Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: Franny Swann
A record of my footsteps as I negotiate the projects that come my way.
# 88 [15 June 2012]
What fun.My blog is no.eight in the a-n top ten. Any one any idea how many blogs there are? 20?!
Very strange idea that 15,000 hits have been made without me knowing, without leaving a trace. What are you all thinking?
I feel I want to welcome you in some way; - HELLO! Come round for coffee....
Today has been sorting the last bits for the exhibition. I hate comments books but like all of us do rather like the feeling that someone has been to look while I was away. Had a brainwave today and have purchased a load of brown luggage labels and a stationery spike. Write on the label and spike it.
Great feeling spiking things.
I shall leave the tie strings on just because I think it looks wonderful.
Hopefully any youngsters who usually feel the need to scrawl obscenities all over comments sheets will realise that I can junk it and won't bother. Always a problem in public space exhibitions...
# 87 [14 June 2012]
Ha ...we don't have to hand the horses back yet - this weekend has been cancelled - probably wisely - due to the appalling forecast.
I have to own to being a bit pleased - if sorry for those that had organised the weekend. The horses have been invited to Margate - to the Lone Twin Boat Project celebration when the boat docks on July 15th weekend. Definitely party time....we would have been sad to have missed that.
Strangely we have taken the project all around Kent during the year and its only now that it is getting the recognition- just as we have agreed to return the horses to their makers. Its been a slow burn.
Three days now before I have to put my exhibition up.
Typically I have finally got down to a work that has been perculating for a while. It showcases shoe soles that I beachcombed at Dungeness. I think they are very beautiful in their own right - and sad and silent.
They speak to me of journeys but their derelict state also speaks of abandonment or aloneness.
They have become a work called 'I let go your hand' about those early love relationships where inexperience rendered the journey too hard to complete, but that still haunt us in some way.
For once in my life I can say I really like the work. Usually it takes me a while to be sure.
Lets hope its a good omen.
# 86 [11 June 2012]
It is still hosing it down out there. I am beginning to think I should be building an ark instead of sorting out my exhibition signage. I may be fiddling while Rome burns - so to speak.
Spent yesterday with the Farningham Hobby Horse Project at the Dickens Festival in Rochester; our last booked venue before they are returned to their makers next weekend.
A really great day out. We have been all over Kent with the project during the year and this was definitely party time - and probably our highest visitor numbers to date as well.
Why is it that one's images never reflect that? We were in a stunning building, given a prestigious site and all our images look as though we were in a village hall....
Never mind. We met extrodinary people and Ros and I relaxed and had fun.
Now just to return the horses to the village who made them. Such awful weather forecasts...who knows what will happen. We will probably end up handing them out from the boots of two estate cars like so much landfill. Not the way I wanted the project to go out. We were hoping for a celebrarory 'proud parent' summer party on the horse fair meadow. Maybe.
Watch this space...
# 85 [30 May 2012]
Work on the solo show rumbles on...I picked up my big piece from the framers today. Problem. It's a three frame tryptich within an oak frame. The outer frame isn't substantial enough so that it is twisting....
Why is nothing ever easy? If it was a canvas I would cross brace it, but there is nothing substantial enough to drill and fix to. So - back I will go with it and see if I can organise a heavier oak frame. Such a pain.
Partly my fault because I am inexperienced in frames; most of my work being 3D, and partly the framer I guess for not giving better advice.
Postcards have arrived. I am not sure what part they play today..I e-mail all my Private View invites with few exceptions - postage is so expensive. The Foundation running the gallery ask that their exhibiting artists pay towards the postcards and then give them 150. I shall be giving them back I think to be offered from there....seems utterly daft.
I now feel the need to do two more works.....why?!
Three weeks to go that's why! Just to make sure my brain is well and truly fried.
Onward and upward for the Hastings show...which isn't until September... but the organisational stuff seems guaranteed to get in the way of my June show! They seemed a long way apart when I agreed to do it.
I spent the day sizing images, finding sizes, wrestling with 150 words to represent myself, my work and my ethos in the catalogue.
Just the hardest job I think - statements of any sort.
Now I just have to work out how to upload them all in the group Dropbox...no obvious upload mechanism, but one of the group has achieved it - so it must be possible.
I will re- examine in the morning light; when my psyche is less inclined towards techno melt down.
Beginning to feel like my bus shelter ....
# 84 [24 May 2012]
Glorious sunny day. Could feel myself unfolding in the warmth. Been miserable for far too long.
Trip down to Brighton to meet with a friend in Fabrica and then because Brighton now charges £4.00 an hour parking scarped to the marina where parking is free.
Here to see the Lone Twin project boat that our Farningham Hobby Horse Project donated one of our horses to earlier in the year..
Now part of their fabulous marquetry ....
Greg Wheelan - one of the Lone Twin artists was endlessly patient and chatty although he must be having much the same conversations with everyone on an hourly basis.
Childishly excited to see our donation photo and storyline in their beautifully produced book.
I am offering to volunteer for them when the boat docks at Margate where it will be out of the water on the Harbour Arm.
Think I may be a groupie...........
