Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Worcester Open 1-0 I am the Warrior

End of my first week invigilating at the Worcester Open and it seems to have gone well. I’m sharing the duties with Chris, an engaging young chap, three days each and all the leftover crisps and nuts we can eat. An opportunity to round off that unread novel, catch up on correspondence and spend some quality time with some rather good artwork. The DVD machines are working, viewing figures on the up, the gallery looks splendid and I Am the Warrior is starting to fill out nicely.

What is I am the Warrior? It is a mis en scene put in place by Juneau Projects and whose original intention was to house work entered for but not chosen to be in the Open Competition.  In reality it is the former library shelves at the far end of the gallery that once held children’s books but now, resplendent in blobby-esque yellow and pink, only with the goalposts repositioned slightly with it now being open for anyone to enter work; just drop it off and Chris and myself will do the rest.

Self Portrait @ WM&AG

The Worcester Open contains, as one might expect, interesting work with all the usual suspects being present and correct: some film, some animation, paintings of course, a smattering of photographs, a wooden structure that may have once been part of someone’s staircase, a flag and a couple of small sculptures. Nothing truly remarkable, but generally speaking all are excellent in their own way and each a worthy entrant in the show. Trouble is, is it just me or is it all a bit predictable……dull even? It’s all been made and chosen seemingly in the best possible tasteful but, isn’t good taste the enemy of art?

Not Now Pet

Contrast this with ‘I am’s’ exhibits – take Alexander Williams’s ‘Not Now Pet’, a pink and blue psychedelic yodel seemingly puked up over a cheap canvas and all in the name of ‘art’; on a nearby shelve sit a pair of seeds, credited to and possibly accidentally stolen from Ai Wei Wei’s Tate show they find themselves teamed up with a pair of peanuts that the invigilators probably dropped and the cleaners missed and called ‘Not Ai Wei Wei’.  Ned James has entered what appears to be a death head pin cushion whilst Charlie Pitt has exhibited work that a five year old might have done. No disrespect to five year olds, some of their work has merit.

Let’s finish with what the audience thinks. Is Jed Edwards’s lovingly detailed yet possibly pointless micro copy of Picasso’s ‘Des Moiselle d’Avignon’ that finds itself tacked onto some green boarding any worse, or less relevant than James Brennan’s Myth 111 – Protect and Survive, a small study in oil of a pair of pert yet undemonstratively undraped breasts which cushion a pendant and which is strategically placed above another work by the same artist of a tree, or bush, that is included in the main exhibition?

Perhaps we should leave it up to the Italian student who came in with his classmates on the Tuesday to decide. After all they, the Italian grown ups rather than their students that is, masterminded the Renaissance, invented egg tempura and could call on Leonardo, Titian and Caravaggio if there was a bit of wall that required tagging, He must have thought Brennan’s topless temptress the more critically engaged of the two works because he kept returning to it, over and over again, each time with a different classmate, pointing and giggling, eager to share his opinion with them.

So, there you have it, one occasion where going tits up pays. The Worcester Open just nudging out I am the Warrior in the popularity stakes.

Thursday, 11 July 2013


Things moving apace – now at the end of week 2, this is day 6. Work slightly hampered by helping sort out and set up the Worcester Open, of which the opening is tomorrow and I hope you will all attend.

Anyway, I have almost finished a painting. It is called Playboy: Bounty Bunny Hunter and features a near naked figure stalking two giant Playboy style bunnies grazing just the other side of a hillside.

It draws inspiration and comfort from the man made signs and symbols that are dotted around our landscape. The bunny logo brings together the old with the modern. The male figure* is based upon limestone outlined figures on chalk downs, often of horses and often found in Wiltshire, although this one might be more closely related to Dorset’s Giant at Cerne Abbas. 

In truth it's not very good although I have had fun with the drippy paint technique that Peter Doig and his followers seem to be much enamoured with. Apart from that it's a bit shit. 

*shorts models own (not pictured). 

Friday, 5 July 2013

STUDIO<>VISIT (days 2 and 3)

So, didn’t post on Wednesday because that was a ‘staring into space day’. There is always one and it was good to get it out of the way early on. Today I rose early after a restless sleep, excited about what the day had in store but since it is Friday and I’m not in situ then it doesn’t really count.

Thursday was also the day that the timber got delivered for the Worcester Open (to which I have been accepted) so I was there early doors at the Museum and Art gallery putting in a shift heaving stuff around.

After showering I went up to WRE to buy a couple of decent sized stretchers and began preparations to paint reverse sides with watered down PVA glue. Next I put up my postcards and also printed off screensaver images of landscape – I’m tempted to do one with a silhouetted Playboy bunny logo on a pole in the distance, might lend the scene a little gravitas.

Looking at postcards – they could be used at Band B (B&B) as a promotional tool along with a map of the city and a list of suggestions where to go to see stuff. 

No pictures as I didn't take my phone. Back next Tuesday when I will finally get to pop pen one of those tubes of Windsor and Newton. Pop along, I'm waiting...... 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Today I started micro-dency @ PITT project space in Worcester – the residency which will stretch out over July is called Studio<>Visit and you are all welcome to visit. I have a kettle but no running water so please bring your own and I will make us both a refreshing drink. If you are going to visit please do so on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 10 a.m and 2 p.m. 

This must be the place....

I am investigating landscape painting and over the coming weeks intend developing my own Nu Tradition of landscape art.

So far I have unpacked and explored my new surroundings. There is a toilet and as a contrast, French windows that open out onto a small, pleasant walled garden. I have a radio and paint and I took a flask of coffee so I was happy. After listening to the radio, drinking the coffee and admiring the lawn for a short while I made some cursory notes in my cursory notebook, locked up and travelled the short distance to a nearby settlement where I bought a sandwich, two postcards and a Fleetwood Mac cd although not all from the same shop. 

Farmer on a skateboard

I set up a small installation that references homelessness and rough sleeping although the piece is called ‘Glossing’, a term that references Glamour and dosing, hence ‘glossing’.


Tomorrow I will take some water to put in the toilet and begin unpacking the paints in earnest….