Saturday 27 November 2021

27 11 2021

 Wretched sense of tristesse; took the Co-Mission off to be photographed, leaving a huge hole in the studio and in me, mysteriously. Then sold a painting that I like, ditto. Then a letter from a dying friend. And always the background humm of the homeless and the hungry. 

So; to clean the studio, scrape the palette, light candes for the causes I can't help. And maybe a bit of a weep.

Friday 26 November 2021

26 11 2021

 At last, an image :)

Was finishing off the art and cybernetics paper and wanted something on which to hang the question, but is it art... thought I'd find a test tube and bung in a flower or something. Couldn't find the test tubes, uncovered these flasks, picked up a bit of ivy and lo! Got a complete rush of pleasure, which I'd forgotten preceeds a finished work (-its been so long)

So according to my viscera it's art and now I realise I really really have to finish the Co-mission and do some painting.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

25 11 2021

 Managed to cobble 5-odd pages togethere yesterday despite catastrophic photo stuff. I'm alone in the house for a week now, poor Bob having to go to Plague Island... don't know how I'm going to finish this but these challenges are the stuff of life hahahaha

Lots of finishing off things to do.

24 11 2021

 ...whilst waiting for the photos to arrive, have nearly finished the art and cybernetics talk. Can't find a way to wind it up, but there's time. In the meantime, yesterday afternoon in fact, the photos arrived! Wrong size. Have to start again, sigh.

Sunday 21 November 2021

21 11 21

 Still awaiting the next tranche of photos. In the meantime, turned attendion to the new website which requires a particular type of mind-set, one thats tough for me (and thank heavens Gracie does all the real work -) Unfortunately working on the computer has led me to agreeing to address Cybersoc on art and cybernetics, I don't know how. Better get on with that then.

Friday 19 November 2021

19 11 21

 Co-Mission trucking along nicely - now reached a point where I can't do anymore till next photos delivery. Yesterday morning editing my piece in the GSB book - I'm chaper 25, the last, as in the 'and finally' slot. Pleasing. All done, even more pleasing.

Bob is commandering the study for a group meeting, so I can't use computer or indeed studio, since my tramping overhead would disturb them dreadfully. So a day out... Carcassonne, see if I can find any medieval MS.

Wednesday 17 November 2021

17 11 2021

 For a blog about an artists work, this is all strangely image free...  but I think I have an idea (oh la) where I will photograph - or more properly, cause to be photographed by an expert - the current work, which may be then PDF'd. Or whatever one does it cause it to appear on line.

Today already eaten into by the need to edit my contribution to the LoF book. I'm really impressed with my editors! I remember it as an incoherent ramble and it isn't. Just a few queries from the publishers to straighten, if  l can work out the technology, sigh.

And negotiations continue with the drawings of GSB. Hey  ho.

Tuesday 16 November 2021

16 11 2021

 ... cracking on. Coming together, slowly, slowly. And not without delightful interuptions; Philippe, who is planning his next bike round round France (??Quoi) and Vina, who is escaping another building project whilst trying to get back to her studio in Hackney. When I hear what other artists have to cope with I realise Im spoilt beyong belief; bad dreams is all I have though, terribly explicit bad dreams that make me realise my direction may be skewed.

Then yesterday was Pietrus's funeral. He was very happy to die, but I'II miss him. 

Reflecting on the nature of the world and our role in it, it strikes me - not for the first time - that we are a part of nature and ipso f., part of natures plan. It would be easy to halt global warming; get rid of cows, get rid of cars. Is that going to happen?? No way; we are therefore part of our own destruction, presumably having fulfilled whatever role nature had cast us in. Next series of paintings going to be a laugh, no doubt.

 Can't do a deal more now until a new order of prints arrive, though plenty of fiddly corrections to make to whats been done. 

Thursday 11 November 2021

11 11 2021

 Current outbreak of neurosis no doubt caused by the staccato nature of the work - waiting for things to dry, having to turn back to refer to previous pages - all in situ. Much easier to assemble pages later. Too late for that now. 

The crippled neck and ear now joined by a caput knee. Wearing a knee brace and a neck pad and dark glasses. Whatever next?? Can hardly wait...

Wednesday 10 November 2021

10 11 2012

 Onwards, though working with a micro-waved hot bean bag on my neck - and thats not all, this method of sitting  and drawing is a disaster physically. But some nice surprises. Every now and then something works. Over half way now, allelujia.

Sunday 7 November 2021

07 11 2021

 Back from Toulouse, where I was under-inspired. I thought that a big town and its attendant joys would fizz me up with notions but actually it was just a holiday. Nice. And I can  walk so much, thats pretty much all I did - and how gratifying, since when I had an appartement there 10 (?) years ago, walking was a struggle. Great meds, god bless chemists. I did double all my COPD drugs in advance so breathing was mostly OK. Eyes played up somewhat but hey, it's 3 days to go before its a month since I had the ops. Not doing badly.

