Peter Doig Early Works

You would be forgiven for coming to an exhibition of Peter Doig’s early works and expecting to see a vague Trinidadian landscape, a purple canoe or a lonesome figure beneath a snow capped forest, such that we have become familiar with over his Turner Prize winning career. Instead, the Michael Werner Gallery offers us an exhibition of Peter Doig’s early works that offers a fruitfully ambitious display of the artist between studying his BA at Central Saint Martins and his MA at the Royal College.

Many of the paintings in this show explore the same subjects and themes that Doig has become well known for in his later work. We can see his interest in the solitary figure and the beginnings of a curiosity in landscape that is underlined with an exploration in the stuff of paint. The paintings remain biographical and document his time in London, Trinidad and Canada but also feature New York from when he would stop off to get cheap connecting flights between his three homes. The show is therefore decidedly more urban than his better-known later work.

Peter DoigImage Courtesy Of The Michael Werner Gallery. Copyright The Artist, Peter Doig.

Boom, boom, boom, boom (the sublime) is hung within a room occupied with other paintings inspired by New York. In this painting, two red figures sit in a car precariously balanced on the spire of the Chrysler Building with a dense New York City below. The painting is compositionally awkward however this only adds to the dissonance that is caused through the crude abstracted figures and the averted palate that constantly reminds us that something is not quite right.

The unsettling abstraction from familiarity continues in Contemplating Culture, a painting that was made after Boom, boom, boom, boom (the sublime) and whilst the artist was visiting London. Here we see rising flames licking the maroon sky above the sprawl of a yellow bricked London and a calm blood red river Thames. In front of this surreal landscape we seem to have interrupted a staring contest between an ancient Greek sculpture and his opposite, an angry man whose piercing glare bounces our attention between the two.

 Peter Doig

Image Courtesy Of The Michael Werner Gallery. Copyright The Artist, Peter Doig.

 

If we look at a later painting again and the latest in the show we see a much more refined and composed perspective on some of Doig’s most common of themes. In At the Edge of Town we see a recurrence of the maroon sky and a growing interest in the natural landscape. This painting shows a pivotal point in the artist’s career between paintings that show a clash of pop culture among the urban landscape, towards a foreign anonymous landscape that becomes tangled in mystery and suspense.

This is an exhibition made up of experiments. It shows an artist who is forever searching for his own artistic language. There are some paintings here that don’t work as well as others but the brilliance of this exhibition is in the pushing and reworking of ideas that has generated such a prosperous career.

The exhibition runs from 20th March through to the 31st May 2014 and can be seen at the Michael Werner Gallery in London. 

 

Written By Tom Cusack

 

The Eight Artistic Principles

The Attic sits at the very top of Nottingham’s towering gallery/studio complex One Thorseby St, which has always played host to an ambitious range of events. Lately the Attic has been used for talks, screenings, performances and parties alongside the regular exhibitions. Last month it was host to ‘The Eight Artistic Principles’, a show inspired by a convergence of painting, sculpture, neuro-aesthetics and evolutionary science, guest-curated by Thorseby St resident Joshua Lockwood.

Although Joshua has been aware of evolutionary theory since his A-levels, he has only recently begun researching more thoroughly, having been introduced to a paper called ‘The Science of Art – A Neurological Theory of Aesthetic Experience’. In this paper V.S Ramachandran and William Hirsteinset out on a “quest for artistic universals”. Their hypothesis is that even if beauty is largely subjective “there might be some universal rule, or ‘deep structure’, underlying all artistic experience”. To test this they put forward The 8 Artistic Principles, which they claim that artists consciously or unconsciously employ when making work in order to stimulate brains of their audience. The Principles are as follows: 

 

“1. The peak shift principle

2. Isolation of a single cue

3. Perceptual grouping

4. Extraction of contrast

5. Perceptual problem solving (visual puzzles)

6. Unique advantage point

7. Visual Metaphors

8. Symmetry.”

Used together or separately, they act as a framework for understanding visual art, aesthetics and design”. In the paper that the show draws from, Ramanchandran and Hirstein explore how each of these operates in forensic detail.

This is by no means the first time evolutionary biologists have offered explanations for what we find visually attractive, some of the above are quite well known – such as symmetry. To take another example, the appeal of visual puzzles in art can be explained when compared to camouflage. Think of a caveman, keeping watch for predators: if you can figure out the ‘visual puzzle’ in the layers of undergrowth, then your chances of escaping and surviving are higher. Viewed in this way, solving perceptual puzzles can be considered an adaptive quality. It benefits the caveman to be able to do this, and so we have evolved to enjoy solving visual puzzles. In the Science of Art, Ramachandran and Hirstein take these ideas and extend them to man-made objects.

Having been drawn in by the press release, I found it hard to resist playing a game of snap when I was in the gallery. There you see symmetry in the arrangement of lines (principle 8), there you see the contrast between rusted metal and the impossibly smooth surface on the inside of a shell (principle 4), etc. In the largest of the paintings (by Benjamin Brett) I can make out half figures, corners of a room, the outline of jugs and distinctive round shape of bowler hats, some shadows, but the initial overall impression is an abstract tangle, and in the back of my mind I know I am playing out Principle 6 – perceptual puzzle solving.

It could be seen as reductionist to propose formulas like this, however Ramachandran and Hirstein emphasise wherever possible that these principles can be played out “consciously or unconsciously”. I asked Joshua how the research he was reading had affected his work: Joshua stated, “Something that has become apparent recently is that I am more interested, more times than not, is the stuff that surrounds the objects – what the work triggers”.

Perhaps this is why the press release doesn’t go into detail about the practices of the individual artists (Benjamin Brett, Jack Brindley, Alice Browne, and Jess Flood-Paddock) leaving much of the viewer’s interpretation down to the aesthetics.  It’s also notable that within the press release itself, the references to ‘The Science of Art’ are kept ‘light’. The writing describes very complex ideas, but it doesn’t overwhelm you with jargon or try to convince you, it just states what you need to know. The rest is between you and the work.

FMG Arts

Images Courtesy Of David McAleavey.

A “quest for artistic universals” might sound grandiose, not to mention implausible, given that art might encompass everything from cave paintings to Jeff Koons, but the more I understand about the potential relationship between art and evolution, the more fascinated I am. The idea that making art is a fundamental part of human nature hardly needs proving – the species would have not have gotten this far without it, but I still find it exciting that something I feel instinctively can be backed up by dialogue between these different disciplines: artists, visual psychologists and evolutionary biologists alike.

