Category Archives: CONCEPTUAL ART

AVAST YE!!!!

Well me old sea shanties, Ive been having a lovely couple of months working on a new collection for an exhibition at Studio FlamingosaurusRex (the purple gallery at 22 Bruntsfield Place – opposite the garage and up a bit).

Even with directions as good as mine you may be better off consulting a map – and, conveniently enough, thats exactly what I’ve been working on.

I have plundered 16 ordinance survey maps of Edinburgh in the 1940’s and left my pirate stamp ….

map2map

much more fun than satnav….

Come and see my unframed pirate maps and original framed lino cuts – opening night 18 November 2016, 6pm-beer runs out.

Exhibition runs till 1 December, come on the opening night dressed as a pirate and get £10 off a print – I also have pirate badges for sale as its Children in Need and all money raised will go to a good cause.

What are they pirate maps???  They just d’aaaaaaar

Studio Flamingosaurus Rex, 22 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4HN

(in partnership with Edinburgh Beer Factory – shiver me timbers….)

 

 

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soon minions, soon

Decided to take a break from woodcuts and work on a new installation piece.  Took myself off to Chambers Street Museum to catch the end of the Ming Dynasty show, not a fan of carpets and big wall hangings but I did come across these little beauties.

ming researchLittle clay figures of servant boys, happy with my observation I went home to ‘think’!!

Before I married  I went to my aunts house as she is my last surviving relative in Edinburgh to collect my old, new borrowed, blue items.  I chose a blue crystal brooch to attach to the handbag I’d made from my mums old wedding dress, whilst raking around the nick knacks I found a creepy rubber child’s doll – apparently it was my dads favourite toy as a little boy and it was coming home with me!

Two years later and I decided to make a clay copy of the doll, with the intention of casting in resin.  The doll dated back to 1900’s and I was concerned about its durability – no need, they were made to last.  I filled it with water to check for leaks, then filled the head and feet with resin and stuffed the body with cotton wool, the cheeky chappie looked a lot better.  I then covered it with 6 layers of latex and ordered myself a big box of moulding plaster off Ebay.

original and castlatex coatdry latex mould

Being a die hard fan of Antony Gormley’s ‘The Field’ and anything Flux related it made sense to create more than just one. 4 latex moulds and a very messy kitchen later

I love the way that each cast originally started from one object but the grain of plaster, the water content or the thickness of latex would decide on the finished pieces.

Some looked shy, some cocky, some short and some tall.  Each seemed to have their own little personality.IMG_0047IMG_0035IMG_0031IMG_0022IMG_0019IMG_0016

 

CLASS OF 1900

CLASS OF 1900

So I grouped them like a school class photo.

There are currently 45 figures – as always your thoughts and comments will be appreciated

 


WHATS YOUR SIN??

In AD 590, two centuries after Evagrius wrote his list, Pope Gregory I revised this list to the more common Seven Deadly Sins, by folding (sorrow/despair/despondency) into acedia, vain glory into pride, and adding envy. – repeated by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) centuries later in The Divine Comedy, as follows:

1  luxuria (lechery/lust)
2  gula (gluttony)
3  avaritia (avarice/greed)
4  acedia (sloth/discouragement)
5  ira (wrath)

6  invidia (envy)
7  superbia (pride)

I, the artist, am guilty of sins numbers 1, 2, 3 & 5, not 4, 6 & 7 of the Bible’s Seven Deadly Sins. These are explored for myself and for others in the form of woodcuts because of their medieval style, carved small then blown-up larger.  It is hard to represent literal abstractions when seeking a more subjective or penitent form of working in art as prayer that feels both for the material used as well as for the imagery, representational and abstract. I avoid a cartoon form and the literary obvious, while, at the same time, seeking an iconic representation that is meaningful to me. As every artist knows, art is a wrestle between private and public language. Art is not predominantly about is easily defined in words. The seven deadly sins are difficult for anyone to define because they imply confessing our personal failings, and our society’s failings generally, and they remain open to ambiguity and reinterpretation.

ACEDIA - SLOTH AVARATIA - TOAD GULA -  PRIDE INVIDIA - ENVY IR - GLUTTONY SUPERBIA - WRATHLUXURIA - LUST

 

you can buy my stuff at http://www.saatchiart.com/account/collection/86081


THE FAMILY BIBLE … LIVING WITH AN EMPTY CHAIR

I have spent the last week sanding and gluing a new project – I kept two chairs from the Christmas dinner table – the table that was kept in the good room and only sat around for celebrations.  Goodness knows why but – hey it was part of my life.  I kept the large chair with the arms that was always dads chair and the other was one of  5  identical chairs that I had painted with cream gloss for some reason or other.

