Sunday, 21 June 2015

Ronan Walsh portraits

From the Camberwell Open

These two portraits, hung on the wall of the cafe at Camberwell Baths, struck me as being particularly interesting.

First, they are good portraits to the extent that they make you think about the person they are depicting and tells you a little about what they might be like as people. Second, the technique is unusual and different in each, suggesting that the choice for each was intentional. Third, there is a fascination about the artist using geometrical patterns to describe peoples' faces. Third, the colours are not natural.

Ronan Walsh Bearded Bill
from Camberwell Open
Both from
The tone variation in the face is brilliant. The use of geometrical shapes works very well there. I also like the way the wispier strands of beard transmute into more mechanical shapes. I was thinking that these might turn out to be meaningful and symbolise something about the man himself, but I can't see what that is myself.

Ronan Walsh from Camberwell Open
I think the pencil drawing is more successful in the sense that you think about the man rather than the technique when you look at it. It took me some time to see the child in the coloured drawing. I expect it was done from a photo, because of the strong expression of playfulness on the mother's face, and unstable posture, which would be difficult to hold for long enough. The flat space is interesting. It does emphasise the skin areas, which is naturally what you are interested in for a portrait. This portrait makes me want to have a go at using coloured geometric shapes to represent skin and play around with it a bit.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Collect 2015

Just a quick visual memory jogger for my visit to Collect 2015 this year. The photos here are from the catalogue.

Caroline Broadhead 22 in 1 armpiece

Objects from artists I have seen and admired before, as well as new artists/makers.

  • Caroline Broadhead 22 in 1 armpiece cotton, nylon 1984

About clothing and the body of the woman wearing it, and how the two are related. I am interested in this relationship too and have made things that were to be worn but expressing what it feels like to be inside it. This one's less obvious than some of her work, which in my case makes me think about it and its meanings more.

Use of apparently machine-made holes reminds me of this sculpture outside Spitalfields. Which makes me laugh.

Indeterminate object 2 (2014)
Graham Guy Robinson
photo from
  • Ann Sutton 
    New work from one of the early artists of the textile art movement
    Ann Sutton Caged 1
    New, but follows understandably from the previous work of hers that I am aware of which was also exploring the possibilities of simple shapes in primary colours.
    Reminds me of Bauhaus weaving which went back to the basics of colour interactions between adjacent colours.
    Distinctively her own style and area of interest.
    This time in three dimensions.
    An exemplar of the importance of finding your own way as an artist.
  • Rita Parni...
Ever since I saw an article about her work in Craft Magazine, I have wanted to see some of it in person. 
She makes translucent hangings intended to go in front of windows to translate the light into something intricate and moving with the air. She invented a new technique so that she could do this. 

Xray towers from Xray fabric crystal series
Rita Parniczky 2012
photo from Emma Love's article about Collect Open
'I want to look inside'

Her piece from the Collect Open 2015, inspired by perpendicular cathedral architecture, which is itself a stylised representation of trees, and suits what she does perfectly. She adds lightness and delicate movement of the air to the intricate regular vertical patterns.
Intricate, light and monumental hanging across the space.
Inspiring and awe-inspiring, just like the architecture.
  • Claire Lindner
Claire Lindner 2014 Violet Bleu
I haven't seen anything by this craftsman before, but this was striking enough to be on the cover of the catalogue.
The colour variations are not due to the lighting in the gallery, but part of the piece.
It looks soft, organic, vulnerable, but is in fact hard, with all the texture and shapes made intentionally by the ceramacist.

A close-up of the surface detail.

Playing around with the material to find out what you can make it do.

Textiles have even more possibilities of texture, soft/hardness, dry/moist than ceramics. I enjoy playing around to see what appears. I should do more of that.

  • Jacob van der Beugel
    Jacob van der Beugel
    Wall panel with some areas finished and some rough.
    About 'rehumanising data'.
    Waves of ridges - reminds me of the panels on the walls of some concert halls designed to improve the acoustics.
    The unexpected change in finish/texture gives it an intriguing quality.

  • David Gates
    Bit like hives
    Bit like cameras
    Enigmatic. Not sure about this - Is there a reason for the change in quality of finish between the boxes and their stands? Is there a meaning I am supposed to divine? I can't help thinking I'm missing something here...
    Talk by artist called 'vagueness and particularity' referring to these as collectors cabinets. The importance of the relationship they go on to have with their contents.
    Hm so perhaps my feeling there was something missing was responding to something...
  • Tord Boontje collection of some of his chairs - lively, amusing, endearing. Chair as fun. This craftsmanship thing doesn't have to be all po faced.
    Tord Boontje Petite Jardin
Toord Boontje
Witch chair from Happy Ever After
installation Milan 2004

Tord Boontje
Crow Chair,
Wednesday collection 2001

Playing around again.

More of that would be a good thing...

'If you go on the high street or a car show room...materialistically its a very poor world we live in.' The artist uoted by Grant Gibson in the catalogue.

Although in some circumstances it might be a bit overstimulating...

  • Some other objects that caught my eye:
I didn't record the artist for this lovely container, but
looking at the Galleryten website I'm thinking it may
have been Anna King who makes textile containers.
There is something that resonates with me here,
secret hidden things inside intricate round boxes.
Somehow all the energy has gone into hiding the
thing ornately.

A large fruit made of feathers from a game bird. Making me think about the amazing natural colours of both the bird and fruit. 
Annie Turner
Again that intriguing combination of familiar
object made with unfamiliar material
The rustiness does it for me.

Hans Stofer Allerselen
Made from found glass, olive stones and metal
Attractive little labels too.

The ring (left) is described in the catalogue as using non-precious materials in jewellery to emphasise the preciousness of the object. I'm not sure about this because to me the roughness of the glass and the 'home made' look of it give me a feeling of homeliness that comes with things that are made with the heart rather than the head. Making it precious for non-material reasons. (Which on reflection may be the same thing?)
Infinity wall installation
Valeria Nascimento, Sheng Tsang Chen and Cristina Vezzini 2015
Again it had a lightness as well as complexity to keep you looking.
The opaque shapes like big round half eggshells had more delicacy than the transparent reflective  ones.
A bit cold and smooth for me - I like a bit more roughness to my textures.

Installation from Making Enhanced Alice Maclean Justine Boussard
This photo is from the catalogue too - of work in progress in an exploration of Peckham Rye. But here really to remind me how much I enjoyed the one by Jennifer Gray and historian Soersha Dyon exploring an inventory of the objects in someone's 16th century will, and therefore the interior of an early renaissance house. The colours and simple shapes were played with in a way which modernised them while retaining the essential medievalness of them, like a sketchbook on a larger scale.  What visual research really should be. Great. Planning to do some of this big scale visual research for my personal project.