what will come

June 15, 2016

photo of James Turrell-sketch of plane

Last year looking round the renovated Central Library in Manchester I took myself up to the top floor where I used to go when I had time to kill in the city.  I’m sure it used to house the literature section and had a slight attic feel, with a raised walkway around the double height book shelves. Now it feels a bit like a spaceship, the shelves all sliding in and out, closing into modules when you don’t need them.  The closest I’ve ever been to the set of Chockablock apart from friend’s narrow boats I suppose. There I found a book about James Turrell and sat in the sunlight to read about his work.  The pictures above illustrate the story he tells of his childhood, how he was conceived in 1942 on the eve of a real or imagined attack on their home city of L.A. when his mum and dad celebrated the completion of a birdroom they had built around their flat roof for Mr Turrell to call in the birds. The windows filled the walls and opened wide for the birds to come into the room. James Turrell tells of his dad spending long evenings in the bird room singing with the birds. The birdroom became James’ bedroom but he always shared the space and his dad’s attention with the birds. The windows had dark green curtains lined with tar to blackout the light.  As he grew up Turrell explains that he took a pin to the blackout curtains to assert his self on the space.

photo of James Turrell-childhood bedroom

photo quote James Turrell story

This spring I visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and saw the singular work of Bill Viola for the first time. At the end of the exhibition in the study room a film, books and quotes from Viola were presented for contemplation over green tea. Another story of childhood written on the wall.

BillViolachildhood

My favourite of piece of Viola was The Veiling, 6 or so pieces of gauze suspended in a queue. A projector at each end playing separate films towards each other, as the image reaches further into the queue of gauze it enlarges and defocuses. Each film depicts movement through a dark space, light brushes trees, a figure. The movement sweeps the image across the surface of gauze and through the queue of gauze behind, a stagger, a shift in space and time.

Finally, just yesterday whilst following up links to another show at Touchstones Gallery I wish I’d not missed – Natural Makers, I found the wonderful work of Laura Ellen Bacon online with a piece she has written about her nesting instinct describing in loving detail the inspiring sensory memories of den building from an early age.

I’m guessing many of us will have taken paths in life influenced by instincts and memories from childhood..I wonder how many directly link their work to experience.  I now live in a place full of childhood memories. Strong physical, sensory memories.  Not my original home but a place similar to home, full of places that inhabited my dreams .  I’m remembering and wondering what will come of it.

Gemma phone_20160320_009Gemma phone_20160228_001IMG_9118

Advertisements

Another instalment from a trip made last year.

When I heard that there was a park that had been built over an old freeway running through Boston, I had visions of the Promenade Plantee in Paris – raised walkways surrounded by clambering growth (at least that’s what I remember). I was a little disappointed that the freeway had been dismantled, the cars re-routed under ground and the parks set at ground level with little of the luscious planting of my dreams.  The spaces were neat, flat with many hard surfaces (I include tidy lawn in this) but they did provide an easy walk through the centre of Boston and many sun filled places to stop and view the modern city’s large towers from.  They also functioned well as an outdoor gallery, the lines of the park and buildings complimenting the sculptures.

Gemma phone_20150926_001

Gemma phone_20150926_004

Gemma phone_20150926_012

A TRANSLATION OF ONE LANGUAGE INTO ANOTHER – Lawrence Weiner, 2015

Whilst looking at the newly installed Lawrence Weiner mural a girl who explained that she saw the wall regularly on her way to the dentist said she preferred the old mural.  I shared my impression of the dazzling dense colours and asked her to not give up on it yet and give it another look each time she passed. Looking at the range of comments made about past murals on the site it is clear that each mural has been deemed a success by some and a failure by others, at least they have been allowed the time to grow in peoples minds.

Gemma phone_20150926_035

Just around the corner was a set of maquettes from an architecture competition, I think, my favourites of which worked well with the bright light of the day.

Gemma phone_20150926_020

Gemma phone_20150926_023

Gemma phone_20150926_022

A similar construction material to the Serpentine Pavillion 2014 around which I saw a man with bread, veg and fish strapped to his head wander and pose.

 

Gemma phone_20150926_038

As If It Were Already Here – Janet Echelman, 2015

I’d seen some of Janet Echelman’s work in print before but was delighted to find her living and breathing work on the greenway. After being impressed by the graphic and spatial relationships between the city and the previous works mentioned, it was wonderful to see something so huge, delicate and constantly shifting within the city…almost like installing a contained weather system into a small urban space.

