I volunteer regularly to babysit exhibitions at Elysium Gallery and it’s a chance to catch up on admin on the laptop like cataloguing photos and writing artist statements. This week it’s Bus Stop Cinema, featuring 13 films from international artists, an eclectic mix of art, drama, animation and parody. It’s fun babysitting in the dark and mostly I’m on my own with people popping in and out but no-one yet has had time to watch the whole cycle, so they watch one or two, have a bit of a chat and then off to carry on with their Thursday afternoon activities.
First in was an older local artist during ‘River of Mud’ by Jacob Dwyer and he showed me a small original oil painting he’d bought in a second-hand shop for four quid. The painting was a conventional but pretty landscape in a lovely old-fashioned, well-made stretcher.
Ink drawing: a corner at the old Elysium Gallery.
Another artist came in during Melvyn William’s first Downfall parody, ‘Jaffa Cakes’. We discussed the call for the forthcoming Venice Biennale fringe exhibition of work in vending machines and talked about the different ways of presenting artwork in a sphere with a ten centimetre diameter – folding, crumpling, digital imagery on a memory stick, tiny art……. which took us through ‘Interior Day’ by Elina Medley.
An older woman popped in during Jayne Wilson’s ‘All That Mighty Heart’ and told me about her skateboarding lessons and the disapproval of her neighbours that a woman of her age had taken up the skateboard. She’s learnt five manoeuvres; getting on, getting off, moving in a straight line, going up, going down. She left during ‘Dress, Cover, Interval, Distance’ by Lindsay Foster to go and finish re-pointing her garden wall before it rained again. A photographer of a certain age asked about opening times next week and we chatted about the Simulacrum exhibition that’s coming up and I gave him flyers for it and the Artawe website for local artists. That took us through David Marchant’s ‘Love Boat’.
Three people, also of a certain age, watched the animation ‘Re-Toiled’ by Sean Vicary and got right into it – it’s fantastical and a bit disturbing. The two men thought the second Hitler parody, ‘Self-service Tills’ , was hilarious but the woman found it quite difficult to get beyond the evil that Hitler stood for. No young people this afternoon, maybe because the students have gone home. All the visitors have been 40+. Like me. Nobody but me saw David Theobald’s ‘Greensleaves’ which is a pity because it’s really funny in a weird way.
The drawing is an ink sketch in my sketchbook of a corner of the last incarnation of the Elysium Gallery when it was situated in a large semi-derelict ex-brothel in Mansel Street. I used Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens.