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By: Bob Gelsthorpe
BA (Hons) Fine Art, painting department.
# 1 [8 November 2011]
So, the tentative first post...
Good evening all, Im currently studying at UWIC/CMU/CSAD/Howard Gardens, whatever people want to call it.
All is going very well, we have a new head of fine art, new staff, it's all very fresh faced and optimistic in here. Ill be putting up stuff about the school, about my practice, and maybe abit of Cardiff art scene in general too.
that wasn't too bad eh?
# 2 [6 December 2011]
So, all works been handed in for assessments (hence my infrequent posts) and the studios are out of bounds for three days. WHAT WILL I DO WITH MYSELF?!. Write on here of course....
Its a particularly cold day in Cardiff today, but im feeling positive about the future if not the weather. Im off to the Beuys exhibition at the National Museum, finally. and then a few other shows round and about if theres time. There's also the Artes Mundi coming back next autumn, which is going to be amazing, getting some international contemporary art on our doorstep, always good to keep us in the loop. Oh and g39, is moving to a massive new address, which can only mean bigger (literally) and brighter things.
This weekend I came back from a show where I was doing a collaborative performance at the Stroud Valley Artspace in Stroud, which also has loads of really enthusiastic people about the arts. They have an art festival next May called 'site' which from the current roster looks to be a great festival. I encourage everyone to check it out.
Oh and just to add, the show at Milgi (Who I am very gratful to Becky for lending us the space) was very positivly recieved so I look forward to doing something similar in the future. The image is from the show, thanks again to everyone who came.
# 3 [19 December 2011]
I haven't talked much about my work yet, so i'm gonna do a bit of that.
So my practice looks at the relationships between poetry and painting; poetics and aesthetics. For me, its to better understand the two practices themselves and overall to try and understand where they both sit in the world. I find that they have many similar formal elements and historical contexts to enjoy and relish in.
Through my practice I look at the relationship by using experimental projects such as "One Mark, One Breath" to look at one aspect of the relationship. "One Mark, One Breath" came out of dry executions of a line drawing method by Lee Ufan, so I created an antitheses where I had no control, and could only lay out instructions, and hope people would follow them; through this I learnt about the aspect of collaboration, and the need of risk or chance in my work.
My current line of inquiry is focusing on black as a poetic and painterly device. The reason I look at black comes from a couple of colour field paintings that looked at using simple aesthetics and through the title, deeper poetics("Whichever Way You Look at it There's Always A Horizon" & "Which Way to the Beach"); But they didnt work, they were just abit cerebral and dull. So im reading up on black, painting it and what it means and going to see where the work takes me. First thing that came as a success from this was "Untitled (Black painting)" it has three months of different paintings within it, before being covered in different black paints, but interestingly alot of the former paintings came through, and I really enjoyed the almost nostalgic residues that were left.
# 4 [7 February 2012]
Apologies for the dry spell, just over a week ago I handed in the dissertation and then had a very well timed university trip to Amsterdam, two days afterwards. My dissertation title ended up being "The Relationship between the Poetry and Visual Works of Egon Schiele, 1910-1915". I'll find out how that went come results day around May time, it'll be out of mind until then and I can focus on studio work. Amsterdam has a fantastic historical art collection and a booming contemporary art scene. Some highlights of the trip were the 'The Goldfinch' by Carel Fabritus at the Mauritshuis in Den Haag, absolutely beautiful painting, a real example of trompe l'oeil, Andre Kruysen "Uprising as Passage" installation at the Gemeentemuseum, a real invasive but still quite subtle piece, winner of the Oubory Prize 2011 and at the Jeanine Hofland Contemporary, Rumiko Hagiwara's fantastic site specific installation "In Praise of Shadows" responding to the book by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki of the same name.
Its good to be back in the studio, I've forgotten how cathartic simple drawings can be, I've been working on a few sketches of these rather odd hazelnut-casing sort of things that I found about 6 months ago. I couldn't decide what to do with the case-things, so I painted them black, just to see if it divorces them from their chaotic natural forms to just line, tone, shape etc. Not all together sure where its going, but im enjoying the ride. Full report on Amsterdam and hopefully some pictures of some new studio work a little later.
# 5 [27 February 2012]
Current goings on in Cardiff,
What a brilliant weekend its been, the weathers been something other than fierce mild, hurrah. To celebrate, I visited the Book Arts Fayre 6 at Ffotogallery, in Penarth, which along with the inquisitive Daniel Blaufuks photographs on memory, adorning the walls, was host to about 25 stalls, all with various degrees of book art, printmaking, zines, photography, art groups, poetry, illustrations, comics and everything in between. Although I went with the grand total of 22p it was still really enjoyable to chat, browse and see what everyone's up to.
