A complete volte face…back to my Playground of the Midlands series…and the lay off means having to put a very different ‘head’ on. Back to working off of specific visual sources (that is referencing images crudely constructed from photos take on site). Working to resolve them whilst readjusting to using oils and as Thomas Nozkowski used to say keeping them open “so that everything is back in play”.
five years back I was heavily engaged in putting together a show of Kevin Coyne‘s art. If you don’t know Kevin was a ‘cult’ musician (i.e. little commercial success but feted by several critics and other musicians and suchlike – John Peel was an early champion) but also an artist and writer. He was a proud son of Derby and a group of three, his longtime pal Paul Warren, filmmaker Doug Smith and myself, put together a modest exhibition at Deda, the dance based arts centre in the city on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his death.
We crowdfunded the thing and included a small catalogue as part of the ‘rewards’. And as part of the catalogue the excellent Jeff Young allowed me to use a lovely piece he had penned for The Guardian feature ‘The greatest albums you’ve never heard’. This is all by way of a shameless plug for Jeff’s marvellous memoir Ghost Town. It arrived this morning but I had to be out early and have only now been able to tuck into it. But even after the few pages of the first chapter its contents are as great as the production values of the Little Toller imprint – first rate.
And whilst I was ordering Jeff’s book I recalled a conversation back in February when I was at Swindon Museum & Art Gallery giving a talk on Charles Howard (an obsession of mine). A couple came up at the end & mentioned their research on Clifford Webb. I think the chap mentioned a book he had recently completed on him…and Little Toller published, last year, a marvellous volume on Webb…whether it’s author – Simon Brett – was the man I met I cannot be certain (February seems an awful long time ago now!). But the book is, like Jeff’s, beautifully produced and I’m looking forward to it immensely now I’ve purchased it alongside Ghost Town.
It’s the series that keeps on giving…but I am bringing it to an end. It was always going to be tough figuring it out. But the fact of fitting 45 into each box (and only being four such) suggests 180 is it. The pile of potential pieces keeps going so now some thought will have to go into what to do with the seventy or more pieces that will be ‘remaindered’!
at least I’m not spending cash during ‘lockdown’…rather revisiting and reworking stuff I’ve had kicking about the place. For example there’s my large series of TFTLR that have been ‘repurposed’ (what a ghastly word!) as Paintings Standing Up. I’m also unearthing the ‘failed’ pictures on paper from my earlier virus series and jollying them up to show a tad of insouciance in the face of the you know what…
Though I think I ought to write something about current practice presently I keep recalling this quote from Proust…”Authentic art has no need for proclamations…it accomplishes its work in silence”. So I’ll just shut up for once.
The sun has made a welcome return and…ta da! I’ve filled Box Three of my Wonky Geometry series. I’m happy about this on two counts – as not only does it mean only one to go (admittedly an arbitrary self-imposed diktat) but also it’s been (with five other items) on my annual targets for work production for the year. Perhaps lockdown will see me complete all five this year (rather than has habitually been the case several being rolled over to the following year). Then again maybe at some point we may be allowed out again!
‘Lockdown’ is increasingly feeling like being inside of Auster‘s wonderful (and as it turns out prescient) novel. And hereabouts I’m digging around in the tight spaces of those things either abandoned or discarded. But every cloud etc. So more Paintings Standing Up are mushrooming into life!
The continuing ‘lockdown’ is probably sending a lot of us a tad nutty…certainly I’m bouncing around the studio playing with all sorts. This includes my growing collection of Paintings Standing Up that developed out of an earlier series TFTLR (Tales From The Lumber Room). These scrappy little constructions have been littering the studio for several years and over the past week or two I’ve dusted some off, given them some TLC and given them titles. So there’s now a ‘body’ of work (well seven or eight) to put up online. The first and second are here now…