Post 8

Teresa Grimes – 6/June/2014

On starting the session I gave Teresa an extensive introduction to the overall work, my processes and the individual works displayed for her.

Editing came up during conversation whilst Teresa was talking about purity of artist’s  work; meaning giving a clearer focus to the viewer about what the work is about.

We spoke about collage, painting on panels ie not canvas etc, quality of surface, solo shows, accompanying publications, Contemporary Art Society, regional galleries; and she said she thought I was a colourist.

Teresa also said that with the competition out there against a number of disciplines and mediums, painters have to show a strong style; that the subject matter did not necessarily matter but that people want an aesthetic experience.

She was clear about the work which she was most attracted to and ones she was not so interested in. Similarly to Francesca Gavin, Dust was one of her favoured individual paintings whilst she was also interested in Drift which hints towards abstraction with the gap for or negative of the figure.

However, she did say, and I am always aware of this, that just because it is an opinion of a mentor/talking head or someone else you don’t have to obliged. She said; only do it if it feels natural.

Drift. 2014. Oil paint and graphite on pigmented gesso board. 42 x 30 cm. Sarah West

When viewing a work in development Teresa held up some of the Fragments against the wall and in different viewing positions which was quite interesting, as I have also been thinking about displaying them in this way.

When turning to the professional development part of the bursary about half way through Teresa’s visit we started with a question she posed via email. Before the session Teresa had asked me to think about my aims for the next year and 5 years; we spoke these through on the day, as she likes to know the individual artist’s aspirations – a way to enable her to tailor the session.

She questioned, through the studio activities, if I had thought to do something else, removed from normal to free up; in the session I answered no and have subsequently remembered that last year I did start up etching again as I realised the translation of the works that I was producing then could work well in the dense black medium and I wanted to experiment further with the techniques which I had used during my degree. I did this at the Working Men’s College in Camden and got my first few prints into Bite Artists making prints, Mall Galleries, London. However, overall I feel I do know my process and within this I still allow for a lot of openness in the work especially in relation to the new developments I am pursuing in relation to displaying the work.

She said, looking at my C.V, it was good that I had shown so much, including abroad. She picked some examples and asked me about how I had got the exhibitions or opportunities. This lead us to talk about artists’ networks and the importance of keeping links with peers and people you meet when exhibiting.

Teresa commented that I was obviously very dedicated and that the a_n Bursary was a great time to shift the practice and its outlook slightly and to really keep questioning ‘is it the absolute best?’ of the work. To learn from looking at it in this way and surveying it -being critical of the whole thing.

Rounding up the session, Teresa prompted to keep networks up, keep applying for opportunities, working hard and continuing to show as much as possible.


Teresa Grimes – Director of Tintype Gallery, London


Post 7

Hilary Crisp – 22/May/2014

On arriving, Hilary had really usefully pre-planned and researched my on-line presence and website, making notes with suggestions and tips.

When talking and discussing the work I found that having already discussed the work literally the day before with another mentor had warmed me up and in the time between I, as we all do, reflected on how I could improve my articulation of the work and overarching ideas. Therefore, after giving Hilary a brief intro into the work picking out  pieces we started discussing individual works leading onto her overall impressions, in detail.

Hilary had thought carefully what the bursary was about inclusive of my aims which I had spoken to her before the session. Consequently, we discussed how the session would be of most use with her explicitly expressing the desire to be as honest as possible – this is exactly what I want and need; so I was extremely enthused by her delivery.

Whilst looking at the studio set up of works Hilary came across an indirect pairing; Vivid potentially hanging coupled with a newly prepped A1 board – which had been gessoed with 4 colours, layered, then sanded back to produce a mottled look. This prompted us to talk about presence through absence, which is something I aim for and is implicit within my editing of images, translation with paint and the constructed gesso surfaces themselves. Hilary suggested this pairing to give a breadth to a hang, which I definitely agree with. I think this could have a strong impact, especially due to the shift in scale between the smaller A3 work and the larger A1. Individually, she really liked these paintings and if together she said she couldn’t fault them and that this would be a possible curatorial decision she would work with in her gallery.

Vivid. Oil paint, spray paint, oil bar and oil pastle on pigmented gesso panel 42 x 30 cm Sarah West


As part of my practice I make drawings directly from the source material I collate. These act essentially as tools or annotations of ideas and images which I apply a strong filtering system to before considering to use in any for potential paintings. My approach is gentle and intuitive at this drawing stage and even though I am selective in the images I choose to spend time with there are still 100’s of them in a batch which could span 5-6 months. Hilary wanted to go through the latest ones which I had recently scanned for the archive. She commented on how I knew my process and seemed quite enamoured by them and understood how they act as tools whilst also questioning if and how they could be of further use; which I have also questioned at certain times myself.

Through Hilary’s openness in discussing the works I learnt explicitly what she was and wasn’t interested in within the paintings. Overall, she was drawn to the less literal parts or works.

From the archive she thought Recline and blow 2011, was an important painting for the lineage of the work. She thought the paintings were sculptural in their imagery.

We then spoke quite extensively about my website which is imminently under-reconstruction so a perfect opportunity to get more tailored advice; she helped clarify a few aspects to make a stronger impact and overall confirmed my plans.

We also spoke about; openings, exhibitions, social-networking sites, how some people think twitter almost makes websites obsolete in some industries, other artists’ practices, collectors, curators, affiliations, Art Fairs.

I will take a lot away from our conversation, mainly due to the explicit and open nature of the dialogue and am now making plans to put some of the practical elements in place over the coming months.


Hilary Crisp – director of Hilary Crisp Gallery, London.