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21 September 2012

Mendips - Art Weeks visits day five

Art weeks visits day five! That's a LOT of art! With a 'record breaking' eleven venues visited today, our grand total for the week is so far toted up to a sizable 44 venues. Not bad. However its not about how many you go to but the quality of your experiences at each stop! This number of venue visits has been achieved at a steady pace, still allowing a minimum of ten mins per venue and in most cases longer once we get talking to the artists. Often it makes sense though to visit the venues in an area even if they haven't appealed to you from looking in the guide book, you're often pleasantly surprised by what you find. I have not been particularly critical in any of these Art Weeks posts, preferring to present an open-minded opinion to the majority of work seen, as arts such a subjective thing I'd much rather encourage people to visit and see as much art as possible so that then at least audiences can make their own informed decisions about the kind of art that appeals to them. Please be open mindedly discerning!
In the Mendip area today! Up to Wells and back via Glastonbury and Moorlynch.
 
Spring Farm, home to four artists studios and glass blower! A good one to visit if you'd like to see lots in one location. Plus just a quick walk down the road is venue 78, Susan Gradwell.
VENUE 79 – NANCY FARMER
VENUE 80 – JENNY GRAHAM (image below)
VENUE 81 – ANNE FARMER WATERCOLOURS
VENUE 82 – CLIO GRAHAM

One of Jenny Graham's new photo etchings at Venue 80. Thank you to Jenny for providing me this image.
VENUE 78 – SUSAN GRADWELL (not pictured)
VENUE 84 – THE CHAPEL STUDIO, IONA CLIVE (image below)

Just around the corner from Moorlynch. Drawings, portraits and photography by a talented 14 year old artist.
VENUE 25 – RED BRICK BUILDING (image below)

I know it looks like a building site, but that's because it is! Whilst still unfinished I can not begin to tell you, as an artist, the excitement in the potential and plans for this building near Glastonbury! There is a small exhibition of paintings and glass work on display downstairs but have a look upstairs and at the masses of space that's being transformed into studios and I'm sure you'll see the great potential and why this is worth supporting. Check it out now, its going to be good!
  VENUE 38 – CHRIS LEE (not pictured)
VENUE 39 – BELLA BEADS BOUTIQUE, SARAH DALTON, LYN HOLLAND (not pictured)
VENUE 40 – LAURA PERCEY: BOOP DESIGN (image below)


Three more venues to visit in Wells. I regret that in the excitement of talking and looking at work I sometimes forget to take photos, so apologies to those venues that aren't pictured here. Chris Lee's pen and ink drawings are excellent and beautiful to look at, the beads boutique could only be described as an absolute haven for anyone made for beads and Laura Percey's studio is refreshingly different and has great ideas for gifts. Also check out the other shops near Laura Percey's venue in the craft quarter of Wells, its really quite cool!

  VENUE 41 – CHEESE YARD STUDIOS, JANETTE KERR, FIONA HINGSTON (two images below)

I like this sign, for the temptation to climb the big pile of rocks was definitely there.

Ok, so I know I said I wasn't going to stamp my opinion on this blog, BUT, I do really really like Fiona Hingston's work (pictured here). This was a great end to today's Art Weeks trip with two artists studios, Janette Kerr and Fiona Hingston both at venue 41, Cheese Yard Studios just outside Wells. Really enjoyed this one.

There's loads more venues in the Mendip area that we didn't get to cover today. Please visit this link to a list of all venues in that area with details of how to find them and more: http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/saw12_list

My Art Weeks visits for 2012 has now come to an end. But for you it may just be beginning, as you've still got another whole week to get out there and visit some studios! Somerset Art weeks 2012 ends on the 30th September so what are you waiting for?

