Tag Archives: edgescapes

six abstract painters : an exhibition

Saturday 28 May 2011

this is a small exhibition that i am currently showing some new paintings in, and as the title conveys, it features the work of six abstract painters, all with connections to east anglia. the artists are geraldine carratu, anthea eames, mari french, jazz green (that’s me!), joan hickson and john midgley. it opens today (saturday 28 may 2011) at the halesworth gallery, in the heart of rural suffolk…

i took these photographs of my paintings in the gallery on the day of the hanging. all went very smoothly, much helped by the assistance of jan & alan (and some tea & biscuits!). as any artist will tell you, transporting art & installing art exhibitions can be a tiring and sometimes stressful affair…

the halesworth gallery is wonderful space in which to show one’s work, as it has an honesty, simplicity & serenity that i find very appealing. it is not the white cube of a gallery space desired of most contemporary artists, but having recently exhibited in a 16th century church, the cellar of a medieval merchant’s house and two listed barns, halesworth gallery’s own period charm & modest character feels to be a ‘right’ context for my particular work (born as it is from the surrounding countryside), and i am very pleased to have been selected to exhibit here in 2011…

six abstract painters - an exhibition - halesworth art gallery, suffolk

this is the view of my art as you enter the third room of the gallery. my paintings are hung along the church-side wall (the gallery is directly opposite st mary’s church – i discovered some interesting lichens in the graveyard). note the ceiling with its old oak beams and the impressive inglenook fireplace – when i learnt that one could hang artwork in the fireplaces my red edgescape painting ‘rost‘ simply shouted to be included in this show. the floor (covered by some matting, under which i presume to be the original oak floorboards) has a gracefully uneven character about it too…

six abstract painters - an exhibition - halesworth art gallery

here are three of my abstract farmscape paintings from 2010, and this is their first public exhibition. i wondered if they might look a little too dark, cold or austere in this room as they are quite muted & monochromatic, but actually the light in the space seems to bring out the subtlety of colours and surface textures…

six abstract painters - art exhibition - halesworth gallery

this is looking back along the long expanse of white wall (it’s about 7 metres, with a casement window in the centre – this photograph is a bit washed-out), with the three farmscape paintings at the far end, another large edgescape painting, this one is called fenn, and then three canvases making their small entrance from the right…

six abstract painters exhibition - halesworth art gallery

the large abstract painting  fenn once again and six small works seen to the right, which leads around to the second fireplace in this room… i wanted quite a lot of whitespace around the painting fenn, but the green hue is subtly reflected in both farmscape II to the left and the three small abstract canvases situated on the right…

six abstract painters - jazz green - art exhibition - halesworth gallery

these are three new canvases from my ongoing travelling ‘iCons‘ series, wildwood I, II and III. i kind of broke my self-imposed rules of the iCons by giving all three abstract canvases the same title, but they had to be seen together in a sequence…

six abstract painters - an exhibition - halesworth art gallery - jazz green artist

to the right of the narrow doorway that leads back to the staircase are three more ‘iCons‘, siena, congo (there is a mention of congo here) and redwood. i chose to exhibit these three canvases together because of the obvious textural similarities to the architectural features of the room (dark oak beams and red brickwork)…

six abstract painters - paintings - exhibition halesworth art gallery

this photograph perhaps shows better how these three small canvases complemented or just ‘clicked’ in this particular location; i think that they hold their own quite well.

i am always reminded when i exhibit my work how very naturalistic, earthy and rustic my palette is for an abstract artist. it is a renewed sense of clarity about my work that i can’t always seem to realise within the confines of my very small studio.

there was perhaps another plan in my proposed layout for this exhibition, well a formative idea at least (that i was able to achieve in the end), that all my paintings if viewed from left to right would naturally transition from rusty red to deep brown or violet grey on to green and then into brown and rusty red again.

so, with all the paintings installed (as i had them originally mapped out on graph paper) i left the art gallery with a sense of all things in their rightful & purposeful place – and, at just that moment it began to rain. ever so slightly at first, like an erratic, hesitant wind-blown spray, an is-it-raining-or-not sort of rain, even though heavy rain showers had indeed been forecast, and it had been a blustery and overcast morning. soon enough the rain came down good and proper, but it was not enough of a downpour to call it a torrential rainstorm. the first fall of rain that afternoon brought about a fresh, dewy lustre to even the most parched of things – and the light green of the blossoming hedgerows were instantly repainted in a deeper, more luscious, vibrant green hue, set against the pale violet-grey sky.

this change in the atmospheric conditions, from so many days of sun to the cooler, changeable air seemed, metaphorically speaking, as if other matters were slowly shifting in alignment too. at least, this is what i momentarily thought as i headed back – mindful of the similarity to driving which focuses your attention on the road ahead but with a watchful glance back every now and again. the small window on the world that i was looking through was, at every precise sweep of the windscreen wipers, also clearing out the unnecessary clutter in my mind. i have some art out in the real world and can concentrate on some printmaking again.

