Thursday, 26 January 2012

UnMasterclass at Reel

I will be showing one of my UnMasterclass films at Reel, a curated screening evening of artist's film. It is being shown in a new artist run space in an ex S&M club in Lincoln, run by Laura Mahony and Dale Fearnley and it all kicks off at 6pm with the films starting at 7pm on Monday 30th January. Bring along a cushion and drink on the night.

A Private Affair

I am showing a painting from the Reconfigure painting series at A Private Affair at The Harris Museum and Gallery, Preston opening on Friday 27th gallery with the private view and then to the public from the 28th January until 5th May. This painting was bought from my solo booth with Castlefield Gallery at The Manchester Contemporary Art Fair in 2011 and was selected by Mark Doyle form Contemporary Art Society and curators from the Harris.

Here is the info from the gallery, "In 2012, we present a major exhibition series focusing on the people and the stories behind collections – from private collectors to those individuals whose donations and vision founded museum collections such as the Harris’ for the enjoyment of all.  

A Private Affair tells the personal stories behind private collections of contemporary art asking; why do people collect contemporary art, what influences decisions on collecting, and how does it affect or enhance their lives? The artworks are on loan from private collectors in the North of England, who have generously agreed to live without some of their favourite items for a while. The exhibition highlights a strong interest in supporting artists and the fascinating journeys undertaken by the collectors. A Private Affair demonstrates a variety of artistic styles from the past 40 years, and includes artists of regional and national importance.

In the summer, 
A Public Affair will celebrate 130 years of fine art collecting by the Harris. The exhibition will chart the growth of the Harris collection, changing tastes, and the enduring principles of the founders in acquiring new works by artists of the day"

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

UnMasterclass 52

This week for the final UnMasterclass we take on a behemoth of painting; and what many see as the start of painting’s supposed endpoint, Malevich’s Black Square. Where can painting go from here, when it’s form and subject has been reduced to such purity of thought, approach and output. Malevich, in his launching pamphlet for Suprematism, set out a call to arms for artists to set aside the traditional criteria for art of reproducing from nature; or in Malevich’s words “the tracing of the savage’s first primitive image”, based upon the idea that because the first marks were made to replicate nature, there is no reason that we should continue in this vein.
Malevich set out a manifesto for dropping these traditional approaches of reflecting the mirror of nature for their art, to create from the mind of humans only. In Malevich’s far more eloquent words “An artist is under the obligation to be a free creator, but not a freebooter. An artist is given talent in order that he may give life to his share of creation and increase the flow of life. Only in absolute creation will he acquire his right.”
In recent weeks UnMasterclass has been increasingly drawn towards the 20th century abstract spectrum of painting. This week we reach an impasse, where can we go from here? And so we end. Fittingly this weeks episode sees us aesthetically reproduce most faithfully a masters painting. Yet this is only on the face of it faithful, as of course UnMasterclass is far, far away from being faithful from Malevich’s visions for the future of art. UnMasterclass is a thief who has lost its cause. We have reproduced a multitude of paintings to prove a point that to learn the craft of painting one must learn from the master paintings of the past. The impasse we reach is with Malevich. Here is an art that has reduced painting to a purity, not just of form, but of conceptual validity of the medium as well.
And so UnMasterclass cannot learn the craft of Malevich’s art, through reproducing it in front of the painting itself or reproduction from the book or the web. The flesh and simplicity of the painting is easy to reproduce, but the message is all lost. Malevich needs work of the cerebral to come alive and with that we need the spoken and the written word, not the brush and the eye. And so we stop. We stop the words and we stop the reproduction of paintings. We are not sure what we have learnt, we can only speculate that we are still sure that our initial thoughts that the craft of painting is best learnt by studying the original paintings of artists. We still believe in the value of figuring out how these paintings were conceived and then bringing this studied knowledge to the studio to renew and further the continued journey and joy of painting is the best way to learn how to paint well. However we are still sure that the skill of painting is only half the battle, there are too many vacuous technically proficient paintings and too many awfully conceived interesting ideas for paintings out there. When the two come together then we have triumphs of paintings/art. But for now we leave it again to Malevich and free ourselves from the shackles;
“To reproduce beloved objects and little corners of nature is just like a thief being enraptured by his legs in irons.” 
To view the last ever UnMasterclass please click here