Applying an evolutionary logic to art and aesthetics might make total sense in a cave-man era, but the issue of cultural differences, as well as individual taste, complicates the picture massively.  To think that looking at art from an evolutionary perspective might level the playing field as far as interpretation goes would be a huge over simplification. Ramachandran and Hirstein themselves acknowledge that what is considered generally attractive will vary from culture to culture, and that the “aggressive marketing hype” of the art world have a huge impact on how we experience visual culture. They admit that their work is in the early stages and untested for the most part, but they stand by their point and make a compelling argument regardless of this.

Currently, Joshua is in the middle of a research and curatorial project, called ‘Ritual Significance: Contemporary Art Through the Evolutionary Lens’, in which he is working with

his ex-tutor David Mcaleavey.  Mcaleavey was Josh’s A-level art tutor, whose “interests and research surrounds the question of why we do the things we do, trying to understand behaviours through evolutionary psychology”. Both David and Joshua adopt a holistic approach to their practice and seem to take a strong interest in the experience of artwork. Happily the two have kept in touch since their studies, and their on-going project will be presented as an exhibition at The Collection and Usher Gallery in Lincoln Feb-April 2015.

Written By Hannah Roast

Whats The Point Of It?

What’s The Point of It? is Turner Prize winner, Martin Creed‘s, first major retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, 29 Jan – 27 April 2014. As part of the programme of events surrounding this exhibition, Creed hosted an evening talk about his work and life in general.

It is important for me to begin by stating that I purposefully didn’t view Creed’s retrospective prior to the talk with the intention of exploring the relationship between an Artist’s talk and live exhibition. Without the exploration into a proper definition, you’d assume that an Artist’s talk usually consists of an insight into the practice and experiences of the artist in question, perhaps with more detail about projects they are working on or a commentary of the exhibition. Creed did not attempt to meet any of these assumptions where it was announced that, “the performance will be starting in ten minutes”. This created a confusion between whether it was purely an ironic mis wording by the gallery or if there was actually a performative element to the talk itself.

The talk began with Hayward Gallery Curator, Cliff Lawson, entering the stage in the Purcell Room to introduce Creed. Lawson began with a typical introduction to the success of Creed’s career and brief insight into his practice, which all seemed very ironic considering the success of his practice is apparent in the context of the retrospective, but none-the-less we were all informed of Creed’s presence in many noteworthy galleries and wealthy cities. As an active and successful member of the art world, Creed is an artist I have always been aware of, yet admittedly I know very little. This was even more obvious to me once I discovered he was the awkward character stood behind the curator for fifteen minutes whilst he was introducing him by a more eloquent version of his CV.

FMG Arts

I have only experienced Andrea Fraser in conversation at the Tate Modern prior to this, and while this shaped my expectations, Creed’s talk was so alien in comparison. It caused me to feel detached, particularly since I was unaware of the extension of his practice into music. This poses the question of who the artist talk is directed to: is it Creed who is assuming the audience knows his work in detail, or does it allow people to discover more from an artist they know little about, or a middle-ground between both? It is these particular intimations that I was curious to unveil in order to question whether Artist’s talks are composed with an existing knowledge of their practice in mind, which I found became quickly answered as the talk progressed. Creed’s presence further contributed to this uncertainty, as his slap-dash charisma was not as you’d expect– his talk appeared quite awkward, almost as if public speaking was not a strength of his. Audience members picked up on this and consequently began forming questions as a way to structure the gawky ambience in the room. This resulted in some very profound questions, probing the artist for a definitive insight about certain works which produced an almost grovelling situation where the audience members became a comforting mother to Creed as the child with two left feet.

FMG Arts

It was the lack of visual description around the work which separated me the most and this is when I began to connect the least with the partnership exhibition and the works within it.Questions were asked about the ‘work where the lights went on and off’ and the ‘mothers piece’ which – without basic assumption of what they were – I couldn’t mentally participate in the discussion around these works. I suppose that without projecting my own personal ideals onto the talk, even on a very primitive level there should have been some supporting images provided to illustrate any discussion – even if I had known about the works spoken about, it is always a refreshing optical addition to see the work as it is often assumed that those present had seen the exhibition or know his work.

Speaking of this talk retrospectively and in comparison to Andrea Fraser’s, I came to conclusion that Creed’s talk exists only very loosely amongst knowledge about his exhibition. In the case of Andrea Fraser, my familiarity with certain works provided me with the insight to access works I did not know, which were presented by Fraser in image form, videos or a vivid description, creating a strong overview of her practice as whole and the importance of the works in relation to each other. It is safe to say that it is unlikely for someone to attend an artist’s talk without prior knowledge of the said exhibition or elements of their practice and in this instance my lack of this awareness resulted in a feeling of exclusivism towards Creed’s practice as a whole. Unless I had seen What’s the Point of It? preceding the talk, I was not invited to see a brief overview of Creed’s practice, ideas or external works for it felt more of a fan-show for all those who knew about these beforehand.

 

Written By Catrin Andrews

United Visual Artist – Monument

Momentum by United Visual Artist is a site-specific installation that is meticulously integrated with the architecture of the Curve art space in the Barbican.

Before the viewer even enters the Curve, there is a faint haze induced by smoke emitted from in between the gaps of the curtains, which hints at the environment beyond. The Barbican staff describes the environment and encourages photography, but without flash, implying that the experience is more of an impact without any additional light.

Upon entering, the dense smog inhibits any vision of the room, drawing attention to the revolving pendulous mechanisms hung from the ceiling; the haze gives the space an almost ethereal quality. Initially, it is difficult to see anything prior to ones eyes adjusting to the light, but as the viewer crosses through the smoke, the lights illuminate the Curve to reveal its architecture.

Complex distorted sounds resonate throughout the space with subtle yet noticeable impact. The sounds themselves that are emitted are at times incoherent and dissonant; they consist primarily of scratches, clicks, wavelike ambient sounds and distant singing, which are peculiar to each strut.

FMG Arts Monthly

 

 

The impact of the resonant sound is instant and as the sound fills the room, one is immediately aware of the space in which the work inhabits; curiosity entices the viewer to be inquisitive despite the fact the pitch black prevents any vision of the space.

The spacial awareness of the viewer is stimulated as the spotlight loop freezes and a brief pause of silence in darkness holds the viewer in temporary suspense, allowing for a brief meditation. Following this, the ring of lights perform a cyclical motion that illuminates the walls of the Curve, drawing attention to the space and surroundings, diverting the viewers attention to the space through the illumination of the architecture.

The spotlights allude to the absence of the body, yet within this, it is countered by the enticing of the viewer to become immersed or even involved; they allow for the transition to the ring of lights to exist as a divergent entity, yet they are bound by an aesthetic and systematic coherence.