given the simple title of this exhibition, i hope that my paintings will provide a small glimpse into my ‘abstracted’ world. i will have to visit the exhibition again as there wasn’t the opportunity to fully appreciate the other artists’ work at the private view, but it was most interesting to meet the other artists and talk with friends and old acquaintances – and it transpires that i have previously been in group exhibitions with both anthea eames and john midgley – and perhaps it sort of makes natural sense, really – it is in the landscape of east anglia.

the exhibition ‘six abstract painters’ is on until wednesday 15 june 2011, and i hope it will, to coin a well-worn phrase, be something of an eye-opener to anyone who might consider ‘abstract painting’ is only about colour, pattern or moving paint around on a canvas until it looks ‘right’. all the painters in this exhibition respond to the ‘landscape’, the implicit emotional engagement or dialogue that exists between the artist, the places where they live or work and the substance or language of paint . i think i might write more about this particular aspect in another post, after i have revisited the exhibition…

Six Abstract Painters, Halesworth Gallery, Steeple End, opp. St Mary’s Church, Halesworth, Suffolk, IP19 8LL, 28 May to 15 June 2011, open daily, Monday-Saturday 11am to 5pm, Sundays 2pm – 5pm…

*please note, due to the unique character and age of the building those with mobility issues will find the steep, narrow stairs to the upstairs gallery difficult. please call the gallery on 01986 873064 should you require any assistance or more information prior to your visit…

rebirth at Art1821: a private view

Saturday 31 July 2010

i received some photographs of the rebirth exhibition at gallery art1821 in the e-post today…. would you care to take a look?


please mind your head on the low beams…


fabulous dogwood sculptures by barbara leaney, referencing the natural environment and the interstellar world…


one of my abstract paintings, the edgescape rost


looking back through the main gallery space; shaun caton’s paintings are on the far wall…


another one of my edgescape paintings, corros, surrounded by two framed works by veronica grassi – note the whitewashed, cobbled wall…


a full-on view of corros; there are surprising similarites in both colour and texture between my work and veronica’s… and more evidence of those cobbledy, flinty walls..


veronica’s work on the other end of the wall; also shown are two small works by sahoko aki

i don’t have a list of works so can’t supply information on medium and titles – there is much more to see in the exhibition; this is just a small snippet…

rebirth: an exhibition celebrating Japanese aesthetic, in collaboration with the Unearthed exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, at the gallery Art 1821 in norwich, from 29 July to 8 September 2010.

the gallery art1821 is situated in the cellar in one of norwich’s finest medieval buildings, augustine steward house in tombland, reputedly built circa 1549.


[image found on flickr]

please visit the Art 1821 website for more information on the rebirth exhibition…

last chance to seetextures, traces & elements at beyond the image gallery – the exhibition closes at 4pm on sunday 1st august 2010…

coming up: the 11th annual Artworks exhibition at blackthorpe barns, 11 September to 3 October 2010 … and guess what, i will be hanging my work on yet another medieval flint wall…

Artworks is an established group of thirty professional East Anglian visual artists, with the environment and mankind’s impact on it as the broad theme of the 11th Annual exhibition…

faux, the love of artifice

Wednesday 14 July 2010

some thoughts on the wider significance of the lichens… it seems quite simple – they signify life amongst the decay, a sign of gentle renewal, the circle of life, the quiet resilience of nature, all the more poignant when experienced within the context of a graveyard, existing on the very surface that marks and memorialises a death (as previously seen in these photographs – on looking and lichen, december 2009, and more recently the lichen drawings) – but that wouldn’t fully justify making art or paintings sourced from lichens, as the photographs might convey these ideas quite adequately, in the right context… it would seem there is a challenge inherent in objectifying the powers of nature within art – and artists have been doing this for some time…

it was quite difficult to focus on the quiet matter of some painting over the weekend due to the cacophony of resident noise, (i need not go into the finer details of the myriad power tools in usage, dear reader, except to say that the particular occurence of some petrol-powered hedge-trimming at 7.30am was not music to my sensitive ears)… so, my best painterly intentions went a bit awry… what did i create instead??

lichen textured experiments
some alien biscuits or are they mutant cornflakes? some tentative lichen-ness experiments, which could do with being a little more crusty

like lichen
i attached one to the painting canvas…

lichen art
shown here with the artist’s hand, to give an idea of scale…


just looking, through the lichen-ness…

this idea, of creating fragments to use in work goes back a little… in my mixed media collages of the 1990’s i re-created fragments of stone, rust, metal, etc, which were then assembled into the work – many people believed i had found these fragments – i had not, they were entirely faux…

here’s an example of some eroded fragments from early 1997. you can see some of this older mixed media collage work on my collage art page

speaking of artifice, here’s a small detail of a large painting on panel, edgescape: lichen/algae, a work that precedes the current encusted fascinations by a few years… but it is also relevant to mention here in that it will be included in a new art exhibition…

