Light and water
Where are all the proper holiday snaps?
An update from the BSA open
Hooray! I've sold an unframed print at the Bath Society of Artists' open exhibition. Isn't that nice? Of course, it would have been lovely to sell the framed one because then I wouldn't have to go and collect it at the weekend, but even so, I've sold a print!
Also, here's the drawing I mentioned liking when I talked about the exhibition before (though tentatively, in case my scribbles were misleading me), by Leslie Glenn Damhus - Portrait of Rob Irving, The Chapter House, Wells Cathedral. He very kindly sent me a copy, which I thought was rather good of him.
I'm hoping to take a final look round the exhibition on saturday, before it all comes down. Will I find new works to like? I wouldn't be at all surprised.
Have joined the 21st century and started using facebook. It could be a mistake for all sorts of reasons. However, via either someone I know or someone who knows someone who knows someone ... (repeat appropriate number of times) who knows someone I know, it did turn up the cartoon below. Which I rather like.
Well of course I had to go and have a look, didn't I, since I had something hanging there. It (my pic) was remarkably unexciting and, alas, pointed up how in general one big picture looks much better than one split up into a grid of images. Certainly in my case - it sort of didn't look worth the bother of looking again, amongst all the rest. Still, we live and learn.
There were some fantastic pieces there. The show includes 3D, but I always feel 3D work gets a particularly bad deal out of open exhibitions like this - everyone works their way round the walls, in the main, while sculptures and ceramics loiter uneasily in the open spaces. There was one stand-out 3D piece for me - Caroline Waterman's 'Wrapped Head' (which I thought was bronze but wasn't) - and a few others that were good but would look better in a whiter, emptier, more 3D-orientated space. I didn't rate the ceramics I saw, but maybe I missed the best bits?
There was so much good work on the walls (as well as just a few where I bitchily wondered 'why?') that I can only mention a handful of the artists there. I realise that an open exhibition doesn't actually do any favours for 2D pieces either, in that they all crowd up there, cheek by jowl with everything else, but everyone manages to pick out what they like. Not ideal, but how could it be? It's inclusive and it does well enough.
I absolutely loved Amanda Ralfe's work - her paintings there were subtly shaded landscapes in a palette of greys and sands, with simple lines and almost geometrical shapes, the whole effect sparse but beautiful. They capture downs landscape utterly and make me want to go back south soon, today, now. I can't show the actual pictures from the show, but these are something quite like.
David Brooke's pictures are always droll, and his two here were no exception - 'Mowing your own path' and 'A slightly unusual plant'. His paintings are often, apparently, his own takes on myth. Again, though, no chance of finding the ones from the show, so here's something else by him; a green man.
Deborah Feiler had two very delicate drawings. 'Under the Lotus' showed three beautiful, fragile, lichen-like structures which I thought were gorgeous, although I didn't really like the panel structure of the mounting - I didn't think it did the daintiness of the image any favours. Her other piece, 'Blink', fascinated too - a circle of barely-there, nearly-digital marks, in silverpoint (I don't know what that is). It sort of reminded me of an almost invisible, much tinier (and entirely flat, of course) Richard Long work.
I went round the exhibition scribbling hasty notes across a page. Numbers and comments littered the paper in gay abandon, but when I look back at them now there is quite some scope for mismatching comment and number (the catalogue was a fold-out affair that I just abandoned on the first visit - I later cut it up, stapled the pages together and took it back for a second visit as a much more useful document). This makes me rather reluctant to use many more of my notes. So I can confidently declare that I also liked Paul Emsley's 'White Rhinoceros' mezzotint (wow!), Thom Gorst's 'Banana Boat' (it made me laugh), Bob Osborne's 'Construction (cars)' (a fun heap of red cars, matchbox maybe, encased in perspex), Tim Heath's 'Mammal skeletons' and Kathy Montgomery's 'Ebb Tide', and that I found David Cobley's massive 'Here We All Are' heart-stopping, but can only say that I think I also really liked works by Rosie Mack and Leslie Glenn Damhus. As for the rest, memory already fails.
It makes no odds and it's only an opinion, but I wouldn't have chosen any of the prizes except probably the graphics one. The framing prize in particular left me bemused, but I'm not privy to the decision making process, so my view isn't worth a thing - and anyway, disagreeing with the judges is fun and surely part of the overall experience. And again, even though I have reluctantly understood the reasons for change, I still think something has been lost by closing off the old entrance to the gallery - it inevitably feels more enclosed and therefore less spacious, less airy than it used to. Though that also could just be me.
But do go and see the show. The thing about an open exhibition is that there's so much on display, and it's all so enormously varied. Go along and love this, hate that, grudgingly admire the skill that has gone into the other - the only opinion that has to matter to the viewer is their own. It's on until the end of August.
Pots and pics
I considered missing the Potfest in the Park this year - while I still quite enjoyed last year, I felt as if I might have seen it all before - but in the event I took me + three (two sons and one girlfriend, Emma). It was pretty good, actually - some very attractive new pottery, a renewed appreciation of some of the stalwarts, a big tree which I had somehow failed to notice before (though goodness knows how). We managed to turn up at a point where the band were stopping, possibly for the day, which was a source of disappointment for both sons - the band is a part of why we come.
Emma left with a number of goodies, so the trip must have been worthwhile. I left with only one - not because I couldn't have filled a few empty shelves at home, but because empty shelves at home do not exist to fill. The house is in a more chaotic state than ever at the moment (various causes) and I'm acutely aware of that - my purchase will hang on the wall (of which there is still some unfilled).
While the potfest was better than I expected, the annual competition to a theme (this year 'From the Sea'), did not seem to be as inspired as usual - good stuff, but not lots of good stuff. There were however delightfully corny puns in the titles of some pieces, none of which I can remember (probably all for the best). Here was my favourite piece from the competition (can't remember the artist, sorry):
There was a fun little game (on the tv?) that the boys used to play an age ago, called Alien Fish Exchange. For whatever reason, this rather wistful specimen reminded me of that.
Today I went to see the Bolton wing of the Python Open at the Gallery at St Georges House. Well, I'd been already, but I wanted photos to show. I should say straight away that those photos that are by me are not at all straight, so if any of the artists look and feel that things don't seem quite right, sorry, that'll be down to necessary cropping. I don't seem to take many pics that couldn't have gained from judicious use of a spirit level. Maybe I was built on the slant?
It's a high standard of work and very varied. I've shown a number of pictures here but there are plenty more works hanging, not to mention ceramics, sculpture and one of Kate Bufton's lovely paper sculptures. Finishes today, technically, but curator Emma Kelly says it'll be up for a short while longer. I won't be able to get to Warrington to see the other north-west show - my loss.
I make prints and book arts, though nowhere near as often as I'd like - no good reason, just an inability to get on with things. I occasionally go on about landscape (with which I am mildly obsessed) and various of its elements, and I like to pass comment on exhibitions I visit.