Categories
art exhibition gallery Liverpool photography portraiture

Los Muertos on display

An exhibition of a series of mine and my husband Chris’ photography is currently on show in Maya Liverpool, UK.

Fifteen A3 and three A0 sized archival prints are exhibited in an atmospheric Mexican inspired environment. The opening night of the show was a great success (although I was on the other side of the Atlantic at the time) and included Mexican street food and libations, general revelry and calaca-style face painting in a Dia de los Muertos spirit!

(Installation photos courtesy of Maya)installation2

Liverpool show

Categories
art community gallery Los Angeles museum

Reflections of a Gallery Docent

As a transplant to Los Angeles, it was exciting to be selected for training as a Getty docent. Over many years at Tate Gallery one was encouraged to lead tours using dialogue-based, object-focused methodology, with the understanding that the passive receipt of information does not supply the tools or confidence to approach artworks, nor motivate individual engagement with them. It was refreshing to find that the teaching strategy at the Getty is just as forward-thinking and interactive, carefully avoiding a disappointing and didactic lecture-on-wheels experience.

With the belief that works of art reveal themselves over time, the focus is firmly on ‘close looking’ at a limited number of objects and sharing within a supportive environment, the resultant lively dialogue benefiting from a multiplicity of perspectives. Appropriate contextual information is introduced to extend the dialogue, not suppress other possible meanings nor suggest a ‘definitive’ reading.

Summer training incorporated a fun and well-organized balance of theoretical underpinning and practical exercises. A fascinating dossier of reading material led to animated weekly group discussions. As we were tasked with developing individual themed tours, any fears were allayed as we were supported by research materials and helpful, patient staff. We were also treated to curator time – the decorative arts lecture led to a widespread re-evaluation of tour plans to shoehorn in a fancy bed, marquetry tour-de-force or gilded sconce or two.

Selecting only four objects from the embarrassment of riches on display was a headache until the realization that one could develop several tours and rotate them as appropriate. Flexibility with object choices avoids dismay when the morning gallery mapping stars are not aligned. How liberating the ability to sneak off behind Titian’s back and leave Friedrich to his pondering whilst one runs away with Puryear and Hepworth or spends time striking poses with Batoni!

It has been such fun working with the mutually supportive, dynamic people in our group as colleagues and new friends. It is a pleasure to fulfil our collective duty to keep artworks alive by creatively engaging the next generation of visitors.

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(Originally published in The Gazetty, the Getty staff newsletter)

Categories
art Los Angeles model portraits Sculpture

Messerschmidt’s Emotional Extremes

With a focus on ‘extreme expression’ in this two-day studio workshop we took our inspiration from the excellent Messerschmidt and Modernity exhibition currently on show at the Getty Center. Franz Xaver Messerschmidt was a German artist who was obsessed with human expression and his striking kopfstücke (head pieces) created in the 18th century have amazed and inspired those interested in the complexities of human emotion.

During the sessions we had the benefit of studying two live models who both had an amazing ability to pull and hold acute expressions. We worked with oil clay, (one of my favourite mediums) to create high reliefs on board supports, and had fun studying proportion and distortion as faces contort in various expressions. Our instructor Jonathan Bickhart was a pleasure to work with and his enthusiasm and admiration for Messerschmidt was infectious.

The workshop tied in very well with the exhibition, on both days we studied the busts on display in the gallery, noting the fine detail, surface textures, design elements, and artistic licence which made the artist’s work so compelling. We discussed the notion of the fine line between artistic obsession and mental illness – Messerschmidt many believed was a genius plagued with schizophrenia. The compulsion to study and create scores of intense expressions frozen in time may have stemmed from the impulse to ward off malevolent spirits which disturbed the artist.

This unmissable exhibition continues until October 14th and features a number of Messerschmidt’s intriguing character heads from all over the world, including one from the Getty’s permanent collection. Interesting contemporary responses in a range of media are also on display from artists such as Tony Cragg and Tony Bevan. An ‘Expression Lab’ next door cleverly brings the sculptures to life through mirror responses from the public – a photo booth set-up allows us to indulge ourselves in gurning Messerschmidt style and share the extremely unflattering results!

