Tag Archives: Berlin Holocaust Memorial

More BogArt

28 Mar

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More BogArt! The interesting and quirky Cinema & Co in Swansea is more than just a place that shows films, it is a space for comedy, music and art as well. The exhibitions in the main cinema change monthly but there is a great bit of exhibition space in the cinema’s two toilets (also known as the Bogs in British slang). So owner Anna Redfern offered me the space to curate BogArt and I jumped at the chance. It’s a captive audience for the art, after all. The one above is a mixed media piece, based on an original life drawing, called “I Knows ‘Ew Luvs Me Cos ‘Ew Buys Me Chips” which is a bit of a joke here in Swansea….

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And the one in the smaller bog is an ink drawing on Mylar film, inspired by my wintry visit to Berlin in the snow, where I saw the Holocaust Memorial under a layer of soft whiteness.

Remember

13 Nov
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Er Gof (In Memorial) #9, a reduction lino print inspired by the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin 

Today is Remembrance Sunday. In Britain there is a poignant service to remember the war dead, not glorifying war, but remembering the awful cost of war. So much of my work is about remembrance and memorial.

The song ‘1916’ by Mötorhead, possibly the best anti-war song ever. So sad, so gentle…..

 

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A mashup of one of my stamp prints of German anti-war artist, Kathe Kollwitz, and a newspaper cutting

I am hugely inspired by Käthe Kollwitz, the German feminist, socialist, anti-war artist who died in 1945, after a lifetime of using her art as political protest, being banned by both the First Reich and the Third Reich.

 

“We’re Here Because We’re Here”, an extraordinary UK-wide public art event commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, one of the most moving artworks I have ever experienced.

 

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And now, more than ever, we need to remember the real lessons of war, the loss, the pain, the grief and learn from them. But will we?

 

My latest artwork, inspired by Käthe Kollwitz, is on show at the Womens Arts Association until December the 12th…….

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Nearly Done

8 Aug

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Today I finished printing my 8 small, 2-colour lino (well, vinyl) blocks ready for my group exhibition at Oriel Ceri Richards at Taliesin Arts Centre in a couple of weeks. I still have to do the second colour on my remaining 4 larger blocks but that’s for tomorrow.

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I used Intaglio Printmaker’s oil-based litho/relief black ink mixed 50:50 with their extender and printed onto Hosho paper using an antique Victorian Columbian printing press at Swansea Print Workshop. I started with drawings and photos of a visit I made to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a couple of winters ago. The thick snow made the place even more surreal and inspired me to develop the imagery in drawing and printmaking. I like the way they’ve turned out, quite a departure for me but part of being an artist is to evolve and experiment.

If you want to find out more about the 15 Hundred Lives group show “People And Place”, please click here.

Lots Of Linos

18 Jul

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I’ve been working at Swansea Print Workshop for most of the week, printing the first colour in a series of reduction lino prints. We printmakers often call this the ‘suicide’ method because you don’t use separate blocks for each colour, instead you cut away the first colour, print it, then cut away the second colour, print that and so on until the block is more or less destroyed. This means there’s no room for error. So I’ve printed a mid grey onto a white Shoji Japanese tissue. Over the next few days I’ll be cutting the blocks and then printing the next colour, a dark grey. The images are based on drawings I have done of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial in the snow; I visited Berlin a couple of winters ago in severe weather, it was fantastic. People skied and skated on the frozen river.

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The linocuts are part of a new body of work I’m doing for a new exhibition coming up in August at Oriel Ceri Richards with the 15 Hundred Lives art collective: collagist Sylvie Evans, painter Graham Parker and me. We’ll be doing a lot more beside the exhibition. More of that later 🙂

 

 

Darkly Drawing

24 Apr

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Spent a happy day at the Creative Bubble artspace in Swansea with the 15 Hundred Lives collective on our monthly public art event. I’m continuing with a series of manier noir drawings inspired by a visit to Berlin a couple of winters back. I saw the Holocaust Memorial under a couple of feet of snow and it was even more powerful and awe-inspiring than normal, throwing stark shadows between the dark stelae like a German Expressionist film set.