 

20 September 2012

Watch'et Princess Anne, some of us are trying to look at art down here! -Art Weeks visits day four

Phew! Beginning to run out of steam... Now on day four of our Art Weeks visits, the work is still great but even I'm beginning to get 'arted' out and tired from navigating. As a result whilst today may have been a more subdued one we still saw seven venues and two Art galleries. Four venues in the the lovely seaside town of Watchet another in Minehead and two on the way in on the Minehead road coming from Taunton. All details, of which can be read below and in the order that we visited them (if that sort of thing helps you). Always love heading to West Somerset area as its one I am more familiar with and it was one of my favourite areas for Art Weeks last year so I was looking forward to today with great anticipation.
It did not disappoint but you'll probably figure that out from what I have to say below. Enjoy!
 
VENUE 102 – LUCY LARGE AND RACHEL WALDOCK (image below)
Another Art Weeks MUST GO SEE that was on my original Art Weeks 2012 list of venues I'd like to visit. Lucy's paper constructions and wire birds in cigar boxes are brilliant as they are different and Rachel's drawings (pictured above) are delicate and interesting. I like the layering of images. Great stuff!
VENUE 101 – GERALDINE HOLLWEG AND ALEXANDER HOLLWEG (image below)

One of the sweetest studios I've seen so far, the one in this photo is Geraldine Hollweg's where she makes jewellery and silver work. Tall people beware, as even I at a mere 5ft 2" had to duck to get into this studio space which was part of the charm of it really (and it opens up once you're inside so don't go worrying!).

Watchet! A day in itself nearly with four Art Weeks venues and two galleries to see. If you park your car in one of the car parks, head to the nearest Art Weeks venue, pick up a Watchet map while you're there and then set out to find the others on foot you'll find it a lot easier and enjoyable. Apparently Princess Anne was there (we liked to think it was to visit Art Weeks, but apparently that was not the case) whilst we were not that we were interested mind you, it just meant that it was busier than we expected. It added to a good atmosphere anyway.
VENUE 106 – NEVILLE COX (image below)
ALSO VISIT: LYNDA COTTON GALLERY – Currently exhibiting Angus Stirling and Kitty Stirling
Our Watchet tour started off to a great start with a viewing of Neville Cox's paintings and studio. This artist knows his colours! Bold and very vibrant it was great to start the Watchet trip with these paintings. You could almost say it 'set the tone' ho ho!
VENUE 104 – JENNY BARRON (image below)
An old (don't take it personally) Art Weeks favourite of mine, if you want to see some great painting that's brilliantly executed and in some cases, featuring surreal and imaginative imagery then pay a visit to Jenny's studio. I've always loved Jenny's use of tools and everyday objects in her work, so naturally this was always going to be a venue I had to visit.
VENUE 105 – SUE LOWE AND ANGELA HOLLAND, GALLERY 41 STUDIOS (image below)
 ALSO VISIT: Gallery 41 studios - Currently exhibiting the work of Giuliana Lazzerini & Maggie King, its right next to venue 105. A fantastic new modern looking gallery space that I look forward to seeing what future exhibitions they will show.  http://www.g-41.com/

An example of one of Sue Lowe's collagraph prints at  the Gallery 41 Studios. Richly textured and earthy coloured, for me Sue's collagraphs achieve a sense of the landscape and sea-scapes they are trying to represent. It was great to see Sue's work in person so I could inspect the layers and colours in her work more closely. Next door also in a studio space at Gallery 41 is Angela Holland's printmaking of lettering arranged into different quotations. Both print makers are well worth a look.
VENUE 104 – EMMA BRADSHAW AND CAROLINE LYTTON (image below)
Great location able to see the sea. Nice animal watercolours of vibrant cockerels and horses by Emma Bradshaw as jewelery and silverwork from Caroline Lytton.
  VENUE 111 – LEO DAVEY (image below)
http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/leo-davey-studiogallery%20
After not managing to make it to Leo Davey's studio during the last three Art Weeks, I'm glad I finally got to see it today! A very small but perfectly formed studio space/gallery. There's some great work in here from local Somerset scenes to food and feasts.

