the textile design degree show at Norwich is up and looks good - we created a pulley system that enabled us to work with the full height of the room. this has meant that some of the students full ambitions have been realised by taking up the opportunity to create work 5m in height. there is some stunning work within a system of walls and tables that have been designed and created in an attempt to be invisible, thus celebrating the work itself. come see - Tues 25 - Sunday 1. Next week is the continuation of the mountain - private view at NUA, building the space and hanging work for NUA at New Designers (stand T43) and hanging work at Camberwell for the MA Book Art final show. The Berlin Biennale beckons - can't wait and have started the planning http://www.berlinbiennale.de/ . I'm speaking/running a workshop at Making Materials Matter Conference for teachers - looking at the role of art practice within a science context. I'm building the presentation today.https://www.oxfordandcambridgeoutreach.co.uk/events/making-materials-matter-2018-tea meanwhile Rampage is great when the rock and the gorilla are on screen, I could watch an hour of that but the rest is truly banal.
Friday, 22 June 2018
Sunday, 17 June 2018
well a busy couple of weeks and we are still in it - assessments on the Textile Design at nua was smooth with some wonderful work - the show at nua is almost up - we have built an extraordinary series of structures, creating an environment to show off the work to its best - I've been north working on the assessment for OCA on the MA Fine Art Course and staying in the Premier Inn in Barnsley, there was some really excellent thinking underpinning great work. The next two years graduation shows could potentially be wondrous. The Degree Show Private View at Chelsea was gloriously old school - a packed space of randomly dressed individuals all enjoying being there - some excellent textiles and of course fine art - highlight was a #proundparent moment - Bob Bicknell-Knight. meanwhile A very English Scandal https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p065sk93 was tragically funny but I spent most of the time marvelling over Hugh Grants stunning performance. I got to see Solo - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3778644/ wonderfully geeky - with something for everyone - great back story infilling alongside swashbuckling set pieces. Christopher Brett Bailey https://christopherbrettbailey.com/ was the standout session at Pulse 18 last weekend - I cannot recommend him enough - I think this was my 5th outing and he just gets better. Meanwhile Snape Festival had a new opera - a kind of brutalist Jacques Tati set in a Kafkaesque modern space with a nod to the Truman show aesthetics. The Appalachian Spring session by the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Huw Watkins on the piano and conducted by Oliver Knussen was viseral. Playing Coplands Music for a Great City, The world premiere of The Book of Ingenious Devices by Philip Cashian, Feldman Structures and Coplands joyous Appalachian Spring one was swept away. On the way to see the Pavillion next to the Serpentine Gallery ..............I bumped into Christon next to the Christo in the Serpentine which was and which is fantastic and worth seeing offline.
Sunday, 3 June 2018
a fabulous 2 days and one night at Pulse Festival http://www.chinaplatetheatre.com/pulse-festival in Ipswich - the opening night and then Suitcase day and Testing Ground - my two favourite sessions where experimental work is experimented. It saw me watching 23 pieces of theatre. Highlights were Nikki's extraordinary strength in KNOT, the disco energy of Dan Watson in Venus, The storytelling in Sophie Woolley's Augmented and Not Now collective's http://notnowcollective.com/ Pepper and Honey. The deconstruction of Invisible Flash's http://www.invisibleflash.co.uk/ The blind traveller, Fig's in wigs https://www.figsinwigs.com/ production values is always excellent and Brick Wall's https://www.facebook.com/brickwalltheatre/ Henry 5th was just storming good. Meanwhile I'm watching the pattern and chaos conversation that is happening in my garden as the work for Chelmsford is rusting nicely and been taken over by random growth.
Thursday, 31 May 2018
it's been a busy few days but full of really interesting moments - Book Art Symposium 2 at Camberwell was so extraordinarily profession, the students truly owned their practice and presented a fully engaging morning of ideas and work, so much so that my timing was almost a full 45 minutes off and as students had only 7 mins to present and 3 minutes for questions you can see how interesting it was. In the afternoon we went to Kingsland Projects http://www.kingsgateworkshops.org.uk/43-billboard to see the work of and talk with Fox Irving & Katarina Kelsey. They have been collaborating and evidence of this can be seen in the thoughtful billboard that can be viewed from the surrounding street and park.
Turn the page - https://www.turnthepage.org.uk/ the wonderful Book Art Fair organised by equally wonderful Rosie Sherwood, Alumni of The Book Art MA at Camberwell at The Form Norwich was really interesting, full of excellent work and committed makers. I missed the symposium, assessments and marking had overtaken my life. But the work at NUA is some of the most professional I have seen in my years of teaching. The students practice submitted for assessment leads me to believe that this year could be one of the most exciting final shows I have been involved in.
