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Amazingly I did something about the entry below. I am referring to the difficulty in finding other people to talk to about one’s work. In part it was happenstance I admit but I ended up proposing a new year long course to Spike Print Studios. The course includes sessions on stuff like ‘how to have ideas’ and supports artists at around MA level who want to look at what research might include in reference to their own work and how they might build a more robust research practice. It’s a serious undertaking and we give this a lot of thought but the approach is as playful as possible. I’ve taken as my model The ABC project created by Matthew Burrows (artist, curator, educator).

The course – Press Play – is full of good people with open minds and interesting things to say, honestly the group has been a revelation. I love them because although I’m ostensibly leading the sessions I’m learning all the time and one thing I have learnt is that I work well in collaboration with other people.

This was confirmed a couple of months back when I was given the opportunity to make a series of pieces with Sarah Duncan. She has been making the most exquisite photopolymer etchings for a while now and together we messed about with a couple of these prints, the circular light wells in the corridor on the first floor at Spike Island, mirrors and lenses and came up with a truly lovely series of installations which we called Project Gemini.

I am actively seeking people to collaborate with as a result of these experiences and the Artists Newsletter people have seen fit to back me with a travel grant. The first adventure involves artists in the Netherlands courtesy of Grafisch Atelier Alkmaar. I went there a couple of years ago to take part in their festival of print and I’ve been desperate to get back there ever since. I will be working with lithographer Marja Vleugel on some stones and hope to coerce a couple of others into some collaborative drawing.

A difficult thing about wanting to develop as an artist (outside an arts school) is finding other people willing to give you critical feedback. The budget for this project included money for crit’s from Neil Morris and Emily Speed. (Thank you Arts Council.)

Neil Morris’s work:  highly skilled but not showing off, Neil as family, Neil as career artist, Neil as mood, it speaks to me. Neil’s experienced enough to have seen fads come and go and come again. Emily Speed’s drawing is inventive, brave, conceptual. Emily’s interests are wide and her attack is academic, she does proper research. One to watch. Superb artists and lovely people.

Last week I went back up to Liverpool to meet with Neil and Emily and have crit’s – looking at the work in the exhibition closing next month and my next project, which examines dimensionality using drawing.

Although I met with them individually they were pretty much in agreement. (I thought I’d got away with x and y but actually these people see straight through me… probably everybody does.) We talked about the ‘politeness’ of the work in relation to the beautiful room it’s in and the ‘heritage items’ incorporated in the central display cases. We talked about what it might be like to be less polite and show less respect for the original objects. We talked about what could be made to work outside the current venue and whether the work had a life beyond the show. Also, about presentation and the current trend in the visual arts to ‘devalue’ artwork by displaying it in an off-hand manner, and what it might do to the relationship between the onlooker and a piece of my work if I were to do that. And a whole lot more besides..

When someone really takes time to think about your work it’s a sign of respect. I was buoyed up. Thank you.

wallpaper

Link to YouTube video about the exhibtion…

frog and seagulls feet rhs teapot and grans blocks prints longshot exhib rhsFilm explaining what Semi-Permanent Collections exhibition is about.. in own words

https://www.smore.com/1ke8f

https://www.smore.com/1ke8f-semi-permanent-collections?embed=1

 

I’ve been sweating over the issue of labelling as you know. It’s not just how to spell it. There are issues relating to context. The exhibition is visual arts based. There are expected ways of labelling a visual arts exhibition but the venue is a museum. Labelling in a museum is more thorough and didactic. The visual arts curator’s voice says ‘allow the audience to bring meaning to the work, do not prescribe how it should be seen and understood’. The museum curator’s voice says ‘our audience expects to be given more information on what and why’. The exhibition install is next week. I won’t know what the work ‘needs’ before I see it assembled in one place and in context. I cannot currently envisage it complete and in context. (The 2D work was taken up to Liverpool a month ago.)

Still I can’t sit around so I’ve made a series of ‘missing pages’. They might not be the answer to the problem but they are the answer this week. Here’s one. They might appear in the cabinets among the museum specimens and 3D stuff. Or might be missing page 47tossed into a convenient bin:

I’m off to Alkmaar this evening for a four day printing spree courtesy of their wonderful print workshop – the Grafisch Atelier Alkmaar.

The workshop is celebrating its fortieth anniversary and has taken over part of the Grand Church in Alkmaar where printmakers are working and engaging with visitors. They’ve set up screen printing, litho and etching, all in the church. Amazing.

I’ll be chatting about this project in a very informal way – won’t have the actual work with me – on 18th Aug at 2pm. If you are in the area then drop in.

For more about this print festival see http://www.gaadrukmaken.nl/

I’m so pleased with this print.

Emma Gregory print for presentation box - OUTPOURING - etching 20 x 26cm

The soft ground drawing for the teapot is based on the three legged teapot on postcards in the shop at the Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool. Such a dinky oddity.

Today I worked on three different etching plates. One already has some hard ground bite on it but I wanted to take the impression from a piece of ribbon and etch that onto the plate. I don’t want you to think it’s all plain sailing so I’m letting you know I didn’t get the pressure right on the ‘impress’. I had to re-roll the soft ground three times (using the hob in the kitchen and a great big hunk of metal to diffuse the heat). Still don’t know that I’ve got it right but I’m 18 miles from the acid so I won’t know until tomorrow. Torture.

Who was it that said ‘It’s not what you plan, it’s how you react when your plan doesn’t quite come off that counts’? John Lennon said something similar. Never more true than in printmaking or DIY.

Loving it.

foolscap doodle

(2 plate etching with hard ground approx A4 in size.) Thank you Chloe and Howard for pushing me to make a second print on Somerset Satin white. It was so much better on the different substrate.