The Art from London Markets Project is a project exploring our relationship with people and trade in London. I started working on this project in 2014, and it involves painting, print making, story collecting, socio-economic and historical  research, blogging, and community projects, all investigating London’s trade.  Our markets say a lot about us, and we have a lot to say about commodities.

The relationship between trade and people in London is complex, it reflects all our diversities, cultural, geographic, health and economic, as well as taste.

I started off this project looking for the beautiful in the everyday: The simple gorgeousness of natural produce. I now find myself exploring the human story behind  markets and ideas of transience,  the fragility of humanity in flux and change, and of memory and identity.

 

 


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When you visit a place for the first time in the sunshine there is a sense that you feel like a tourist, especially when that place is pretty and rural. While walking around Corby Glen prompted memories of my childhood summers spent grubbing around in fields wood and ditches, this is not the place of my childhood : the New Forest, this is not even the place of my birth, it is a neighbour in the same county, and I am a visitor here, aware that I am at the surface of things, just getting acquainted. This is the start of a project that will be about two years to completion involving preparing work for the Willoughby Gallery for a solo show in 2019. The project includes a narrative element collecting stories from the community, memories of place and trade.

The Gallery is far more beautiful than I imagined, and is

currently housing an exhibition of work by two Lincolnshire artists: Lyn Lovitt and Mike Lovitt. Lyn’s Pregnant Pots are really beautiful, and her print line is echoed in Mikes simplicity of line in his relief carvings.

The building was originally a school funded by Charles Read in the 1660s who made his fortune importing through Hull. Hull was a major importer of wood and I will be interested in finding out whether this is where his fortune was from.

The school was converted into a Gallery and library in 1965 to commemorate the life of local aristocrat and art collector Timothy Willoughby de Eresby, who died when lost at sea. Within this small village in almost the centre of England, there are these links with the international, the sea and the local.Corby is a name with nordic origins meaning small woodland. The “Glen” was added in the 50s to distinguish it from the other more industrial Corby and is named for the river. This area would have been covered by the Danelaw.

The gallery itself is really quite beautiful, with views of farms and the bowls green from the windows. I am delighted to be showing here.


As I walked round Corby Glen most people were either at work or hiding from the heat, the streets were almost empty. Wherever you are in Corby Glen you are close to the edges, close to the fields which surround it. I have a sense of a place leading onto another, of a rich history which has probably be more well documented than you would expect for a community of its size.

 

The landscape in this part of Lincolnshire is not the flat lands of my personal stereo type or babyhood, but soft limestone hills. The presence of limestone and the colour of the soil in places makes me wonder whether there might be ochres in this soil.


The other materials which seem relevant are wool, wood, straw, charcoal…


There is a friendly talkativeness in the people I have met so far, I am really looking forward to collecting stories here. I have already heard about firefighters pulling horses out of ditches, of girls driving through the village as children jealous of the Corby Glen children freed from school for the day for the Sheep Fair, of the appeal of watching the automatic sprinkler on the bowls green………….

And in the initial bits of research that I have been doing of a Motte without a Bailey, viking hieritage, a village doubling in size between the 1979 (when David Steel wrote a history of the place) and now.

So while this is a place of long history, mentioned in the Doomsday book, it is also a place of change.

 

I have taken a load of photos but will need to take more. My current feeling is of peering into something new, where there is more beyond, and perhaps more beyond that too.

Pregnant Pots, Lyn Lovitt

 

Oh and just two quick reminders Small experiments in colour is on until 28/6/17 at Queens Wood Cafe and I will be at Art Fair Malaga 30/6-2/7/17


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The show is up, thank you Barbara Beyer for your help, and the posters are delivered and now laminated so I’m off for a walk around the locality to cable tie them on to railings, and visit local places I can ask to display them: So how did it get there…well Barbara had had a show in this space and when I went to her private view she asked me if I’d like to show there too, and introduced me to Marianne who is the art coordinator, so first of all it was a personal contact….

Then I got into discussions about when with Marianne, so I sent her a link to my website which she liked. And because I had a body of small works ready to go I was able to go from first proposal to putting it up in about two weeks, she initially had suggested when I was away in Malaga which I couldn’t do and then someone else dropped out….so then it has been very busy. First step: choose the works which will go together in a coherent collection and fit with the space: Well I have been experimenting with these pigments and had a group of work which did that job because I have been working on them for about a year, and only a few have been shown before at the Talented Art Fair. So then I wrote the artist statement….

Artist’s Statement- Small Experiments in Colour

The work in this show represents the exploratory process I went through from 2016-2017  developing  three series of works using raw pigments.  The origins of these works came from a series I did for St Katharine Docks exploring the history of the docks as a trading centre, and I started using indigo as a pigment in oil based media.  I became fascinated by the way in which the pigment interacted with the media not just in terms of glossiness or matt effect but also in terms of luminosity and even perception of colour.

Towards the end of 2016, I branched out into other evocative pigments, pigments that had a relevant place in the history of people and trade, ochres the oldest pigment known to have been used for pure mark making purposes; which can be found in cave paintings across the globe:  Chromium oxide a pigment developed during the industrial revolution for use in the ceramics industry and first used as a painting pigment by Turner; its special quality being opacity: Viridian a less opaque darker relative of chromium oxide famed for its lack of toxicity which can be contrasted in every sense with cadmium famed for the opposite, and a very few others.   In these works, I use a very limited palette to create a sense of three dimensional space on a small 2 dimensional surface using the minimum of suggestive marks.