Thursday, 24 May 2018
our blue heaven - the story of Ipswich Towns FA Cup Victory at the New Wolsey https://www.wolseytheatre.co.uk/whats-on/upcoming/ is a triumph - it's a complete sell out so you will have to wait for its revival in 60 years time!! will the whole squad turn up on Saturday? still deep into assessments - by the end of the whole thing I will of written over 7,000 words and checked numerous boxes - every word from my team is carefully considered, I hope the students manage to read the comments.
The CSM final year show felt like you were at the epicentre of people engaging with what it is to be cool alongside slightly confused parents - it was full of the most excellently beautiful looking individuals - the work was also interesting - full of collaborative groups working together - the future is bright. You still have till Saturday to go see it - make sure you check out the basement and The Sculpture Garden http://sidandjim.blogspot.co.uk/. Turn the Page - the fantastic Book Art Fair is on in Norwich on Friday and Saturday - it's a must see https://www.turnthepage.org.uk/ Looking forward to PhotoEast https://www.photoeast.co.uk/ at the weekend. Meanwhile its back to assessments and then building a presentation for PALs for Wednesday. Undergraduate courses have a system of peer support known as Peer Assisted Learning or PAL. This means that Year One students have ready access to trained Year Two students from their course, from before they arrive through to the end of the first year. The advice and support given by the PALs is directly relevant to first year students and is delivered by Year Two or Three students who have had similar experiences themselves. This extra layer of support for first year students has been found to be very effective in helping to smooth the transition to higher education. Looking forward to the symposium on Tuesday at Camberwell. Its a point where the students journey is really captured as one is able to reflect on their first symposium in year 1.
Sunday, 20 May 2018
assessment, assessment, assessment - yes it's still that time of year - but meanwhile I have managed to be enthralled by Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli. It is quite beautiful with a great set of drawings which detail our relationship to where we are - wonderful. late to the party but I am deep into Westworld season 1 - it really is brilliant and asks some excellent questions about existence. Who are we, are we real, what is it to exist???? Game night https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2704998/?ref_=rvi_tt was almost good - some interesting moments almost is harsh but.....
Sunday, 13 May 2018
The work for Chelmsford is rusting nicely in the back garden - the colour is quite beautiful. Meanwhile ....I had to go back to see Ed Atkins at Cabinet - and on second viewing it just gets better - it's still head swivellingly odd but then when spending more time you see the interlinked nature of the films - the baby from one frame wandering into another the boy in the field moving across to play the piano etc etc http://www.cabinet.uk.com/index.php?ed-atkins-olde-food . The Tate has the extraordinarily bleak coloured sculpture by Jordan Wolfson - this is also starkly eye wateringly cruel and a truly must see - after the last Tate mess having this in the tanks has resurrected my faith in them a little. Age of Terror at the War Museum was okay - but most of the work was not about terror but war and most of it seen elsewhere so £15.00 seemed a little steep (maybe that was the terror?) - the two stand out pieces were Francis Alys video work of soldiers from both 'sides' stripping and rebuilding weapons and the very raw footage by Tony Oursler at the 'ground zero' site days afterwards as he prowled around the site videoing the carnage and the human fair that arrived - so many stalls selling prayer as the answer. The real terror is laid out in the Holocaust exhibit on the 4th floor - it is very clever, starting off with a little bit of nationalistic pride and snappy sloganeering and ending with war trials World just after harrowing images of concentration camps and testimony from survivors. World without us at Battersea Arts Centre was just that a one person show that explored the before and after of our existence on earth. Some nice ideas and the narrative visualised what it would look like when we are gone. quieter with a lot of plastic.
Friday, 11 May 2018
5 days away 3 books - Commonwealth by Ann Patchett deconstructs the idea of family, the details of everyday change bringing fresh hierarchy's and alliances is painfully picked over. A single defining moment revealing what was already there. The Underground Railway by Colson Whitehead is relentless cruelty, the truly and mostly matter of fact unfathomable depths of cruelty - a challenging and difficult but essential read if you want to begin to understand America. and onto the question I have often asked myself - when do you leave? with All For Nothing by Walter Kempowski the slow process of attrition is laid out. How do you judge that it's time to go? Why do you stay? Is it that it's impossible to conceive the levels of human wickedness that is about to engulf you? All 3 books are wonderful. Black Panther - what to say - I loved it - some of the best costumes ever deployed in conjunction with astute comments in the exploration of voices we don't often hear - it's also very funny .