Ultimately the transition of one illuminative emission to the next is pivotal to the impact of the work. The interlude is what presents the viewer with a moment for lucid consideration and to also allow for the next transition to be systematically coherent.

A synthesis of ambience and kinesis is demonstrated with a captivating display of ingenuity in Momentum. The engagement with the work is formed from the coherent formulation of light and sound, drawing attention to the viewer’s presence in the space and comparatively the illumination of the architecture itself.

The durational loop is tuned in a way that the viewer is compelled to become committed to the experience; with a fluctuation between linear and circular performances and a brief moment of silence, the work captivates to a point that time becomes a distant concern and immersion seems perpetual.

Having experienced the work on a few occasions, becoming entranced with the work was a consistent privilege, so much so I’d realised that half an hour had passed after leaving on both visits.

 

United Visual Artist – Momentum 

Barbican Curve Gallery 

Silk Street 

London EC2Y 8DS

Written By Stefan Rhys Evans

 

A Silvered Light…

A Silvered Light…

Scottish Art Photography Exhibition located at The Dundee Mcmanus Art Gallery and Museum.

The Silvered Light exhibition emphasises Dundee’s collection of photography since the 1800’s in which it strings together a series of Scottish Artists and Photographers to reiterate the claim that photography is the only art form that the Scots have indeed mastered (of course this is my unbiased view, being an avid lover of Scottish Photography and the fact that I am Scottish).

The combinations of the old and modern photographers have allowed the audience to witness the unsurprising rapid development of camera technology and photographic processes that accentuate the quality of work that the Mcmanus has acquired.

McManus Dundee

Upon walking into the gallery, the first image that is placed strategically within view is Calum Colvin’s Dusk on Loch Duich that was photographed in 1987. Colvin creates “sets” of combined furniture, bric-a-brac, painted elements and lighted backdrops that culminate in a photograph of his construction. Colvin is obviously patriotic and proud of his heritage with kilted plastic figurines and tartan cloth covered tables with the reference to Loch Duich. The quality of the photograph is flawless, however I believe that the idea of Colvin’s work lends itself to an installation piece as the image is cluttered with too many colours and graphics. It is very busy and hard to determine the photograph’s significance.

There are a series of intense, atmospheric photographs by Thomas Joshua Cooper that I was drawn to instantly. Cooper focuses on places where people once lived and worked. His black and white gelatin silver prints contrast beautifully creating the depth of the natural landscape. Cooper searches the wilderness for small details found amongst the trees, glimpses of moss and draws attention to the natural earthy landscapes.

The natural world has always been a great inspirational source for artists and a theme that occurs widely throughout the exhibition. Patricia Macdonald and Aase Goldsmith are similar in the sense that they both shoot somewhat abstract images found with the land. Macdonald’s aerial photography highlights the abstraction of the land and focuses on large areas of ground that has been worked. The relationship between human interaction and the physical environment is vital to Macdonald’s work that highlights present day concerns, especially with environmental issues. This can be interpreted within Macdonald’s Croft House and Fields, Lewis, 1986. From Macdonald’s images you can see the effect farming has on the land. On the other hand, Aase Goldsmiths photographs Foam Shape, Loch Laidon, 1982 and Weathered Polythene, Loch Earn, 1982 highlight the simple beauty found within abstraction. The monochromatic images are focused on the patterns and intricate details of foam found within the water and something that is readily discarded such as polythene. Goldsmith’s photographs are prime examples of how beauty is not where you would expect to find it.

Truthfully, I often overlook the Mcmanus Gallery but on your first visit to Dundee it should be on the to-do list. They really came up trumps with the Silvered Light Exhibition and any keen photographer would be sore to miss the opportunity to view the ample collection of works on offer.

A Silvered Light will be exhibiting throughout 2014 and is free entry. Please visit www.mcmanus.co.uk for more details.

Written By Danielle Fleming 

Fine Art At ‘The Big Show’, University Of Derby

This years University Of Derby’s Degree show is titled ‘The Big Show’ and a big part of the show every year is the Fine Art show, this year it is entitled ‘#Art’.

 

The Degree Show will be open to the public from Saturday 24th May to Friday 13th June (Closed Bank Holiday Monday 26th May)

Opening Times:

Weekdays – 9am – 7pm
Saturdays – 10am – 5pm
Sundays – 10am – 4pm

To find out more info follow them on twitter @uniDerbyfineart

Lauren Mitchell

Lauren Mitchell ‘Transition’

Amber Lawrence

Amber Lawrence ‘Untitled’

Charlotte Clarke

Charlotte Clarke ‘Untitled’

Ian Kiaer at The Henry Moore Institute

Ian Kiaer’s work is hard to talk about. Perhaps this isn’t the way that I should open an article about his current exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute. However, the difficulty of discussing art work that relies on an encounter still stands as a valid obstacle in trying to convey its weight and presence. An encounter – a physical meeting – is exactly what Kiaer’s work asks for.

The exhibition Tooth House spans across the last decade of Kiaer’s art practice, drawing on references within architecture, literature and philosophical writing. His chosen mediums are for the most part familiar within our everyday lives: bubble wrap, polystyrene and plastic sheeting all appear throughout his material decisions. The elevation of the ordinary in order to portray concepts is something very much considered by Kiaer – he has said that ‘very often the work fails to carry the literary ideas or references within the work’ and that it is this ‘failure to carry or hold information’ that interests him. The balance is held between theory and materiality injects the atmosphere with an unspeakable, poetic air.

On visiting the show, it was the lightness of the work in the space that I was first aware of. Whether his work should be spoken of as a whole or as a collection of discrete objects is uncertain; regardless, each component appears to be in dialogue with the others around it, while simultaneously breathing in the environment itself. Kiaer’s light and sculptural gestures seem to whisper to one another through a material language, echoing and reflecting shape and colour. A yellow used in a 3D form is mirrored in a slight drawing hung low on the wall; a geometric configuration creates a subtle visual link between a work on paper and a nearby sculptural element.

FMG Arts MonthlyImage Courtesy Of The Henry Moore Institute

In the first room of the exhibition, the viewer is initially presented with work at floor level, while a translucent, spherical form comes into sight further away. Erdrindenbau project: building for Scheerbart – the title of a once clear, now dirtied mat that seems to bear the unconscious marks of a painter’s studio – appears like an object barely there. As I was beginning to observe, the fragility of Kiaer’s materials encourage a careful investigation of what is seen. The inflated construction titled Erdrindenbau project: inflatable is continually filled by air from a domestic fan that also tethers it to the ground. On closer inspection of the shape that stands a little taller than myself, I see a silver sheen on a part of its surface; the silver-leaf has begun to flake away, like a skin being shed. This noticeable changeability of Kiaer’s objects allows for an element of site specificity, as the physicality of the work is altered simply through movement or reconstruction.

