Although my work is often described as having a painterly quality, I have long had the desire to be able to emphasise this aspect through more hand-crafted printing techniques rather than through digital manipulation. With this in mind I have just finished a short 5 week course at Spike Print Studio in Bristol with Master printer Martyn Grimmer. This course focussed on Cyanotype and Gum Bichromate tri-colour printing.
Using digital negatives printed onto film and a UV light box, images are built up layer by layer by repeatedly exposing the same piece of paper covered with a) Cyanotype chemicals for the blue layer and b) a combination of Gum Arabic and Dichromate for the Yellow, Magenta & Black layers. With washing and drying the paper between applications it’s quite a slow and complicated process, requiring some patience! With time permitting colours can be repeated and new ones introduced.
Here are the results:
After doing a number of residencies over the past few years and having recently bought a caravan, it seemed like the time was right to curate my own residencies i.e. to spend time in an area of my choosing at a time that suited me; to immerse myself in this location and to think about making new work. My first trip in October 2018 took me to the village of Llanvetherine, 10 miles from Abergavenny on the edge of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales.
To focus on my artwork for a week, to explore, to walk, to photograph, to film
To re-energise my creativity
To be in and re-connect with Wales. Llanvetherine is about 20 miles from Ystrad Mynach where I come from and the same distance from Newport where my family lived in the late 1960’s.
Borders – I was keen to explore the border between Wales and England and photograph any visual evidence of there being such a divide. This was as much about me as the actual landscape, having come from Wales but spending most of my life in England. I did walk some of Offa’s Dyke and the Three Castles (White, Grosmont and Skenfrith) built by the Normans soon after the invasion of 1066. I discovered the border ran along parts of the River Monnow and photographed both sides.
As ever it is the location where I stay and explore daily where I ultimately find inspiration. My time in Llanvetherine was no different. In this case it was an orchard in the grounds where I was staying. The Orchard needed some care and attention, but seemed to perfectly reflect the time of year, the Autumn light and colours of the apples and trees combining to hint at the perfect summer now faded and gone. I spent time in the space reflecting, and felt like injecting some my energy, so decided to play. Here’s the result:
Elsewhere is here : Anderswo ist hier is the first exhibition to come out of the artist exchange between artists from Hannover and Bristol; the background to which I’ve written about here. Whilst aiming to challenge the assumption that engagements with others needn’t grow evermore distant, the project aims for a playful yet critical reflection on current times. In response to the cultural and artistic exchange around place, proximity, self and other 10 artists from the two cities present new work at the Turba Gallery in Linden, Hannover.
Alec Stevens (Sculpter) – https://www.alecstevens.co.uk
Catherine Knight (Painter) – http://www.catherineknight.com
Robert Luzar (Site-specific performance) – http://www.robertluzar.com
Ruth Piper (Painter/Curator) – http://ruthpiper.com
David Morgan-Davies (lens-based) – http://davemd.co.uk
Based at the Turba Gallery in the Linden district of Hannover
Conrad Veit(Film/Video installation)
Jean Sikiaridis (Performance / installation)
Marlene Bart (Print-Graphic scientific illustration)
Sven-Julien Kanclerski (Physical structures/installation)
Rui Zhang (Painter)
I’m currently working with a group of artists from BV studios (Alec Stevens, Catherine Knight, Robert Luzar and Ruth Piper) on an exciting artist exchange project with a group of artists from Hanover in Germany. The exchange marks the legacy of the 70th anniversary of the twinning between the cities of Bristol and Hannover. It was initiated by Alix Hughes, Bristol’s International Twinnings Officer and is supported by Bristol Hannover Council
The exchange will be the first of its kind during the 70 years of twinning between the two cities. In the current political climate we feel that now, more than ever, we need to celebrate the spirit of reconciliation; the links between the two cities and build connections for the future. During the course of 2018/19 the Bristol artists will make a trip to Hanover with the artists from Hanover making a reciprocal trip to Bristol. All artists involved will make new work to be exhibited at an exhibition in each city at the end of their respect visits.