VENUE 122 – PETER MESSA (image below)
One of the many venues I didn't get to today, but it was definitely on my list. Peter Messa's 'OutofOrder Gallery' at venue 122. Thank you Peter for sending me this photo!
Then there were the many that we didn’t manage to get to this time in the West Somerset area, for full details of each of these venues click on: http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/saw12_list
There will be more Art Weeks ventures tomorrow or Saturday....
 

19 September 2012

Where the heck are we? Art Weeks visits day three

Made it back, eventually! Today was a day for the intrepid explorers! From narrow dingley dales, off road tracks and steep (and I mean steep!) hills to serene gardens, spectacular views, and cider mills, this Art Weeks visits had it all! Where were we today? Yes exactly, a good question. The answer, apart from 'all over the place' would be more accurately be known as South Somerset particularly around the Chard area with a couple extra Taunton Deane venues thrown in on the way back home. All I can say is that today certainly proved that artists definitely like 'out-of-the-way' locations, the higher or lower geographically the better in most cases which might be wonderful for making work, but not necessarily so great when you actually want people to visit you! Anyway, here we are, enjoy! 
 
VENUE 183 – FIELD FOR SOMERSET, BARRINGTON COURT (image below)

Great venue, and place to start the day for a few hours til 11.00 when most Art Weeks venues open. Gormley's ACTUAL piece, 'Field for the British Isles' is no longer here, but its legacy can be seen in a smaller tribute made by visitors. Not so much 'art' to see here as such but the house and gardens more than make up for the absence of art works.
VENUE 189 – THE MANGLE HOUSE, ANGELA NAUNTON-DAVIES, JACKIE CUNDALL (image below)

Painting, prints, drawing and print making at this venue. Beautiful location. Ha, and yes I am aware that these posts are becoming more like a lonely planet travel guide. Not intentionally mind you!
  VENUE 188 – LOPEN FARMHOUSE, PAULINE ROOK, STEVE PAYTER, ANNA HOWIE (image below)

Great photography at this location on the same street as venue 189, so you should definitely visit both.
  VENUE 174 – UNRAVELLED, NINA GRONW-LEWIS, BRYONY TIDBALL, LEAH HISLOP (image below)

Close-up of Leah Hislop's installation at the FANTASTIC location that is the Tithe Barn, Cotley, Nr Chard. More contemporary and ambitious work here from Somerset College graduates. Very innovative and inspiring stuff!  Image from

VENUE 175 – IAN EDWARDS STUDIOS (image below)
My families favourite venue of the day. Brilliant sculptures and studio space here.
VENUE 177 – DOWLISH WAKE POTTERY & GALLERY (image below)
 
Three artists at one venue, Chris Brewchorne, Nicky Clarke, David Metcalff - ceramics, jewelery, pottery, metalwork, stone carving and more here! Plus its next to Perrys Cider Mills, so its two good things in one!
VENUE 132 – NOONSBURROW STUDIO, JONE DELAHAYE, NIGEL ALWAY (not pictured)
Woah nelly! This is really off the beaten track (very well signposted and easy to find) but up a massive lane. Worth it for the amazing views once you get to the top and interesting work in the forms of painting, prints and sculpture.
 VENUE 131 – SIMONSBURROW HOUSE, LIZ GREGORY, RICHARD CARMAN, ALICE CARMAN (not pictured)
It may only just be across the border in Devon, but Simonsburrow House in Hemyock has a lively and vibrant array of work to see. In the same location as my favourite 'Sheds' exhibition from last years Art Weeks and brought to you again by the Bhaam! Artists, this was a pleasure to re-visit.
 
Join us here again, tomorrow for more trails, tips and things that the SAW guide book doesn't tell you!

18 September 2012

Out and about in Taunton: Art Weeks visits day two

Day two of my Art Week travels and this one was spent on foot in my home town of Taunton. Only six venues today, but that was probably due to talking a lot with people I knew at each venue. Lots of excellent work in four venues from Somerset College graduates with the work at Kings College and Somerset College being my personal favourites of the day ('erm, not that I'd be biased or anything though...). Anyway, enjoy! Please also scroll to the bottom of this post, to see links to venues also in Taunton that I couldn't get to today but are well worth a visit if you're in this area.
 