Something surprising about Kiaer is that he often frames his work through the discipline of painting, rather than directly aligning himself with the history of sculpture – an association that would seem quite natural, given that many of his materials could be discussed in relation to the ready-made. Through sculptural constructions, he manages to navigate contemporary notions of painting and its proposed death, while decidedly avoiding the fixed viewpoint of a 2D landscape. On the contrary, the art objects present, feel open to being rearranged; each article becomes merely a sketch of a thought or a model of something to come.

In the exhibition’s publication, Kiaer comments that a ‘model can hold multiple associations and also remain unknowable. It could just be a very particular form that is impossible to describe, or a piece of material that stands in, or acts as a foil to something else. The model is both evasive and ridiculously precise.’ In this way, the work does not provoke or command but rather presents you with an idea through material experience. Kiaer’s titles allude to a variety of literature and theory but when I’m stood in a room with the work itself, all I can see is the way the silver-leaf clings to the surface of a plastic sheet that towers above me; all I take in is the glow from a yellow, Perspex ceiling. When the weight of an idea is heavier than the material it embodies, perhaps it’s better to avoid talking of the unknowable and being present within the encounter instead.

 

Written By Sarah Botha

The Napier Photo Collective


The Napier Photo Collective

 

Squeezed up together on a living room sofa, I meet up with young photographers Ida Blom, Jordan Anderson, Catty McCready and Thomas Hofer. They are all final year students from Edinburgh Napier University that are about to graduate after four years studying Photography. I am here to talk to them about their two exciting exhibitions coming up.

 

FM: Hi guys! Tell me, who is this group of young photographers that I’m about to get to know?

 

IB: We are a photo collective called The Napier Photo Collective. We have our eyes open for exhibitions and promote each other’s work.

 

TH: It’s something we inherited from the people who graduated last year. It’s basically a collection of art and craft from people who have graduated from the Napier Photography course and something that we will pass on to the students in the year below us.

 

FM: How has it been working together for so long? Four years is a long time. 

 

IB: I think we all appreciate it. We are all very creative people and since we are very competitive we always push each other.

 

JA: Which is a good thing! It keeps us going.

 

FM: Will you miss working together after graduation?

 

CM: I will miss the atmosphere we have built up together.

 

TH: I think you get very used to the environment, you don’t notice how much you interact with the people around you and all the feedback you get. There is always someone around that I can talk to that knows my work and me.

 

CM: Yeah, I think that is something we all will miss.

 

FM: How long have you worked on these two upcoming exhibitions?

 

JA: For about 6-7 months. It feels so exciting to see it all being put together. Finally.

Ida Bloom

Ida Bloom

 

FM: You have your graduation show here in Edinburgh, but then you will also exhibit your work on the Free Range in London. Is there a difference between the two shows?

 

TH: Well yes, the degree show is something that our University is putting together while the Free Range is something we are organising ourselves because it’s something we want to do. Although the two exhibitions will show the same work, from a psychological aspect the Free Range will feel so much different for us.

 

FM: Different in what way?

 

CM: The Free Range in London will be more about getting your name known and your work seen. It feels like a better opportunity for us since London is the centre of Photography here in the UK.

 

JA: We also have so much more freedom in our London exhibition in terms of how we can view our work and who we would like to come to the exhibition. Because of the limited space we have in our degree show, the Free Range will offer more room for our creativity.

 

TH:  It has been a lot of work behind it. The other Universities who are showing there are getting it organised by their Uni while we had to apply for funding and we put it all together ourselves.

 

FM: It sounds like you have put a lot of effort and time in to this project. What can we expect and what will we be able to see at your show?

 

IB: Our group is very diverse when it comes to our art and work. We have been taught so many different ways of taking photos – In our fourth and last year everyone has found their own niche.

 

JA:  You will be able to see everything from portrait, documentary, landscape photography, fashion photography and so on.

 

CM: At the Free Range we will be one of few groups that come from Scotland. In the first week we will be the only Scottish University showing there, which gives us a slightly different perspective on things compared to the rest of the photographers exhibiting there.

Jordan AndersonJordan Anderson

 

FM: Finally, graduating in a couple of months, are you confidant coming out as fresh meat in the very competitive industry of photography? Do you feel like you have something to contribute as a new artist?

 

JA: Yes! Experienced photographers tend to pay attention to the new ones to see what themes are rising and what new trends are on the up.

 

IB: Exactly. But even though we have a lot of people working within the same field our art looks very different from each other’s. We all have very clear styles.

 

TH: Yeah, I think what’s interesting here is what we have seen from last years graduates and before then, is that a lot of the work that has been picked up and featured has been very constructed and abstract, like colour backgrounds or objects. On some level it has been more about the performance of the object rather than the actual photo. I think what The Napier Photo Collective has is something very different. We have a lot of documentary, a lot of people investigating places and investigating people and themes. This might be something that sets us apart from the rest.

Catty Mccready

Catty McCready

 

Find the exhibitions here:

Edinburgh 23 May-1 June at Edinburgh Napier University, Merchiston Campus.

London 12- 18 of June at The Old Truman Brewery.

 

www.napiercollective.tumblr.com

 

This may be the only time that this diverse and unique group exhibits together, so come along and have a look what the future of photography has to offer.

 

Written By Freja Malmstedt

 

 

Shoot 35mm on a Holga 120N


This article will guide you through a step-by-step instruction on how to mod a Holga to take 35mm film instead of 120mm film. Holga cameras are a part of the Lomography group, an analogue camera movement. The Holga can produce washed out, colour-crazed images with an aged quality that digital photography cannot supply.  Holga cameras normally take 120mm film, which unfortunately in this day and age, can be quite expensive to buy and develop. Modding the camera to fit 35mm film will not only reduce your costs in experimenting with analogue, but it can be fun and challenging with varying end results!

Check out the guide, and if you give it a go, send your images to info@freshmeatgallery.com to be published in next month’s issue!

 

You will need: Masking/duct/insulation tape/scissors/your choice of 35mm film

35mm HolgaTurn the camera over and push down the clasps on both sides to release the camera backing.

35mm Holga

Remove the back of the camera and take the advancing spool out of the camera.

35mm Holga

Line up the top row of sprockets on the film with the edge of the third hole on the spool. This ensures the film is relatively central when you come to shoot. Stick firmly in place with masking or insulation tape. Don’t be shy with it ensure that the negative is firmly attached to the spool and itself so it doesn’t slip when you are advancing.

35mm Holga

Roll a small piece of insulation tape back on itself to create a two cylinders.