The earliest discovery of a chair created in Ancient Egypt dates back to 2680 BC while the most famous discovery of a chair was in 1352 when the throne of Pharaoh Tutankhamen was discovered within a tomb. Furniture of Ancient Egypt, including chairs, were designed for both functionality as well as a form of art.  I wanted my chairs to serve as both.

THE FOLLOWING IS NOTES FROM MY RESEARCH

The seat is the most important piece of furniture in Africa, usually taking the form of a stool or a chair. It serves as a social insignia because every person is entitled to a type of seat that corresponds to their social rank. It was said that a man was judged and respected according to the kind of stool he had. Stools can be bought by anyone, as long as the model is appropriate to the person’s social status. The stool was understood to be the seat of its owner’s soul.  When not in use it was therefore placed at a slant against a wall so that none of the souls passing by could settle on it. The Asanti say that there are no secrets between a man and his stool.

The golden stool is very carefully protected. No one has ever sat on it and since its arrival, IT HAS NOT TOUCHED THE GROUND. As an Ashanti symbol, the golden stool represents the worship of ancestors, well-being, and the nation of Ashanti. It is always lying on its own stool or on the skin of an animal.

One and Three Chairs, 1965, is a work by Joseph Kosuth.   The piece consists of a chair, a photograph of this chair, and an enlarged dictionary definition of the word “chair”. The photograph depicts the chair as it is actually installed in the room, and thus the work changes each time it is installed in a new venue.

Two elements of the work remain constant: a copy of a dictionary definition of the word “chair” and a diagram with instructions for installation. Both bear Kosuth’s signature. Under the instructions, the installer is to choose a chair, place it before a wall, and take a photograph of the chair. This photo is to be enlarged to the size of the actual chair and placed on the wall to the left of the chair. Finally, a blow-up of the copy of the dictionary definition is to be hung to the right of the chair, its upper edge aligned with that of the photograph.

The first part of my installation is celebrate the spiritual relevance of the chair, the ceremonies it was part of and the importance it was given in the room it was never allowed to leave.

Apparently, ever since I was little I have been practicing ‘decoupage’- I just thought it was a nice way to use one thing (books or maps) to make another (video cabinets, chairs, boxes) nice!  I covered the entire chair with my mothers bible – I had kept a little bible when I moved house but had no intention of reading it although I would not have charity shopped it.  I have no idea what happened to the other bibles we had at home, these belonged to my fathers side of the family.  The little bible had a book plate inside inscribed to my mother for perfect attendance at Sunday school.  We were not a religious family, my parents attended church occasionally – never during my life.  I went to Sunday school and church at Easter with the school.

Here is the first chair….in the corner at http://www.axolotl.co.uk

Step 2 – Dads chair …..


Review in the Skinny

Makes it all worthwhile

***

The Axolotl Gallery holds a deceptively sugary appeal from Dundas Street; its bright purple shop front displays colourful, surreal paintings promising an array of delectable, cultural sweets for passing dilettantes. The interior, reminiscent of a boutique, is open and uncluttered yet holds various separate spaces to discover unique treasures, trinkets and memories.

The work that most pertains to this twee, knick-knack feel (whilst simultaneously undermining its apparent light-heartedness) is Sarah Wilson’s elegy to her adoptive parents through sculpture and installation. This includes found sentimental objects – such as ticket stubs, horse shoes, figurines, badges and condoms – encased and displayed in small boxes of resin. These intensely personal curios are arranged and fossilised to form new narrative meanings, the stand-alone piece being the half-encased work shoes of Wilson’s father, visually arresting as the thick, translucent resin distorts the worn texture of the leather, evoking a strange transformation of mundane objects into haunted relics and the absurdity of simple human endeavour in the face of mortality.


Interview with Sarah Wilson – Art Review

New found freedom and the truth about that Michael Smiley Comment.

I catch up with Edinburgh based artist Sarah Wilson at her studio in Leith, she is cursing the Scottish weather as she cannot finish her outdoor sculpture due to impromptu rain and apologising for her taste in music (The Selector blares in the background).

Sarah has painted and photographed for as long as she can remember but its only recently she has put her past to bed and really focussed on her latest project – The AXO Gallery due to open at the end of this year.

Sarah laughed “Do you think the 3 degrees would have been so successful if they had called themselves the 3 HND’s?”

“Not getting into Edinburgh School of Art for the 4th time made me realise that only I can make this happen”

Sarah has just completed her 3rd book, a series of retrospectives of all her old work dating back to school and college and some of her poetry from her stint as a performance poet.  “I felt it was time to move on, at 42 I really should stop being a perpetual student and put myself out there as a professional artist.  I have an HND in acting, graphic design and contemporary art practise – and I am pulling it all together for my latest project”

Sarah has always been ambitious, she crawled from a typing pool at Scottish Widows and worked in their marketing department for 7 years, unfortunately her asthma, which she has suffered from since childhood caused her to take early retirement at 23.  “I nearly died on a Scottish Widows fun trip to Paris” she laughed “that’s what made me decide that there was more to life than office work”.

