First off, a big huge thank you to York Contemporary Art Walk! Art walks are always fun, informative and inspiring, if you have a regular one in your town I would recommend joining in!
Lead by Jennifer Alexander, Assistant Curator at York Art Gallery, the October installment of York's Art Walk began at St Mary's with the Bruce Nauman exhibition. Made possible by Artist Rooms touring work of several influential contemporary artists collected by Anthony d'Offay across the UK, the exhibition presents an eclectic mix of Nauman's art spanning three decades of his career. The work on show includes his neon, videos, sculptures and installations all given alternate context being installed in a church turned art gallery.
Since the closure of York Art Gallery for refurbishment in 2012 (due to re-open in 2015) St Mary's has been thrust into the front line of Art in York. Whilst full of commercial galleries, there are few (If any other) free art galleries to explore in York.
Also on the art walk agenda was the pop up gallery that had sprung up in Amnesty For Books on Goodramgate and curated by students from York College. Working with the York Museums Trust they set out to create a response to the Nauman exhibition and featured the talents of practicing artists Poppy Whatmore, Yvonne Carmichael, Bonnie Powell and Charlotte Salt as well as St Mary's home grown artists Chris House and Hannah Savage.
The exhibition itself had an interesting range of work crossing mediums from sculpture and print to performance and installation. There was definitely a Nauman-like aura to it, much of the work allowing the viewer to discern their own meaning from it.
The art walk then led us nicely onto the Spark commissions for Illuminating York, in particular Ritchard Allaway's Experiential Consumption. Allaway's installed florescent tube lighting strategically placed in and around the tree in Duncombe Place Memorial Gardens. He addressed the commission's theme for this year, "Tree of Life", rather splendidly. Utilising light, colour and mirror he illustrated Nidhug the dragon feasting on the third root of Yggdrasill and consuming any and all life that crosses his path.
After the art walk I got the chance to explore the rest of Illuminating York. This is where the night got very exciting!
Similar to Allaway's installation was Thor's Oak: A York Thing by Same Sky that was situated on Parliament Street. Not part of the Spark commission but a supporting piece, Thor's Oak is a sculpted oak tree infusing traditional willow work with high-tech active lighting. This piece drew upon the 'Thing'; the Thing was an early form of Viking parliament, this making use of York's rich Viking heritage and possibly hinting towards its history with Guy Fawkes and the British parliament.
Hoping back on the Spark trail, another thoroughly enjoyable piece was by Viaperfomance in the Treasurer's House gardens. Sunset Dance - Small Gods was an up close experience to see into the world of the lesser Viking Gods.
Viapeformance area contemporary theatre company based in York and run by Kiran Tanna and Rich Wade. Their work is focused on sound, moment and dance. The performance itself was an exotic portrayal of Asgard, the world of the Viking Gods. It certainly was combination of sound, movement and proximity creating quite the phantasmal atmosphere. Sunset Dance - Small Gods sounds as though it was a firm favourite, boasting audiences of 10,000 over the entire festival.
Highlight of the festival was one of the main projections, The Storyteller, a narrative film and animation depicting the tale of Eric Bloodaxe - a great Viking king - projected onto the front of the York Museum. The film seemed to last only 10 minutes and although I was expecting something longer, what was shown in that time was truly amazing. Seeing such a fantastic projection up close was the best of Illuminating York I have ever seen! Created by Immersive, who have worked on the 2012 London Olympics and on live shows with bands such as The Script, collaborating with Gaia Nova. The only bad thing about it was all the tall people that seemed to insist on standing in front of me.
Illuminating York is one of the best annual festival the city hosts and seems to improve every year. I am already excited to see how they can better themselves for 2014!
Hyperspace is Pavilion's current exhibition housed at the Majestic and features the work of Melvin Moti; a film entitled The Eightfold Dot, which I shall get to in a moment. First I would like to talk about the space itself.
The opening of interesting abandoned spaces is certainly something to be celebrated and the Majestic would certainly come to the top of a list of them. I am yet to meet someone in the area who hasn't been to or at least heard of in a brief history of the Majestic -
the building is located around the site of the Eyebright Well, a medieval chalybeate spring known for it healing waters said to cure ailments of the eyes. This led to it becoming a bathhouse around 1819.
How fitting that almost 100 years later in 1922 the site should open as the Majestic cinema! Other incarnations have been a dance hall, a bingo hall and most recently a nightclub up until closure about 8 years ago.
This is where Pavilion comes in.
And now for the art!...