35mm Holga

Press the two cylinders firmly between the wall of your camera and the film casing. This also helps to keep the film in place so the stronger the tape the better at this stage.

35mm Holga

Place the advancing spool back in its compartment and advance just enough to see that the film is lying flat against the window mask. You can take this out if you wish to expose your film beyond the sprocket holes for that Lomography feel.

35mm Holga

Place the back firmly on the camera. Make sure that there are no stray pieces of tape wedged between the casing of the Holga and the back of the camera as this may let light in (or give it a try, be creative!) Use duct/insulation tape as required to stop any unwanted light creeping in to your exposed film.

35mm Holga

Note – I advise sticking tape around the areas where the camera back meets the casing of itself, and also around the viewfinder (as commonly these places tend to let a little light bleed in.) This is another entirely different story and maybe I will get in to the ethics of low cost manufacturing an entirely plastic camera at a later date.

35mm Holga

Prior to shooting, advance the film for around two full turns so that any film that is exposed to light in the loading process is not interfering with your image making. Remember, you cannot see how many shots you have left so be frugal with your photographs. You will know when you reach the end of the film because the last shot is more difficult to advance and if you try too hard you risk snapping the film.

35mm Holga

Now is the time to find a light safe environment to manually wind the film back in to the casing from whence it came. Here are some examples of sneaky light proof places that work, if you don’t have access to a lovely darkroom. (Bathrooms with no windows, under my jacket sat in my car, and even the rear loading compartment of an LDV convoy.)

 

35mm Holga

Here are two examples of my own photographs shot with my holga in 35mm.

.35mm Holga

Be Daring and overall have fun with your experiences, happy shooting!

Written By James Dexter

 

 

 

The Full Kevin Townsend Interview : The Transcripts

Q: Your work often takes on many forms, would you describe yourself as a multi-disciplined artist or do you consider your practice more specific and specialized?

A:  I don’t often think about how to categorize my work, but if I have to describe it, I guess I am equal parts process and concept driven— my work begins with an idea or concept and evolves organically through process, the materials aren’t the driving factor in the work any longer. (Earlier in my carrier I would call myself a printmaker, but that no longer feels accurate)

Q: On your website I read that you are a teacher as well as an artist, if there was one thing you could teach people through the work that you create what would it be? What would be the most important thing a viewer could walk away from your work with?

A:  It’s funny, while my work isn’t meant to be didactic or instructional— I want both my students and viewers of my work to dig deeper, to look beyond the surface, to ask questions, to really read the work through their own eyes. As an artist and an educator I am interested in engaging in a dialog— the ideal scenario (in each case) results in some degree of questioning, introspection, synthesis, searching or personalization of what is offered.

Q: You have said that your current work encapsulates “issues of temporality and permanence” does this underlying concept have anything to do with the materials/mediums you chose to use to create this work – e.g., is the temporality you speak of represented by the temporality of the chalk that you often use?

A: Yes. As this series of work has progressed the idea of the work becoming a more direct metaphor for memory, ultimately lead to the work taking on some of the characteristics of being more fragile, malleable, temporary became increasingly important. As the drawings became more temporal, they also became more performative and public— I needed an element of risk and a way to further give up control and drawing with chalk in awkward and intimate places evolved very organically. Once the works shifted to the point where these repeated lines began being deposited on blackboards in public restroom walls, both the act of making/drawing and the drawing itself were exposed, the work became incredibly vulnerable. Protected by the privacy of the bathroom any visitor could anonymously wipe the drawing away or draw into it at anytime and yet they don’t. The custodians of these spaces have to make a determinations at the end of the evening or the following day about wether or not to erase the marks I’ve left. I also quite enjoy the added associations with chalk as a child’s mark-making tool or the instructional tool of the teacher.

Q: So, Memory is the foundational concept for all of your work when, how and why did the issue of Memory become so important to you and your work? (If this question is too personal please feel free to disregard it)

A: Put simply, a series of events in my life left me with intense, vivid memories that shaped my life in dramatic ways—becoming the architecture of my identity. I shared these experiences with others, who remember them differently and who were equally and oppositely affected by these events. I first became fascinated with the idea of ‘truth’ as it relates to memory as a way to help me accept our divergences. The more I read the more fascinating it became to me— The reality that our memories can be encoded with bias (written in our brains as a hybrid between the actual events and the version of the events that we need in order to maintain our own self concept) was revolutionary to me. The science of memory gave me some peace and the mechanics and physiology  of memory gave me inspiration.
Q: Your drawings (particularly your recently completed work) are beautifully fluid and organic, does this represent the way in which you create them in an instinctual and of the moment manner, or are you the kind of artist who prepares, practices, and plans everything first to then copy onto a larger scale?

A:  Yeah, I like to think that the drawings reflect the fluid nature of their creation— the follow of time arrested and rendered as a landscape without any pre-cognition or visualization. Each drawing literally starts with a single line, made entirely in the moment, the drawings end in one of two ways: either I run out of available space and the drawing stops or If I hesitate for longer than a minute or catch myself plotting the next move the drawing ends. I want to keep these drawings as documents of the moments spent making them, records of the present and presence, too much pre planning would kill that for me.

Q: For your site specific work, such as “Waiting For Rain”, “We Run Ourselves Aground” and even “Drawing Room” to a certain extent, how are the display spaces selected – do they all hold a specific relevance to you, is it just a matter of where the work can look its best, or are the spaces you choose to use completely random and instinctual?

A: Often in the early iterations of the work, the locations emerge out of familiarity and proximity. In the pieces you mentioned, the locations are all easy walking distance from my home/studio and are areas where I know intimately the traffic patterns and lighting conditions. I’m interested in people encountering or engaging the work in a way that is surprising or unexpected, but also in a way where it doesn’t feel oppressive or ego driven— I guess most often, I’m looking for a bit of subtlety and intimacy

Q: This is purely a question formed around my own curiosity more than anything else, but, when creating site specific work, or even when you photograph your work displayed in the urban environment (“In Transit (Dream to Dream)”) do you always receive permission to use these spaces as part of your work or do you wholly play the role of the Rebellious Artist using what’s around and hoping you don’t get caught/asked to move along?

A:  I have never sought permission to install my work in the public space, this is not to say that I won’t in the future, but at present I’m interested in a quieter dialog with public space rather than a shocking visual collision. For ‘in transit (dream to dream)’ I showed up at the train station during morning rush hour, with a crowd of people waiting for the train, took out my staple gun and proceeded to install the tar paper over the advertising posters and then spent the next 3 hours drawing in chalk on the piece. No one said a single word to me and the police drive through that station every 20 minutes like clock work— I could feel them watching me, but no one ever engaged me, stopped me or interrupted me in any way.

