Friday, 23 December 2011

Peep Hole Boxes

"We never knows wot's hidden in each other's hearts; and if we had glass winders there, we'd need keep the shutters up, some on us, I do assure you!"
Charles Dickens: 'Martin Chuzzlewit' (1844)

Peeping in...
Showing at the moment in California's Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts, are two rare pieces of work of mine, "LOSS" and "UGLY" which are 3D sculptures I call 'Peep Hole Boxes'. They are part of the group exhibition 'London Calling' which is currently on until the 12th January 2012.

Let me tell you a little more about these boxes of curiosity.

 These are boxes built using foam board and varying in size, completely sealed except for the small eye holes at the front, which you can 'peep' through revealing a 3-D scene within. 
The Peep Hole Boxes
These cubes explore & try to simulate curiosity and the mini private universes which we cary with us in our heads. Emotions, personal experiences which normally we don’t want to share. It’s as if we were spying on someone when they’re at there most emotionally vulnerable. Note the effect an  enclosed and ‘private’ scene has on the viewer when he choses to look, it’s very different to that of an openly displayed image. There are issues of intimacy and privacy, broken slightly by curiosity itself.

These were first developed back in 1998 in a series of boxes with scenes inspired by the book 'The Gashleycrumb Tinies' by Edward Gorey. Using paper and card only, I developed certain techniques that allowed me to play with perspective and give the illusion of depth. Later the construction of these boxes became more complex and  four new original pieces were produced in 2002. Two of these are now displayed at the London Calling Exhibition in Orange County, California USA. LINK
The Gashleycrumb Tinies Book

X is for Xerxes devoured by mice. 162mm x 160mm x 154mm (1998) 
Y is for Yorick whose head was knocked in. 162mm x 160mm x 154mm (1998) 

Loss (2002)
Loss (detail-2002)
Ugly (2002)
Ugly (detail-2002)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Views from Barcelona

Barcelona, a set on Flickr.
Here are a few photos I took when i was exploring Barcelona. All captured and edited using my iPhone 3Gs. Check 'em all out in my Flickr album.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Showcase in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain. City of art, culture, history and incredible architecture. A real feast for the senses. 
Home of Gaudi and his amazing curvy buildings, one of them being Casa Batllo, which on Saturday 10th December played host to the first International exhibition of painting and photography, Barcelona Showcase 2011.

Saturday morning at 7am I got out of my hotel bed and began to get myself ready to  leave to set up my work at the Casa Batllo. I cold showered myself in to a state of readiness. Packed my things and had some much needed morning grindage for the long day ahead. I had decided to walk to the venue from my hotel which i had done so the day before as a test. I put my heavy rucksack on, picked up my paintings by the strap I had secured around them and ventured outside. I knew this would be a hard and long 45 minute walk carrying all this stuff, but I was too busy pumping adrenaline and endorphins to care. I walked down the quiet suburban streets, greeting the street cleaners as I passed them by. My burning hands and forearms needing a rest every now and again by switching the weight of my paintings on wood from left hand to right hand and vice versa.

Reaching Gaudi's Casa Batllo at around 8:40 there was a line of artists starting to gather and grow and pour out in front of the entrance waiting to be let in. once in we were let loose and began setting up our spaces. The sound of hammers echoed through the hallways, and an array of international works were now being hung. Shortly this mixture of mediums, styles and practices would be unveiled to the people of Barcelona.

An ambitious exhibition that would open from 10:30am with a private view from 7:30pm until 12 midnight. Two large floors of International work from Portugal, France, UK, Spain, Argentina, Romania, Russia, Germany, Norway, Malaysia, Sweden, Greece, Switzerland, Australia, Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, South Korea, Iceland, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Brazil, Colombia, Pakistan, China, India, Panama,  Japan. There was a great atmosphere of artists taking an interest in each others work and a great range of visitors.

Security at the door and within the building were provided by men built like trucks in black suits and shaven heads who were extremely polite and professional. Spectators entered and explored. Their curiosity and eyes led them around the halls and they took their time viewing the many works on display, telephoning their friends whenever something captured their attention and urging them to come on down. Within minutes new groups of visitors would appear desperately looking for these recommended pieces. 

A spanish review by Articularte had this to say: "Painting and photography, in an unorchestrated symphony, where each author interpreted their own melody. Sometimes in the middle of the duel of notes, a sound would suddenly elevate itself above the scores provided to capture the attention of the overwhelmed spectator". To my delight I received a mention in this review along with a few others.

Each artist had a story to tell of all the efforts made in getting themselves and their work to this exhibition, stories that united all of us and created connections that went beyond our work. Each had their struggles, logistical problems, some their nightmare journeys but their resolve, determination and excitement was something that reminded us all of the love we have for the path we have chosen as artists and the things we are willing to do to satisfy our hearts and creative minds.
The walk back to my hotel that night seemed longer and my bags heavier after the white wine now circulating throughout my body and my back wanting to give in but the buzz I was feeling and the smile on my face was worth it.

I stayed a further few days in Barcelona taking in the sights and architecture that I have always found inspiring about this city. My trusty camera and iphone at the ready trying to capture and make pictures of what I saw and felt. More on that in another post.


Sunday, 4 December 2011

Pop-Up show - Art for £99

Acrylic On MDF Board & Varnished
W127mm X H178mm X D12mm

Today I finished a small painting that will be part of a Pop-Up Shop fundraiser. A number of artists have created original postcard sized pieces on wood to be sold for £99 each and will be generously and professionally framed by our sponsor One Stop Frames. The money is being raised to help cover work shipping and travel costs for the artists selected to exhibit at The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) in California, later this month. I will be one of those exhibiting in this 'London Calling' show in the USA.
RSVP on Facebook here
I won't be able to attend this pop-up show as on the same weekend I will be in Barcelona, Spain, exhibiting at Gaudi's Casa Batllo. However please come and see all the fantastic postcard sized works and get your hands on a bargain as most are worth over double the price!
The Pop-Up Shop will take place for one weekend only (10th-11th December) at Debut Contemporary gallery on Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill.

Our other fundraising platforms: