1. These photographs are taken from my latest body of work: Sneinton Market (Cyanotype Series). See the series in full on my website.

     


  2. Review: Since 1843: In The Making

    It may not come as much of a surprise to learn that Nottingham is a hotspot for young and aspiring artists. The School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University is one of the most established art schools in the UK, and has played a vital role in supporting countless art students on their way to establishing careers as fully fledged artists, makers and designers.
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    Mat Collishaw - Skin Flick 2


    Since 1843: In The Making presents a handpicked selection of the schools ‘best and brightest’ alumni featuring such luminaries as 2005 Turner Prize winner Simon Starling, and other well-known names including Mat Collishaw, Laura Knight, Hetain Patel and Alison Wilding.

    The exhibition itself is set throughout the Bonington building and beyond, and there is plenty to discover tucked away around corners, such as the showreel in the lecture theatre at Bonington, playing Jeanie Finlay’s 2011 documentary Sound it Out. Bonington Gallery itself is split into two sections, firstly presenting a brief glimpse of the history of the school and its early students, along with now-historical artworks including Motherhood (1922) by Dame Laura Knight who studied at the school in the closing years of the nineteenth century.

    The rest of the gallery is devoted to showcasing contemporary works from some the school’s more famous alumni. The sheer variety is striking, but is not surprising given the vast number of subjects that are studied at the school: from fine art and photography to fashion knitwear and theatre design. Inevitably, the works that draw my eye most are those more closely related to my own studies at Trent, particularly a photograph from Simon Starling’s 2006 seriesAutoxylopyrocycloboros and Skin Flick 2 by Mat Collishaw, a distorted, misshapen film of a bullfight projected onto a table, which only becomes visually coherent when viewed as a reflection in the large silver spike that pierces the screen.

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    Jonathan Glazer - Sony Bravia advert

    As well as the main exhibition in the Bonington building, works by other alumni are on show in the Newton building as well as a large work by Jon Burgerman commissioned specifically for the newly built Student Union. This disparate presentation does make it a little difficult to consider the exhibition as one cohesive whole, yet with the number of vastly different works on display this matters less than it otherwise might.

    It seems inevitable that any art school that has been around for 170 years or so will have produced a handful of famous or historically important artists. What would perhaps have added more depth to Since 1843: In The Making is an investigation into the role that the School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent University has played and continues to play in contributing to the unique and vibrant cultural landscape of Nottingham. We live in a small city, but one that teems with hundreds of creative graduates who choose to remain here after completing their studies, despite the lure of London and other more obvious centres for contemporary art and design.

    Many of the smaller galleries and organisations in Nottingham such as Backlit, Trade, Surface Gallery and many more exist in part - and in some cases entirely - thanks to NTU graduates who have made Nottingham their home and have helped to create a city that is an exciting place to be.

    Originally published by LeftLion.

     

  3. surfacegalleryblog:

    A selection of photographs from the opening of The International Postcard Show 2014. All photos by Joe Dixey.

    See more over at our Facebook page!

     

  4. surfacegalleryblog:

    Ey Up Mi Duck by Christopher Boote

    Currently featured in The International Postcard Show 2014 at Surface Gallery.

     


  5. After successfully staging a challenging exhibition, it’s important to thank those who helped you do it.

     

  6. I am very pleased with the latest addition to my art collection.

     

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  8. Art in Your Park: review

    Art can be exhibited outside. This is an obvious statement, but there is still something exciting about stumbling across artworks in the great outdoors. It’s a bit of a surprise, even when we expect to see it, as if the object in question has snuck away from its allocated space in an art gallery somewhere to make its own way in the world.

    And so it was with a sense of anticipation and a feeling of adventure that I went along to Art in Your Park, a free, month long exhibition of contemporary art in the grounds of Highfields ‘University’ Park. The exhibition presents newly commissioned work by artists Chris Meigh Andrews, Kirsty Tinkler, David Lane, Theresa Caruana, Frank Kent, Flora Parrot, Kate Davis and David Moore.

    Created by Theresa Caruana, Art in Your Park combines not just art and the landscape, but has an added technological element; in addition to the artworks physically present, ‘virtual’ artworks also make up part of the exhibition, to be accessed via mobile devices at specific geotagged locations. I was eager to explore this part of the exhibition, but in the end spent most of my time trying and failing to get the technology to work on my phone. I’m more than willing to admit that this may have been ineptness on the part of myself or my phone. Unfortunately, being too stubborn to admit defeat, my experience of Art in Your Park was peppered with frustrating interludes of reading instructions, changing phone settings, and trying to resist the impulse to hurl my phone into the lake. I suspect that this was not the experience that technology was supposed to bring to the exhibition.