Melvin Moti is a Dutch artist who is greatly interested in how optical instruments (t'eyes to Yorkshire folk) create images based on light and without light, demonstrated in his 2008 work Prisoner's Cinema. Pavilion certainly knows how to match artist to exhibition space!
For Hyperspace he has produced a silent artist film shot on 35mm film called The Eightfold Dot, based on E. A Abbot's Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions. Moti's non-linear narrative beautifully portrays a dot, line, square, cube and hypercube using crystals to give an interpretation of the fourth dimension.
The film is somewhat hypnotic and relaxing, giving a welcome contrast from the hustle and bustle of the city centre outside. The Eightfold Dot utilizes colour and texture which seems richer when projected in 35mm and feels more alive.
This experience has been emphasized by it being screened in a low lit and quiet space allowing you to truly relax and appreciate it. Definitely something not to be missed!
Hyperspace is open Wednesday to Saturday, 12pm until 6pm running until 20th December with several other events surrounding it not to be missed!
As it is Halloween I thought I could do a related post here. I do love Halloween and to honor the occasion I would like to share my favourite Frankenstein movie with you.
I hate CGI! Sure it looks really cool, but I must admit I prefer an old school lovingly hand crafted film. I love seeing all the physical special effects done in front of the camera and that is why my favourite Frankenstein movie is the original silent film made in 1910, produced by Thomas Edison!
It was the first of many adaptations of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and is, in my opinion, certainly the best.
It may look very tame compared to what we are used to now, but in 1910 cinema was still very young and there was hardly such a thing as a horror movie. When you think of it in its original time this film was the height of special effects and was likely the scariest and most shocking thing an audience would have seen!
Along with Georges Méliès, Thomas Edison not only pioneered cinema, but helped birth the Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror genre into film.
Scenery is an exhibition showcasing the work of eight Scandinavian artists.
The title acts more of a base from which to interpret the art rather than as a theme to correlate the show, I say this as the works feel too broad to fit under one heading as such.
The artist films and sound installation could be seen (and heard) to take this on in quite a literal sense, I found it difficult to look beyond this immediacy for these pieces. Unfortunately I overlooked the two works titled Untitled, but this may just have been my hatred of any work named Untitled from being an art graduate.
Amalie Jaskobsen's Delights was similar to the films as it could be seen to quite literally take on the notion of scenery. It could be seem from the large feature window which gave it a very theatrical atmosphere. (I hasten to add that this is not a negative comment, I am very much an advocate of theatricality in contemporary art!)
Along with Jakobsen's work, I also enjoyed Tomas Egde Scherer's Sculpture (Unpainted House). The mystery of it intrigued me, is the little house in the projected video actually in the little Perspex box? This piece could too be taken literally, one part of the work setting the scene for the other and vice versa.
I found the simplicity of implications from both pieces refreshing as they seemed less encumbered by over-conceptualization than some of the other work and not as plain as the artist films.
Scenery runs until 30th November at &Model
After recently reading Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber I have decided to blog about it. (Is blog the right term? I’m still not quite up to speed with all that yet, so bare with me!)
For those who don’t know, Angela Carter was one of the foremost fairytale revisionists and British author responsible for novels such as The Magic Toyshop and Nights at the Circus, and short fiction works such as Fireworks and The Bloody Chamber. Heavily linked with feminism Carter has been quoted saying that it was not her intention was not to do ‘versions’ of fairytales, but “to extract latent content from the traditional stories and to use it as the beginning of new stories”.
Which means this sort of book is right up my street!
As this was my first experience of Angela Carter’s work I was very excited to see what could be in store in her envisioned Red Riding Hoods, Beauty and the Beast and Bluebeard.
The title story (and possibly the largest in the book) The Bloody Chamber I found to be quite enthralling, based on a variation on the tale of Bluebeard by Charles Perrault, and captured my imagination from the start. Her attention to detail allowed me to imagine the entire of the scene she was setting and while this could sometimes become overpowering and a slight detraction from the story, without it I doubt I would have followed the escapism into Carter’s world.
By far my favourite story in this book was The Werewolf. As one of the shorter gathered (just 3 pages in length!) it seems to hold a ‘no nonsense’ approach to the sweet tale we know and love, depicting the story in the briefest way and with the bluntest ending. I love the contrast this brings to her other rather elaborately spun stories.
I plan for this to be by no means the end of my experience of Angela Carter, this book was one of the most enjoyable I had read in a long while and the rest of her literary works are solidly on my reading list.