The intention is to draw you in, to create spaces for lost memories, both personal and those related to trade.  These works form part of the practical research that makes the backbone to several series of larger works entitled: The Lost Girl series centred around the experience of dementia within the context of a cultural diaspora; the Wine Dark Sea series which create links between contemporary economic-political events and the classical Aegean; the Space in Between series which are an invitation to get a bit lost and remember.

 

And then there was the process of selecting exactly which pieces, it was fantastic to have another eye to look over with me, Barbara again…

Then it was a question of grouping them and framing them to form groups, which involved a trip down to town to pick up some frames, and a dig in some cupboard to use some frames I already had…


and a trip to the woods and the cafe to remind myself of the lay out and take measurements to be sure that they will fit, and make a plan of the wall hang

and take some random tree photos


Then pack up the ones I am planning to take plus the all important tool box
Once the work was in place change the hang plan of course, and regroup work to fit the space and the fittings that were meant to have been removed by the last person, but haven’t been. Design the poster


With lots of help from Barbara who is very skilled in tying knots in fishing wire amongst other things hang the work.

Now that the actual work is hung and definitive create a price list

and
Get the posters delivered a second time because I was at the set up when they tried to deliver them the first time.


Then send out invites, post on instagram and twitter, realise I have not changed my twitter settings only when someone messages me to say they can’t be retweeted, struggle with resetting them, get my car broken into in the middle of this and have to spend time talking to the Police. Finally get my twitter setting public again.

Realise that the laminator I ordered has not been delivered, check the order and realise Amazon has not sent it because in the order there is something for which the price has changed by 1p and down, so I have to reconfirm the order.

Put up posters in the dryness of the cafe. Wait til Monday for the Laminator, and now that the posters are laminated and the weather is beautiful it is time for a walk with some tags and I’ll get those posters up.

The private view is Friday 16th, and by invitation only… if you’d like to come please email [email protected] by the 14th so that I have time to get enough glasses together for the wine!


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So yesterday was the take down at the APT for the Creekside Open the gallery was very pleased with the show and the turn out, and did a lovely last day thing, providing us with tea and cake so that the artists could really get to know each other, this was great.

So I was chatting to Amanda Knight, whose work shown here is related to the butchers in Deptford, she uses recycled materials to make a great big 3d painting of cheap meat. We got talking markets, as you can imagine, and were onto conversations about the way in which the language you use for different projects changes: Talking about the shifting acceptance of the fact that an artist might produce abstract and figurative works for different purposes within the same time scale.

The other side of the Mountain
Our group got bigger and then Katherine Fry suggested we guess whose works belonged to who, which turned into a really fantastic conversation…we heard from Maggie Learmonth about travelling to the other side of the mountain, with a self made residency exploring the area so near and yet so far from where she was born, somewhere that is both home and is not.

Barometers of Mental wellbeing
We heard from Rebekah Dean about how your emotional state leaks into your work in ways which are not always self aware, but can bring self awareness once that work is in the past, the significance of the frame around her work was suggested by Maggie.

The Butchers of Deptford
We talked bout Amanda Knight and her comments on Jeff Koons making kitsch pop objects in very expensive materials… and how she had limited herself to a £1 budget to make the work, partly as a comment on that: She used recycled cardboard from the street and acrylic paint and a gloss medium to give her the meaty texture. She talked about the care and the work of the Butchers of Deptford in the way that they present their ultimately very cheap cuts of meat. This conversation sieged into one about food security, farming practices and food prices, and the potential influence of American practices in post Brexit Britain.

Pearls of Wisdom
We looked at Katherine Fry’s work and she explained about the site specificity of her work, that site is the starting point for her video work. And how she likes to make it leak into the space where the work is shown, playing with the boundaries of the film and the “real” space of the viewer.

I think I talked a lot about pigments…

It was a fascinating share, and great to talk to a whole group of artists new to me. I am so delighted to have been part of this.

At the end I caught up briefly with Geoff Titley, and met two of my fellow corner sharers in Hannah Luxton and James Randell which was a pleasure, and just as I was leaving I spoke very briefly to Charlotte Mortensson who I would have liked to talk to more.

Congratulations go to Pascal Ungerer and Sarah Pager who were in this show and have been selected for SOLO.

 


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Hurray it’s the bank holiday weekend and the sun is shining. This weekend on Saturday I’m going to help Rachel Dein on her stall at Chelsea Flower Show which is always enjoyable, her work is so lovely.

Then on Sunday it’s the final day of the Creekside Open Jordan Baseman curation, so get along to the APT Gallery if you have not been already. I will be there drinking tea on Sunday afternoon. Then I’m moving on the prepare for a small exhibition locally, of my small and tiny experiments in colour, and get busy preparing for Art Fair Malaga…I need to research the local galleries who will be there, so that I can hope to make some good contacts in person there. In addition I will be visiting the gallery for my Lincolnshire project as that slowly gets going.

 

Small experiments in colour No 2


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