Abstract borders

This past summer I enjoyed a local exhibition called Borders. The image is of a painting made with acrylic and pigment. It is entitled Borders, Big Yellow, by Robert Davison.

The exhibition coincided with the opening of a walled garden at the same venue. I especially liked this painting because I recognised the white rectangles as the bricks in the painted white walls of the garden  and I could see  footprints. It is so satisfying to have a sudden realization of what the artist may have been saying through a painting. I can see the flowers that are part of a garden border, as well as the other inferences. A border can be between countries as well as between homes. It can be walked along as well as across.

Border, Big yello, Davison R. 2014

Borders, Big Yellow, Davison R. 2014

There appear to be tractor tracks which could indicate the making of the border. There is a chaotic feel to the painting, lines at different angles contribute to this and yet  the green and yellow as strong pigments suggest new growth beyond the disruption.


the photograph as contemporary art

Reading the photograph as contemporary art by Charlotte Cotton (Thames and Hudson world of art 2012). There is a lot to say about this book and on a physical level it is a joy to read. The excellent glossy paper on which it is printed means that the photographs are clear and crisp with good contrasts on black and white and vibrant colour. While I have been aware of the quality of paper in large format art books, it was a pleasant surprise to find this in a paperback.

One of the chapters that I have learned most from is Deadpan. I can see the development of the Topographic photographers in some way, as the purpose of the deadpan artists appears to be taking photographs with a neutrality and objectivity.

I notice my own discomfort at the idea of objectifying a person when taking a portrait in this way. I wonder if my response to this sort of photography of people is also to objectify, to not relate to the individual but to be more interested in the symmetry of the face or colour of the eyes, for example.

The more architectural images appeal to me, particularly Leipzig 47 by Matthias Hoch ( p 90). With the interesting effects of light that flatten rounded objects, and the open, yet to be used space.

These photographs invite the viewer to look closely at objects, spaces and landscapes that could easily be over-looked, and to view without the photographer’s influence. Although the photographer has chosen the subject matter, the deadpan image limits the emotional input.

Chapter 7, Revived and Remade, links to previous work on this course with appropriation of images, semiotics and communication. In a unique twist, Gillian Wearing’s series of images based around her family are a creative way of seeing the re-appropriated genes passed down through the portraits.

I am intrigued by photographers who place themselves in their photographs, either dressed as someone else ( Wearing as her father) , or both naked and then dressed as themselves ( Jemima Stehli). Does the act of being the other side of the lens in some way isolate the photographer and is this an attempt to be both remote from the image and also to be part of the image? Whereas some of these images may be deadpan, they are filled with emotional content. Some photographers have created narratives around themselves such as Aleksandra Mir with The First Woman on the Moon., which then creates extremely dramatic imagery.

Joachim Schmidt’s Pictures from the Street project featuring found photographs creates a lot of discomfort in me. The image on page 212 of a torn photograph of a young woman feels like a violation. The photograph was torn into four pieces and discarded. Is it reasonable for someone else to retrieve it and display the image of this woman, presumably without her permission? Or am I too moulded by conventional privacy laws and the sense again of the objectifying of a human being?

Gallery Pangolin’s Silver Sculptures


Lion 1, Chadwick, L. udated

Lion 1, Chadwick, L. undated

On arriving at the gallery there are two large welded stainless steel sculptures by Lynn Chadwick.  Although I am not keen on his work as I find it harsh and angular, it was a surprise to see  three small, delightful  early maquettes exhibited inside, all around 9 cms tall . Two of them are of women walking in high winds and the third is a couple walking with cloaks billowing behind them in the wind.


