As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve been to some shows recently which have now finished. I’ll tell you about them even though you can’t go and see them now. Firstly, while I was away, neoartists opened a new exhibition at the Market Place in Bolton. Normally I would attend the opening and then tell you about it straight away. I eventually got to see it just before it closed.
See-Saw was ‘an exhibition about games and play’. I understand it started from this mixed media work by one of the curators, Ian Irvine:
The tiles of Board Game move, revealing images underneath. Unfortunately, we don’t know the rules for this game.
The other curator was Denis Whiteside. (Never fall for his ‘Which one do you like best?’ line! He’s not satisfied until you’ve analysed all the depths of your choice and approached it from every angle!) One of his works was Foregoes, which is more playing with words than a playing a game.
I really liked the simplicity of Joby Williamson’s screenprint Transparent Measure.
Sarah Sanders in her untitled video drops sheets of A4 paper, a ‘normal’ game for a small child but unsettling when done by an adult.
The most established artist represented in the show was Richard Proffitt who had a little devil made from blu-tack with animal teeth for horns. I queried where ‘play’ and ‘games’ came into it, whereupon Denis asked ‘Have you never played with a blob of blu-tack?’ I asked if the title El Diablo had any reference to the spinning toy, but Denis didn’t think so. But, hey, we can take what we want from a work and I want it to refer to the toy, so there!
Jason Simpson had a work, Frustration, which was described as ‘interactive game and painted outcome’. I chose the green counters. As I won the game, if my name is drawn, then I get a green painting from Jason. Jason as you can see was devastated at losing!
The second show I want to mention was a two-woman show with Jennifer Nuttall, a fellow print maker from Hot Bed Press, and Natasha Lolljee at the Parsonage in Didsbury, South Manchester where I’d enjoyed scones earlier in the summer.
Jen’s usual work involves waterless lithography plates on top of painterly mono-screenprints. She had three prints from a series about gauchos, which had the same plate printed on different mono-type backgrounds to represent different times of the day. This is the evening one:
All the works on display were based on Jen’s Brazilian sketchbooks. This one was called Santa Vitoria Parakeets. It had a red spot at the end of the opening!
I’ve used masking fluid when using watercolours, for example to paint out the sails of a boat at sea. It is then possible to paint the blue wash for the sea quite quickly, removing the rubber masking when the paint is dry to reveal the white paper. Natasha goes further, using masking fluid far more substantially alongside coloured inks in her work. For years her doodles in meetings or on public transport seemed to be about the sea and she has now produced a series of paintings about waves. Here are a couple of them:
Finally, last weekend was the Buy Art Fair together with the Manchester Contemporary. On Sunday I was on the Hot Bed Press stand. One of my prints sold …. but I bought two! Will I ever make money from my art!? One cynic at HBP claimed to have seen people wandering around the Buy Art Fair with John Lewis swatches looking for a painting that would match the new suite. Certainly the art there was ‘safer’ than the ‘more challenging’ work next door in the MC.
The Hot Bed Press stand
However there was one artist I like at the BAF. I thought that Doug Wellyn was a corny enough name but on one stand there was work by Orson Kartt! It reminded me of Andy Warhol’s famous quote “If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.” Orson Kartt’s work was equally superficial, and that is not meant as a criticism. Check out his site for some real gems!