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31 August 2010

Extra! Extra! SAW is the word!

Check out the article in 'The Word' magazine that is all about the open studios event this September. Good stuff!

Visit the below link for a better read of this article:

Artists documenting artists

Whilst I am still collecting your images of studios, I'd like to highlight this particular fourth coming exhibition at the Brewhouse in Taunton which features film and digital media work of artists at work in their studios. The work has been commissioned by SAW and is to tie in with the open studio theme to art weeks this year. Personally I also quite like the concept of artists documenting other artists. There are a lot of groups of artists working in Somerset and this is a great way to prompt artists into talking to one another and open up discussions about their practices in a less formal way. Of course at the same time it also invites new people to see the processes and skills artists in Somerset have to offer.

The work for this exhibition has been created by Kate Noble, Mark Parry and Bronwen Bradshaw, is called 'Artists at work' and will be running from the 11th of September until 9th October.

Please click on the link below for more info:

30 August 2010

Myrtle Pizzey's Studio on the Somerset Levels

As a part of Somerset art weeks this year, artists are opening their studios up to the public. I asked artists participating to send me an image of their studio for the blog, this is another one of those who have replied so far. So without further ado, welcome to Myrtle Pizzey's studio at Hill Farm at Wookey.
You can visit Myrtle who is a print maker at venue 128 in the SAW catalogue or click on the link below for more details:

Angela Charles' Studio

I am still posting your images of your studios that artists exhibiting in this years art weeks have been sending to me. Here we have Angela Charles' studio space complete with first aid box and Joseph Beuys poster:

You can see Angela's paintings during art weeks at Crewkerne, venue 56 in the SAW catalogue. Or click on the link below for more images of Angela's work plus details of her venue.

Somerset Life meets SAW

There's a great feature on several of the artists taking part in this years art weeks in Somerset Life magazine! Please click on the link below to have a read:

Looks like Chaplin

Brrrrr.....Despite the cold there was a pretty good turn out of people who came to see the screening of, the Charlie Chaplin film, 'Modern Times' at The Brewhouse this weekend. In fact it was the first of three bank holiday weekend silent films to be projected on the outside wall of the theatre in the space which is formally known as 'somerset square'.

I cannot quite begin to describe how both strange and wonderful at the same time this experience was. Prior to this I had never seen a Chaplin film in its entirety before yet alone watched a film outside in the middle of what is normally a public space that myself and many others tend to pass by everyday. So it was definitely strange seeing so many people 'still' in this normally busy space as well as getting used to the initial novelty of watching a film on an outside wall. However, this is also what made it so wonderful and a real treat for people to have this sort of opportunity in the centre of Taunton. Admittedly, it was also freezing and I think I should have prepared myself with my layers before setting out to see this as come the last thirty minutes I was less interested in the end of the film as I wanted to escape to someplace warm. Everyone else watching had the right idea in taking coats and blankets etc as well as bringing their own food. It was great to see so many people turning up for this experience and really added to the atmosphere that silent films need, in providing laughter at pivotal moments in the film.

As far as the film itself goes, I enjoyed that too as I never really appreciated or knew how funny Chaplin was. The jokes are simple, slapstick and pretty predictable but that's what makes them so timeless, funny and genius at the same time. I left at 10.30 when the film ended cold but incredibly pleased and delighted to have seen and experienced this event. Those who I spoke to also had a really good time. I hope this is the first of many more outdoor screenings down at our local Brew.

If you went to any of these screenings or if you fancy checking out the final screening tonight of 'Metropolis' at 8.30 then get your bum down to the Brewhouse, Taunton NOW!

27 August 2010

Jane's studio with mirrors

I have asked artists participating in this years Open Studios event for Somerset Art Weeks to send me an image of their studio and how they are preparing for the weeks ahead commencing on the 18th September.

Here's another! This is print maker Jane Mowat's studio at Hurstone studios, Watterow.

