Tuesday, 31 December 2013


Contents of the University Photography Department's
 ink cartridge recycling box


Spike Island

Following LIGHTSHOW at the Hayward Gallery, earlier in the year I was eager to get down to Spike Island for David Batchelor's current exhibition which explores his ideas about colour, line, space and perception in both his drawings and paintings from the past twenty years.

Visually the 'white cube' space of Spike's Gallery provided an excellent arena for these works. Unfortunately Batchelor in conversation with exhibition curator Andrea Schlieker, was a little less successful as it was given in the inner gallery, surrounded by his 'blob' paintings. Experiential maybe, but sadly an acoustic disaster. I hope to add a link to a podcast of the lecture soon.  

The exhibition covered four main areas:

The colour and monochromatic drawings and paintings which have informed Batchelor's sculptural and installation works over the past two decades. 

The October Drawings, a series of drawings displayed together in a side gallery. 

and his most recent 'blob' paintings, pools of poured gloss paint on plinth-like solid black rectangles.

Seeing the work in this exhibition confirmed how vital it is to continue to allow my work to flow seamlessly between 2D and 3D, for one to continue to inform and influence the other boundlessly. 


Finally, and of most relevance to my own work, Batchelor has apparently also been seduced by, in this case, shards of coloured glass. This carries an obvious resonance with my research which examines the combination of reflected daylight and coloured acrylic.

Monday, 16 December 2013


I'm starting to think about a suitable mode of display for the plates.
I saw these outsized, armatured magnifying glasses in a window display at  H&M a while ago.

These Copper Mirrors by a Norwegian design partners Hunting and Narud were shown as part of London Design Festival 2013.
The idea of using a frame which pivots appeals, as it would accommodate the need for them to be adjustable according to changes in light source.

Featured in Dezeen Magazine September 2013

In 14 Rooms upended 2005 Richard Wentworth installed a series of carefully 
positioned mirrors, part reflective, part transparent into the formal spaces of Felbrigg Hall, encouraging visitors to view the house from different perspectives. His work bears a strong resonance with what I have been trying to achieve with my recent work.

Helen Maurer uses combinations of glass, light and overhead projections to create her site specific installations.

I have used digital projections in previous work and will use this medium in the future to project blocks of coloured light onto ceramic objects.


Images from this utterly intriguing site-specific project at the Spode Factory in Stoke -  the most exciting exhibit at The British Ceramics Biennial.

Wandering around this vast, redundant factory site on a depressing, grey November day further added to weight of the atmosphere and profound feeling of loss.  

An exploration was made of the residual aspects of abandoned industry, which challenged our perceptions, expertly drawing attention to the residual traces of a once thriving factory and its workforce.

Works by artists associated with the larger, on going project curated by Neil Brownsword and Helen Mydland in association with Bergen Academy of Art and Design (KHiB) Norway, included film of Northern Soul dancers jiving in the in the Directors hall, Camera Obscurers made from redundant plaster moulds,  and vistas of inaccessible areas of the factory.

However what really grasped me were the most benign aspects of this place (the sort of things that tend to preoccupy my attention generally). 
These played with my perceptions. Unintentional observations or deliberate interventions??

Staff Pinboard - minus content, apart from a 
trace of a 'SITUATION VACANT'  notice.

Workers shoes abandoned,
 impregnated with dust.

Budlia with an ephemeral dusting of  
ceramic dust
 - weeds beginning to take hold.



Monday, 18 November 2013


I recently took a 'Keith's Coach Tours' road trip to Stoke-on-Trent to visit the British Ceramics Biennale.
First stop was the The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery which hosted AWARD the Biennial's "major survey exhibition of current ceramic practice in the UK".
Sadly I had to pinch myself a few times to remind myself that we had't inadvertently turned right onto the M4 and arrived at Ceramic Art London...(same old, same old)…
There were, however two redeeming highlights of the show.The first of which was Nick Lee's amazingly uber-crafted objects, the result of his M.phil research at the Royal Collage of Art. I’ve seen photographs and heard them described, but nothing prepared me for cerebral quality of his new work. The pieces demanded much curiosity from visitors to the exhibition. Not only has Nick managed to create these technically impossible forms from a wildly challenging material, but in doing so, he draws attention to the 'penumbra' – the area where solid form meets shadow,occupying the boundary between matter and space.

Accompanying drawings were fresh and accentuated the seamless transition of the work between 2D and 3D.

The Uncanny Playroom by Christy Brown was an utterly intriguing, if somewhat unsettling gathering of ceramic & mixed media figurative sculptures.


Brown explores fragmented objects and their relationship with the human figure to create a narrative which leads you into a dreamlike ancient other world.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Elephant in the room

Looking around at elephants and popular culture, I remembered this work by our favourite son of Bristol, Banksy. 
Exhibited as part of Barely Legal, a live elephant was hand painted in a pink and gold chintz motif echoing the wallpaper of the room in which it was allowed to roam free during the show. 'Elephant in the room' is a metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. In this case Banksy aims to draw public attention to world poverty.

Barely Legal. Los Angeles 2006

This unsettling transposition of an instantly recognisable pattern onto an incongruous object, holds a resonance with the use of the traditional willow pattern in my current work.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Elephants on Parade

The collective noun for a group of elephants is a 'Parade' of Elephants.
This got us thinking about other collective nouns, some were quite unusual, for example the name for a group of Badgers was not as I suggested, a 'Cull' of Badgers, but actually a 'Cete'
of Badgers.

Whoop Studios produce these lovely collective noun prints. http://www.woopstudios.com/shop/templates/product_listing.aspx?category_id=27&category=A-Z-collection-by-noun

To Bombay, a travelling Circus came, they brought an intelligent elephant and Nellie was her name. One dark night, she slipped her iron chain and off she ran to Hindustan and was never seen again...

I used one of the Scrapstore moulds to cast up a small herd of elephants in semi-porcelain casting slip.

The colour and surface quality of the freshly cast forms totally resembled elephant skin.


On a recent visit to Bristol Scrapstore I couldn't believe my eyes... there, amongst the usual shelves of scrap stuff were loads & loads of commercially manufactured plaster moulds for slip casting.
What an amazing find! The only problem was, which to choose...