It’s that time of year again…both scripts to be marked and external examinations to be conducted. It’s a mixed blessing nowadays – I enjoy the teaching and I love meeting the students and – in the case of the external work – seeing what they have been producing for the first time. On the other hand I have developed a pathological distaste for the paperwork that accompanies the marking and the feedback! So I try to leaven the mix by moving between the sketchbooks, watercolours and drawings and the reading and reviewing and writing… Not such a bad life really! And great news from one of my colleagues. We were scheduled for a show in Seoul, Korea of a group of us from the Harrington Mill Studios that fell through when the gallery was partially damaged a couple weeks back. However another venue has been found and the show entitled “The Darkness Of Light’ goes ahead from the 26th May. It’s a good feeling that a small piece of work is on the other side of the planet being viewed by an audience.
To accompany this text I have chosen another image from my digital vaults, again from my days at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery. I proposed and chose work from the degree shows in the Midlands for an exhibition imaginatively called ‘Degree Selection’ (!) – one of those I selected was a young painter called Sylbert Bolton and here is one of his oils on canvas, I think around 4ft square. For a short while his exposure in the show led onto other things…including a couple higher profile shows in Wolverhampton (where he was based) and inclusion in a show ‘Into the Open’ that toured around the UK and featured many young emerging black UK artists at that time. Sylbert, of Jamaican birth, was somewhat ignored in that show with all the attention going to the polemical, political work that made up a lot of the contributions. As an abstract painter he simply didn’t fit the (white) curatorial agenda. But I always loved his work, the last time I searched he was still in Wolverhampton, still painting. And still not getting the recognition his work so richly deserved.