The title says it all, really.
I promised that I would report back with reviews and so forth – and here I am with an update.
I went up to London yesterday to de-install the show. It was a slightly sad moment, but there has been so much incredibly good news.
Feedback has been wonderful. The first review of Frightening Albert was on Spoonfed, written by Kate Weir. I’ll let it speak for itself, but suffice to say I’m very happy! The second review, written by Anna McNay, is on roves and roams, and again I couldn’t be happier.
I was interviewed for Jotta by Francesca Brooks at WW Gallery. The link is here. This was a first for me!
Response to the show was so positive that the gallery decided to extend the exhibition by an extra week. During this week Paul Hobson, Director of the Contemporary Art Society visited, and subsequently selected Frightening Albert as his favourite exhibition of the week. This has placed the exhibition in some seriously good company, and is a real coup both for me and for the gallery. As a result a number of CAS members visited the exhibition in the last few days.
From time to time I had felt like I was taking an enormous gamble – I had kept the ever-growing body of work under wraps for such a long time, and I had no idea how it was going to be received. The gallery in particular had put an awful lot of faith in me – after all, they had selected my show as the inaugural exhibition to mark the launch of their new premises! No pressure!
Although I was confident in the work – I had a very clear vision – there were more than a few of ‘those’ moments. If feedback is any kind of indicator I think it is safe to say that the gamble paid off. Now it’s down to what comes next…
It’s two days later and my head has almost stopped spinning.
I am pleased to report that the preview was a huge success. The gallery was absolutely packed, and feedback was cheek-reddeningly good. Although I was personally happy with the work, of course I was expecting some negativity; I decided that if 50% hated it and 50% liked it, that would be a result. As it was, a lady with the makings of a splendid beard said “I prefer more literal stuff.”, and one or two clearly just didn’t get it. That inevitable aside, response has made me very happy indeed. WW Gallery said it’s gone crazy.
Including fellow A-N bloggers, I finally got to meet many people I had only previously known through the ether, and almost met several more. I did an awful lot of talking!
It was a big relief to be able to finally unveil the work. The press preview had taken place earlier in the day, and once that was under way I made the work live on my website. Ta-da! The exhibition is the Event of the Week on Artlicks (thanks, chaps!), and I have seen it on Time Out and Fad, amongst others. It’s a bit soon for press, but once I get copies I’ll report back. In the meantime, Kevin Broughton & Fiona Birnie have made a video.
The PV for my solo show is a week today. I have had my head down, concentrating on making the work, for what seems like an eternity. Apart from the odd exception I’m not comfortable talking about work in progress, so when I have mentioned it it has necessarily been in very general terms. I have also deliberately kept the work under wraps. So, apart from other work appearing in the odd show, it feels like I have been out of the loop for ages. It is an odd feeling: making work to be seen, but keeping it hidden.
Looking back, it is indeed a long time in the making. The piece which was the springboard for the new body of work was selected for the last John Moores – round two being almost exactly two years ago, and I had been working on the initial ideas several months prior to that. The idea excited me enormously then and now, and although I would have continued regardless, if I’m absolutely honest with myself, the fact that that particular work was selected for the John Moores exhibition was a kind of official endorsement that I was on to something. The new works bear little superficial resemblance to that piece, but the connection seems very clear to me.
I have the added honour in that the show is to be the inaugural exhibition to mark the launch of WW Gallery’s new premises in Hatton Garden. The past month or so has seen the space being transformed – they have worked incredibly hard.
I hope to see some of you at the show!
Thinking forward to photographs of a newly completed work, I began to run through the various people that work for me in my art business. There are a lot. My practice is very mixed, so in Production there are all kinds of people wandering about – various draughtspeople, several painters with different strengths, and sculptors working in assorted media to list a few. In the workshop there is a carpenter who is expected to be able to make all sorts of things for me, and occasionally even a welder. There is a Marketing Manager, a Business Development Manager, not to mention Production Planning, an IT chap, a small Purchasing department (who are always wittering on about money), and of course the chap in Accounts (between you and me I would absolutely love to be able to outsource accounts and promote the Accountant to Financial Director). There is also a Personnel Development Co-ordinator who has to be able to identify and address staff shortcomings. There is a Copywriter, a Graphic Designer, and once in a while an Exhibitions co-ordinator. I even have someone who designs and maintains the website. Oh yes, and the photographer. I’m bound to have forgotten someone, but they all get taken for granted anyway, to be honest. What’s more, they get paid very little, if at all, and I get to swan around all day being creative.
Great PV on Friday, and lots of very positive feedback. I took the show down yesterday. Now I concentrate on building on this, using what I have gleaned from the exercise, and making more work for the London show in the new year.
Following on from the last post, I have since received this email from one of the blind participants. I think I will just let it speak for itself:
Such a lovely Email…… thank you, and also for the wonderful chance to experience your exhibition.
I really don’t feel my input was up to much at all….. but I was intrigued how much of last evening was spent ‘watching’ and noting my reactions to various pieces…. and these memories were in colour…. which is bizarre, because I can only recall SOME of the visual descriptions!
I found the whole experience utterly enjoyable and intriguing, and realised how much words and Texts influenced ‘flashbacks’ for me. I wondered what I would have made of the ‘Burger of Shoreditch’ without the title…. I suspect it would remain one of my favourites!
I recall I had a sense of ‘ white’ even before I was given any more info, and I loved its overall shape and energy.
I also wondered how people who have never experienced physical sight would respond to these tactile offerings, with presumably a different ‘take’ on colour and ‘seeing’.
You asked about 3D tactile paintings and sculptures…… am still trying to put my feelings into words, but it ain’t easy.
I think the different materials you have used make a huge difference to the conceptual experience….from ‘Jesus toast’, to the tiny ’hole in the wall’, the nail piercing a disc, ‘Frightening Albert’ …. and on and on and on… these add a new dimension to the tactile experience….. and there is a sense of movement somehow, which is beautiful, and possibly enhanced by those different materials.
I have various tactile objects, and have looked at them afresh today, and a couple of them definitely allow me to admit they feel somewhat static, which has been a suspicion for some time!!
Thank you so much again, Phil, and I wish you very Well,
Looking forward to your next exhibition!
S. (Still smiling!)