Q: Your work has primarily been black and white, however, there are some pieces (especially within your recently completed work) that involve colour, when you use colour are you using it on a purely aesthetic level, or does it add to the concept, helping to create another meaning and message through the pieces themselves?

A:  In dealing with memory I often think of things in terms of binary oppositions: black and white, presence and absence, etc… the choice to work in black and white resonates the most strongly for me, it feels the most universal. Where as color is intimate to me, its more personal— I think the use of color in many of these pieces is indulgent but it isn’t calculated. I’ve come to recognize it as a transition marker in the work, the need to insert color often signifies some shift in my thoughts regarding the work or perceived deficiency. I’d like to think that I will play more with the juxtaposition between color and black and white as the work moves forward, but only time will tell— I thought I was done with the line drawings 3 months ago…

Q: What’s next for you and your work, and more importantly how does the natural transition between ideas and pieces work specifically for you – is it all planned and sketched out before you start, or do you let it evolve and form into new work freely?

A:  For a long time in my practice, I had my next works planned and on deck, waiting to be made. Currently the work is driving the work. Concepts lead, process creates and aesthetic concerns follow (often in the editing). I make hundreds of line drawings but only show a handful, many don’t make the cut.
I keep running thoughts, reactions and ideas in a journal/sketchbook, but show up each day to the studio with only one plan: work. 
That said, the work is moving more towards focusing on the act of drawing, the performance, the ephemeral— existing somewhere between drawing, sculpture, installation and performance.

Q: Have you ever worked collaboratively with another artist/Would you ever be interested in working collaboratively with another artist?

A: I worked for a while as a master printer, collaboration is something that is in my artistic DNA and I would love to collaborate in the future. Currently, I am interested in engaging the public as collaborators in new work, but I am always open to other potential opportunities.

Q: Has your work ever taken any dramatic turns either conceptually or in the way that you use materials and processes?

A: Yes. I was trained as a printmaker. I made somewhat narrative, dream-like figurative vignettes for a long time as a means of dealing with issues of memory. They were deeply personal, technically interesting but unsatisfying to me. I began reading about the mechanics and physiology of memory and it changed my world… for 2 years I made shitty hybrid works that tried to bridge the gap between representation and concept, trying to resolve where I had come from with where I wanted to be. I ultimately abandoned all representation in my work as it felt like a crutch— I let the concepts lead. I am always trying (struggling) to simplify, remove the excesses and distill the concepts down to their essence… In many ways, I think I am still in transition, midway through a rather large dramatic turn.

Q: Had you always wanted to become an artist?

A: Looking back it was a toss up between architect, artist and archeologist— I seemed to have something with careers that began with ‘A’…

Q: What has been the most difficult part of reaching the point you are at today with your work and career?

A: Wow. This is a loaded question… Are you a therapist?
I guess it can be boiled down to one thought: balance. balancing my two passions: teaching and making, balancing heart, head and hand, balancing my needs with the needs of my family.

Q: Any advice for any wannabe practicing artists (the kind who are just about to graduate from University, for example)?

A: Hmm… Keep your eyes on the horizon and hands on the wheel, don’t try to plan a specific route to your desired destination— explore many paths to your goal and be willing and open to taking a path you may not have considered. Say “yes” a lot early on when presented with new opportunities. Be humble, no one likes an ego centric, overly self involved artist. Realize that this choice to be an artist is less about career and more about a worldview— you are a synthesizer. Your skill set and creative problem solving abilities are valuable in many contexts, the trick is finding the contexts that are meaningful to you. And finally: don’t pursue teaching as a profession unless you genuinely love it— teaching, being an educator is not a 9-5 job to be used as a fall back means of support. Our students deserve passionate, driven and dedicated teachers.

Q: And finally, do you think as artists we can use art to change the World?


A: Yes. Art has already changed the world several times – Artists gave a face to Christianity and these images were used to convert millions of illiterate people to a new worldview. America used art to support ideas about westward expansion. The final scene of George Lucas’s ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ revolutionised the prosthetic limbs industry, Kubrick’s ‘2001’ planted seeds for the iPad. I believe that the arts can show us what is possible. 
to quote  Arthur O’Shaughnessy (and Willy Wonka),

“We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.”

 

Written By Daniel Coleborn

Dust, Wu Chi-Tsung

Following Wu Chi-Tsung’s 2006 residency at Site Gallery, Sheffield, the artist has returned with Dust, a mesmerising video installation where a live feed captures and then projects, large scale, images of the dust in the gallery space. Chi-Tsung finds the small, uncontrolled moments of serendipity and coincidence; translating them through video or light and re-presenting them in the gallery space. In Dust, the camera and projector work together to show what the human eye can’t see, and the tiny particles of human skin floating in the air are elevated to sparkling sequins; from repulsive to seductive.

Dust Wu Chi-Tsung

Image Courtesy Of Site Gallery

 In an adjacent room in Site Gallery, Chi-Tsung presents Crystal City 003, an incarnation created from the shadows of plastic containers, cast by a moving LED light.  Presumably influenced by his time training as an architect, the Crystal City is reminiscent of a CAD drawing or a floating gods-eye view of a toweringly tall sci-fi cityscape.  Alluding to new building developments in inner city areas of contemporary Asia, and perhaps critiquing the materialism and commercialism that comes hand in hand with technological progress, this work quietly and meditatively divulges another world beyond the ordinariness of its individual components.

This is a recurring idea in Wu Chi-Tsung’s work; in Rain (2002), made when he was a student in Taipei, raindrops appear to flash across an image of a bridge.  Simply by setting the shutter speed extremely high, the downwards line of a raindrop that we usually see because of the slowness of our eyes is revealed as something very different—now each individual raindrop has been captured mid-fall, sparkling across the screen.

It is these very simple procedures that stand out in Chi-Tsung’s works; and here in Sheffield it seems that he has simplified his practice right down to the bare bones.  This work is comprised of the particles that before the nineteenth century were considered the smallest substance—marking the boundary between the world we see and the world of the unknown—Dust.  The mysticism of dust, apparent when you catch it twisting and spinning in the golden sunlight pouring in through a window, is condensed and epitomised in this work.  Galaxies of green and blue flit and flicker across the wall as they continually move in and out of focus.  We are charmed by the romance, the magic, and the very special quality of this created world that is simultaneously real and unreal.

Visiting Sheffield for the day? Site Gallery on Brown Street is only a couple of minutes walk from Sheffield train and bus stations.  The gallery is wheelchair accessible, and also houses a small shop and café, which serves lovely homemade cakes and frothy coffees.  It’s very close to SIA gallery, Bloc Projects, Millennium Galleries and Graves Gallery if you fancy a cultural day out.

