Thursday, 27 August 2009

Ostrale 09

Have had some time to reflect on participation in the 'Ostrale 09' in Dresden and also on some of the other work featured in the show. For example the photography (of which there was a fair bit) was a mixture of what might be expected in a German dominated exhibition and work that very definitely isn't at all related to the 'Dusseldorf' school. I am posting a few examples but as I can never work out how they get ordered on the blog you may have to work out what's what for yourself!

I guess Goran Gnaudschun's portraits might have been what was expected - their frontality, naturalism and formality is evident but they also had a wistfulness to them. Ingo Wilhelm's black and white portraits shot from outside the windows of public transport were especially moving. Sven Alexander Heine had experimented with photo emulsion on concrete but I felt the images themselves were insufficiently strong to carry the metaphorical weight of the form. I very much liked Astrid Korntheuer's inkjet prints of forest and fields - but then it's not surprising as they were in territory similar to that I want to work!

Back to some kind of normality...

It's been a hectic few weeks that culminated in my wife's exhibition opening at the City Gallery in Leicester earlier in the week. I'm now off to my studio on what is pretty much the first quiet, uninterrupted day for nearly a month! I have quite a lot of catching up to do on a number of fronts...the painting activity is underway and quite a few canvasses require resolution before I start in seriously on some new work loosely based around an imagined garden that will be mainly conducted on a large scale. On the photography front I want to experiment further with the ideas I am kicking around for my major project for the second year of the Masters and that will mean more visits to site and more research of a detailed kind into the relevant flora in the area under consideration. I'm planning to merge several images into one another, with the scale of the various natural matter oscillating wildly on the picture surface and then print them a larger scale. A first effort - purely for initial interest - is posted here.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Back Home

from travels across Germany - its a big country when you travel from the western border with Luxembourg to the eastern boarder with the Czech republic! Still we visited both Weimar and Dresden that (apart from Berlin) are my first forays into the old east. Both of them in their own way very beautiful cities. The show in Dresden was fascinating - a mix of ultra professional and student shindig - and all taking place in the old slaughterhouse buildings (as immortalised by Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse 5). My work got a small room in the Direktoren Villa to itself and I was pleased with it! See the photo...the rooms had been left pretty much as they were creating an interesting tension between the marks on the canvas, deliberated but seemingly random and those on the 'distressed' walls, random but now seemingly deliberate! I'd taken a last minute decision (chicken maybe?) to show paintings rather than photos and/or manipulated digital works but in the context (of over 130 artists exhibiting) where there was a predominance of such work I was glad I had. In fact I am increasingly worried that the photography 'experiment' is proving to be a bridge too far for me in terms of my passion for the handmade. But maybe I can (as my friend Simon hinted at recently) bring the two closer together over the coming months?