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I was advised by my lecturer to visit the Sigmar Polke show at the Tate before it finished in February so I arranged a day trip to London and I was not disappointed.

This show is a classic example of what you get from a book when you investigate an artist and the experience of actually seeing their work in the flesh.  The images may have been familiar in part to me, but to see them in reality was to fully appreciate their scale and the painterly process.

The most clever have to be the ‘rastor’ paintings which mimic the printing process. I especially enjoyed his embracing of the painterly errors or marks, the drops and splodges of the artists hand and its echo of the printing process which is also liable to ‘mistakes’ in view of its mass production.

The ‘rastor’ paintings you have to see in the flesh to fully appreciate their depth of vision, somewhat like a ‘trick of the eye’ the information distorts and changes as you move closer and further away from the image.  Somewhat like the reverse of a Rothko painting which is best enjoyed at 18 inches, these in terms of process are best appreciated at 18 inches but the image becomes fully apparent as you stand far further back. I am in awe of the cleverness of this technique.

What also interested me was his use of printed materials as the base of his paintings, I have also been on and off, using cloth with print as a base for some of my works, so to see his take on this was very encouraging. I feel it already has interest and depth as a work just as a printed piece of material on a frame before you even start to paint upon it.

Also, he is not afraid to use text and numbers in his work. Despite my current line of inquiry I have always been historically very nervous of using text in paintings, I feel it is the juxtaposition of 2 opposites, the logic of language and numbers and the illogical process of painting and what it can become.  I am beginning to realize that my initial fear and uncomfortable feeling about this alliance is allowed, that is is not such a foreign bedfellow as a first thought, they are just semiotics turned illogical by the medium of paint.

His classic sums painting with illogical = numbers is perhaps the best example of this alliance.

A great show.

I also went to see the Egon Schiele show at the Coultard but sadly it was all booked out so I ended up wandering round the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.  It was a delight to see the darling of the artworld, Grayson Perry has taken over the portrait Gallery and his work was in display, presented almost like interventions throughout the entire level 1 space.  Brilliant as ever.


Today I completed the application for the Bloomberg New Comtemporaries.  You can submit 6 works and have to send then images as the first stage of the application.

Having seen the show in Liverpool for the last 2 years, I have to try and be a part of this so if I have any chance at all, I have to hope.  What interests me more than anything, aside from the exposure, is the mentoring assistance that is given as part of the process and a chance to come up with new work when the show develops and changes to the ICA in London.

I can only hope. I have sent in 4 of the text paintings and Review and The Naked Truth.  We shall see.  I wanted to get this out of the way before university starts again on monday.


Well, university finished on the 18th of December and after the fun of Christmas I had to go back to work to create a new painting quite quickly with a deadline hand-in date of the Monday the 5th of January.  This was definitely challenging when all I wanted to do was to relax and enjoy my family and the time off.

My starting point was the photographs I took early December at Middleport Pottery and my meeting with Phil who is a volunteer at the centre.  It was the conversation with him in which we chatted about Middleport Pottery, its history and its aspirations for now, together with his more personal story of his life that I began to realize it was the human side of Stoke on Trent that I was interested in, not the bricks and mortar but the people and their story.  I went through the photographs I had taken to find a starting point.  I was not entirely comfortable with the photos I had as I wanted to feature Phil in the painting so I chopped and changed a little, I felt the front view of the Pottery was the most interesting and if I removed a lot of the extra information in the photo, then composition wise, it created a classic line of perspective as the line of the building scaled down into the horizon.  I then decided to put Phil in the painting on the left hand side, so you had the bricks and mortar of the place and the personification of the people that made it.

I have learnt through this experience and the proposal process how to respond to another earlier artists work, to listen to the requirements of the project and put forward a proposal that answers their requirements but also stays true to my skills and interests as an artist.

As I have been doing a lot of text paintings recently, I thought I would build in the Stoke on Trent words into the sky.  Also behind is built in bits of the Sentinel Newspaper. I thought this may add to the depth of the work and date it relevant to now.

I am the first to admit that I am not a painter of buildings and given the timescale, this did present a few challenges but I spent a few days on it and in the end I got to a place where I was happy with it overall.

If I am being critical I would say it is not my best piece of work but in terms of gaining experience and exposure, it was been fantastic.  Even the process of coming up with a 100 word artist statement to accompany the work had its challenges.

What thrilled me the most was the thought, that when I started this college/university experience four and a half years ago I never thought for a moment that my work would be on a wall in a museum, and that has given me a kick for sure.

It is on display together with the artist Sam Mace’s work until the 22nd of February.   There is also an artist Soup Kitchen on the 7th of February where Sam will be doing some performance work, so looking forward to that.

A steep learning curve in a short timescale and a privilege to meet the curator of the museum and gain an insight into professionally exhibiting.