Kristen Mercer's paintings at Kings College
VENUE 139 – OUTSIDE THE BOX, JUDY CROSHER, KRISTEN MERCER, SUSAN WALLIS (images above and two below)

(close-up) Susan Wallis' textile screen print (paintings by this artist also on show)

Judy Crosher at Kings College
  VENUE 138 – STUDIO OPEN AND STUDIO WORKS, BILL JONES, HAZEL HOLMAN, SEBASTIAN KING (not pictured)
 VENUE 141 – MIND OVER MATTER, GILL JONES, NIGEL BANKS (image below)
Nigel Banks work at The Hot House Gallery, Somerset College Conference Centre
  VENUE142 – THREAD, LEAH HISLOP, GRACE RICHMOND, LIAM GOODWIN, GILLIAN WIDDEN, JEMMA SCHULTZ, BARBARA WHITE (two images below)

G Richmond's knitted animation slides as part of 'Thread' at Somerset College

Gillian Widden's sculptural, natural installation also in 'Thread', Somerset College
VENUE 137 – SUE HEYS AND BERN SAWLE: GLORIOUS GLASS (image below)

Beautiful glass, silver and jewelery works from Sue Heys and Bern Sawle
  VENUE 136 – SARAH THOMPSON-ENGLES/MADMATS (image below)

Great fun! And an excellent stop for unique and original gifts.
Other venues in the Taunton area that I either didn’t have time to get to, or weren’t open today are:

VENUE 134 – THE BARN, ROSEMARY SARGENT, CATHERINE ASHWORTH, PAMELA GILBERT
http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/barn%20

VENUE 135 – TRUDI MORGAN, JACKI STOKES AND JOSEPHINE WADMAN AT THE WHITE HEART, CORFE
http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/trudi-morgan-jacki-stokes-and-josephine-wadman-white-hart-corfe%20

VENUE 140 – GARY DICKINS
http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/gary-dickins%20

VENUE 143 – THE STUDIO, DIANE BURNELL
http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/studio-0%20


More visits planned again tomorrow....


17 September 2012

Northwards! To Sedgemoor: Art Weeks visits day one

Time to hit the road and set out on an arts packed week in Somerset exploring studios, meeting artists, drinking (tea), getting lost and viewing, well, art! For the first time during my art weeks visits myself and my family decided to venture northwards toward Burnham and Brent Knoll to check out the studios open there this Art Weeks.
We got around to 8 venues in total this afternoon, I've listed them below in the order we visited them. I hope it inspires you and gives possible route suggestions of venues to visit this Art Weeks. Today was a very good and enjoyable start to the week, please watch this space as I'll be posting my visits everyday here on the SAW blog.
 
Malin Basil's Trompe l'oeil, still life paintings. I'm starting to wonder whether that desk and chair were real or not...

 VENUE 63 – THE OLD MANOR GALLERY, MALIN BASIL (images above and below)


A fantastic start to Art Weeks 2012 with a visit to The Old Manor Gallery, great venue and excellent paintings!

   VENUE 65 – OLD PIGGERY STUDIO, JUDITH CHAMPION (image below)
Lots and lots of prints, drawings and paintings to see at Judith's studio. Cracking quail's eggs (ho ho)! Regualr readers to the blog will recoginse Judith's studio from its pre-Art Weeks clear out.

Wow! So many bowls! I was pleasantly surprised (given that I'm not normally that interested in wood turning) how interesting and beautiful this was. Good stuff!
VENUE 66 – ARTISTRY IN WOOD, GEORGE FOWERAKER (images above and below)http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/artisty-wood-george-foweraker


This is why Open Studios is so COOL!
VENUE 64 - REDLYNCH STUDIO, ANNA NICOLAIDES, SHARON CAMPBELL, ANGELA UREN (not pictured) Three artists, one venue. Featuring an array of paintings, mixed media, textiles and fashion based work.
 
