Back to back…



From arriving home from Portugal to hanging my exhibit at Lakeside there doesn’t seem to have been time to breathe!  Or to reflect….and cogitation is a much undervalued commodity in modern life it seems.  It was often something I complained about whilst working in Higher Education where a deal more cogitation would have often saved us from numerous cock ups and contra temps.  Anyway today is an opportunity to sit back a little and savour what we saw on our all too brief trip and to contemplate a little now that Epidemic!/Black North is on the walls in the Angear space at Lakeside.  I need to pay tribute to Neil and his staff who were highly professional, smoothly efficient and helpful in a way that a lot of other bigger art spaces in our region could learn from (and further afield for that matter).  In particular Freddy & Luke got the pieces up quick smart.


I’m happy with the way it looks and relieved it worked out pretty much as I had intended.  I just hope to get some positive feedback on a project that, one way and another, has dominated the past twelve months and more.  If you don’t know already it runs from now until 2nd February 2014 and there’s a viewing evening on Friday 22nd November from 7pm.

I have been to the Porto area of Portugal six or seven times now and it is always a pleasure.  Fresh insights occur every time and this time around was no exception.  I made a project several years back on the extraordinary (to me at least) space between the beach on the Atlantic and the lagoon.  The photo here shows the toilet block (!) near the beach at just about the narrowest strip (less than a couple hundred yards) of it at Costa Nova.  I am always fascinated by the way in which the salt air affects everything on the one side and the lagoon seems to protect everything on the other.  Another trip took us up into the mountains around Arouca…I’d been up there further north before but this time the terrain was more rugged and exposed (reminding me a little of Dartmoor in Devon).


On the way up we saw some lovely landscape and on top it was glorious until the mists and rain came in…just in time to prevent me from photographing the largest waterfall in the country…I got these shots, one of which shows the information board…!

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Busy busy…


Another busy day… plotting the details of my teaching for the coming academic year that is very nearly upon us.  Luckily nowadays I have only the teaching I’m doing (a relatively modest contribution to a couple modules this semester and module leadership of two after Xmas) rather than the endless and distressing administration and so forth that came with being a senior member of staff in one of our very challenging new universities.  I came back to a reminder of the date of delivery for the next significant exhibition I’m making…and the 15th November seemed a long way off back before summer…it doesn’t seem so now.  I’m excited to be showing alongside a major exhibition at Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts Centre, that will feature work by a host of big names (Hockney, Hamilton, Kitaj, Hodgkin, Hirst, Quinn, Turk to namecheck just a few) and I’ll be hanging around (literally) the outside of the gallery that will be displaying them!  It should be a lot of fun!


Coming to the computer I discovered a lovely new work in the Long Series by the irrepressible Stephen MacInnis.  In a way, although I suspect, coming from a very different wellspring, it reminded me of the work I was making way back in 1980…large paintings on paper that were very dark and doomy.  Then again given that Stephen is embarked on a long journey that requires him to be endlessly inventive (I really don’t know how he manages it) and very very busy…I realise what a sedate pace I’m going at…and with so many images he is creating there may be a fair few of us who can lay claim to a similarity to one or another of a series that is already heading past 1400 pictures!