Tag Archives: gerhard richter

rca secret exhibition 2011

Wednesday 16 November 2011

a short while back i spent an afternoon making some new postcard artworks for the rca secret exhibition 2011. i cannot, of course, show you any pictures of these new postcards because it is a secret art sale, but here are my secret art postcards from rca secret 2010.

rca secret art postcards - royal college of art

[rca secret postcards 2010, signed & dated on the back]

see more of my secret rca art postcards 2010, rca secret postcards from 2009 or some previous years’ rca secret postcards are here.

there will be around 3000 secret postcards in the rca secret exhibition at the royal college of art in london, which is open to the public from 18 november to 25 november 2011. the postcards will also be viewable on the rca secret website from 18 november, all in the run up to the big sale day on saturday 26 november 2011 (queues likely).

remember, to purchase any of the rca postcards (maximum four per person) you will first have to register as a buyer. monies raised from the rca secret sale benefit the royal college of art’s fine art student fund. lastly, some mention must be made of the excellent organisation & voluntary work that goes on behind the scenes to make this event so successful, many of whom are current fine are art students.

the rca secret exhibition has become a very popular annual art event in london, with thousands of people queuing to be in with a chance of obtaining an original artwork for just £45. some of this year’s big name contributors include: tracey emin, grayson perry, gerhard richter, anish kapoor and yoko ono.

i always find it troubling to discover some buyers go on to immediately sell their rca postcards on ebay for much more money – especially when the artists donate artworks for free to support an art college in the education of future artists.

i am waiting with much anticipation to view all the rca secret postcards online and try to guess who has made what. it has become something of a sport, and perhaps there is a skill in knowing what to look out for, armed with the knowledge of an artist’s likely subject or style of work. there are always some surprises, though. i would dearly love to visit the exhibition, but i think work commitments will preclude me from doing so this year.

for breaking news (top tips, faqs, artist interviews, media coverage, etc) on rca secret 2011 i highly recommend a visit to the unofficial rca secret blog

off the wall, on the exhibition

Thursday 15 September 2011

this is the barn wall (at blackthorpe), all four metres of it (although it doesn’t look it), the barn wall which i encountered a while back, where i would have to display (and since have) my art for the new ‘artworks’ exhibition.

old medieval barn wall, beams

there is so much surface ‘activity’ and ‘incident’ in this stretch of barn wall already that i feared the new works i had been quietly making would soon disappear into its rustic, aged surface. yes, two or three large, colourful paintings would work well in this location but all my 2011 work (a prerequisite for this exhibition, which is good) are all about twelve inches square (or smaller).

sometimes, you just have to commit to your artwork and hope it will work out in situ (i did ‘do’ a wall plan). so, not wanting a wall of repeats, i ended up putting in work from three different but related series – green woods, broken earth/circle/relics and the earth/bound panels. wood and all of its derivatives are the uniting factor. i didn’t fully break away from the format of the square, but i have intervened in subtle ways…

abstract art, new exhibition, blackthorpe barn, suffolk

[my artworks hung above the patchwork barn ‘tideline’]

the private view (or preview evening) was well-attended with over five hundred people milling through the exhibition over the course of a couple of hours. i talked to new people about my work and i bumped into other people i knew who i hadn’t seen for many years – it was all good.

here are two photographs taken before the PV, of some new work mentioned in two previous posts, on going green, again and on a broken art.

green wood bark textures - abstract painting - in art exhibition, suffolk, jazz green

out of the wood/shed III, 2011, paper, oil & pigment on wood, 150mm x 150mm

broken relic - abstact relief - jazz green, art exhibition suffolk

broken, 2011, mixed media paper relief, 300mm x 300mm

in the absence of a more neutral wall/interior i did feel (ever so slightly) that my work was drained of it naturalistic colours.

so, given that i have no bold, graphic or colourful works to show off here, instead i will share some photographs of other works in the exhibition which blipped on my radar.

mike ashley paintings, exhibition, blackthorpe suffolk

mike ashley’s paintings are inspired by winter walks in the countryside, often transitioning between figurative and abstract elements in a vigorously worked yet gestural painted surface.

gill levin paintings, art exhibition, blackthorpe suffolk

gill levin’s work is concerned with structures, both manmade and natural. she states it is the ‘spaces between’ that interest her most as a painter, and on closer inspection they coalesce into rythmical, patterned abstractions.

