Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Structure for the talk?

Hey everyone

Really great to see the questions coming through. It will give us something to talk about when we all meet up!

Regards the talk - yes, we should have some structure to it so it doesn't turn into a mess. i've invited a quite a few people - so if they all turn up we could have quite a big audience!

Any ideas for how to structure the talk?

Should we have someone chairing it? I didn't managed to contact anyone over reviewing it (partly short notice....A-n need a fair bit of notice to select a reviewer....and I've been dead busy) but I could try and contact someone who might want to join in the debate and chair it? maybe one of the reviewers you mentioned andrew?...someone from mancester who might be receptive to our concerns.

also, Sara the curator will be in the audience and ask some questions as well.

We'll obviously have lots to talk about, so we don't need to worry about that, it's just making sure it's kept on track. We should think about aims of the talk. what do we want to get out of it?

Sarah thought the issue of artists curating their own work (as opposed to just curators) was an interesting angle......

For me, it's about learning from other peoples approaches to making art. Sort of seeing if the issues I get wrapped up in and often get stuck with, are similar in other peoples practices, and therefore how do they deal with them....just an idea.


Question for Hamish

Sorry, a bit slow typing this up but I did tell you the question on the phone yesterday. So, for the benefit of everyone else my question is:

Does the place where you are from or where you live affect your artwork?

Question for Mr. Bracey

Andrew, I really enjoyed your work at the Halifax show, by the way. So I was thinking about your work, and it's sort of easier for me to talk about things like colour or material that come up in my own work. But one thing that I don't really consider often is scale. And I know you've worked with doing things on a really small scale. But I wonder about the decision making process, and in particular for the works you are making for this show. Are they a sort of direct reference to drawing on paper? And maybe you can talk about how the scale of items imposes (or doesn't) upon the space their in?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Question for Amelia

Does anything transcend language?
will say why i asked this on Monday.
i think we should talk about the talk event on Monday while installing, but we need some sort of rough structure of what we are to talk about i think or else the chances are it will be too messy.
really looking forward to seeing the work together

Question for Michael


Right, here goes. My question to you Michael is:

What draws you to working in moving image in comparison to still imagery?



Monday, 19 April 2010

Spelling it out or letting the mind wander

Hi Amelia,

Yes, you've got the idea!

I suppose I'm working with two things here, - the marks I take directly from the environment I'm in, and then the marks I create in response to that.

So far I've been layering my painted marks over the top of the drawn marks taken from the dock road. I've been aiming not to pay attention to the marks beneath (almost ignoring them in a way) so as to create a more genuine buzz between the painted parts and the drawn part underneath. In doing this I'm aiming to make a connection between the real world out there, and the abstract marks I create in the studio.

However, If I'm painting on top of something I'm bound to be influenced in some way by what's already on the paper. So I thought that If I'm wanting to make a connection between the two things, then maybe they don't have to be on top of each other at all. Instead I could show the 'real world' marks on separate sheets to my paintings.

It's still something I'm working through at the moment. It reminded me of a performance I did a few years ago in Munich where myself and another musician played improvised music in front of piece of film to do with roads and travel.

The set up for the performance we were playing to the side of the film and unable to see it. I thought this was a bad idea, as I felt the point was for us to respond to the shapes and images and colours coming through on the film.

However, our positioning actually strengthend the performance, as we could be left to our own devices and take inspiration from what's in our own minds at the time (and of we course we were thinking about the themes of the film anyway). But the fact that we couldn't see the film to respond didn't matter. The layering of the two things made independently of each other strengthend their interaction. We weren't compromising our playing and people could be left to find their own connections between the pieces - we didn't need to spell it out.

It also reminded me a of a comment Andrew made in my studio a few weeks back - that although in recent paintings I wasn't directly responding and trying to paint the environment of the docks, it was still in the 'ether'. It might sound a bit wooly or mystical, but it made a lot of
sense in what I'm doing in the studio.

Hope that answers your question Amelia. I feel it's to do with a certain editing process, about choosing when to spell it out and when to let people make up their own mind. It also links with the amount of detail that goes into specific pieces I'm working on - how representational do I need to be to be connected to a place I visited?


Hi Hamish,

Just realised there was a new post from you when I posted my last one. So, to respond to that, I'm not sure I totally understand your question. Are you talking about the difference between drawing on paper whilst you are out and about and then working on top of it vs. using these marks themselves as part of the work without going over on top of them but placing them with something else (ie more worked up paintings or the photos) to complete the work instead?