"At the moment the walls are fairly bare as I'm trying to decide what to put up. It'll be a mixture of framed prints , woodblocks and carvings (and a mirror or two), and I'm excited as this is a new studio for me, much larger and lighter than the old one - but still at Hurstone of course." -Jane Mowat
Jane Mowat's studio along with the other artists who have studios at Hurstone can be found at venue 25 during this years Somerset Art Weeks. See link below for further details:

26 August 2010

Sue Luxton's studio!

I have asked artists participating in this years Open Studios event for Somerset Art Weeks to send me an image of their studio and how they are preparing for the weeks ahead commencing on the 18th September.

Here's Sue Luxton in her studio at Stoke St Gregory.

Here's what Sue said about how she is preparing for this years art weeks,
"Like everyone else, I guess, who is opening their studio this September I am still fiddling with paintings and cutting mounts ...... at the back of my mind I am debating whether or not to clear up the reality of the the mess...A couple of weeks ago I made a quick drawing of how I imagined I looked.....amongst the mess....possibly my favourite place....Still not decided how much will be cleared away....please come and visit 'the mess' , see some paintings too and find out how much my usual 'tidy-itis' has succumbed to the pressures of Art Weeks !!"
You can visit Sue Luxton and see her paintings during this Somerset Art Weeks, she is Venue 15 in the SAW catalogue. Or click on the link below:

Leo Davey's studio

I have asked artists participating in this years Open Studios event for Somerset Art Weeks to send me an image of their studio and how they are preparing for the weeks ahead commencing on the 18th September.

This is the first of those responses from Minehead based artist, Leo Davey.

In response to how Leo is preparing for art weeks he said:
"As far as preparing for "Art Weeks" goes - I'm streaming lining the downstairs of 16 West Street, getting rid of un-necessary furniture and clutter and emptying all walls of pictures ready to hang this years efforts. My new Bakelite Museum paintings, railway posters, long pine pictures,landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes and my food from above images are all framed, stacked and waiting. All but a handful of paintings are finished and should all be in frames real soon. Then it'll be all about hanging and promoting the show."
Visit the below link for more about Leo Davey in this years Art weeks: Venue 195 in the catalogue

In the countdown to Art Weeks 2010...

Phew! Like so many of the artists involved in this years art weeks I have been really busy having just finished my residency at Somerset College I have now begun my internship with SAW. Currently, I am helping organise the exhibitions, 'Small Wonders' at the Air Gallery and 'Spotlight' at the Illminster Art Centre which feature together between twenty and thirty artists. So, its all hands on deck to make sure I still have enough time to prepare my work ready for the show I'm exhibiting in called, 'Out of Context' at the Tithe barn in Cotley!

As some of you may already know, my work has predominately, for the last three years, focused around tools as my subject matter. Naturally, I was therefore quite excited about the prospect of exhibiting on a farm where my 'larger than life' cutouts of different tools would look quite at home. I think it is quite ironic actually because the exhibition is called, 'Out of Context', however my work will probably appear to be more in context with its surroundings than it ever has before in a white walled gallery setting. However, we shall wait and see.

Whilst I have been continuing my research on this subject matter I have read and found lots of interesting and exciting things but had only very recently discovered the 'Second hand tools' antique shop in Beer and 'The Tool Box' in Colyton, Devon. These are two shops (as you can see in the photos below) that are absolutely choc full of old and in some cases antique tools! I can not begin to tell you how wonderful these places were to visit. As a result there are lots of new shapes, and ideas that have started to formulate in my mind. I picked up lots of useful books and documents whilst I was there too. I would really recommend it as a fascinating place to visit (even if your'e not as into tools as me!).

Some of my tool cutouts ready to be painted for the exhibition 'Out of Context' during Somerset Art Weeks.

Tools glorious tools! 'Research' at 'Second hand tools' in Beer

(above and below) More tools from 'The Tool Box' in Colyton, Devon.

The result of these visits met with my current busy state of preparing for all the events happening in the art weeks has made me curious to see how other artists are preparing in the run up to art weeks. Is anyone clearing their studio? Still making work? Planning any activities and private views? Let me know how you are preparing for the fourth coming weeks.
Send me an email at or post an image on here.