Sheffield native? Why not try Site’s free reading groups on 17th April and 1st May, or try breathing meditation set against the backdrop of Wu Chi-Tsung’s beautiful installation? Full details are on Site Gallery’s website, http://www.sitegallery.org

Wu Chi-Tsung Dust

Site Gallery 4th April – 31st May 2014

Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5.30pm

 

Written By Posy Jowett

Brighton & Hove, Art Fare


One of our writers Catrin Andrews will be showing her work at Brighton & Hove Art Fare, below is the press release. If you are in the area go give it a look.

 

Brighton & Hove, Art Fare

 

Press release

Pop-up performances with Art Fare

Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company host Art Fare, a public art exhibition in collaboration with thirteen third year students on Fine Art: Critical Practice at the University of Brighton.

This unique exhibition aboard the Brighton & Hove buses attempts to remove contemporary art from the confines of the gallery.  By engaging with a wider audience in a public space, the exhibition aims to question the value of artwork outside of the gallery and in the every day.  Whilst some events and work is set within specific times, dates and locations, other work will take the form of pop-up performances on specific routes.

The Art Fare runs from 3 – 16 May, as part of the Brighton Fringe festival and with the support of the Springboard Grants Committee.  The exhibition will highlight aspects of the city’s bus service by exhibiting artwork on in-service vehicles.  The ambitious project showcases work, in the form of installations, throughout the network.

Nick Hill, Head of Commercial Development for the company comments “This gives our passengers a unique opportunity to see some of the creativity that is coming through from young people within the city and continues to build on our partnership with the university.”

Brighton University lead tutor for Fine Art Critical Practice, Mary-Anne Francis adds “the Fine Art Critical Practice BA at Brighton encourages students to take art beyond the gallery location that is also on the move, initiated by Megan Dawkins who invited her final-year peers to contribute to a show of artworks on the city buses.”

-Ends-

Notes:

Contact: Tamsin James, PR, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company, 01273 886210 / tamsin.james@buses.co.uk

Contact: Poppy Millett, PR Representative for Art Fare exhibition – artfarebrighton@gmail.com

Art Fare Exhibiting Artists: Catrin Andrews, Lily Ashdown Harris, Rachel Benson, Aïcha Daffé, Megan Dawkins, Lauren Heckler, Min Ju Lee, Sophie Lindsey, Poppy Millet, Jody Padmore, Beth Pocock, Phoebe Shakespeare, Harriet Stanley.  All available for interview, please contact Tamsin James for information.

A private press launch is due to take place at 6pm on Thursday 1 May at the prestigious Amex Community Stadium.  Please contact Tamsin James at Brighton & Hove Buses to be added to the guest list.

Art Fare website: www.artfare.co.uk.  The Art Fare will be part of the students’ degree show, taking the form of a documentation exhibition where they will document the processes and work exhibited in the Grand Parade, University of Brighton Graduate Show, 7 – 15 June 2014.

Exhibition forms part of the Brighton Fringe Festival – 3 May – 1 June 2014.

Under The Skin

So when I heard A-list celeb Scarlett Johansson was starring in Glasgow based low-budget indie movie Under the Skin, it didn’t wholly surprise me.  I met Johansson last year in Los Angeles, while she was being presented her Hollywood star on the walk of fame. Jeremy Renner was her guest speaker, who introduced her as ‘the girl he met a few years back in NYC wearing dirty Converse, covered in tattoos and piercings’.

Not your conventional Hollywood A-lister, Johansson stems from two films that try to avoid clichés; Terry Zwigoff’s quirky and bizarre Ghost World and Sofia Coppola’s melancholy yet beautiful Lost in Translation (my hands began to hurt from excessive clapping when these titles were mentioned during the voice-over list of her career), and has starred in almost 40 other films to date. Maybe just luck or perhaps our shared choice of septum piercing caught her eye and brought her in my direction; however, she walked straight to me after her first interview. And no, I did not just imagine this in the way deluded fans exclaim ‘Oh my god, the lead singer totally just looked at me and sang that song JUST to me’. We made eye contact, she obviously dug my style, and then she walked towards me. She did. I promise.

As she was signing my small yellow post- it, and not the vast amount of large laminated Avenger’s posters pushed towards her by obsessively costumed fans, and people hoping to sell them online, I proceeded to ask her where her septum piercing was? She laughed and replied with a cheeky grin, ‘Oh it’s in there!’ possibly tucking it up after the bad press she received with her bold piercing choice.

Now with rumours she may be moving to my neighbouring city Glasgow, for its poetry festivals and underground live music scene (although Edinburgh is better…ahem…), her likeability, in my books, continues to grow.

Under The Skin

Her recent role in Jonathan Glazers’s Under the Skin depicts a man- eating alien disguised as a seductive woman, who drives around looking for unsuspecting male victims. Filmed in Glasgow, the cinematography offers realistic images juxtaposed with powerful sci-fi visual effects. The portrayal of Glasgow may offer escapism to viewers unacquainted with the location, an attribute many audiences desire from cinema. However, for myself, I feel I could see these images with my own eyes, for free, if I simply walked into the city centre.  Although the concept that scenes were secretly filmed with the crew hiding in the back of the car is interesting and demonstrates a unique and intriguing technique, I feel the bleak realism of Glasgow may be excessively depicted. The frustratingly slow shots and repetitive nature of events creates a dull and monotonous narrative. However, with almost no dialogue or back story, the mysterious element certainly lingers after its viewing. The minimalist role is a very internal performance from Johansson. She perfectly captures the emotionless yet deadly femme fatal character, and alongside the visually stunning digital effects and creepy soundtrack, evokes an eerie darkness throughout the film.

The notion of gender is also cleverly represented. Being voted sexiest woman alive by Esquire Magazine in 2006 and 2013 proves Johansson to be the perfect casting for the object of male desire. The effortless ability to lure a male through sexual lust is one gender weakness Glazer explores. The film also illustrates a statement of society’s beauty culture. The alien takes the form of an attractive female, as women seem to be valued by beauty. The use of mirror images as Johansson applies her deadly red lipstick interestingly captures this theme. Furthermore, the patriarchal culture of men believing woman to be an easy sexual endeavour is also apparent. Watching a male characters dissolve into the unknown, when he thought he’d be getting some straightforward sexy-time, gave me some slight sadistic pleasure as a female…

A second gender weakness is femininities role in the downfall of Johansson’s once blank character. When watching the film I noticed engaging links to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, similarly set in Scotland. The character Lady Macbeth asks to be ‘unsexed’; allowing the removal of nurturing and motherly characteristics stereotypically associated with femininity, to instead become ambitious and murderous. She even discusses the killing of a baby, an act one would think unimaginable for a female with maternal instincts to carry out. The reverse happens to the Under the Skin alien. In an early scene we see the detached character ignore a crying baby left alone on a beach at night, after the parents have been washed out to sea. I found this scene very distressing to watch, but its presence is a very effective tool in portraying the alien’s initial empty and cold demeanour. However, taking female shape results in ‘feminine weaknesses’ developing in the form of emotions and vulnerability. The alien begins to ignore its male-devouring purpose as its human morals begin to grow.