eileen revett prints, art exhibition, blackthorpe suffolk

eileen revett has continued with the universal theme of time in this new series of large woodcuts, ‘analog‘. these are hand-printed on japanese paper and the delicate repetition of gouged marks suggest a contemplative, meditative process in their making.

anthony jones, abstract paintings exhibition, blackthorpe suffolk

anthony jones embarks on a mission of artistic time-traveller, envisioning how an abstract painter might work in the presence of the renaissance artist and mathematician piero della francesca. similar to mark rothko and italian frescos, anthony has developed his own visual responses to art history.

katie millard paintings exhibition, blackthorpe suffolk

katie millard’s new series of abstract paintings, while seemingly a departure from her more widely-known norfolk landscape watercolours, look to be playful magnifications of expressive swathes of colour in response to nature and the elements.

roger gamble paintings exhibition, blackthorpe suffolk

roger gamble’s very striking acrylic paintings also reduce the figurative landscape to its most abstract & formal elements – a pop art sensibility with colour combined with wry observations of our modern times.

both roger and anthony have made me want to re-evaluate my relationship with colour, since in ‘real life’ i am drawn to colours and geometric patterns (even the garden shed is styled on mondrian), but it never materialises in my own artwork. this is probably because i am still working through my experiences of the rural landscape, which nearly always take the essence of the materiality of time as the central concern (it’s a subject difficult to ignore).

i was thinking (of the dark wood barn wall) that some of my work is akin to camouflage, they they would quite effortlessly blend into the real landscape, that a type of environmental reality is constructed, although they stop short of being completely true. however, in the end, i have to create my own reality.

or, put another way, a conventional landscape painting is an open window to a memory, it invites you to travel back to the original moment. i would like my work to create the moment in the presence of the work, right here in the ‘now’. the visual associations, although perhaps drawn from prior experience, create a brand new visual experience, not a picture of a past event. i create very tactile, textural works in recognition of a sensory world, one that the pace of technology (esp. of communication) seems capable of eradicating. am i a luddite? of course not. we will create ambitious new sensory gardens in the concrete & glass jungles to appease the deprived..

‘painting from nature […] is a sort of diversion; creates a balance. i would say that landscapes are a type of yearning, a yearning for a whole and simple life. a little nostalgic. the abstract works are my presence, my reality, my problems, my difficulties and contradictions.’

gerhard richter, 1985

artworks exhibition, blackthorpe barn, rougham, suffolk, 10 september to 2 october 2011 (10am – 5pm, open daily). there is also the ‘artworks shop’ where i have some of my papier mache bowls (also relics of a sort) on display.

Artworks is a professional art group of thirty contemporary East Anglian artists. Each September we have a group exhibition at the medieval Blackthorpe Barn, set in the heart of rural Suffolk.

on breaking the mould

Saturday 29 May 2010

this is a papier maché decorative bowl – one of a series that i made as a supporting sideline to my artistic practice soon after graduation from art school.


[papier maché bowl, c.1993]

my papier maché objects were influenced by things I saw in books, artefacts in local museums, and stories of Anglo-Saxon hoards such as Sutton Hoo… it seemed much more straightforward to develop, promote and market one’s work in those days, with none of the ‘issues’ associated with art on the internet…

i am revisiting some ideas and ways of working in 3d again, but differently… i do have, at least, a personal history to draw from….


[plaster cast moulds]

here are some other experimental things in the working – inkjet transfers and monoprints, from my lichen photographs…


[lichen photographic image transfers]

i like the subtle degradation of the images here, more authentic and textural than a glossy photograph…


[image transfer]

which links back to the previous blog post on using digital images in artmaking.


[lichen on stonework – digital photograph]

my digitally dissolved ‘blind’ landscape photographs also created some interesting effects as image transfers – resulting in quite delicately textured works on paper…


[inkjet monoprint transfer]

strangely, what was once just a traditional landscape image of East Anglia has now evolved into what looks like mould spores on a damp wall… i am trying out some different substrates…

I spent my amazon gift voucher on Richter’s ‘Cage’ paintings book, having picked it up and put it down on two occasions at the Tate Modern. Storr’s accompanying text is rich in description and poetic metaphor, putting into words the action of painting, but much of this text is aimed at the non-artist. Gerhard Richter‘s own words on the ‘Cage’ series are curiously absent, but this is more than made up in the many and generous photographic details of painting processes and surface textures…