Stretching Beast 1 , Chadwick, L (1990)

Stretching Beast 1 , Chadwick, L (1990)

Inside the gallery,  almost completely white, bright lights and gleaming silver, this is a 25th Anniversary

The Unknown Penitent. Hirst, D. (2016)

The Unknown Penitent. Hirst, D. (2016)



The sculptures are at different heights and the smaller pieces, some by Jon Buck, Abigail Fallis and Terence Coventry, are mostly grouped together on rectangular plinths and covered with Perspex. This adds to the sense of  valuable items on display, and they are indeed valuable as they are cast in sterling silver.Pangolin gallery

The are two sculptures by Damien Hirst.  One is from 2002 and features a hand holding a medicine bottle and tablets, entitled Sadness. The other, perhaps more interesting as it is a departure from some of his other material, is a 2016 piece entitled The Unknown Penitent.

The exhibition proves to be full of surprises with a small sculpture of a foetus by Anthony Gormley. Again a departure from his often very large male forms, this piece is delicate, tiny and disturbing as it nestles in a silver dish. Although obviously not cast from his own body,  Christies write in their catalogue that it is his imagined prenatal form.

Daniel Chadwick, son of Lynn Chadwick has three pieces in the exhibition. Two of these are rather bland but the third, entitled Marry Me,  is wonderfully complex and intricate.

The exhibition is extremely tactile and yet the silver cannot be touched, creating a tension between the viewer and the pieces. I wondered if visitors may have been offered gloved so that they, and I , might be allowed to run fingers over the shiny objects.

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/sculptures-statues-figures/antony-gormley-home-and-away-5100930-details.aspx (accessed 10 July 2016)

More about the exhibition space

An exhibition at The Prema Arts Centre in Euley, showed the work of a printmaker, Sophia Rae. The exhibition space is a beautiful first floor open rounded area with large windows. The pieces were placed between the windows on the walls. As they are fairly small pieces there were often two or more grouped together. Unfortunately the large windows framing sky and trees dominated the space and drew the eye. The artworks did not hold my attention although there was one I particularly liked. I feel it would have worked better to have panels in the room displaying the work rather than on the walls.printing sophie rae

Importance of the space

Stroud Open Gardens and Sculpture Trail combined two of my interests. After thinking more deeply about space, it was interesting to notice my responses to various pieces.

Pebble seat

Pebble seat

This very large “pebble” created as a garden seat, was a fascinating object – so large against the grass, where one’s expectation was that it would be small. The outdoor setting contributed to the experience.

The willow dancer had such movement and energy against the hedge and on the lawn. I would have liked to see two “legs”, but I did enjoy the shapes very much.

The pot was almost lost in the garden space as it seemed to be part of the garden. As a piece of art I found it most pleasing of all and yet it did not stand out against its surroundings. This tells me that it is not always obvious how best to display artwork.







Photo exhibition 28 May 16

Robert Plant by Fred Chance

Went to an exhibition of Fred Chance’s work. All pop stars and some very moving images. Some unframed including Robert Plant. Noticed how the images were arranged as I seem much more aware of the entire space now rather than just what is being exhibited. The lighting was bright and the entire room was black and white. Although the images were dating from the early 80’s forward they were not in chronological order, but spaced according to the size and shape and weight of the image. Good to notice this as it added to my enjoyment of the whole exhibition.

Image more interesting than artwork?

Exhibition April 2016, Stratford Park Museum, Stroud.

Soft Engineering: Textiles Taking Shape.  The image is a postcard of an exhibited gauze pleated scarf called Mohair and tussah silk. Although the item was interesting and very tactile, I found the this photograph in some ways more engaging that the scarf. Perhaps because it focuses on detail and brings attention to the changes in colour and the fine lines.


Gallery Pangolin Exhibition (Chalford) Nature of the Beast

Sculptures , prints, drawings. Included a sketch by Damien Hirst called “Away from the Flock” http://gallery-pangolin.com/  Also pieces by Lynn Chadwick which I find are so angular and textured in a way that is quite challenging.  Although I don’t like them they do evoke a response in me, a sort of uneasiness.

Beast X. Chadwick, Lynn 2016

Beast X. Chadwick, Lynn 2016


There were also some very detailed animal drawings which  made me think about botanical drawings/illustrations. Noticing my own distinction between art and illustration and perhaps some prejudice here.