Sunday, 18 April 2010

It's all getting quite exciting now, seeing the work take shape. Hamish, I hope your paintings below make it in because I like them. Andrew, I can see links between what you posted initially and the sculptures taking shape - although as you say, not literal! I like the idea of them being a gesture in space.

I am thinking of printing out my text episodes on one big sheet of paper, perhaps putting a grid in the background and some lines linking the texts which might be suggestive of footpaths etc. To make people think of a map. I will be designing this tomorrow so fingers crossed it will work! Then next to this I will have some (2 or 3?) blocks of photographs of different landscapes. I'm not quite sure how these will be placed in relation to the texts yet.

My other question at the moment is, how are we going to structure the talk event? Do we just want to improvise, is someone going to chair it? Do we want to think about certain things in advance?

In the studio at the moment. I've been painting for most of the day, so I thought I'd take a break and write some things down.

I took a walk last week along the route where I rode my bike a few weeks before. I took lots more photos than when on my bike! The sun was out so there was good light for taking photos (still on my camera phone, though I kind of like the smallness of it).

Alongside taking photos of my surroundings, I also took a sketch book with me. I wanted to somehow transfer real marks on to the paper, from the environment I'm in. This way When I come to paint and draw on the sheets, there's already some life on them.

It's to do with reacting to something, and creating dynamism between the marks. I'm also interested in the idea of layers, and how connections are made between them. Like, do you have to have something actually on top of something to highlight connections/relationships or can these two things be separate, and their relationship will come through anyway?

I'm edging toward the later point, but will be interested to hear what you guys think about it.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Cue to fadeout

Very annoying, i have just written a post for this that disappeared into the ether.

Still the gist of it was that i am intrigued and excited for the Monday when we come together to install. I am looking forward especially to seeing Amelia's writings come into the gallery and how this will be, they are so evocative and uncanny, just the right side of the skewed if that makes sense.

i have put an image from the studio of what i am up to, hopefully a bit of an amalgamation of the influences i posted earlier, but hopefully not as you imagined either.

They will be less colourful outwardly when they are finished, more black so more akin to a drawn gesture which i how i seem them really. an architect's doodle, when he has gone off the path of where he should go and into territory of something more radical, before he is drawn back to something more usual or safe by restraints of planning laws/costs/annoyed neighbours etc. or maybe a design for the craziest monkey climbing frame at the zoo, or the new Serpentine pavilion or one in the boom of China, or............

the cinematic elements are interesting, will be good to talk about this on the install Monday.

cue to fadeout

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Where do I want to go today?

Hi Amelia!

Great to read more about your work. I'm interested in your experience of California, and how it became quite cinematic. I often think I intake lots of sights and experiences in a rather filmic way, like it's filtered down through watching films about such places.

I've been thinking about where i'd like to go on holiday later in the summer - America/California has popped up a lot! (though lately been replaced by Eastern Europe). When deciding where to go, my first reference point seemed to be films of some sort - like what films have I seen that have been set in that state? or that the experience I imagine I would have in a certain state/location is influenced by the films I've seen that have been filmed there.

Film definitely effects my experiences of things, both through the scenarios/plots/action that I can imagine being being played out in whatever environment I'm in...but also more in terms of how a space is dissected/analysed through framing and composition. I don't mean just the way I take photos of space, but more that the processes I go through when I'm in a certain environment relate to film making in someway.

Here's some images of recent work. I'm not sure if these exact pieces will go into the final show , but the ideas and methods that they contain will do. I'll post some more images soon.

Looking forward to our discussion in the space - I think we'll all have lots to talk about!

bye for now


Monday, 12 April 2010

'Place' texts

I must admit to having horribly neglected this project so far because I have been working on an exhibition that opens this Friday (see if you are interested. However today I have finally managed to sit down and write some texts for possible inclusion in the exhibition. Now what is floating around in my head is how I might present these. With/without images (and if 'with' what of!) or mapping kind of diagram and on 1 big or several small bits of paper....

How are you guys getting on?


The man at our B&B did the same walk as us, up Wansfell Pike. The next morning at breakfast he got out his map to trace the route, describing as he did so the landscape and the views he had enjoyed. Engrossed in re-living this experience he did not seem to register our interjections – explaining that we too had scrambled up the shorter route to the Pike's summit, looking down from the top at the panorama of Windermere and its surroundings.

The map was his guide. I could imagine him stopping to rest leaning on a gate-post and checking his course. Now its lines and markers were an aide to memory. We – mere amateurs – had followed the narrative of a popular walker's guide from the tourist information centre. When we stopped it was to match a description or illustration of a flat topped peak with an actual fell-top, or a picture of a stile with one within our sights. We stayed on course by recognising the actual landscape in the visual and verbal descriptions the guide provided.