Overall, Under the Skin is an interesting and original take on a ‘female’ alien prowling the streets, and I feel that with the streets being Glasgow, it adds to its unique element. I enjoy seeing big stars, like Scarlett Johansson, branch back out to the organic roots of independent film. Globalization within film opens up opportunity for wider audiences to observe other cultures. Although its bleak and unglamorous depiction of Glasgow is not a very positive portrayal, it still offers a refreshing distinction from Hollywood cinema. It took Glazer 9 years to adapt the original novel. Even if you don’t like the film, you will definitely not forget it. Maybe for its mesmerising visual effects. Perhaps for its unusual idea and its realistic shooting methods. Or possibly you will simply enjoy observing Johansson walk around a normal shopping centre, unnoticed by every day people, and realise famous celebrities may not be as alien as we hold them up to be. Under the skin we are all just human.

 

Written By Nasreen Saraei

An Interview With Kevin Townsend – We Run Ourselves Aground


Can Art change the World; has it really got the power to make a difference? This is a question that could boggle and fluster so many artists from their usual calm and collected state. Boston based artist and teacher Kevin Townsend, however, seemed to have the perfect answer when I broached this topic as part of an interview conducted recently. Townsend simply stated in reply, “Yes. Art has already changed the world several times” before using examples ranging from early Christian art, to Lucas’s Star Wars, and Kubrick’s 2001 to elaborate on how much power art does have, and has always had, over the World as a whole. This was simply one of Townsend’s flawlessly composed yet whole heartedly honest answers that I received in response to the questions I posed before him; yet, I believe it is one of the best ways to introduce him as the Artist, Intellect and Teacher that he is.

Kevin Townsend‘Carried By Strangers’ 2013, Kevin Townsend.

Understanding that a creative career in the visual arts relies heavily on “balancing heart, head and hand” it is no surprise that Townsend’s own work is structured heavily atop a personal and heavily humanised foundational concept. Townsend’s current work is primarily “driven by issues surrounding memory, its formation, storage and subsequent degradation over time”. By using materials such as tar paper and white chalk as a “direct metaphor for memory” and its “fragile, malleable, [and] temporary” states, Townsend creates abstract yet immersive work that cries out for the viewers’ attention and interaction through its relatedly humanised marks. Like many artists, Townsend’s choice of concept seems to be rooted in a personal history that only he can – and should – ever know the whole story behind. However, when asked why this concept was of such importance to him and his work, Townsend stated, “The science of memory gave [him] some peace and the mechanics and physiology of memory gave [him] inspiration”. This indicates that he – much like many other artists – has found a link between art and science that seems to feed and inspire his work to become somewhat of a midway marker between the two opposing industries.

Kevin Townsend

‘In Transit (Dream To Dream)’ 2013, Kevin Townsend.

What the audience sees and takes away from an artist’s work is an agonising and uncontrollable matter that every artist has to deal with; this is an especially unstable issue for artists who work in an ambiguous manner such as Townsend does so often. For this reason I expected Townsend to have a fully rehearsed and extremely specific response when I asked what he’d like to teach people through his work. Instead, he simply replied in the casual yet intellectual manner that, I was quickly beginning to realise, perfectly demonstrated how he was able to work so fluidly between an artistic career and that of a teacher. Purely stating that he wanted the “viewers of [his] work
to dig deeper” until they “really read the work through their own eyes” Townsend made it clear that there is no ulterior motive behind his work; anyone is free to see it as they please, taking away whatever they want from it, as long as they take away something that is.

Kevin Townsend

‘We Run Ourselves Aground’ 2014, Kevin Townsend.

By creating artwork that possesses such a natural dialogue with the viewer, and through successfully balancing his own Artistic career while also blazing a trail as an outstanding educator, Kevin Townsend is a creative individual that everyone hoping to work in the creative sector should strive to be more like. So, what are his words of wisdom for any wannabe practicing artists? Well, to summarise a little, “Keep your eyes on the horizon and hands on the wheel”, “explore many paths to your goal”, “Say “yes” a lot early on when presented with new opportunities”, and most importantly perhaps, “Be humble, no one likes an ego centric, overly self involved artist.”

Kevin Townsend was recently featured on artistaday.com and has also confirmed a solo show to take place later this year. If you’re interested in his work be sure to check out more of his work at sevenknotwind.com.

Written By Daniel Coleborn

Carl Robinson – Featured Artist May 2014


FMG Arts takes a look at Carl Robinson, a visual artist based in the East Midlands. He works in the realms of digitally manipulated photographic images examining artistic invention, thwarted narrative and the consequences of looking. We look at works from his two most recent series titled ‘Milk’ & ‘Absorption’.

Carl Robinson

‘Paula & Amber’

Artist Statement

My practice centres on the creation of digitally manipulated photographic images that aims to bring together a conjunction of three themes: artistic invention, thwarted narrative and the consequences of looking. I am particularly interested in creating works that concentrate on the problem of pictorial narrative, especially where this intersects with ‘realism’ and how seemingly emphatic images that deny ultimate decoding raise questions around the differences between ‘seeing’ and ‘reading’.

The work draws on elements of a visual language taken from classical western European painting, particularly in its seductively appealing look, arrived at by constructing images through digitally enhanced photographic techniques. There is an attempt at disrupting the solidity of this aesthetic through engaging visual complexities that may lead to multiple and unstable connotations, particularly in how codification within the work may be read.  It is the balancing of this aesthetic, describing what is a clearly readable image on one level coupled with potential layers of significance on another, that aims to bring tension and dynamic to the work.

Developing work in series and sets of images allows for exploration of a wide range of what may at first appear to be disconnected elements and themes.  A complex interweaving of aspects of concealment, revelation, sexuality, ambiguity, and codification can then take place.  The sets are continuously added to and refined as elements reveal themselves as possibilities for further exploration, and works are brought together in various combinations to form larger composites where a mosaic of imagery deepens resonances across the whole.  The placing of seemingly disparate images together, whereby new works and dialogues are created, aims to develop understandings of ‘frame’ and what is happening outside of and between photographs.

 

Carl Robinson

‘Young Woman Reading A Book’

 

 

Carl Robinson

‘Young Man With A Cafetierre’