected by ropes. Three  separate voices can be heard set apart around the installation emitting song and changing languages from three of the balls. Initially it brings to mind shipping and slavery but on reading the info it is more about a gathering and our connections across networks, the 'interconnectedness of life'.

Out in the connecting space I notice a similar mingling of sounds, voices and footsteps, from the visitors as they pass through, as if a repeating performance of cultural interchange.

1 November 2016

Meeting TQ 168 323 Text Work

Walking the Reserve

A Text Work is published on this blog, see pages
Title: Meeting - TQ 168 323 

Part One with Helen and Camilla

A changing view, a walk in photographs, immersed in my surroundings, paying attention to what I see and hear, a type of psychogeography, listening, observing and finding connections between the urban and rural cultural 
environment of this place.

 Part Two with Alison

Tree, plane, breeze

The boardwalk

27 October 2016

A collaboration at Warnham Nature Reserve

I am meeting with friends to embark on a new art collaboration at a central location that sits between us all. 
Warnham Nature Reserve.

Our response will be immediate and individual.

My interest is to observe and react to visual or sound moments or interactions that arise as I walk around the location.

My cognition is not as a motionless observer but is motion sensitive and site specific. Made by the direct and physical response we all have as we encounter our surroundings, it is a selective process for every viewer that depends entirely on personal experiences, desires and purpose.

It is my hope that the presence I find here will reflect back into history, culture and place.


Walk 1. meet up at the Reserve with Helen and Camilla

Looking along the gravel path towards the reserve.
Starting off

Sharp black decorative trees.
Passing under a sunlit arch.


Walk 2. A quick walk around the Reserve with Alison

 collection of textures, holly leaves, edge of corrugated iron, woven fence and a variety of trees.
Behind the Hide

A rough area of woodland.
Into the woods

Next post
Walk one - Images. A changing view.
Encounters of place.

22 September 2014

Sound Drawing and connections to Abstract Drawing

Sound Drawing, 5 track speakers, logs, cable

Listening again to my Sound Drawing 2013. I was showing it with my abstract drawings over the two day Oaks Park Open Studios this summer. It sounds a lot better in a big space.

Sound Drawing and closed sketchbook from Snowdonia Long Drawing

A sample can be found here:


The two days were packed with discussions. A little lad listening with his dad explained ( after his dad enquired about my sound drawing) ' The sounds are like charcoal and the drawings and the logs are burnt on the fire to make the charcoal', it's wonderful the way children can grasp easily just what they see.
I love this photo taken by Helen Goodwin of the MA show set up, as Alison Carlier and me dance to a section of sound drawing with the rhythm of fast walking downhill.

As a lady walks into the room she notices the trees outside and my quick tree sketches, as we discuss the Sound Drawing she recalls the memory of being unwell one day on holiday and remaining in her room became fascinated by the ever changing qualities of tree outside the window. On her return home, the photograph she took as a reminder was extremely disappointing, it captured nothing of her fascination. Every individuals memory of a place contains much more than the click of a static camera.

Abstract Drawing, a book, a scrap of fabric and an old skirt.

I attended the Abstract Drawing seminar at the Drawing Room in London, earlier this year. Richard Deacon spoke in detail with a careful search for his words. 'You draw as a witnessing activity' he says and considers abstract drawing is a work made purely for itself. He questions how we read the shapes and marks 'I am obviously a rule based person' 'interested in both lines and process', Deacon is finding his thoughts in a physical place as he speaks, drawing it out with his hands in silent gesture as he moves through his thoughts.

During the Q&A he asks do you think space is abstract or concrete? A very big question.

I remember this when gazing at the wonderful tiny pencil sketch in Malevich at the Tate Modern.

Suprematist Composition and Self-Portrait pencil on paper 2014
Suprematist Composition and Self-Portrait 2014

Last week I discovered a book on the abstract artist John Carter written by Chris Yetton in 2010 and published by the Royal Academy. These were both influential tutors when I was at Chelsea College of Art. I had many long and valuable discussions with John Carter at a time my painting was in transition.  Heuristic painted at this time was the beginning of my new work.

Heuristic 1992, oil on canvas and board
Heuristic 1992, oil on canvas and board

I was sad to hear of the death of Roger Ackling this year. He was also a very influential tutor at Chelsea and very kindly gave me this found scrap of fabric after an in depth tutorial. It was always wonderful and very helpful to speak to him.

Found fabric scrap 1992 from Roger Ackling
Found fabric scrap 1992

My roots in abstract art are deep beginning with an abstract drawing screen print on calico from 1967.

Screen printed skirt on calico, abstract print from 1967
Abstract screen printed skirt in calico 1967

21 September 2014

Quick drawing

red chalk pencil on sketchbook page
Beyond studio 5, study 1. 2014
graphite pencil on sketchbook page
Beyond studio 5, study 3. 2014
red chalk pencil on sketchbook page
Beyond studio 5, study 4. 2014
red chalk pencil on sketchbook page
Beyond studio 5, study 2. 2014

Scrubby trees hide my studio from the park, a messy patch that no one notices
I stand and draw them quickly, taking note of how my eye moves over the scene. I do not see one still image but scan through many connections, sometimes focusing on a detail, how can I follow this with my pencil?

Scrubby, pencil, charcoal, carbon on folded paper. 2014
Scrubby, pencil, charcoal, carbon on paper. 2014

I find an old comment on CyTwombly describing his work with 'sparseness, clumsiness, awkwardness and rareness'. It is a decisive moment that gives each work meaning.

Life drawing, quick poses using ink and stick.

Actor sitting 1, ink and  twig drawing 2014
Actor sitting 1, ink and  twig drawing 
Actor sitting 2, ink and  twig drawing 2014
Actor sitting 2, ink and  twig drawing 
Actor lounging, ink and  twig drawing 2014
Actor lounging, ink and  twig drawing 

Malevich at Tate Modern

On the Boulavard and notes on Malevich, pencil on paper 2014

At Tate Modern I stand intrigued by the red hands in Malevich’s On the Boulevard, 1910. Large and clumsy they control the loose painterly figure where traces of reworking show through his translucent yellow suit, activating the still figure. A heavy rough outline emphasises a connection to the surrounding park and accentuates the solidity of his red hands again.
Filippo Marinetti’s ‘Futurist Manifesto’ on speed, technology and the cult of the machine in 1909, begins to emerge in Polishers 1911 with the rhythm of the lines moving, polishing and dancing over the picture surface.
The idea of mechanics is developed in the futurist opera Victory Over the Sun as Malevich’s costumes disguise the human figure turning them into machines. I am surprised at how much their form is changed as I know these design drawings well but have never seen the costumes made up. I watch and laugh, amused by the pendulum action of figures crossing the stage. I notice how the lighting adds to their disguise, it accentuates the forms, giving the figures a strong sketchy outline that reminds me of the man on the bench On the Boulevard.
Malevich’s simplified geometric stage design indicates 
how he is ready to let go of representation and his simple black square is set to become iconic.
Suprematism – in Colour Masses in the Fourth Dimension the red square influences a stillness expressed by the black square above. It animates the surrounding white space and allows a reading of movement and stillness.
Supremeatism 1915 hangs higher than all others in the room. The diagonal blocks appear suspended in movement as they rise up, emphasising the yellow above.
In Works on Paper I am fascinated with one tiny pencil sketch, Suprematist Composition. It simply contains the universe possibly due to the almost unconnected parts, each containing it’s own quality and depth.

Malevich pencil on paper 2014
I see Malevich’s intense interrogation in Self-Portrait, 1933. His right eye dominant, as he now explores the viewer.