The Queen: Art & Image at the National Museum Cardiff was very interesting, considering the full reports on protests towards her visits and other controversy, the show as a whole is very successful, with some very big names like Gilbert & George, Richter & Freud give the show that kinda wow factor. Very sad to see the Beuys exhibition gone, but I like how they're keeping it fresh in the new Contemporary side of the museum. Also visited Chapter to see Lothar Gotz' site specific works, which questioned the architecture of the space and the possibilities that the illusionary wall paintings could provide. A highlight was the enormous wall painting 'Circus' which as magical as the name suggests, again looks at the space in which the work is in and opens dialogue between the space and the artwork. Something I personally enjoyed was the sudden change in the piece when I sat down, on the opposite wall, right in the middle, the ceiling and crossbars attached to it align with the geometric angles and shapes in the painting, brilliant!
Myself and about 20 other artists are in a show on Friday titled 'The Perils of the Modern Alchemists' where I'll be exhibiting some of my new projection platform paintings, which I will talk more about next time. The private view is Friday 2nd of March, 5pm-9pm and will be accompanied by Poetry, Performance, and the launch of The Merry Maker Magazine, a new Cardiff based zine for all things creative.
# 6 [2 March 2012]
It feels like I've been making them for the entirety of my practice, but its only now its become apparent that I make projection platforms, these images that for me, help deal with the problem of the eclecticism of images I'm bombarded with, in a way that allows me to strive to create visually exciting and conceptually stimulating work. Essentially they allow me to make personal paintings that deal with ideas or themes that are central and intimate to me, yet might be peripheral to the audience, but still create an exciting platform that allows either emotional or visual projection.
Three are going to be in 'The Perils of the Modern Alchemists' and im currently working on a fourth and fifth, which will hopefully be done in the next week or so. Found an artist in the book 'Berlin Art Now' who has the same issue as me in their practice (drastically changing every few months or so), Bernhard Martin, he makes visually exciting and conceptually stimulating paintings, a dualism I think all great artwork has; and puts his ethos very clearly, which I'll paraphrase terribly as I don't have it to hand, "I wouldn't want to make a painting concerning something that I didn't adore." Or something along those lines. More info on the progress of the projection platforms soon!
# 7 [5 March 2012]
Just a passing thought.
Today is a 'sorting out finances' day, so nothing of creative merit is happening. However I do feel compelled to mention how great it was to have some creative discourse outside of university at the weekend, it came in the form of 'Tooth & Clawr', reviewing some texts in relation to Lothar Gotz' exhibition, although not strictly linked to it, more open than that. There needs to be more things like that throughout Cardiff, XSC and Tooth & Clawr are hopefully setting a trend for more discussion group/critique thingamajiggers (I believe thats the appropriate technical noun). Im still fired up from the '...Perils...' show, it was so professionally done, every credit to Sam, Helen, Alwyn & everyone else who set it up & took part. I am very thankful to of been a small part of it.
# 8 [13 March 2012]
9th of June, that's the date of the opening of the Cardiff School of Art Degree Show, this makes it feel very real and not too far away. Exciting. The wood for the stretchers ill be using in the show arrived today, enough to create a series of paintings, from which to choose from. Its all becoming very clear, constant inflection has made everything clarified. I'll be making more projection platforms, because what they do for me is what propositional sentences (the literary equivalent) cannot, they have this intrinsic ability to have total periphery to everyone except the artist, I'm really enjoying the fact that I am making paintings for myself, as a means of investigation, and at this stage I think that's what the best route of my practice should be, to understand something, or try and understand something that I find enthralling. I happen to think that the relationship between painting and poetry, or more open, the relationship between image and language is brilliant, its been said that they are both forms of mimesis, but that's been dismissed throughout the years, its been mentioned somewhere that they are both spiritual connections, but, they're so much bigger than that. They're one of the joys of the human condition, and I plan on reveling in that for as long as physically possible. That's my conviction, anyway.
# 9 [20 March 2012]
Just a short one mentioning a new Cardiff Art Group, BIT. They presented their first show with two of the members, Ifan Lewis Lewis & Tom Winfield. Apparently the show was a great success (I say apparently because I couldnt go as I was 250 miles away) but watch out for them, they'll be doing more stuff soon!
# 10 [22 March 2012]
Currently up north, just sorting out applications for residencies/internships etc. I was unfortunately on the recieving end of a clamp two days ago, and so created a new piece of work to make me feel better. Its a tongue in cheek piece that looks at the relationship between clamping companies, the vehicles they clamp, and the motorist. Mainly my experience of all three, all at once.
For Sale at £100 to recoup the expenses of aquiring the materials.