Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Trip Around Some London Art Shows

A few days ago I spent a good day visiting galleries in London. First up was Handmade in Britain, a small boutique gallery just off the top end of Brick Lane, where I took some of my ceramics to be displayed and sold.

I then headed west for the Lisson gallery near Marylebone Station which has two sites on opposite sides of Bell Street. I really liked the one featuring Haroon Mirza who's work is "concerned with the distinctions that define noise, sound and music" and uses old hi-fi, dico and computer equipment to make a racket.
Calder mobiles looked wonderful in the window of the Gagosian Gallery in Davies St, then I visited New Bond Street's Fine Art Society, Bruton Street's Halcyon Gallery (enormous place including Bob Dylan paintings and prints), and a big show of Lynn Chadwick sculptures- silly me, I always thought 'she' was that fairly rare thing- a female famous scultor, but it's a 'he' with an unusual name.
Coffee break at the Royal Institution in Albemarle Street- if you haven't been there, do go and you'll see original equipment used in some really important scientific experiments by Farraday, Davy etc- and the coffe is good too.
Gallery Besson for a show of ceramics by the late Jaqueline Lerat

OK but not my cuppa tea.
Next stop the blockbuster show of Modern British Sculture at the Royal Academy. Imaginatively presented alongside historical influences, and without several big names, it worked extremely well. I thought the recreation of Passmore/Hamilton's room from a 1959 show at Newcastle University's Hatton Gallery was stunning (my in-laws were their students at that time).
A small video room showed short films- I liked Len Lye's Royal Mail film which you can see on YouTube, and Richard Wentworth's  Making Do and Getting By- photo's of things put to unusual uses by non-artists. My sort of images for sure.
In the evening I went to a teachers preview night at the National Gallery of Jan Gossaert, a relatively forgotten northern renaissance genius.
And what have you seen lately that you can recommend?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I am taking part in an exhibition of artists books/ sketchbooks

Monday 28th Feb saw the start of Safety Helmets Must Be Worn, a group show by MEET. Have a look at the website:

My contribution is 3 little sketchbooks described below for the catalogue


Starting on January 1st 2010 I did one drawing a day, and continued every day for the whole year in 3 tiny sketchbooks. This was not conceived as an artwork. I am a potter so some drawings reflect my work. I decided to display the books pegged together to form a circle suggesting the turning of the year. (What a shame that there are 360 degrees but 365 days to go around the year.)

Tiny windows that can be peered through:


Finding common ground and themes

Trying out: ideas/materials/mark-making methods/re-learning to draw

Diary of fragments of my year- some appropriate to the season/special days/location at the time

My things/artefacts/interests/my people/myself

Pots: mine/my collection/ideas for new pottery work

My background. I have a First in 3-D Design from Loughborough College of Art & Design, but for many years drawing has been merely of the thumbnail/back-of-fag-packet (not that I smoke) type to generate basic ideas from which to make my objects in three dimensions. I have made somewhere in the region of 90,000 pots over 30 years, and my work is still very much alive and evolving.

I see drawing as an engine-house for the generation of new ideas, so this was the first time that I had made a promise to myself to draw for it’s own sake, and to do it relentlessly every day, no matter how little time I had, or how important or trivial the subject depicted. It became a habit and a discipline. It was a process of taking stock, and finding out for myself what I am interested in, and how I am able to record it. As an example, I am so pleased I took time to draw fair likenesses of my mum and dad, both in their late 80’s now.

You can see a range of pictures on and look in the photo albums for “Selections from my One Drawing A Day project last year. All done in 3 tiny sketchbooks”, “One drawing a day”, and “recent pages from my one drawing a day sketchbook”.