Our working title for the project and both exhibitions is ‘Elsewhere is here : Anderswo is hier’, which will present a cultural and artistic exchange around place, proximity, self and other. The German “Anderswo is hier” and English “Elsewhere is here” act as loosely translated points of departure that respond to the European cultural legacy of Twinning – a programme encouraging certain cooperations and ongoing reconciliations between partner countries. This project focuses both on new and existing works (sculpture, performance, painting, photography and drawing) made in the artist’s home cities as well as work made during the artist exchange residencies. The works will engage with concepts and mediums such as landscape through photography and painting, space and identity using sculpture and installation, and events happening through performances and drawings made using internet streaming and video.
Watch this space..
‘Reflector’ – a framed print from Short Stories.
Selling work is a necessity. Obviously money is important but so is the satisfaction of knowing people enjoy living with your work on their wall. Having sold through galleries, exhibitions & open studios I thought it was time I sold through my website.
My recent short stories print editions seemed like the perfect editions to start with. This is due to the print size being smaller than most of my work (50cm x 40cm) which means postage is straightforward and inexpensive. Plus the beautiful archival pigment prints produced by the Fine Art Print Company are very good value for money!
So, on-line sales here we go. Please visit my Prints Page, and email me if you have any questions or issues.
I’ve been working on series of print editions entitled short stories. The series will consist of single prints that represent larger bodies of work and in general haven’t been seen before. The first six archival pigment prints (50cm x 40cm) have been printed by the Fine Art Print Company on 300gsm fine art stock. These first six prints are available to buy for £85 + postage. Please email for further information.
The Mothership residency is based on an organic farm in Dorset. It provides the opportunity for contemporary artists working in any media seeking a secluded retreat and potential collaboration. The residency explores the themes of climate/weather, rural/social/political issues, land/agriculture, and is run by artist Anna Best Mothership web.
My ideas leading up to my Mothership residency were based around Daylight Saving Time and the ‘loss’ of an hour on October 30th. I had some pretty firm ideas of what I wanted to do. I was interested in what happened during this lost hour, and thinking about work that was time based rather than site-specific.
Once at the Mothership my ideas evolved as I decided to follow a more relaxed approach, an approach that allowed an element of play. Although still immersed in the concept of time I decided to follow my instincts rather than a pre-determined path. Consequently the work evolved to become much more site-specific.
In the end the three pieces of work I started and continued to make months afterwards are pretty dark, heavily centered on Autumn exploring the feeling of losing the light and maybe life itself.
Almost the first thing that happened when I arrived at the Mothership was finding a dead pheasant that Curly the dog had just killed. This was quite a shock and injected a dose of reality into an early conversation with my host Anna. This episode pushed my thoughts from autumn and darkness towards death! I collected some feathers and with a found object made a dream-catcher like pendulum that is the focus of the film loop.
Fall, leaves, Fall (Intervention)
The Mothership is surrounded by Woodland. These generate large amounts of timber; found stacked at various points around Copse Barn. The process of woodland management has interested me for many years, specifically since a 2011 residency ‘Rural Idyll’ in Suffolk. A particular aspect is the marking of trees for felling and the use of fluorescent spot marking spray. Numbers and lines are often found, but never letters and certainly not words. ‘Fall, leaves, fall’ aims to correct this by marking a timber stack with the first three lines of the poem Fall, leaves, fall by Emily Brontë
Fall, leaves, fall; die flowers away
Lengthen night and shorten day
Every leaf speaks bliss to me.
I transcribed the first three lines of the poem onto a stack of timber next to the Mothership allotment. The marking spray is not the easiest to use, and even though some of the letters are difficult to read I decided to just go with it and enjoy the process.
Forest Floor(Moving image)
I brought some solar powered garden lights with me to the Mothership, thinking I might make a piece of work with them. I was interested in way solar uses energy from the previous daylight hours to illuminate the darkness today. The rope swings hanging from the giant oak tree opposite the studio grabbed my attention. Their pendulum like motion akin to workings of a grandfather clock.
Although the use of solar lighting proved impractical I persevered with using a combination of torches and the rhythm’s rope swings created to illuminate the woodland floor. My work has always between as much about what you can’t see as much as you what you can see. Forest Floor plays with this idea, by revealing and then hiding the vegetation of the woodland floor, forcing your mind fill in the gaps.