She went to drama school (the year below Euan McGregor) and blagged herself an equity card, got an agent and did bits and pieces for ages, never quite getting the big break.  “Acting is hellish!  I sat for hours in a bath of my own blood with my throat slit for the film Jack of Diamonds – it bombed and I got cramp”

Sarah then worked for Radio Forth in Edinburgh “I got the job because I had jumped out of a cake dressed as Marilyn Monro years ago for Big Al’s 40th birthday and they remembered me.”

“Radio Forth was great fun, I met a lot of interesting people and was sorry when the format changed and I was no longer needed.  I remember my mother being mortified when her favourite tabloid printed an article about the Edinburgh Festival – I was named and shamed as the woman who showed Irish comedian Michael Smiley her breasts for a fiver – hey I was drunk and I needed a taxi fare!  Rob Newman offered me £3.50 cos he didnt have enough – I offered to lend him the rest!”

She also worked as a stand-up comedienne appearing regularly at the Stand comedy club in Edinburgh and comparing at her own club The Rabbit Warren.   “Then my mum died and nothing seemed funny anymore”.

Sarah’s latest venture came about when her partner bought a house with a huge warehouse attached.  “This was the chance of a lifetime and I am very lucky, the garden is full of skips and workmen.  I am having a concrete floor fitted and walls lined, there will be disabled access and a wee office for my kettle!”

AXO gallery is a sister gallery to Axolotl Gallery, a large space in Dundas Street that her partner plans to open as a shop and gallery for contemporary painting, prints and photography.

“Rather than have an opening showcasing my work I plan to showcase the space.  I want people to come along and see its potential with a view to exhibiting there in the future.”

And by using her marketing skills she plans to have an opening like no other.

“I have always been fascinated by the circus, probably because I have never got to see one, when I was little the circus would come to Murrayfield every year and I would go along, unfortunately my allergy to all animals and straw and sawdust meant I would be removed wheezing and eyes streaming before the show started!”

I want to have my own circus and I have been researching like crazy – as early as 275 bc Romans witnessed performances by elephants.  It is Barnum and Bailey and the Ringling Brothers that really interests me- pre 1919, a time when ‘giant posters in lush colours foretold the wonders that would appear in town, usually for one day only’.  The circus has always been a larger than life creature, showing up out of nowhere and then, as quickly and unexpectedly as it came, disappearing once again.

The memories of these colourful days are all black and white photography and I hope to capture that feeling”

For those lucky enough to go to the opening may not be aware that they are part of the artwork, as the actual piece will be created on the night and for those that visit the gallery after, the circus will have left town.

“‘It’s not just my work that will be on show, I am collaborating with four other artists; Sarah Green, Elaine Boyd, Jill Farquhar and Jill Skulina and Estrella the Elephant”


IF I HAD A HAMMER …

So, I am in the process of cataloguing the contents of the tool box, layer by layer and box by box and photographing, measuring and sketching each item.  

I have been reading An Anecdoted Typography of Chance by Daniel Spoerri – this appeals to my Fluxus appreciation – where four artists (Robert Filliou, Emmett Williams, Dieter Roth and Roland Topor) list and comment on everyday objects.

In connection with a one man show of his snare-pictures at the Galerie Lawrence in Paris in 1962, Spoerri wrote his Topographie Anécdotée du Hasard (Anecdoted Topography of Chance). Spoerri was then living at the Hotel Carcassone in Paris, in room number 13 on the fifth floor. To the right of the entrance door was a table which his wife Vera had painted blue. Spoerri drew on a ‘map” the overlapping outlines of all the 80 objects that were lying on the table on October 17, 1961 at exactly 3:47 p.m. Each object was assigned a number and Spoerri wrote a brief description of each object and the memories or associations it evoked. The descriptions cross referenced other objects on the table which were related. The Topographie Anécdotée du Hasard was printed as a small pamphlet of 53 pages plus a fold out map and index and was distributed as an advertisement for the exhibit. 

Been looking at “Shedding Life” – Rachel Whiteread and my favourite – Bruce Nauman and the castings of the underside of chairs.  I chose to cast the inside of the tool box – the space required to contain the tools catalogued.

vaselineFilled all the holes with dental mould and vaselined up the inside of the box so the plaster doesnt stick – it did leak a bit out of the edges tho – 

base-of-castside-of-castside-of-cast2top-of-cast

Had to whack the box about a bit to loosen the mould but the results are great.

wood-glue and the delicious irony – I fixed the broken box using some of the nails from its contents – but there was no hammer so I had to get one from my tool box!!!