VENUE 67 – CORA STOCK AND SUE HAMMOND-LOVATT (image below)
Outside North Myrtles in  Burnham. Personally, loved Cora Stock's etchings at this venue.
VENUE 68 – TIMOTHY SMITH, JAYA MASTERS (not pictured)
Fans of watercolours and Somerset scenes take note of this venue. Favourites of mine were the beach lighthouse paintings.
VENUE 69 – PETER HOWE (not pictured)
Oil paintings of landscapes, seascapes and people.  
VENUE 71 – ERIC PETRIE (image below)

Colourful, different and well executed wildlife paintings. There's a LOT of work to see at this venue and enjoyed visiting it.
There are other venues in this area that I either didn’t have time to visit or weren’t open today in the Burnham-on-Sea area. Please check them out if you're in the area!

VENUE 55 – ANITA PEGLER, RAY BLAKE
http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/haven-studio-anita-pegler-and-ray-blake%20

VENUE 70 – VERONICA BROADLEY, LYNDA WATTS –THE SPACE
http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/space%20

VENUE 72 – LINDA GEE-THE GARDEN STUDIO
http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/garden-studio-1%20

VENUE 73 – THE GREENWOOD, MARGARET MICKLEWRIGHT, GERALDINE BOLEY, LESLEY FLICE
http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/greenwood%20

VENUE 74 – DEBBIE NUTTALL, ANDREA COLEMAN, JULIET FARNESE
http://www.somersetartworks.org.uk/openstudios/debbie-nuttall-andrea-coleman-and-juliet-farnese%20

Where will I be visiting tomorrow...? Watch this space!


16 September 2012

Hanging by thread

 
Somerset Art Weeks 2012 is here! I'll be out visiting venues this week so please stay tuned...
In the mean time this week features a special mention and preview of the graduate artists taking part in a specially curated exhibition at Somerset College thanks to support from Reveal, Somerset Art Works and The Brewhouse. The exhibition titled, 'Thread' features the work of six Art graduates, Barbara White, Jemma Schultz, Gillian Widden, G Richmond, Leah Hislop and Liam Goodwin (who also provided the design and photography for the show).
 
The exhibition is on everyday except weekends throughout Art Weeks and please join and meet the artists for a private view at Somerset College, White Space Gallery on Wednesday 19th September, 04.30pm - 05.30pm. 
 
 

The following text is taken from the forthcoming 'Thread' exhibition catalogue:
 
"Fine cord of fibrous material such as cotton or flax, made of two or more filaments twisted together and used in needlework and the weaving of cloth."
This is the literal meaning of the word. But to some people the word 'thread' means a great deal more. From the threads that tie you to your friends and family to the much more literal threads in nature. The word thread can and does have many different meanings to many different people.
 






 
Design and photography courtesy of Liam Goodwin. goodwinliam@hotmail.com
 
For more details of this exhibition click on the link below:

