Saturday, 30 June 2012

Empty Chairs at Warwick Castle

Had a great day at Warwick Castle on Wednesday primarily to see an artist friend's exhibition  on show in the castle in the state rooms leading on from the Great Hall.  Mike Yorke is a sculptor and installation artist whose current work Empty Chairs is a moving tribute to the soldiers lost in the Afghanistan conflict.  Inspired by Van Gogh's Vincent's Chair Mike's project started out with 140 chairs with each chair representing the loss of a soldier killed in action and the space that person leaves behind.  That number has now risen to over 416.   The work will continue to be exhibited, as a non-profit fund raiser for charities such as Help for Heroes at venues throughout the UK.

The exhibition is on till the 31st July and then moves to St Mary's Church, Warwick for the month of August and the National Memorial Arboretum, Stafford in October.  Sadly Mike's project continues to grow with each new tragic loss.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Foundation Art & Design Show at Solihull College

Nipped back to my alma mater Solihull College yesterday to view the Foundation Diploma Art & Design Show.  Really good diverse works on display worthy of a higher study level than foundation.   Didn't have time to jot down individual student's names and titles but here are some of my favourites.

Students' Signatures on Canvas

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Sunny Day out in London

A lovely sunny day out in London on Tuesday with friends from Solihull College BA Fine Art course. This shot of the facade of Sea Containers House at Blackfriars Bridge was taken en route to the Tate Modern to see the Damien Hirst exhibition containing some of his most iconic works such as the diamond studded skull, the Spot Paintings and his series of preserved animals in formaldehyde. In Mother and Child Divided, a cow and a calf have been sliced in half to show the flesh, organs and skeletal structure and in The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living a  shark which appears to move due to the refraction in the glass vitrine.

The life cycle is a theme that threads through the exhibition juxtapositioning the horror of seeing flies feasting on the bloody servered head of a cow, with the beauty and fragility of a room full of live butterflies. With all the publicity and hype that Damien Hirst attracts I was quite prepared to scorn his art but I couldn't fail to be impressed. Sorry no photos were allowed.

On next to see Doris Salcedo at the White Cube. Colombian artist Salcedco is well known for her politically engaged work.  In the ground floor gallery A Flor de Piel is an enormous shroud made up of thousands of rose petals sewn together in a suspended state - neither fresh nor withered - almost resembling skin.   Plegaria Muda in the lower ground gallery is a major installation consisting of tables that have been placed on top of each other but divided by a huge slab of earth.  On the underside of the uppermost table surface  delicate shoots of green grass have sprouted through the wood. Each sculpture is the size of a standard coffin and represents the bodies of 1,500 young men found in Colombia who were lured from their families with the offer of a job in the army, but were then murdered with their families falsely told they were killed in combat. No photos again. 

Lastly onto the Victoria Miro Gallery and The Vanity of Small Differences an exhibition by one of my favourite contemporary artists, Grayson Perry. If you have been following his fascinating series on class and taste on Channel 4, All in the Best Possible Taste you will have seen the inspiration behind his tapestries exhibited here in all their colour and glory.  The tapestries are his wry comment on class mobility, literally weaving a narrative partly inspired by Hogarth's  A Rake's Progress.  I was free to take photos but not allowed to publish them on my blog, so no pics again I'm afraid.

With Perry, it's all in the tiny details and In The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal representing the tastes of the Middle Class, there are references to Cath Kidston, Range Rovers, cupcakes, Penguin Classic mugs, local and organically grown fruit and veg, Agas, Le Creuset, cafetieres and stove-top coffee pots.  Hilarious!  I think everyone would recognise something of themselves in this one.

Before catching the train home, an Italian meal at Bella Italia - something Grayson Perry might have a chortle about.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Fingerprints - The End of an Era

Me with 'The Hours' quilt
On Thursday we took down Fingerprints our Degree Show Exhibition.   Sad that it's all over now and not just our exhibition but our time here at Solihull College.  I have spent four happy years here, starting with a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design and then the three years of my degree in  Fine Art.  It's been hard work with highs and lows during the creative process but I have really enjoyed my time here and will be sad not to be coming in each day as I have made lots of friends.  These shots were taken on our 'take down' day.

Arlene Burnett - Our BA Fine Art Course Co-ordinator
Head in a book as usual but shame about the corkscrew legs
Laura's gone to lunch
Maureen sweeping up the remains of her artwork

Amanda's Weather Balloon
Amanda getting ready to let her balloon go

The ceremonial letting go - it really is the end of an era

Off goes the balloon and about one hour after she let the balloon go, Amanda got a phonecall to say the balloon had landed somewhere in Sutton Coldfield so it had travelled about 20 miles.
It seemed slightly uncanny that just as we were leaving the college for good we got the call to say the balloon had landed. It really is the end of an era.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Two Castles Run - Warwick to Kenilworth Castle

After all the stress of the last few weeks getting ready for the Degree Show it was time for a little rest and relaxation, at least for me.  This morning my husband took part in the Two Castle 10K Run starting from Warwick Castle and finishing at Kenilworth Castle. While waiting for him to arrive in Kenilworth, daughter and I took advantage of the early start by breakfasting on American pancakes with crispy bacon and smothered with maple syrup, bacon and poached egg on English muffin, coffee and orange juice.  And very nice it was too, made all the more scrumptious by knowing that husband, at the very moment we were tucking into our hearty breakfast was slogging away on his 10K run.

Here he is with Emily at the finish line, number 3632, suitably attired with medal after finishing a respectable 1 hour and 1 minute.  Neil really deserves this bit of glory after all the help and support he has given me during my studies, especially during the last frantic few weeks on the run up to the Degree Show, when he cooked most of the meals and took charge of the house.

Hang on a sec! Isn't that what women do 52 weeks of the year anyway?

Seriously though, he has trained really hard for this, braving the cold and the rain over the winter months, while me and Emily were tucked up cosy and warm in the house.  

Congratulations No. 3632!   You missed a great brekky though.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Fingerprints - The Degree Show

Many thanks to everyone who turned up on Thursday night to the Fingerprints' Private View of our Degree Show.  The turnout was great and we got to meet up again with alumni from Solihull College BA Fine Art students.  Thanks to all my friends who turned up on the evening and  I had some great feedback and comments. I never thought at the start of my degree three years ago that I would get to this point.  I can honestly say that I will miss going in each day to Solihull College and certainly miss the company of the friends I have made. I think Solihull is lucky to have a college on its doorstep who champions the arts; long may it continue. 

Don't forget the show is open again from 11th - 14th June. I will be there on the afternoons of 12th and 13th June and the morning of the 14th.  Look forward to seeing you.

The Hours - Jacqui Thomson

The Hours III- Chair with vintage antimacassar

The Hours II - Altered Vintage Book
Amanda Elliott

Maureen Bannister
Laura Jackson