Spontaneity and Play

28 Apr 2014

Image: “spontaneous drawing” on a long, continuous piece of Chinese paper, as I listened to and watched the improvised music and movement that was going on around me as part of a Dover Arts Development Spontaneous Creativity workshop on 27 April in my project space.

I just realised that the beautiful scroll you made on Sunday could be read as the story of the workshop. (Joanna Jones)

See my a-n blog post #148:

Watch the video

In the company of women

26 Apr 2014

Ruth Geldard, who came to the second Thread, Paper, Cloth artist-to-artist workshop in my project space exploring paper, has written a lovely piece about her experience on her a-n blog: (# 21) In the company of women. The image shows her “mosaic” of  collected scraps of paper associated with emotional events in her life.

“…it was clear that people had naturally found innovative, witty, lateral-thinking-type ways of working outside the box as well as forging new, and strengthening existing, relationships with their peers. Brilliant day-it ought to be on prescription.”


Keep Going: the film

18 Apr 2014

Ewan Golder has made a lovely film of the Keep Going Salon presented by Peter Sheppard Skaerved and Malene Sheppard Skaerved, with work by me and Rosie James hung in the project space.  Even if you weren’t there, you can get a feel of what the event was like from watching the video.

Click here to watch it on Vimeo.

Wo bu dong

21 Mar 2014

It is always really helpful to see one’s work in the context of an exhibition, especially with artists one hasn’t met before, let alone shown with. Wobudongwhich explored the liminal space between drawing and writing, and considered writing as both gesture and performance, was no exception. There were overlaps and connections in terms of marks – whether found as in Catherine Wynne Paton’s piece and the found dribbles on the wall where Julie Brixley Williams installed her “tired calligraphy” – or made, repetition and notation (Sue Gough), the use of thread, reference to/use of textiles, and of grids and grid-like structures. My work was interestingly referred to as “painting with textiles” (Sue Gough).

Another link was the sense of movement (Jayne Lloyd). Jayne’s performance, “Walking in character”, explored the idea of wandering in and out of a given structure, in this case a wonky cube, and dealing with obstacles to straightforward progress; as she wandered she left behind a calligraphic woolly trail as a record of her journey.

Exhibition organised by Jayne Lloyd.

Artists: Julie Brixley Williams, Sue Gough, Jayne Lloyd, Clare Smith, Catherine Wynne Paton

Picadilly Place Manchester, 12-16 March 2014

wo bu dong jayne lloyd performance

Keep Going

5 Mar 2014

An unexpected response to my recent newsletter was violinist Peter Sheppard-Skaerved’s suggestion of a salon in my space in Dover.

Your space looks perfect for an event. I would love to play in there! with your fantastic nets/clouds/matrices/neural pathways/constellations…..

The Salon was organised by Dover Arts Development and I suddenly found myself having to get in plenty of chairs as places went fast! See full write-up and programme here.

It was a fantastic programme, which included a rare opportunity to hear and watch a virtuoso performance by Peter of Philip Glass’s  Strung Out for walking violinist. It was a great honour too to talk to composer Michael Alec Rose, whose compositions Il Ritorno and Silence (World Premiere) were also performed, both taking inspiration from walks on Dartmoor. Malene’s rich evocative voice in the reading of her poems, woven into the music, was a joy to listen to.

“I just wanted to say that it was such a shame to miss yesterday. It looked amazing. Your work works so beautifully there, as a kind of intricate backdrop/world of its own.” (Korinna McRobert)

The programe was built around the idea of walking.

“… lives are led not inside places but through, around, to and from them, from and to places elsewhere. …. I use the term wayfaring to describe the embodied experiene of this perambulatory movement. It is as wayfarers, then that human heings inhabit the earth. …. But by the same token human existence is not fundamentally place-bound …. but place binding. Proceeding along a path, every inhabitant lays a trail. where inhabitants meet, trails are entwined, as he life of each becomes bound up with the other. Every entwining is a knot, and the more that lifelines are entwined the greater the density of the knot.

Places then are like knots, and the treads from which they are tied are lines of wayfaring.” (Tim Ingold, Being Alive, pp. 148-149)

Rosie James installed her transparent stitched drawings to complete the visual arts aspect of the salon.

The event was possible due to the generosity of both audience and artists.

Keep going, Rosie's work

A Fine Line, Kaleidoscope Gallery, Sevenoaks

28 Feb 2014

Accidentally brilliant” (Nicole Mollet)

“Lovely show and I must say yours is my favourite work!” (Joanna Jones)

Temporary Sculpture (The Tower) is a structure that succeeds in standing for a very short time before falling over.

The exhibition has been reviewed by David Minton on Interface:

Clare Smith’s piece, ‘Temporary Sculpture’ is sculpture in a similar fashion to which Magritte’s painting is ‘…not a Pipe’. It is a video presentation of a three dimensional work collapsing. As we watch its delicate structure gently ‘tingueling’ before us we lose sight of the video and assume a commonsense connection with what we see happened to the paper structure during the video recording. We are the twitching, vulnerable structure. What happens before our eyes then happens again. And again. And again; the video’s hardware, the imagery before us as light, asserts itself, becomes sculpture of a different kind.

There is a fine line between success and failure:

What is success? Selling a piece of work for however large or small a sum, fame or recognition by one’s peers?

In “On Failure and Anonymity”, Mira Schor writes “Real Success is the ability to continue making art that is alive.”[1] Survival then, as an artist, despite the cold studios and constant doubt.

Failure for Schor is when artists accept the status quo, stay within their limitations. But it is also an inescapable condition of life and exists in the gap between what the artist intends the work to be and what it is.

[1] Schor, Mira. On Failure and Anonymity, published in Wet, On Painting, Feminism, and Art Culture, Duke University Press, Durham and London 1997, pp. 121-124


Studio crit, Helen Frankenthaler ….

25 Jan 2014

With just over a month to go until the Wobudong exhibition in Manchester, I now need to start taking some decisions about how to install my work. Fortunately I am able to use the space above my studio and yesterday afternoon I got some really useful feedback as part of a Whistable Satellite crit. Now that the work has come away from the wall, so many possibilities have opened up as to where it can go. I am very excited.

In the evening went to the opening at Turner Contemporary of the new Helen Frankenthaler exhibition and had a brilliant time. The paintings were amazing. I loved the non-drippy, flowing thin paint on raw canvas, the way the oil seeped out through the canvas, the gorgeous colours and the empty spaces.


Masterpieces of Chinese Painting at the V&A

21 Jan 2014

I managed to catch the Masterpieces of Chinese Painting show at the V&A just before it closed. The image shows Xu Bing’s Travelling to the Wonderland in the John Madejski garden which kind of brings the show up to the contemporary era, missing out everything between 1900 and 2014!

Extract from the post on my a-n blog:

Having seen the Mira Schendel show at Tate earlier in the month and her use of transparent rice paper, in particular, I got very excited at this show by the Bodhisattva in Monastic Dress Standing at Prayer (c.950), painted on both sides and using to the full the transparency of the silk on which it is painted in gold and red hues. I love it when these connections accross cultures and art forms present themselves to the eye, mind and heart.

Afterwards I had lunch in China Town with my parents and bought some supplies from the Chinese bookshop in Shaftesbury avenue.

China Town