9 September 2012

In the flesh - Jenny Saville at Modern Art Oxford


There was me thinking, on the train ride into Oxford that, ‘In the flesh’ would be a great title for the post on Oxford based painter, Jenny Saville, whose exhibition at the ‘Modern Art Oxford’ I was visiting that Wednesday 5th September. I’d never seen any of Saville’s paintings in person only glimpsing over a few reproductions I’d seen in books and lectures (and of course the Manic Street Preachers album cover, ‘Journal for plague lovers’). However, I knew enough from looking at those images of her paintings that the human form is her primary subject matter and that she had a very painterly (bordering on abstract) style that gave her paintings a raw, physical and fleshy quality. I also suspected that upon the opportunity to see her work, ‘in the flesh’, would make this interpretation even more prominent. Little did I know that my moment of inspiration on the train had already been thought of by the majority of the Oxford press, making it not so original, but what did I care, it turned out to be so painstakingly appropriate that I couldn’t but help use it here on this weeks’ post.
(left) 'Brace' 1998-99. Oil on canvas. 118 x 71 inches (right) 'Hyphen' 1998-99. Oil on canvas. 108 x 144 inches *
In the same way that seeing Edward Hopper’s painting of ‘Nighthawks’ was so much brighter and luminous in real life than the dingy reproductions, Jenny Saville’s nudes and portraits of burn victims were so much more visceral and layered than what I had previously seen. Saville herself talks about how her painting style borders on the abstract, the gestural marks of paintbrushes can be seen in dragged, twisted and pulled motions across the canvas. Dozens of tones of colour are layered, overlapping, pouring into one another that up-close look like an abstract painted surface. It is not until you pull-back that those shades of yellow, blue, grey, pink, red, brown form to make a cheek, thigh or breast. An accurately painted glassy, staring eye that pokes out amidst these marks also remind the viewer all too clearly that it is not an abstract painting they are looking at. You can get lost in looking at the mark-making, the dabs, the strokes, the drips, the splats of paint. The surface of the canvas itself is like a second skin that Saville, in almost the opposite way to a surgeon, is trying to un-heal. She uses the palette knife to scrape, scratch and pull paint and even leaving some areas of the canvas literally raw, so that the textured surface is peeking through. The affect that all of this has is a very rich and intensely built-up surface that is very visibly physical if not even violent. Her technique has often been described as being more sculptural than painterly. There is nothing half-hearted about these paintings, they’re gutsy! And in saying that they’re gutsy it reiterates what I said earlier about the bodily and fleshy qualities present by not only the subject matter of the human form, but the painted surface creating it.
'Fullcrum' 1997-99. Oil on canvas. 103 x 192 inches +
When I did step back from the painted surface to look at the paintings as a whole, I was equally not disappointed. All of those gestures, all of that paint make the appearance of weight and mass. What better way to depict flesh, bodies and the human form? Saville, like Lucian Freud is not shy from depicting larger women which she does in the exhibition in a series of paintings in the first room depicting the measuring, marking and constriction of the female form. They almost appear like landscapes in the way they undulate and are made up of multiple layers. Her later works explore medical (i.e. extreme burn victims) and social categorisation. As I viewed these massive paintings in the gallery I couldn’t help but hear the sounds of other visitors’ shoes squeaking which was amplified on the gallery’s wooden floor. This coincidental sound somehow ironically added to the uncomfortable feeling you get when you view Saville’s paintings. Squeaking being a sort-of irritating sound that can make you wince and also has a kind-of clinical association (squeaky clean) that personally fills me with the same unease of going into a hospital. Anyway, I couldn’t help feel all this squeaking made me look at Saville’s paintings depicting burnt burnt flesh slightly differently (or at least gave me a heightened feeling of unease). They’re both beautiful and uncomfortable at the same time. It is easy to see that there are definitely a lot of references both in subject and painting style to Bacon’s paintings in the work as well as Soutine. If you were to particularly focus on the drawings exhibited downstairs in this exhibition then you’d also probably make associations the work has with Rembrandt. The drawings in this exhibition present a very different side to Saville, whilst they still depict the female form (this time they are specifically of motherhood) and are still very gestural and multi-layered; they are different in the way they are so much more gentle and sensitive in contrast to the dynamic paintings upstairs. The contrast is interesting and acts as a reminder to Saville’s outstanding technical ability as a draftswoman as well as a painter. I cannot say enough good things about this exhibition, it was bold, beautiful and one of the best painting exhibitions I have had the pleasure to see this year. I regret that unless you have actually seen (or are going to see) this exhibition then these images and descriptions are going to never going to match the awe of the experience of viewing these massive and in my view, spectacular paintings. I would encourage anyone to go see this exhibition. In the mean time, I for one am so glad I got to see it in person, in the flesh.
Jenny Saville is on at Modern Art Oxford until September 16th