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    Nonetheless, there were still plenty of physical artworks to track down, and I was impressed by the variety of approaches to creating art for the outdoors. Having admired Frank Kent’s work for a number of years, and knowing that his creations are often site specific and linked to the pre-existing architecture of a space, I was interested to see how he would respond to the grand and somewhat imposing environment of Highfields Park. Flower Pattern (Still Life with Aubergines) by Kent in collaboration with Leila Al-Yousuf occupies three small apses in the shadow of the University’s Trent Building. Visible from across the lake, each apse appears to have been painted a striking shade of light blue, almost luminous in the autumnal sunshine. Upon closer inspection, having made my way around to the other side of the lake, it becomes apparent that the delicate, shimmering blue is the result of the artist’s careful layering of many different hues.

    David Lane & Redjade Yuan’s Ghost Monument and Kirsty Tinkler’s Twin Temples are similar to Frank Kent’s work, in so far as their large scale causes them to stand out in the landscape and announce their presence. Several of the other works, however, whether through scale or form, are less eager to alert visitors to their presence. A nice touch to the exhibition is that there is no map to aid visitors in hunting down the works, so we are left simply to wander and discover things for ourselves. This certainly leant an sense of adventure to my visit despite the park being very familiar to me, and this, I feel, is a real advantage of showing art in the open air. It asks visitors to look again, more closely, with fresh eyes and an open mind, at environments so well known to us that they have become unremarkable in our imagination.

    Originally published by LeftLion.

     


  9. Isn’t Nottingham brilliant? So many gigs to look forward to…

     


  10. Decipher: exhibition review

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    Like many small contemporary art galleries, Surface Gallery is a fantastically versatile space, and one can never be entirely sure what to expect when visiting. Knowing this was still no preparation for walking into the gallery’s current exhibition to find the floor of the gallery space blanketed in layers of soil and sand. Decipher is an exhibition formed around a simple yet striking idea: each of the five participating artists chose a text from their own cultural background, and then gave this to another artist to use as a starting point from which to create an artwork.

    As a group, the five artists have a range of different cultural heritages and experiences to draw upon: Ernest Pujol León is a Barcelona-based artist, Melanie-Jane Jakubson is of English-Polish descent, Ela Ward is from Israel, Luya Wang is from China and Ellis Sharpe is of Eastern European Jewish descent. Helpfully, the texts used in the exchange are available in the gallery for interested visitors to browse, but the strength of the work on show is such that it’s not entirely necessary to read each book in order to appreciate the dialogue that unfolds in front of you.

    The aforementioned sand and soil forms what is perhaps the standout piece in the exhibition:Two States by Ellis Sharpe is a work that, inspired by Muslim Songs from the British Isles, asks gallery visitors not merely to pause and consider the process of cultural assimilation, but to become an active part in that process. Initially two distinctly separate layers on the floor, one soil and the other sand, have been walked over and trampled on by visitors. The once sharp, clearly defined boundaries between the two are slowly blurring into one another throughout the course of the exhibition. Around the gallery, works by the other artists overlap onto Two States, meaning that in order to see everything visitors have no choice but to participate in the intermingling of the two materials.

    The other works in the exhibition take strikingly different forms. Ela Ward’s large, scruffily dressed scarecrow, Eclipse, sits in stark contrast to the precise repetition of concrete blocks, roof tiles and other architectural materials that make up Melanie-Jane Jakubson’s Bridge.Further into the room, a single candle burns on a plinth. This is Luya Wang’s work Distance, in which visitors are invited to look at the candle, a symbol of Buddhist meditation techniques, by peering into a periscope-esque contraption suspended in mid-air. Here, the viewing apparatus creates an artificial barrier between the object and ourselves; we cannot relate to the candle in an unmediated way, much in the same way that although we are able to learn about and study in depth the many cultures around the world that are different to our own, we will always be on the outside looking in. Finally, at the back of the gallery is Ernest Pujol León’s short film Lydia. Murmurs of Ruin, which playfully mixes traditions of oral storytelling with modern historiography in order to tell the story of a Catalan fisherwoman famous for having sold an old hut that would later become Salvador Dali’s surrealist home.

    When these five artists entrusted their texts to one another, they surely must have felt a little trepidation in giving up control over how parts of their cultural heritage might be interpreted and reworked. The artwork on show in Decipher, however, is testament to the sensitivity and skill of the artists involved, and their shared interest in exploring social issues in a way that allows for conversation and reflection. In our current political climate, where the subjects of cultural exchange and national identity can be somewhat fraught, this gesture of trust and openness, and the respectful dialogues that result are a welcome and refreshing change.

    Decipher runs until Saturday 19 October, Surface Gallery, Southwell Road, NG1 1DL

    This review originally appeared on LeftLion.