15 August 2010

Cathy Spearing's top 100!

In the run up to the Somerset Art Weeks in September local artist Cathy Spearing is producing one-hundred works of art over one-hundred days all of which are for sale on her blog for £100 or less! Cathy is currently on day fifty and works so far have sold to buyers in London and the USA. A member of the Society of Women artists and the Society of Equestrian artists her work features highly detailed monochrome pencil drawings of animals as well as landscapes in oil paints.

It seems like an exciting way to both make work and generate a buzz of excitement and interest about your work at the same time, and as an artist myself I think it would be a fun project to take on but obviously needs a lot of dedication and commitment as well. I found a similar project was undertaken by Cornish artist William Peers recently too with one-hundred sculptures in one-hundred days and shown In The John Martin Gallery in London as well as artists like Antony Gormley who has recently placed one-hundred bronze sculptures cast from his body and placed them in the Austrian Alps. One-hundred of anything seems to be all the rage at the moment in the art world! It must be quite a contemporary way of promoting yourself as an artist because you are making your work more immediately accessible and people can follow the story and progress of your work. Does this compromise your standards of finishing a piece of work, if you have to complete something in a given amount of time? It is debatable but as an artist therein lies the challenge a project like this would bring. On the other hand work made in a day can be a lot less contrived and overworked than pieces worked on over a period of time. So there are pros and cons, but I still think its a really great idea though. I'd quite like to do a similar project but invite other people to produce the one-hundred somethings over one-hundred days and see what would happen. I'm fascinated by Francis Alys' project where he had three-hundred reproductions of the Saint Fabiola painted by three-hundred different people. The results were really interesting and the body of work as a whole was really visually stunning as each one was so different yet initially the same. Clever stuff and something to think about. Here's to Cathy and the next fifty days of her project. A brilliant idea!
You can buy and follow Cathy Spearing's progress as she blogs each new work of art everyday on:

And you can visit her studio and meet the artist during the Somerset Art Weeks from the 18th September. Venue number 64 in the SAW catalogue.

5 August 2010

July's art book of the month!

"The necessity of art" by Ernst Fischer
This is a reprinted version of the original 'Necessity of art' printed in 1971. Now sixty years later it has been reprinted with a forward by the equally amazing critic and theorist John Berger ('Ways of seeing' and 'About Looking' being two well know books of his). What is interesting about the re-release of this book is that although you'd think it would be outdated with all of the post-modern developments that have happened in the art world in the last twenty/thirty years, it could not be more poignant and essential for today as it was back then. Thus, as I will explain, what makes it the art book of the month for July!

This book is a really refreshing and inspiring read as it discusses the importance of art (and in broader terms, the creative mind/creativity in general), and how it not only acts as a means of interpreting the world but as a way of understanding it better as well. Fischer starts right at the beginning of history when man became Man through the use of creativity and problem solving, he created tools. Fischer continues to explain how man was formed through tools and this act of 'making' led to the beginnings of our evolution. He argues that it was this conscious decision for man to attempt to use and control nature through adapting tools is the root of human existence.

"This magic at the root of human existence, creating a sense of powerlessness and at the same time a consciousness of power, a fear of nature together with the ability to control nature, is the very essence of all art. The first toolmaker, when he gave new form to a stone so that it might serve man, was the first artist."

It is this kind of enquiry and meditation into the 'purpose' of art in society that helps inform how we view arts role in the world today and Fischer goes into explaining how it achieves this using examples in which he touches upon Marxism, philosophy and works of fiction, in particular Franz Kafka. At the end, I feel that this book really reaffirmed why art is so much more important than just the 'superficial' gaze it is sometimes branded with today and that actually a majority of our modern day artists are inventing and creating work that is relevant and important for the age we're in.
Truthful and honest, this book is an absolute must read! I'd really recommend it and would defy anyone to not find substance and inspiration in this book.