Out & About


It was a busy Friday evening…first the Lakeside for the opening of the Victor Pasmore show – and also my friend Richard Perry‘s excellent work in the Angear space.  I’ll be reviewing the Pasmore later but suffice to say it’s very much up to the impeccable standards we’ve come to expect there.  Richard’s show I’ve already written about here.

Work by Rachael Pinks, small panel piece behind by Clay Smith

So then onto Salon 9 where the energetic and talented Rachael Pinks (aided and abetted by the equally so, Clay Smith) have assembled a significant cast list for another of their highly enjoyable weekend shows. Sadly you’ve now missed it but (and I say this with due humility given I was represented there) it was full of terrific stuff.

Paintings by Stephen Snoddy

I’m picking out Stephen Snoddy‘s beautifully crafted small colour panels not only because they were new to me in the flesh (I’d only seen images on screen previously) but also in solidarity with the travails he’s currently suffering as Director of Walsall’s New Art Gallery.  It is seriously under threat from the current round of local authority cuts – a bizarre and nonsensical manoeuvre – given the international significance of its collection.  I first visited in in the latter part of the 1970’s…when it was housed in the old Museum & Art Gallery.  It became something of a beacon of accessible and important works to admire at close hand and is all the more so now housed in its magnificent and award winning premises and the additions of the Beardsmore collection and the excellent temporary exhibitions programme.  If you haven’t be quick about adding your voice to those who have already cried foul!

A prized possession…the early leaflet for the collection

Amongst the other works were strong offerings from Rachael herself, from the always immaculate Peter Cartwright & David Ainley as well as Geoff Machin, myself and Clay, whose small inscribed plaster panels showed a lovely sensibility in what is a new direction for him.



Work by Clay Smith

More small things

I Worn My Elbows
I Worn My Elbows, Acrylic & Oil on Linen, each 10 x 10cm. 2013

Still struggling to shake off this damn cold – I just keep coughing and spluttering – and feeling under par so its hard to motivate oneself to get on with bigger work.  So I’ve been tidying up and updating the “I” series.  These have been knocking around my studio for years now.  I  sent two of the early ones off to Sweden back in 2012 for the ‘Supermarket’ fair and as luck would have it sold one (below) to an art dealer from Umea.

I Predict A Riot, Acrylic & Oil on Linen, each 10 x 10 cm., 2011

Given the way they are arrived at one has to be careful not to ‘force’ the process or it all loses whatever freshness they might have…as it is they tend to slip out off the back of protracted working periods.  Not least as they seem to work out best when oil and acrylic get mixed up on them.  So as I’ve been working exclusively with acrylics (apart from a brief spell last summer in Italy) for over eighteen months there are several sitting around just waiting for the right slick of oil to see them off.

I Want You to Want Me
I Want You To Want Me, Oil & Acrylic on Linen, each 10 x 10 cm., 2014

As it happens for quite ‘other’ reasons I’ve been contemplating just such a move (back to oils) with what I’m hoping will be the next large series of pictures that I’m still working out at the moment.  Though its unlikely that I’ll be getting these properly underway until later in the year, with several other projects dominating my event horizons before then.  Coming up immediately is Salon 6 curated by Rachael Pinks…be nice to see you there if you can make it!


The Cornish Coast

Priests Cove
Priests Cove, Acrylic on Linen, 10 x 10 cm., 2014

This series is suspended for the moment, but this is one that hasn’t been posted yet. I need to ‘top up’ my exposure to the necessary coastline…lucky then that my wife has just announced an end of year trip to Mousehole!  This is ideally located only a few miles from where I started, just to the south of Lands End.  There are sure to be opportunities to  get across to locations such as Porthchapel and, one of my all time favourites, Minack.  And good news too that, courtesy of Matthew Macauley, Martin Beck, from my Black North series is being sent to Coventry shortly…and to top it up Rachael Pinks has invited me to show in Salon 6 up in Derbyshire at the end of September.  It’s such a pleasure to have such good friends and colleagues.  Details of both shows will follow!

Black North series, installed at Lakeside, Nottingham, Nov. 2013 to Feb. 2014…Martin Beck in the centre.