Bend Over Shirley At Beaconsfield Gallery

Monika Kita made a brilliant film about our experiences here

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Having put together a number of shows as a group during the year within our year group, this was a show involving both first and second year students. We had 2 huge spaces but with 40 of us there was the usual challenge of curating.

We had had the chance to visit Beaconsfield earlier in the year so were familiar with the curators, and that made it easier to work with them. We also work really well together as a pair of groups, so when they came together I felt it went very smoothly.

There was a lot of 3D work, which I enjoy, and it feels like there is a real sensibility within this group to the idea of the artefact as object, whether 2d or 3d. For example, James Edgars’ typography work shown on the far right above was made using old blueprint paper which had been specially sourced and printed, showing a thinking of the plane beyond what was presented on the wall.

My work was the Flat Sheet from the MPR and I was really please at how it caught the light and sat near a puddle of water on the floor. The ongoing suggestion of electrical function is important to me, as I keep referencing the material in it’s utilitarian form in our homes.

Meanwhile II

Oona Culley, Dew Drops, No.2, 2012. Courtesy the artist

Subtle interventions by:
Susan Collis | Oona Culley | Daniel Eatock
Cadi Froehlich | Janne Malmros | Trevor H.Smith

20 July – 16 September 2012
Level 4 Gallery, Hartley Library
University of Southampton

Private View: Thursday 19 July, 6-7.30pm

Meanwhile II presents five further artists whose work is shaped by processes of deconstruction, removal or omission. The exhibition brings together a thoughtful collection of works on paper, altered objects and drawings that explore things overlooked, left out, or simply left behind.

The Hartley Library is located on University Road, opposite the Students’ Union. Free / open daily 9am – midnight. Public visitors must sign in at reception. View Google map location



TEN BILL10N: ” we’re all ‘doomed’ “

Royal Court Theatre


A sobering slap in the face at the Royal Court Theatre with Stephen Emmott. As a scientist with a diverse authority on pretty much every scientific concern examine the state of our planet today. (might be slight over exaggeration but the non-scientist in me understood the scope of his overview). This performance was basically a scripted lecture similar to those I see at University. The difference is of course that it is at a theatre, to a fee-paying audience, repeated for the run of the show (all sold out), and presented in a more intimate setting. The replica of Professor Emmott’s lab office reinforced the paradox between the knowing and the sharing of information. As all attendees had voted with their money for this presentation, and none walked out, we can assume that everyone was interested and listened. Being in a mixed audience, rather than an audience made up of UAL students was also different, as I could no longer assume to know the general take my fellow members might have on the evening.

This was basically the cold, hard truth of what the current state of the planet means for us humans. Facts, straight from the horses’ mouth. Pretty bleak predictions, stark suggestions of actions possible, despairing assessment of likelihood of taking action, and a final bit of advice to ‘teach your son to use a gun’ left a bad taste in the mouth. This was absolutely the point. Professor Emmott gave this example (I paraphrase):

If an asteroid was predicted to hit the earth at a set date, the world would leap into action, half the resources being directed at trying to avert the catastrophe, half directed at working out how anyone could survive after the event. The presence of the human race on the planet IS an asteroid, we just don’t have the date yet, so no urgency is being felt by any of us to take action.

The examples of fossil fuels makes most sense to me “Using fossil fuels is essentially re-releasing 100billion year old sunlight into our world. We are turning it back into the dinosaur world, and humans will go the same way as they did”. This is frightening news for the future of humans, but part of me wonders if the world would really mind if we did disappear. Probably not. So the issue here is of fear of pain and suffering, and the pain and suffering of our children, which, as humans, we are pretty rubbish at imagining powerfully enough to spur us into action.

I suppose that to me he was preaching to the converted, but I’d like to think that some of the others in the room with us last night heard what he was saying, and I am heartened that the whole run is sold out. The conversation has to start somewhere, everywhere. Organisations like Cape Farewell have been working on starting this conversation in the context of the arts. Hopefully Professor Emmott will now be starting this conversation to an even wider audience.

RCA summer show

I am drawn always to the sculpture department of the RCA, for it’s physicality, though I often end up yearning for some of the more delicate poetry of the jewellery and glasswares found in Kensington.
This year there were some standout works which struck that balance for me, both in sculpture and in the painting building.
It’s always interesting to observe how my personal preference for object based work influences how I respond to the work of other artists, as I was drawn to the monastic objects of Benjamin Wadler, and the mechanical presence of Samuel Zealys’ work. Walker had reduced his structures to about 50cm high, and they were lit with candles. The melting wax in a variety of colours was reminiscent of stained glass windows to me. Zealy had cast huge obscure mechanical components which occupied their space with solid calm. They held an ostrich egg securely, integrated into the structure. It might have been celebrated for its strength, or on the verge of being crushed.
Nicholas Smith had introduced virtual objects into his films of public monuments. As people passed by about their business, the monuments where transformed into black monoliths. Censure or enforced egalitarianism.
It was also interesting to see how the work of the students had influence each other, evidence of a group who had been sharing studio space for 2 years. The ostrich eggs were present in several artists works, as were melting and dripping, and monumentalism.
Over in painting I spent a long time looking at the work of Frank Ammerlaan. One piece in particular appealed to the object/ materials nut in me. It was a board about A4 and the surface was an inky black. The colour changed slightly as you moved around it. The material was marker ink, meticulously applied until the surface was completely saturated.

Burtynski: Oil at The Photographers Gallery

Manufactured Landscapes, the film which follows Edward Burtynsky as he seeks out and captures his subjects on large scale cameras has been an ongoing reference point for me. The opportunity to get up close to some of those photographs was exciting. I had never actually been to the photographers gallery before, but as a space it suited the work well.
The prints were huge. The subjects were sobering. But the resolution was so disappointing! I had imagined that the effort it took to capture images on a large format negative would offer the viewer a level of detail in the print which would allow us to enter beyond the surface and get inside the image. I left wondering if the digital print or even capture quality is not yet able to keep up.
The prints at the RCA were much more detailed, I’m particular the examination of mans addition to landscapes produced by James Smith.

David Shrigley

The drawings were familiar, thought provoking and made me smile, but what has stayed with me were the funny little cast figures. There were several cast pieces of domestic objects in various states of disrepair, but it was the litre stick figures which were most poignant. They seemed to have been modelled as an afterthought, casually, and were shut outside on their own. This spontaneous approach to modelling something which then goes through the labour intensive process of casting in bronze really struck a chord with me. They seemed quite melancholy. A physical sketch of some of the disquiet which often underlies Shrigleys‘ work.