Gemma phone_20150926_041Gemma phone_20150926_046I’ll finish this post with a picture of a singing bridge found on a windy day and a Karel Martin print seen later on the same day at the Le Corbusier designed Carpenter Centre for the Visual Arts. The bridge incidentally sung by sounding different notes as vehicles of different weights  drive over at different speeds, making singular notes or harmonies depending on how busy the bridge got.  Unfortunately my mobile phone recording does not do it justice so I won’t include it here. Happily the prints mirror the grid pattern that created the notes and give a sense of the singular and harmony.

a pattern develops

June 23, 2015

I feel like I’m front crawl swimming. A stroke that, as an adult, I only perform when I’m feeling most brave. Without goggles I can’t see very well; as my head tips up to breathe, the water drips off my eyelashes and if I don’t get the breathing pattern right the water goes up my nose. Front crawl swimming takes up all of the energy and focus. Not bad but not a stroke to be doing when you want to keep calm, feel measured and cast a reflective eye on your surroundings.  I feel like I’ve been front crawl swimming, in circles for months now. Time for a little breaststroke, so here’s some of what I’ve been circling around. Gemma phone_20150209_003 V and A shadows V and A metalwork birds at High Barn, holkham forge Chinese New Year in Manchester, beautiful shadows and metalwork at the Victoria and Albert. Swallows set in an old tree at High Barn courtesy of the wonderful Holkham Forge. GL.longing Gemma phone_20150203_012The Allotment, Crouch and Ward GL.anything the earth Building understandings of home and allotment.  Printing and gathering work together into new books. Books taken to fairs and photos soon to be on the website proper. cherry blossom time lead and light, camden Journeyman, Ewan MacColl Draw with it.. cover A book to be read about growing up in Salford and a book made about the last of the Arts team from Manchester Adult Education. LCR annual subs case

A batch made of this years Little Cracked Rabbit subscription box set.

floor, John Rylands library

Time spent pondering the data, cracks and conservation in The John Rylands Library for marks that have been made and marks to make for a new piece to be shown in the cases July- September as part of MANIFEST

boots with Ursula Von Rydingsvards' work

I spent the last day of the year walking the grounds of Yorkshire Sculpture Park. One of my favourite day trip destinations. I’d been led there unknowingly, I hadn’t known what was showing and so I arrived at the work of Ursula Von Rydingsvard with few expectations.  I’ve never even heard her name before. All the better for being wowed and wowed I was. The show finishes on the 4th January, so if you happen to see this, like large wooden sculpture and have a day spare now, go visit. I’ll post more after that.

May the new year be full of wonderful surprises and glimpses of genius that get your minds and bodies whirring into action.

I found someone else who has written about my work in the loft. This post probably offers a clearer picture of the experience of viewing the work than I have, see it here.

Thanks to Karen for the extra thoughts and words.

 

An afternoon spent sharing the work so far. In the last week I’d installed the prints and furniture blocks up in the loft space at Islington mill. I’d always had this space in mind for it’s intimate scale and timelessness, the sense of wonder that climbing the stairs induces, layers of marks, dust, glimpses of construction and former use. It allies well with the implicit life and memory of the furniture, the projected dreams, the ghostly apparitions of the prints onto fabric. In this I felt that the space was half the work and without the space, the work would be less. I’ve been assured otherwise. It was useful to see and hear how others responded to the work, the space, the work in the space.

A brief tour of the loft installation below. Photos of the individual pieces will go up on my website in a week or two.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some comments, all anonymous, left in exchange for an -in between- book (more of an exchange than a bribe):

tastes like burnt toast, bittersweet, peat, wood, sulphur, tea

smells like a story, a forest, linseed and memory, woodsmoke, water,

sounds like yesteryear, ambient, ‘whispers, laughing, eavesdropping, the stories you would tell the furniture’, the low drone of a road and moving air,  sanctuary from the world, normal life

feels like ‘somebody’s sadness, loneliness, just beyond the veils – but utterly peaceful’, haunting, damp wool, wondering and wandering, another world, mirrors

I would like to see it in a forest, more, in a national trust property, with spiders and butterflies, no one else,

 

in the loft

I had a wonderful time cutting the wood, making the prints, sweeping the floor, rescuing butterflies, following the flow of the soundtracks coming from the floor below, installing myself and my work in the loft and sharing it with those who came to see. My thanks to Islington Mill  and all who helped, saw and shared.

I hope to move the work on to another space where it can grow and be shared some more.

 

 

two months in brief

November 21, 2013

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A wedding book made first proof of steel sea etching

A large steel plate etched with the sea and proof printed many times as I learn how to wipe steel.

detail of 'basin';book of risograph prints

A book bound of orange fencing and Risograph prints made from canal basin line drawings, photographs, paint and watery objects. I’ll post a full look through the book sequence soon.

photo of an earthquake by Sarah Gillett

A visit to Margate and the Pushing Print exhibition featuring Sarah Gillett’s Earthquake installation,  above.

dreamland

A chilly afternoon with beautiful views, good company, warming ale and cheese.

sunset in margate

bookfair table

Another successful book fair in Manchester by Hot Bed Press, lots of lovely people and books, books, books.

A new routine, a little walking, a little making, a little walking a little making.

filled in doorway radcliffe

A visit to an archeology dig in Close Park, Radcliffe where an old tower was being dug, thought to have been part of a much larger complex.

trees in rainwater

solander boxes

A rush on Solander boxes, made for little crackd rabbit records yearly subscription.

allottment sky november

Autumn skies at the Southern Allotment, Manchster and outside the Walker Gallery, Liverpool.

liverpool sky november