i am really pleased to have been invited to exhibit three of my large edgescape paintings (algae, corros and rost) with a new gallery in the fine city of norwich, art1821. they will be shown in an exhibition that has been planned in collaboration with the sainsbury centre for visual arts, focusing on japanese art and the environment. the exhibition at art1821 is called rebirth, to coincide with the sainsbury centre’s unearthed exhibition… (many thanks go to BM for helping me get my paintings to the gallery)…

the art1821 gallery has a charming ambience with its low ceilings and irregular, cobbled, whitewashed walls, situated in one of the city’s oldest ‘listed’ buildings in the heart of tombland, the medieval quarter of the city… in a curious way, these historical features seem to complement the showing of modern art (i saw some margaret mellis assemblage works on the wall), in the way that the sainsbury centre’s minimalist open-plan aesthetic, of the transparent, inside-outside architectural design (not much changed since the 70’s), brings a fresh-eyed perspective to a substantial collection of old world artefacts… (for those that do not know, the scva building was designed by sir norman foster) … i would really like to visit the unearthed exhibition…

i had just enough time to also quickly see the norfolk contemporary art show at the forum – did i mention that i have some work in this exhibition too? whilst there i discovered that there is also a series of lunchtime artist talks (but i had just missed one) and also a series of ‘artists-talking’ videos on permanent playback during the exhibition – i enjoyed watching a couple of these short video talks before i had to dash back… i am not involved in this, so anybody desiring to find out a little more about my art and inspiration may find something of interest in this very blog.

i have also added a couple of new webpages to this website, of which this earnest ‘artist journal’ is just a small (but ever-evolving and expanding) section of it…  there is now a new page devoted to the recent/ongoing series of travel-inspired intaglio collagraph prints on canvas. here are four of the canvases currently on exhibition in the aforementioned norfolk contemporary art


norfolk contemporary art 2010

my four iCon works, fjord, tuscany, havana & sushi, are displayed between an intriguing mixed-media assemblage by andy cairns – an artist who was also in the salthouse exhibition i was in last year, and whose work is mentioned in my little bloglet devoted to the salthouse 09 art exhibition – and also a rather small but perfectly formed susan gunn painting… i would like to see this year’s salthouse exhbition, landmark 10, but travelling is a bit problematic at the moment (with a knackered, soon-to-be decommissioned iron horse…)…

i have been thinking about a collective title for these small intaglio works on canvas, briefly considered iCons (or eye-cons) and then decided upon eikons (from the greek, a symbolic or representational object) – it was still a suitably concise-sounding word – but an icon now also refers to little square computer symbols or visual shortcuts – but the variant, more archaic ei spelling also suggested a reference to the electronic internet… with so many con-nections, i was suitably con-verted…

everything is so e, i or ii these days, isn’t it… do you have an e-car yet? i once made a birthday card with a comical u-pod, using an apple-style umlaut, with party like it’s 1978 as the tagline, appropriating an image from a knitting pattern that i found in a charity shop, of a chap modelling an itchy-looking sweater with a (now) very retro, 1970’s sony cassette player – oh, how w-e laughed about the u-pod!!  but i-digress, i-had better just keep to the art (but it was quite artistic, in an ‘i made this just ‘4u’ sort of way)…

so, in the small (ei-kon) works i inverted the process of idea/source to object/meaning by employing various processes and methods to determine a unique ‘identity’ for the work… they began as humble, small-scale textural experiments for printmaking purposes, drawing upon the visual signs of decay in agricultural outbuildings and the local environment – but then some analysis of colour and associated words, and their real-world connections or counterparts, led, inevitably, to the concept of pursuing some virtual travelling, an activity which gave rise to the titles, and thus gave the work a new, more global resonance and identity… those diy paint colour charts were just the start of it…

what’s in a title, a name? is it vital or important, is it meaningful, revealing, persuasive, or just a means of differentiation?  within the context of (or absence of) subjective art titles one might also mention the artist martin creed again, or mark rothko even, but i am just seeing a lot gushing red stuff, so let’s not go there today…

i liked pursuing the open-ended nature of this sideline activity, that i would, in a vaguely lynchian way, create works that followed a more convoluted, non-linear course; the end became their beginning. it was also a deliberate move away from a series of strictly numbered works… the virtual travels also inspired the idea of starting a faux sketchbook… in that, if anyone cared to contemplate upon it, that the vast network of the internet is not just a window to truth & knowledge, but is equally a platform for some deliberate artifice & creative reinvention of one’s identity and sense of place in the world…

random fact alert! i actually graduated in the presence of the great david lynch! he was awarded an honorary degree by the RCA


a lichen drawing in a sketchbook, june 2010

i have also created a new webpage to show some of my recent lichen-esque drawings

i really would like to pursue the idea of doing some larger versions of these – where does one get rolls of good drawing paper, and perhaps, more importantly, is it very expensive?? i probably have one too many ideological plates spinning (or they are just wobbling and are likely to shatter in a very messy, greek fashion) – the eroded circles/discs, the cubed/3d prints, the lichens and their various transformations, the green mould prints, dissolved image transfers, small etchings, virtual travel sketches…

now, i am even contemplating  growing fake lichens in my spare time…