Mothership residency Oct/Nov 2016
The EU Referendum and particularly the Brexit/Leave campaign is making me very angry. I am Welsh, British and European and feel proud of being all three. I passionately believe the UK needs to remain in the EU and am very scared by what will happen if we leave. I do not want to live in a little England closed off to other countries and cultures. I want to live in a forward thinking, multi-cultural country that cares about it’s people and it’s environment.
I have been thinking about what I can do to show my support for the Remain campaign. As an artist,other than talking to people, all I can do is to continue to make work that I’m passionate about. So I’ve been looking at the EU flag: it features a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background. They stand for the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe. Coincidentally in reference to EU funding (European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); European Social Fund (ESF)) the UK is split into twelve regions. The work I intend to make will focus on these regions.
The first piece ‘Star Shaped Holes #5’ I’ve made focusses on the North West. It uses an image I made with my fathers Medium Format film camera in the Lake District; a quintessentially English landscape:
If you take away the stars then you lose your way..
utopia:dystopia is an ambitious series of exhibitions and events curated by Geoff Dunlop and Sophie Erin for Fringe Arts Bath during 2016. This creative initiative is inspired by the 500th anniversary of the publication of Utopia, Thomas More’s reflections on the idea of an ideal society. Since 1516, the year of Utopia’s release, the world has witnessed countless attempts to establish a perfectly ordered community, in reality as well as in print. Yet the frequent outcome of such ambitions has been the decay of Utopia into Dystopia. From no-place to bad-place. In modern times the two concepts seem inseparable.
I will be showing pieces from a new body of work ‘Cofio | Remember’. The work pays homage to the rallying cry of Welsh nationalism ‘Cofio Tryweryn’. This remembers the flooding of Twyweryn valley in 1965 to create a reservoir to provide water for the city of Liverpool.
Walking under electricity pylons in the Severn Estuary during a very foggy Autumn day, at times you could see no more than twenty metres in front of you. You could however hear the buzz of electricity. ‘Cofio | Remember’ re-imagines the purpose of the pylons, in that they are not in fact carrying electricity but instead transporting light, i.e. away from the area to somewhere else. It imagines a dystopian future when a communities light is taken from one area to provide light for another. With water becoming the new oil, whose to say light might not become the new water?
28 May until 12 June (10am – 6pm)
Walcot Gate, off Walcot Street
Bath BA1 5UG
I’m very happy to been showing a short film as part of the Of the Sea exhibition at the Historic Dockyard Chatham in Kent. The show contains lens based media, sculpture and performance art responding to the ‘freedom of the seas’ principle, which covers powerful topics such as conflict, ecology, territory, migration, piracy, border disputes and the ebb and flow of oceans.
My film ‘The Crossing’ is taken from a body of work made during a residency on Cape Cornwall in March 2013. The residency explored the relationship between the land, sea and sky, specifically the transitions between those elements. In ‘The Crossing’ the sea, horizon and sky have merged into one powerful mass.
The boat is almost lost, but not quite. Seemingly against the odds it makes headway. Quietly and steadily it traverses our field of vision, then starts all over again, it never tires. The film is about human endeavour; to battle with and harness the power of the sea. It slows the viewer down to the pace that the sea demands and requires he/she to see rather than look.
Of the Sea
5th May 5-9pm (Private view)
6 May until 24 July (daily)
The Historic Dockyard
Kent ME4 4TE
Artists Aksel Haagensen, Anoushka Haviden, Bruce Asbestos , Chris Alton , Daniela Zahlner, David Morgan-Davies, Fiona Townend, George Eksts , Greta Hauer, Guo – Liang Tan , Helen Barff , Jane Pitt , Jessica Ackerman , Kathleen Herbert , Louise Long, Lucy Andrews , Matt Gee , Rachel Thomson , Steph Goodger , Stephanie Grainger , Tamara Van San , Tom Davies, Jessica Sarah Rinland , Hania Ferrel, Magnus Maarbjerg, Matthew Krishanu , Sidonie Robert and Sonia Levy.
Selected by Adam Chodzko, Hannah Conroy, Kathleen Palmer, Victoria Pomery and Nicole Mollett