# 83 [23 May 2012]
Yesterday spent wandering Hastings looking around the town with an eye to a venue for a metal Q Code - part of our guerilla campaign to raise awareness of our September 'Telling Stories: Hastings' show.
Found what I thought was a great place, but with some obvious 'Can I put it here?' problems and then felt the need to discuss it with the Arts Officer. What a nice guy - I just turned up at the Council Offices and he was really helpful.
That, and the sun and a fresh crab sandwich, Life felt good. Now I have to ask all sorts of permissions - but what will be will be.
A Telling Stories committee meeting in the evening - in a great new place; Franks Room [opposite Hastings station] - the Snug is a perfect place to hold an art meeting. Recommended.
Always amazing how much hard work goes into a show - the more people involved the more work........seems it should be the inverse but it never is.
The issue of my not having a smart phone is coming to the fore again .........happy to be involved and learn but have no great yearning to embrace yet more time consuming technology. May yet have to give in! No app to read a QCode on my phone....and off to Brighton tomorrow wanting to see the new Fabrica telescopes - needing a Q Code reader....
....and I joined Twitter today. More precious time....worth it? We will see.
# 82 [16 May 2012]
...........needed a day to get over the Bluewater experience. After 12 hours standing on a hard marble floor talking all day we were shattered. Next day we both ached ....
A fun day though. Such a lovely project because it always makes people smile and engage. Here however with everyone on the same mission they all wanted to buy them!
can we buy them? made us smile.......
a lot of thought has gone into this..................
thank you, that was really, really nice
it was brilliant - every village should have one.
we spend so much time on the computer nowadays that its a treat to see something like this...........
so unusual........that was an inspiration!
how amazing that one village made all this. I didn't know places like that still existed.
Can we buy them?
So - all 140 horses back in my partner Ros's spare bathroom and I must turn back to this solo show lark..........before its too late.
# 81 [11 May 2012]
busy here...and fun..
...our Farningham Hobby Horse project was featured when the Lone Twin Olympic boat project launched and was on all the news bulletins. One of the wooden donations from which the boat was fashioned was ours. Centre starboard= our horse head.
Then a corporate meeting with Bluewater shopping center to ascertain if we could show the Farningham Hobby Horses there.
Agreement - amazing...due to a lot of hard work on our behalf by someone else we have been awarded the most pretigious venue - outside Marks and Spencers. 10am - 9pm . Will be a very long day.
The project is in its last days now. Horses will go back to their makers in June. I will be glad. A year is a long time to travel a project and for Ros Barker and I it is time to focus on new things.
# 80 [1 May 2012]
Visit to the gallery today to measure up and to stand and mull over what goes where - I do like it. The gallery was once the chapel of a disused church now converted into a Theatre and Arts Centre.
Large monchrome prints are showing in there at the moment. The architecture and stone mullions round the windows give such a sense of peace and silence after the cafe just outside.....lovely.
The orange pipette tubes I got from Hastings now contain wasps. I am not sure where I am going here but I will see if there are any more tubes to be had next time I am down there. It feels like the work should be not just repetitive but big.
Even though I had plenty else to be getting on with I just had to get the wasps in and see what they looked like before I did anything else. Most interesting thing about them seems to be the way they have gone from being obviously dead to looking for all the world like a tube full of angry wasps trying to get out..........resurrection.
# 79 [28 April 2012]
Well...a lot of work going on in the back room here, but I have got to the point that I no longer know if things are hanging together well or quite where to go next. I think I need to go back to the gallery that my show will be in. Look again at the space now that I have almost got to the point of framing up most of the work.
Framing is so expensive that I don't want to go ahead and then decide against putting things in.In fact framing is terrifying. Cost. Getting it wrong.
I haven't worked in a way that required framing for a while and it is definitely worrying me.
Today was spent drawing a distorted dragonfly - part of a series I am calling Conundrum- mostly as a way of keeping all the work together. Its together as a series in my head but I feel the need to allow the viewer to feel the same.
Yesterday I went to the new Jerwood Gallery in Hastings. An architectural gem of a building - inside and out -that sits seamlesly within its timeless beach setting between tall black net huts. Hopefully the local opposition will fade now its in situ.
Inagural show is Rose Wylie. Very strange. I had no feeling for it at all. None. Not irritation or repugnance or anger or amusement. No engagment. I have just never felt like that before. I was informed by the wall labels that it was witty and insightful and referenced contemporary culture. I just felt dead to this huge room of paintings that should have been shouting at me but weren't.
The upstairs part of the gallery shows part of the Jerwood collection - the odd delicious thing but mostly not the best of artists from the 1950's onwards.
If this part of the gallery is to be partially changed every six months and the entry fee for the one room main show remains at £7.00 then it will take something very special to draw me there again from Kent. One hour + £15.00 petrol makes for an expensive outing ...
Still, my charity shop finds of the afternoon were five orange glass laboratory tubes..........something tells me that tomorrow will be spent with them and a collection of dead wasps.....my
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My practice has evolved into interdisciplinary project work and I now call myself a multi-media project artist.
My work tends to be underpinned and referenced by memory and memorial; a citation to family members lost in the Holocaust.
It is important to me that within each project I solicit the freedom to be able to choose whichever media will best offer the viewer a multi layered narrative.