Our walk included another kind of recognition too. Things had been feeling rather familiar for a while and, when we walked a distinctive path between two dry stone walls, I realised this was the same walk we'd done two years previously – popular enough to be reproduced in several walking guides. We did not, however, tell this to the man enjoying his breakfast reverie in case of spoiling his sense of a unique experience of the landscape.


Recently I returned to a part of the city where I lived several years ago. Standing opposite a pub on the corner of my old street I saw that it was built in a mock Tudor style. Though it is a pub I have been in several times, and its styling stands out from the surrounding terraces, I had no memory of having noticed this before. I wondered, was its appearance something I had forgotten or had I never really looked at it properly?

This feeling of uncertainty was akin to noticing the space left by a demolished building and being unable to remember what has been there. It reminded me too of my discomfort at being asked for directions to a place I know very well, yet cannot clearly describe. Attempting to draw a map from 'here' to 'there,' I realise I don't know how many streets or buildings are placed on the route, or even exactly what direction 'there' is.


When I first discovered Google Earth I looked at an ariel view of where I live now, followed by locations where I have lived in the past. Only then did I consider that it may be more interesting to look at unfamiliar places – to learn what they are like. This, I suspect, is typical. Google Earth provides a technologically more sophisticated version of the photographs of 'your house' taken from a helicopter that I remember door-to-door salesmen peddling when I was a child.

One thing that struck me when looking at my childhood hometown from above was that I had never really considered what was outside my territory. Beyond our street on one side was the recreation ground and a known road route. The other side, I could see now, were a few more houses and then fields. With no paths or roads to take me there, this was an area I did not know.


Once I decided to walk home, following the 4 mile route I usually take by bus. The first part of my journey did not seem unusual – taking a path that I used to walk daily when I lived nearer the City centre. However on reaching Elland Road the experience became somewhat disconcerting. Accustomed to seeing this route from the top deck of the bus, the speed and scale of the place was all wrong. The distance between my familiar reference points (typically buildings or street furniture placed next to bus stops or traffic lights) seemed immense. I felt dwarfed by billboards and the semi-industrial units which I usually looked at directly or peered down upon.

The experience recalled a trip to southern California when, driving south from LAX to Santa Barbara, I noticed firstly the scale of the place. Although the landscape was strange to me it was at once familiar from images I had seen in films. However the experience was cinematic not just because of prior filmic representations but also because the scale of the roads and buildings and the speed at which we traversed them.


One of the 'X-Factor' contestants in 2009 – a previous loser on 'Popstars: The Rivals' – sustained a career singing in working men's clubs. A film segment profiling this contestant included a cutaway shot of a building which looked familiar. I was at first uncertain but a second viewing confirmed this was a working men's club local to my house. I walk past it on my journeys to and from the town centre, yet here it appeared isolated from its context and viewed from a direct, unfamiliar angle.

There is a strange fascination involved in spotting places that you know on TV, whether random or anticipated. The series 'Midsommer Murders,' is filmed in the area where I grew up. Though I am not interested in the programme, I enjoy watching episodes to 'location spot.' The pursuit is complicated by the fact that within fiction places not really adjacent to each other can be collapsed. A character walks down the Buttermarket in Thame and emerges in a place I do not know.

The satisfaction involved in seeing places you know on TV seems unconcerned by context. In 2005 one of the London bombers had lived a few of streets up from my house in Beeston. I was fixated by the news footage of policeman standing outside a cordoned off house that I could have walked to in 3 or 4 minutes.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Landscape connections

Hi All, 

I got back from my trip to London on Saturday, and saw some good exhibitions. The one that stuck out the most was Arshile Gorky at Tate Modern. I'd been looking forward to this for a long time.

Gorky's relationship to the landscape was something that came through in the exhibition - though not in a overly representational way. 

At the beginning of the exhibition he was painting big abstract works, with the influence of cubism running through them. He really piled on the paint, resulting in thick canvases, with ridges and crevasses helping to define the thick lines of the forms. They looked really heavy and hard won canvases, with lots of layering going on. 

Halfway through the exhibition, there were a series of pen, ink and wax coloured drawings - all titled 'Virginia Landscape'. This is where the show really came alive, as his lines and colours were able to interact freely across the paper.

He made these works in the countryside in Virginia. I really took something from this, as he was inspired and spurred on to create new and freer works in response to these new surroundings - but not in a a representational manner. It's more the simple fact of being in this new environment that then gave him the impetus and energy to create new work.  

I took heart that these abstract paintings with all manner of marks, shapes and formations in them, could  still be rooted in the real world around him.