The Cork Museum in Palafrugell was a highlight - Packed with cork facts you never knew alongside glorious images of smoking beret wearing workers, its next to the rather poorly curated, but with some interesting work The Museu Can Mario.
A day in London - great to pop into Chelsea and feel the atmosphere building as final shows are being constructed. Some interesting and some excellent shows to see - The Highlight is Ed Atkins at Cabinet - head stingingly mesmerising http://www.cabinet.uk.com/index.php?ed-atkins-olde-food . Jerwood Space has a great video by Maeve Brenna about bats! All Too Human at the Tate Britain has work by the gloriously fastidious Euan Uglow. There is some work by 3 students from the MA Book Arts Course at Camberwell in xhibit 2018. White Cube at Masons Yard has a Brazilian decorative comment on Capitalism by Beatriz Milhazez http://whitecube.com/exhibitions/beatriz_milhazes_bermondsey_2018/ Covering the Main Gallery at Tate Britian with tiles is the best element of the piece by Anthea Hamilton http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/squash
Tuesday, 1 May 2018
working life continues to be consumed by organising and setting up exhibitions within the educational contexts I work in, although I have been looking through the images that I have from Glasgow other than the art and thinking about possibilities.
late to the game but have just moved through the first 3 series of the complex and beautiful Grace and Frankie https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3609352/ two films - the unsure if it was 'well meaning' but it is warm Please stand by https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4652650/?ref_=rvi_tt and the crash bang wallop, although the monsters are very big that is Pacific Rim Uprising https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2557478/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Saturday, 28 April 2018
my headphones have arrived and I can't wait for my next session with OCA so I can show them off, I mean use them and be more effective in my online teaching. I've been chosen to be profiled in the new publicity - really proud. Also working on a catalogue text for Debjani Bhardwaj's upcoming show at Tashkeel as part of The Critical Practice Program. I am thinking about moments of creative activity. So far the title is observing a gap and filling it with connections - Where does creativity come from and where does one go to encounter it? http://tashkeel.org/projects/critical-practice-programme-2017-18
At the moment evenings have been spent failing to engage in a worthwhile series all have been abandoned - we have the unpleasant Westworld, the truly dull Lost in Space, the 2nd series of Money Heist which is unravelling veeeeeeerrry slowly, the 2nd series of Scorpion which is fully engaged with the jumping the shark concept. films include the gloriously uncomfortable spinning man http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5616294/ the joyous Paddington 2 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4468740/?ref_=nv_sr_1 and the stunningly brutal Hostiles http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5478478/?ref_=nv_sr_1 meanwhile Lena Wurzs an ex student from Camberwell Book Art MA has been in residence at London Centre for Book Arts - check out her blog
http://blogs.arts.ac.uk/camberwell/2018/03/07/ma-book-arts-graduate-lena-wurzs-residency-at-london-centre-for-book-arts/ and two more Alumni's Fox Irving https://foxirving.com/ & Katarina Kelsey https://www.katarinakelsey.co.uk/ have their commission for 4:3 / 16:9 http://www.kingsgateworkshops.org.uk/43-billboard already looking forward to it.
Monday, 23 April 2018
It's that time of year in the 'art school calendar' when final year shows are being conceived and that means the organisation that supports the students kicks in - which is where I come in.
Just returned from Glasgow International http://glasgowinternational.org/ which was a whirl of art and parties - some interesting work and some interesting spaces - sometimes those two things came together - sometimes the space was truly awesome - highlights for me have to be Urs Fisher's mechanical snails, Sol Le Witts black boxes under a magnificent skylight, Augustas Serapinas's piece blue pen at David Dale Gallery - I loved the highly specific story (whether true of not) that informed its making, it was just pitch perfect, Mark Lecky at Tramway rethinking thinking and Corin Sworn had created an interesting movement work within the space and showed the video of the work in the altered space....wonderful.
Just finished reading - Do no harm by Henry Marsh https://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/30/do-no-harm-stories-brain-surgery-review-henry-marsh it will blow you away with his honesty - what is it to be a neurosurgeon? - a 5% failure rate is okay for us but for a patient its 100% fatal.