I learned the manier noir drawing technique from Irish printmaker Aoife Layton. I started by stretching a large piece of Fabriano Accademica paper on my wall and giving it two coats of acrylic gesso. When it was dry, I scribbled over it with blocks of compressed charcoal and then rubbed it in with my hands to get a fairly even, black surface. I draw with wire wool (steel wool) and fine grade aluminium oxide paper, or sand paper, rubbing away the black to reveal tones of grey and white highlights. It gives a dramatic, sculptural, chiaroscuro effect. The phrase manier noir means ‘in the dark manner’ and is often used to refer to mezzotint prints.

These are three separate drawings; I’m working on one piece of paper because it’s easier to prepare one larger rather then lots of smaller pieces. Eventually I’ll separate them and frame them up, probably in very plain boxy frames, for an exhibition coming later this year.

Where It Starts

30 Mar

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This is where it starts. With doodling and scribbling and sketchbooks. Just chilling out and playing with some materials, tonight some black conte crayon into my A5 hardbacked sketchbook. I’ve been doing a lot of work recently from drawings and photos I did at the Berlin Holocaust Memorial in the snow a couple of years ago and the monochrommatic and dynamic images have obviously influenced these sketches. I don’t know where they will lead, I hope eventually to some lino block prints or etchings, but for the moment I’m enjoying this phase of playing with the conte crayon across the pristine white page, seeing where it’ll take me.

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Manier Noir in Ynyshir

27 Mar

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I spent the day at the fabulous Workers Gallery and Workshop in Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley. I did a one-day drawing residency, working on a manier noir drawing based on photographs I took of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial in the snow a couple of years ago. A lot of people came in to see what I was doing and find out more about the technique and my work. I had a lot of very interesting conversations throughout the day and I started and finished an A2 size drawing.

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The Valleys has a difficult reputation in the media, but I find people interested and engaged, maybe because there is so little investment and so few services, people seem genuinely keen on seeing what’s going on in the new gallery. I think the media image these towns have is nothing more than blatant class prejudice in my opinion. It’s easy to pick on working class communities who don’t have control over media output. I am really happy with the drawing and the discussions and feedback I had throughout the day, and grateful for the opportunity given by the gallery artists, Gayle Rogers and Chris Williams.

Art’s Birthday

7 Jan

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This is an old drawing I did  couple of years back. It’s very different to my normal style and genre and it’s based on drawings and photos taken during a visit to Eisenman and Happold’s Holocaust Memorial in Berlin during heavy snow.  I did the one drawing, size A3 onto mark resist film (Mylar) with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen. At the time, I’d thought about taking it forward by developing a series of drawings but I couldn’t get a handle on it so I put my scribbles and jottings in a draw and got on with other work.

Then last week I was asked to develop a piece for Art’s Birthday, a tradition started by French Fluxus artist Robert Filliou on January 17th 1963,who said that Art had been born exactly 1,000,000 years ago when somebody dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. 9 artists have been given a large-ish plain brown cardboard box and asked to create a piece on/within it. It’s not easy as I’m used to working in 2 dimensions, but I had an idea knocking around for a while that I might develop this body of work as an installation, so this is a good way of trying out my ideas in 3D. Watch this space…………

Freezing In Berlin: Dots On Film

26 Feb

.”].A couple of years ago I visited Berlin during one of the worst winters we’ve had in a long time. Of course, while Britain more or less shut down at the sight of snow, the German’s just threw more clothes on, gritted the roads and pavements and carried on. The temperature was awful – the coldest I’ve ever been, -15C at lunchtime and -20C at night. We wandered up Potsdam to look at the Memorial in  to the Murdered Jews of Europe in the deep snow. It was even more breathtaking than usual, under a deep layer of muffled ethereal snow that formed deep white pathways between the granite stelae. The brilliant sunshine threw the most incredible shadows across the whiteness, setting up a vibrating monochrommatic shimmer.

It was too cold to draw [although I tried] so when I came back I worked from photographs to produce this drawing. Although it looks quite abstract, it is based on life. The challenge was in what to use to draw it. I don’t particularly like graphite and I found charcoal too clumsy for what I wanted to do, so I used my FCP pen, size S and F and constructed the drawing out of marks that represented half-tone dots. It took me ages. It’s size A3 on Mark Resist film [Mylar].

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