Friday, 30 May 2014


Under The Bridge, C print edition of 3, 120 x 80 cm
  This artist's photographs have been described as love letters to the cities he encounters. In this complicated tangle of image and colour we need to take time to read the small print  - not easy on a computer screen when the original photograph spreads out to a mighty 80 x 120cm.

Where to start looking? At a bridge, a tree, a pedestrian, a tower? Where do I stand in relation to all that?  Do I playfully enjoy the patterns, sweep down those curves, look up to those tiny tower windows?

Lyubimkin's lens is a magnifying glass scrutinising the things our naked eye cannot see. I become fascinated by seed pods dangling from the bare branches. Each has a husky, dusky  covering. They remind me of baubles hung on a Christmas tree. They stare out like the faces of a pocket watch on a chain anchored in a grandfather's jacket.  

The colouring is intriguing. The artist borrows from the old technique of tinting images but uses a modern palette. To the right the myriad colours stream out for our inspection, tidy, orderly and irresistible.  

"'Rolling out the bridges and streets under our feet like carpets, (Alexey Lyubimkin) invites us in to become an important part of the picture, till finally we feel at home". 

Leonardo Bridge digital print 40 x 72cm

And here is another bridge, at first sight something comfortable and familiar - except that it is a less a photograph of a bridge, more a photograph of weather you can step into. The light  makes the waterside weeds and flowers shimmer, the grass is laid out like a patterned carpet mottled with shade. And I am reminded how often representational art dives deep into the viewer's memory and makes our choices for us: this bridge is very like the one my mother and her sister and brothers walked across thousands of time to and from their village school. 

Finally Harmony, centred on a familiar style of architecture, terraced gentility, a college perhaps, with private grounds offering sturdy benches on which to languish, read, meditate, argue and possibly sip a cool glass of white wine? Meanwhile colours we didn't even know were there stream by, pushed apart by the delicate lacery of trees, fragile trees but too strong to be argued with.
Harmony, C print edition of 3, 120 x 64 cm

Thursday, 29 May 2014


  is an exhibition at Morley College,  open until June19th.
Morley is 5 minutes walk from The Old Vic theatre and a mere 10-12 minutes down Westminster Bridge Road from Big Ben itself.

The artist is Workshop Leader at the Angel Theatre in Islington, who has been inspired to  transform a space for creating theatre (her workplace) into its own performance space. In other words, backstage is brought out to the front. The challenge is both to  capture fleeting creative processes as they fly past, and then shape them in such a way that they can be appreciated and enjoyed by a wider public. What we see is a collage of drawings, photographs and prints, using photolithography (which, I am told on good authority, is an exacting process). The result is cut and slotted into a beautiful, airy three dimensional work, fragile yet  bustling with energy; light and strong; chaotic yet already shaped into drama.

The artist writes "The workshop at The Little Angel Theatre is one of my favourite places; totally organic and chaotic with puppets in all the stages of being made...very creative when full of people, mysterious and magical at night and first thing in the morning when empty". 

Carol's work was inspired by this exquisite model of a theatre, made in 1911 by J.H.Holyman and restored by Alan Bishop, which is now housed at the V & A. It's made of painted wood, paper and string - and includes the trap doors.

Inspired by... is the title of an exhibition hosted by Morley College and organised in partnership with the V & A (Victoria and Albert Museum) and NIACE (National Centre for Adult Continuing Education). It celebrates work from across the UK, from London to Penzance, Aberystwyth and Edinburgh.

P.S. For the less gifted among us it might be worth checking out Pollock's model Toy Theatres in their Toy Museum and Shop at Covent Garden. Climb up the stairs and you will find a warren of treasures from  past and present, including  'ready mades', card and paper models which can be assembled at home.

Monday, 26 May 2014


 an exhibition at Morley College,  open until June19th.
Morley is 5 minutes walk from The Old Vic theatre and a mere 10-12 minutes down Westminster Bridge Road from Big Ben itself.

Confront us with a landscape painting and our eyes scour the canvas for clouds tinted with delicate pastels, for grass heavy with green shade, and trees - both muscular and willowy - which reassure us with a solid earthy colour. But here the artist has changed all that. Her idealised landscape, executed in contemporary minimal style, uses cobalt and ultramarine. 