Monday, 9 April 2018
a busy week of planning and some making day as part of making day at OCA - stitching line pattern and chaos - the front and of course the back (as ever) some films - a rethinking the hardboiled detective with Proud Mary - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6421110/?ref_=nv_sr_1 and then there is the truly extraordinary you were never really here - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5742374/ it is a must see. Meanwhile looking forward to Glasgow International - the planning is well underway http://glasgowinternational.org/
Tuesday, 3 April 2018
Getting reading for a making day as part of OCA - it's a first for me and am excited to be a part of it. I'm in the process of creating a form of audit of things I am interested in exploring in readiness. Sort of evaluating or just trying to look at the last few projects and pick up threads that I didn't fully explore that still interest me....see what's on the table in the studio.
spent yesterday reading a number of texts - this one springs into my head today.... Evidence was brought that “what is called ‘news’ is always an anti-social and disturbing act; that ‘news’ consists, as to ninety percent, of the records of human misfortunes, unhappiness and wrongdoing, as to ten percent of personal advertisement” - Uncommon Law, Alan Herbert 1935
This relates directly to the current thinking of Hans Rosling - I'm really enjoying the book of the week https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qftk/episodes/player from the beautiful Hans Rosling - him of glorious data. Meanwhile some stuff - Ramps on the Moon at the Wolsey had another stunning production - this time Our Countries Good https://www.rampsonthemoon.co.uk/show/our-countrys-good/ go see them - it will be good for you...funny, powerful, thoughtful theatre, what more could you ask for. saw a number of films including Speilberg explaining gaming but not quite as good as the book Ready Player One http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1677720/ the haunting Thelma http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6304046/?ref_=nv_sr_1 the almost annihilation
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2798920/?ref_=nv_sr_1 and relentlessly oppressive The Florida Project http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5649144/
Saturday, 24 March 2018
So a day at Kings - working on synthetic anatomy - on the way using my time on the train to work on the software to construct a number of gifs and creating more 3D pieces that explore the weave and knit aspect of the process. I am sure 3D printing is a textile activity. It was the table displays, one of the culminations of the project. fascinating - in the arts we spend hours debating Learning Outcomes - agreeing on their meaning and talking about transparency. It is almost as if a fear has gripped arts education. The science world had none of that fear and was full of certainty. There was some extraordinary work on display - some of it worthy of gallery space and others would be interesting within a design context. But all were amazing in what they had taken of board in terms of visual communication and storytelling - excellent.
Stayed on to go to see sylvia palacios whitman at a late Tate event - I will not be going again. So controlling, so managed, so badly staged. This was the tragedy and then the work itself .......just dull, verging on pompus and self congratulatory although its retrospective nature might of let it off these crimes if it wasn't for the new work, a travesty. And I paid £16.00 to sit on the floor behind a pillar! more fool me. Next day was a breath of fresh air - taking in a number of galleries that were more interested in art than controlling the audience - Arcadia Missa and Gossamer Fog had dynamic small scale pieces, The South London Gallery had free.yard curating a show upstairs and downstairs an extraordinary hyper produced exhibition by Magali Reus. The production values of the objects gave it a sheen of otherworldlyness. The overall experience was one of finding clues, it reminded me of the work of Mathew Barney. Finally the highlight was the curated exhibition by isthisit at arebyte on London City Island http://www.isthisitisthisit.com/ . It is an extraordinary show of highly considered work, I think Tate membership has to go when the more interesting work is somewhere else.
Tuesday, 20 March 2018
looking through Bilbao images whilst building my bio for OCA - trying to sound calm yet serious, established with experience but open to and excited by new ideas, evangelical about art and its value but not too straight faced.....#minefieldofdecisions
I am an artist. My practice has an extensive history of making, one strand of which explores the concept of bookness. The hybrid nature of the book form has led me to undertake an extensive range of commissions and exhibitions. The work can also be found in numerous public and private international collections.
A desire to collaborate underpins my work, evidenced in an extensive history of socially engaged residencies in a wide range of contexts. Teaching formally within Art College's informs one's own practice and continues to connect me with current creative thinking. I am interested in making work that communicates with people whilst leaving space for the viewer, enabling them to stop and reflect.
The work I am involved in with communities, pupils and students has its roots in attempting to make the world a better place through creativity. A belief in art as a tool for change, as a way of engaging with this world, of seeing its beauty and opportunities and supporting the individual to develop their own understanding. OCA is the future - I love the excellent systems that are in place to support students which in turn enable me to be a good at my job.
I document my practice here http://lesbicknell.blogspot.co.uk/ and to check out some outcomes go here http://lesbicknell.wixsite.com/work
I hope it does the job - meanwhile the images explore' ill considered street design decisions' and 'site specific textile activity' the drying racks with umbrellas are my favourite, taking into account the climate.
meanwhile I Tonya http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5580036/?ref_=nv_sr_1 is relentlessly oppressive, but the acting is brilliant, especially the relationship between mother and daughter.
Saturday, 17 March 2018
the shadow and the void - continuing the work on the pieces for Goldlay in Chelmsford. The shadows and their relationship to the objects are really dynamic and have emerged even better than I had hoped.