Here are some pix by Theodule Ribot, on at the Augustines - a slight show but in the absense of anything else was captivated by his techniques. 

The model was his daighter - though he did kitchen workers and pre- Chaim Soutaine cuts of meat. 

Got things that need doing domestically now, the more so as Bob leaves for the UK on Weds., but have a joyful sense of where Im going with the Co-Mission.

Thursday 4 November 2021

04 11 2021

 Censored at Hall Place, Bexley Heath, 2001

Im in Toulouse, gannering...

and looked myself up on google. Delighted to find this which Id thought lost. Putting it here so not to loose it again.

It comes from a piece on censorship, dated 2001. 

I was invited by the young arts officer of Hall Place to become artist in residence. At the time there was a government scheme that we could bend to pay me a small wage and the powers-that-be made no objection. They gave me a studio. I began work Jan 16th, 2001 for three months.

Hall Place is a Tudor mansion shaken by the traffic that surrounds it, A2 and A223, dampened by the little River Cray. I already knew it quite well but now had access to places that were not at that time open to the public. My studio wasn't ready - indeed never materialised - so I hung around drawing and taking notes. Old damp coursing material made of waxed paper, tar and horsehair was being removed behind the scenes and I grabbed rolls of it to work on, doing the actual work in my studio in nearby Woolwich.

On examining the pargeting(1) in a large dinning room, I discovered figures carved out of what looked like icing sugar; shiny white heads and busts of women and men with Caribbean features, fish tails and curlicues, pineapples on their heads. -Of course many of the great houses built their fortunes on slavery. But here there was so much casual evidence, so confidently laid out, so unassailable that it was shocking. Hall Place is open to the public and much enjoyed by the bourgeoisie as a lunching venue. How had this history been overlooked? That, the persistent stories of ghosts, the heavy tristesse from the time when Hall Place was a school - plus the collection that was stored by the museum department in the Thamesmead store - these things shaped my response to the residency.

With the education department we proposed some workshops, applied for funding, got it.

Working very hard indeed - starting early, getting back to my studio and working late - in three months I'd a nice show ready to go. Three months after start, on 18th April, in conjunction with the arts team, up it went.

It was displayed in the minstrels gallery in the main hall, large enough to take students before taking them through to where the workshops were conducted. Hanging over it is a large metal light fitting and to this I'd affixed a collection of porcelain dolls hanging arm in arm. They looked quite pretty, dressed in tartan frocks and mob caps, until closer examination showed they all had disfigured faces - missing eyes, noses, something wrong.(2) (This was a rather obvious reference to the dolour of a childrens' boarding school.)

On the main wall hung sheets of the green waxed bituminous paper on which I'd painted white oil copies of the pargeted figures, strung together with painted chains which in turn hung from the slave collars that they wore. Still looked decorative - but made the point, I felt.

There was a large display case in which I imprisoned an angel ? a reference to all that had occurred to me about the Hall ? consisting of a plastic torso, shop model-type, with latex wings armatured with toothbrushes. She was strung in the case with wires that were made from Walkman earplugs and aeroplane video-watching ear plugs, both current in those times. In front was another display cabinet with more latex wings. The references were clear but the beauty (and the refection?s, the interaction between the two cases) was unexpected; it really worked.

There were other pieces - paintings and drawings - plus a video that I'd made with George Flatters, a student (I was also teaching at Greenwich University at the time) We'd borrowed a laser from Edwina Orr at Richmond Holographics and did some experiments around vibrations in the cellars testing for what ghost-hunters call 'hot-spots'. We interviewed staff about their 'ghost' stories - or not - and George put it all together with a spooky sound track, most successfully.

The team were pleased, I was pleased, the Arts Council rep took us out to lunch.

When we got back, preparing to photograph the show, two of the key pieces had disappeared. The Angel and the chandelier of dolls. The Arts Officer went off to talk with staff, was gone a long time, came back very pale, very subdued. The Director had said that the pieces were too strong for the building. That the art wasn't at fault; he thought it wasn't appropriate. He further said that if I made a fuss, the whole arts team would go, just go. Arts were not his priority.

After talking it over with the very distressed team, I agreed to do the workshops but to NOT do the exhibition we'd planed for the end of the year.

I wrote to the Director asking politely for an explanation. When I bumped into him he said he'd be replying. He hasn't. Yet.  ''

Monday 1 November 2021

01 11 2021

 Finding a new sense for the anthropological approach I seem to be taking. Truly a work in progress :) No idea how it'll get completed.