She writes "I have a long standing passion for Japanese woodcuts (especially by Hiroshige), for ceramics and Chinese and Japanese art - particularly  by the scholar painters.  I have been using ink in my work for several years and so I attempted some blue ink paintings.  The colour was terrible so I moved into watercolour to achieve the beautiful cobalt blue and white china originally from Asia, but popularised by Delft".

Jane again 'The work also incorporates Japanese paper collage which I love to use as it disrupts the surface and produces accidental effects. The deep blue horizontal ‘stain’ across the top of the work is a device common in woodcuts as is the effect of multiple horizons"

One of the pleasures of Morley Gallery is that it no only shows work from its own students and from local initiatives, but also hosts exhibitions like Inspired By... in partnership with the V & A (Victoria and Albert Museum) and NIACE (National Institute of Adult Continuing Education)

Here are some of the works from the V & A which have inspired the artist. To the right is a large ceramic ‘pot’ by  Felicity Aylieff who, in 2007  took up residence at the Pottery Workshop Experimental Factory in the historic 'porcelain city' of Jingdezhen, China, while on sabbatical from her work as Professor of Ceramics at Bath Spa University. The surfaces of these pots explore contemporary translations of traditionally used techniques. To see more of Felicity's work look up my Blog 205 Monumental by Felicity Aylieff.  On the left is a small exquisite vase in 18thC Japanese Satsuma ware, also in the V & A.

Finally this is another example of Jane's work,
 Shoreline, a black ink an watercolour wash.   for Jane's  hand made jewellery designs

    Monday, 19 May 2014


    15 MAY 2014

    In an event entitled The Art of Walking and Slowing Down Frederic Gros, professor of philosophy at the University of Paris XII and the Institute of Political Studies, Paris, was in conversation with the British artist Richard Wentworth.

    In Gros' new book The Philosophy of Walking he charts the ways we get from A to B - the pilgrimage, the protest march, the nature ramble, the stroll - and demonstrates what they tell us about ourselves and the society we live in. There are lively excursions too into the way Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Rousseau, Kant and Proust 'used' walking.

    Richard Wentworth is an artist who also chronicles daily life, and challenges our taken-for-granted assumptions about the things that surround us.  'Look', he says, 'a plate is the only object where you get your own and the minute you have finished with it, it is someone else's'. 


     By transforming and manipulating objects into works of art, he subverts their original function and makes us see them afresh. At Walk to Free Art London: May 2011 you will find my Blog 77 on his Seige.  He has threaded a cable through the seats of a couple of mass-produced stacking chairs  and hung lead balls on the end. South American gauchos use balls like these to capture the legs of cattle. What we ask of a chair is stability, but these two are ensnared. All they can do is roll against each other.

    In their conversations Gros and Wentworth explored the practice of walking in this era of speed, efficiency  and consumption. Together they ask us to reflect on our experience of time, pleasure and solitude. A walk is not “an obstacle between here and there”. Celebrate it instead as a vital step towards really living.

    Sunday, 11 May 2014

    281. 1939 by HORASAN (Mustafa Horasan)


    Pi ARTWORKS, Eastcastle St

    1939,2013/2014,.oil on canvas, 200 x 170cm
    1939,2013/2014 oil on canvas,200x170cm,detail

    After visiting a friend in a nursing home, Horosan (Mustapha Horasan) reflects  on 'how very fragile human bodies are, and how easily the spirit dies away and disappears, almost carelessly... However this disappearance, this extinction of the soul is ..part of nature's efforts to regenerate itself time after time'. 

    The title of the painting on the left simply represents the year of the anonymous subject's birth. Still he is with us but already half his face has slipped away out of sight forever. The detail on the right shows how paint is applied in layers, then scraped away creating intricate filigree patterns in the background while thicker layers of paint suggest  the folds and wrinkles of an ageing skin.

    Here Horasan explores how time creates, transforms and  destroys, reminding us of our precarious position in this world, despite our clutching at age-defying techniques . When The Time Comes encompasses regret. despair and abandonment 'for all the things we must grasp while still have time, and all the things we have let go and can never experience again'.

    Here and in Istanbul Pi ARTWORKS, founded in 1998, introduces contemporary Turkish and other international artists to a wider global population.  

    Can Yucel, a Turkish poet noted for his use of colloquial language, underlines the message:

    If you don't want to miss out on life
    Come on, let's take a look now
    Come to yourself
    Throw away the exhaustion that life has given you,
    Time is less that what you think
    Come on, wake up, 
    Now it is TIME TO LIVE
    (From Right Time To Live)