Go See … Harris Open 2011

I don’t know who these guys are but I had to give them a wider audience. The group forms one of the exhibits at the current Harris Open 2011 titled Preston Artists in the Preston “Caf” (Artist: Steph Matthews). I think they’re brilliant. I really enjoy going to this (was biannual, now annual) show. It’s very democratic, open to all Preston artists and selected works include the shit hot, and the downright quirky. It’s well organised, properly displayed, a real pleasure to visit and is free and open to the public until 14 January 2012. Go and see.

Gales, tornadoes and entropy

[Notes from 30 Nov] A day of gales and tornados – ‘like something I’ve never seen before … and then it just stopped,’ said a man in Stockport. I’m feeling mortal, which is why at 02.30 I’m still up, or at least awake and been watching a couple of videos of two Turner Prize nominees, sculptor Martin Boyce and painter, George Shaw. I’ve not looked at Boyce’s work before.

His inspiration was a set of concrete trees made by French Modernist sculptors Joel and Jan Martel for the 1925 Paris Exposition and a reference point for the installation. On the video Boyce explains his creative process – shows how he moves from concrete to repeating patterns – from fallen concrete leaves to found letterforms – the process is so organic, each individual piece so light and gentle. I love his ideas, love the way that art can communicate things that words, fiction, cannot.

I liked George Shaw too – he’s very down to earth, comes from Coventry (the Midlands qualifying IMO for the southern most boundary of ‘The North’). He paints places from his childhood – tries to get into the mindset of how he saw places as a child – and in others, tries to communicate how he feels about it now – he says it’s like time travel. One painting was of a pub which was the focus of family life when he was a child – another is of the same location after the pub was pulled down. All the things that happened – the celebrations, funerals, christenings – gone. A lot of his work is about the end of things. He accepts that things have to have an end, that we’re all crumbling, moving in that direction. He sees what he’s doing as ‘painting the journey out of his life’. I liked that – a bit like dancing off the stage and I love the idea of writing my journey out of my life – makes sense of entropy – and so very positive.

[Image: Martin Boyce ‘As Yet Untitled’, painted steel, fabric 2010 via Tanya Bonakdar]

About loose wiring …

Loose Wiring is a collaborative and experimental (very) short fiction and drawing project that I’m working on with artist Mark Clements. The first few posts are over on my my new blog (here) and he’ll be posting them on his blog too.

‘Aubrey! … who is this man …. and what’s he done to our wall?’

This is me, or rather this is Dot Seven, a new character in Ian Hewett’s free online web comic Destinauts. She’s named after my alter ego (@dotseven) on Twitter and it was a prize for spotting something on his website (I think, I can’t remember now, it was a while ago. Forgive me Ian). I love it. When I saw it for the first time, he warned, ‘she’s not what she appears to be …’. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she does next. Thanks again Ian, she looks brilliant.

Follow Ian Hewett on Twitter, @IanHewett. Check out Ian’s media blog, Dystopian Fuschia. Catch up with Destinauts here.

Image: © Ian Hewett.

Black and white

Sorting through an art folder this morning I found some charcoal drawings I did about ten years ago. This is one of them. Something I like about working in black and white is that without colour to identify or define objects, the drawing, though figurative, has the sort of ambiguity about it that I rather like in an artwork. I like this quality in fiction too.