Big Ends – Small Beginnings!

Hi there..Happy New Year!!! 

The first show at Messum’s giant Barn Gallery  in Tisbury, Wiltshire

opened in December.

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I’m exhibiting with Sean Henry and Brian Taylor. Brian worked alongside me at my various foundry’s since the early 1990’s. I learnt an immense amount from him, indeed he became a kind of osmotic teacher to me. Before we get started here are a few shots of him in his Peckham studio taken a year before he died.

 

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He’d get attached to the less fortunate in life, homeless individuals who would set up camp in his studio! This is Mr Stanhope who came from the ‘Spike’ in Deptford in the early 1970’s

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I loved a show Sean had a few years ago in Salisbury cathedral.

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Here are some images of the show.

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Particularly pleased with the heightened detail we are now achieving at the new foundry.

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info@messumswiltshire.com

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Whilst down that way I took the opportunity to go to Oxford and visit the Ashmolian.

Here are a couple of paintings I loved, and sketch book notes….

A Mid 15th Century Flemish ‘Pieta’

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This Mary crinkles like tin foil, it’s as though the whole painting has been folded up and ironed flat again.  Her dead son lies on a sheet, hands upturned like dead spiders on a window sill, in fact his whole body is aptly chrysalis like, angulations combine cloth and skin, his left foot seems broken at the ankle.

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Again a Flemish 15th century painting, this time of Pilate and Christ.

sorry its blurred ..

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The thing that really grabs me about this one is the eyes and hands. There is a desolate resignation in the eyes of christ, and a numb dread in those behind him. A kind of mockingness is apparent in the shape and gestures of the interlocutor pointing toward Pilate.  Pilates half  closed eyes reveal a dignity and intelligence. Weary and harangued  as he is, there is compassion.  He is washing his hands of the matter. They are comfortable and fleshy in contrast to Jesus’s skinned fingers. The foreboding greens on the left give way to pinks and gold, which eventually rest on a hand pouring water from a jug. The water is poured  anonomously with aplomb, dexterity, cheeriness and self-satisfaction, for me these hands sum up the painting. They speak of all the people outside of this scene who assume the right decision will be made, they unlike Pilate do not carry the weight of office.’Populism’ forcing the hand of those in power… sound familiar?

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My great friend Les Bicknell, book artist, folder of things, educator and much much more (take a look at his site and blog you’ll understand)

http://lesbicknell.blogspot.co.uk/

http://lesbicknell.wixsite.com/work

Was throwing out trays of type set, so decided to give it all to me. It was hanging around for years in a dusty corner of the studio, coming to light in the recent move. Its been bugging me ever since, so i decided to apportion precious time and attempt to sort it out turn it into a resource.. I’ll let the pictures tell the tale..

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I decided that I would test everyone and so started an inept print – text project !!

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I found an old print tray and started to file..

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A weird symbology evolved..masonic, heraldic ? Against my better judgement I was enchanted.

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I was reading Jaquetta Hawkes ‘A Land’ (1949) at the time, charting the history of the British Isles, from the Pre – Cambrian to now. Her fantastic descriptions of fleeting organisms settling in sediment and turning to stone, to be revealed by the likes of Henry Moore millions of years later in a collaboration of time, nature and creativity must have effected my methodology , fragmentary fossil like arrangements were evolving before my eyes..

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My old friend the Quincunx wasn’t going to escape..

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Pattern could easily have evolved

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They turned into cards for Christmas and the new year, I had to justify these lost hours somehow…don’t worry if you didn’t get one, there wasn’t that many…

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Then to my surprise it got monumental even architectural..who would live in thishouse?

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The resulting print tray a fortnight later. A resource?

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   Tom and Edward finally got to mould the large figure I’ve been making this Autumn.

 

  The bizzareness of this method never ceases to amaze me, why pink?

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The Photographer Bill Jackson missed the opening party of the new space.

Rob Harries of ‘Air Artists’  (who had the space before me, kindly donated the sun)

 We even cooked a six-foot loaf of bread in the kiln…which involved buckets of kneading from Tom and Tim..

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It was dark but you get the idea ..  very tasty…

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Any way Bill missed the party but really wanted to see the new foundry. He’s a great photographer, so I’ll let his images play out the end of this blog..

www.billjackson.photography

My Wax Studio

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Was shocked to find this in Beccles High street in front of the gun shop!! It’s a camouflage suit for stalking , you lose your silhouette if you put it on. remind you of anything!!!!

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Middle distance is the wax from the mould featured earlier.

Foreground, my lying man fell over – he contemplates his injuries..

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The inevitable bronze pour..

I love the glow on the floor from the lid in this one.

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George Farrow – Hawkins, Glasgow art school graduate and new intern,  with legs spread in this plaster spattered fashion shot..

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Craig Hudson concentrating!

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Craig , Laurence and Tom concentrating..

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Jees! I scare myself sometimes!

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Oh and finally here’s a couple of images from a three-day teaching stint I did at Heatherly’s a small college in Chelsea London, specialising in figurative art! great fun..

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This was interesting the student layered clay coils on top of each other, poured plaster in, removed clay, built it up again and poured again until she’s arrived at this form..

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Biggest things Dan had ever made..

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Cheerio, scroll on for more, sign up and be a friend its lonely here, and go to the website for finished art.. thankyou and goodnight..

 

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