COLLABORATOR WANTED - MUSICIAN
I am trying to get my film shown at various short film nights, but I have hit a small snag in the plan: Silent films just aren't popular anymore (Who'da thunk it, eh?)
I have become rather enamored with the idea of live musical accompaniment as they had in the good ol' days when silent flicks were all the rage (Can you see where I am going with this yet?...)
I am looking for a musician who might be willing to compose and play some form of live soundtrack along side it when screened. I believe it would be great fun and a fantastic opportunity for some of you musically minded folks.
If you are/know someone who might be interested then let me know. You can drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmOKuYeSGSs (Link to the film on Youtube)
So, Friday 4th October was that time of year again. Light Night here in Leeds and it's always great to see!
There were lots of arty things to see and many performers with this years theme of Circus.
Personal highlights for me though were Drum Machine performing in Briggate, The Narnia Experience taster, Another performance of Harold Offeh's Pinatopia and what appeared to be the main attraction for many people Momentous, the projection onto the Civic Hall.
Light Night was such fun and I can't wait to see what happens next year!
Apologies for the radio silence! I do plan to use this more!
On 29th September I got to help out at the Mermaid Gala at Bramley Baths Open Day. It was Immense fun getting to see Yorkshire Life Aquatic perform their beautiful synchronized swimming routines and a great first time to see the baths.
My only regret is not being able to swim to join in with the fun!
The mermaids performed with such elegance, they could very well have passed for real mermaids! Although some of the children questioned their authenticity... "How can she be a mermaid without a tail??". However my personal quote of the day came from a small boy crying "I DON'T WANT TO BE A MERMAID!! PLEASE DON'T TURN ME INTO A MERMAID!!"
On 27th March I co-hosted the monthly night at Enjoy Artspace called Artists Anonymous with a friend and fellow artist Bess Martin. We are regulars at the night and were approched by the organisers Natasha Glew and Kayleigh Morris to guest host it for March. Naturally we jumped at the chance!
Our line up consisted of:
Jane Earnshaw talking about I Love West Leeds Festival.
Scott D'arcy, a fellow Vantage Art Prize shortlister, talking about his practice.
Bruce Rimell, a visionary artists talking about his practice and his Indie go-go campaign.
Woolgather Arts, talking about their practice as a collective and about their new ArtVend project.
It was a very interesting night and we were excited to hear all of the speakers talk about their works and practices and events. despite the Northern Art Prize 2013 being held on the same night, we had an excellent turn out, a big thank you to those who turned up and braved the cold!
We look forward to seeing who hosts and speaks at the next one in April!
On sunday 17th March I went along to a performance collaberation by artist Harold Offeh and a group of young producers known as The Follies Of Youth, hosted by the visual arts organisation Pavilion.
The performance entitled Pinatopia took place at the in the gardens of 18th century historic house of Temple Newsam, the audience were led on a procession through the grounds with short stops at certain places where the performers would act out their choreographed routines and at one point present the audience with a pineapple!
Pinatopia was based on the pineapple being an 18th century status symbol. If you were growing pineapples in your hot houses, then you had money and power.
The performance also engaged with the folly on the grounds of Temple Newsam as part of the Mount Folly project, initaiting a rave-like situation on the steps of said folly.
Thoroughly enjoyable and educational, I can safely say that this was one of the best performances I have seen in a while!
Pavilion's page for the project: http://www.pavilion.org.uk/project.php?pid=148
You are invited to attend and participate in a performance for the Vantage Art Prize 2013 titled ‘Bedtime Story’.
What I ask of you is simple, to bring some form of reading material to the event and to read said material to me as a bedtime story. This reading material can be anything you wish and you will be given a 5-minute slot in which to read it. This performance will last the event until the prize winner is announced.
(There will be a selection of things to read available for those who are forgetful and don’t bring anything!)
I have been shortlisted for my first art prize! Hopefully the first of many to come.
Vantage Art Prize 2013 is based in Leeds and will have its exhibition of the shortlisted artists (see here for the full list) on Thursday 21st February 2013 at Ellington House on Leeds Valley Park.
Rather excited for this as it is set to be a real clash of the titans! Some big names of the Leeds art scene have been shortlisted and some big names on the judging panel. It will be an honour to exhibit along side some of the best artists that Leeds and indeed Yorkshire has to offer.
More information of what I will be exhibiting to come very soon so keep an eye out!
I have finally decided to start this blog/news feed to try and keep everyone up to date on my arty (mostly arty) comings and goings. Hopefully you will be just as interested in the thing that I post as I will be, stay tuned for news of exiting artistic adventures!
Here is where I write about art and about life.