This week’s free art drop emerged while reflecting on a hectic week of (just) meeting deadlines. It’s a postscript to a small body of work I completed earlier in the week, which I will write more about in the next few days.
Gold Against The Soul is a small abstract, made with gold leaf, and overlaid with silver paint, spread onto the leaf using an out of date Tate Modern membership card. Gold leaf is a very fiddly medium to work with, and one thing I enjoy about it once applied, is how the surface responds to different light sources. Here are a few photos of the work, shown indoors and outdoors, and in partial shade too.
If you live in the Wallington/Carshalton area, keep an eye out for this piece over the weekend.
Question. How do you distil 2,600 artistic submissions down to a final list of just 22?
Answer. With love, care, and attention.
The London Open is a triennial exhibition with over 80 years of history, taking place at The Whitechapel Gallery. The selected artists, all 22 of whom are working in London, are engaging with topical concerns including the environment, urban changes, technology, representation of race and gender, human relations, and activism. The art forms are varied, from painting through video, sound, sculpture, and performance.
As with any open exhibition, flow can be an issue, but the way the submission invitation to The London Open 2018 had been themed around some of the topics listed above, I felt the level of artistic dissonance on display provided useful contrast, rather than just noise.
There is much to enjoy in the exhibition. I’m often drawn to art which contains a sense of geometry, and there is plenty of that on offer here. The small intricately painted panels by Gary Colclough, which are enhanced with unusually designed, extended frames, are particularly beautiful.
As an older white man (currently 52) trying to understand how to be a better dad, husband, and person, I was particularly moved by the works of Rachel Ara and Andrea Luka Zimmerman. Both artists are exploring relationships and power dynamics. Rachel Ara’s work, titled ‘This Much I’m Worth (The self-evaluating artwork) displays its own value, calculated from a series of algorithms that reflect things such as age, gender, sexuality, race and provenance.
Andrea Luka Zimmernan’s work is a whole room occupied on one wall by a powerful film tracing activism in Newcastle, complemented by a series of posters and other works, including a feminism board game you can sit down and play. There are stories attached to all the pieces of this activism puzzle, I enjoyed listening to Andrea talk about this assembled work, including this flag. made by women at Greenham Common. Apparently, the makers sought and obtained a high court agreement to fly the flag upside down. The contents of this room are very moving, I was able to spend a minute or two in this space alone and the experience brought me to tears.
I got lost for a while in the beauty of Hannah Brown’s work which depicts the English landscape and the tension between town and country.
I spent about two hours wandering about the whole show, and while I’ve shared a few personal highlights here, I get the sense there’s something for everyone at this ambitious, enjoyable, and challenging exhibition.
Earlier this year, along with thousands of others, I submitted an entry to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Yesterday, March 15th 2018, this happened:
I’m disappointed by the decision. I wouldn’t have submitted the work if I didn’t think it was worthy of inclusion, and it isn’t, and that’s OK. I’m pushing my artistic practice pretty hard right now – making more works live in front of audiences, making larger works, experimenting. To some extent, the goal of submitting to the RA is part of what drives me on. The Gathering remains a piece I am proud of – it was exciting to make, and having it freed up by the RA means I can now offer it elsewhere. This rejection is just another step on the adventure. Congratulations to Anne McCrossan, a lovely friend who did make the short list, I’m delighted for you.
Yesterday morning, I dropped ‘Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Again’ off at the London headquarters of AECOM, where it will be on display until the end of April.
You can read the background to this piece here, and hopefully you’ll see why this is a great place for this art work to reside for a while. The timing of this particular art drop was a great antidote to the letter I received earlier. Thank you to the people at AECOM who are making this possible.
Not Giving Up
Last night I played at the Project B open mic, hosted by Chloe Ray. I first met Chloe a little over a year ago when we collaborated on a joint art/music project called ‘Not Giving Up’. Not Giving Up is the title of the fourth track on Chloe’s Reprise EP, and it’s the title of this artwork, made to celebrate the 50th consecutive week of the free art project.
Serendipitously, Chloe performed Not Giving Up last night, what a joy it was to hear that song, and reflect on a day of rejection and acceptance. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do.