Messerschmidt me!

Categories
architecture art community culture gallery Los Angeles museum

Views from the Getty

Getty Center Central Garden
This summer I was selected as a Gallery docent at the Getty Center in Los Angeles! It has been such a great experience going through training, meeting such wonderful people and getting to know the art work in more depth. ‘Docent’ is not a word we really use in the UK, but the role is similar to the one I held at Tate Gallery Liverpool whilst at university, as a ‘freelance artist’, facilitating workshops with visitors using close study, discussion and practical activities such as drawing.

It really is a great privilege to spend time each week up at the centre, The Meier-designed complex sometimes feels like some sort of utopian spaceship filled with treasures. I spend hours in the galleries with the works and exploring the campus discovering my favourite areas to sip coffee and study or gaze outwards at the cityscape below.

Next month we will start teaching school groups, encouraging them to look closely and engage with art, and have a positive experience of one of my favourite places in LA. I can’t wait!

Categories
art Drawing Los Angeles Print

Mini Monoprints

monoprint bamboo
Bamboo monoprint with 2 colours
monoprint bird of paradise
Single colour bird of paradise monoprint

Categories
Africa art exhibition fashion history India Mali Manchester pattern photography Textile Victorian

COTTON: Global Threads

With ‘Light Curtain’, artist Liz Rideal paints the fabric of the building with light, as a sophisticated LED rig and video projections illuminate the exterior of the Whitworth Art Gallery during the evenings.

This video, shot on Canon 5D MKII, is one of a series of videos and photos I captured for the COTTON: Global Threads exhibition website, my latest project with the Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester. Creating the website has been a great opportunity to indulge my love for art history and cultural theory, exploring themes in the exhibition including globalization, ethics, cultural hybridity, identity and beauty.

I was fortunate enough to interview some of the international contemporary artists involved with the exhibition such as Lubaina Himid and Aboubakar Fofana, and work with the curators and conservators to bring it to life online. The aim was both to inform and inspire people who are able to visit the gallery, and offer an engaging experience to those who will experience it in the digital realm – with some behind-the-scenes peeks and exclusive content created specially for the site, featuring a multiplicity of voices and perspectives.

COTTON: Global Threads opened on February 11th and runs until the 13th May 2012. Visit the Whitworth Gallery if you can, its a great show. Delve into the website and blog at www.cottonglobalthreads.com

Categories
art Drawing model

Life Drawing

Life model , coloured pencil on paper
Life model , coloured pencil on paper
Categories
art Drawing model

Life Drawing

Life model, seated. Oil pastel on canvas board
Life model, seated. Oil pastel on canvas board
Categories
art branding commercial design gallery Manchester

Dark Matters

Dark Matters website screen
Dark Matters website screen
Just launched, a website I created for the new exhibition at Whitworth Art Gallery, the University of Manchester’s art gallery.

The exhibition, curated by talented Helen Stalker, is based on the ‘shadow’ as an artistic device to cast reality into relief. Drawing parallels between modern technology and the primordial urge to create avatars of ourselves, with historical methods of trickery to inspire wonder and a sense of magic, the exhibition leads us through a variety of media.

Dark Matters is comprised of a major exhibition including new commissioned works from international artists, and a display gleaned from the Whitworth’s extensive collection of masterpieces from Van Gogh to Rembrandt. An interesting and varied series of talks film screenings and events is also programmed.

Go and see it if you can, now showing at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (September 24th 2011 to January 15th , 2012.) Visit the website at www.Darkmattersart.com

Categories
art Blackpool design music photography Print

Condor Moments CD release

Playing on the ‘straight to the bargain bin’ concept, I used an Oxfam charity shop as a backdrop for the new album release by Condor Moments, featuring cover art by artists Rachel Lowther, Alex Baggaley and myself.

‘And Though We’re Told We Have It All, The All We Have Is Freezing Cold’ by Condor Moments, Released by What Delicate Recordings, New York, actually is to be found in record shops and  available on iTunes

Categories
art Blackpool music

Condors concept art


Concept art for Blackpool based arthouse band Condor Moments, signed by New York label What Delicate Recordings. Some delightful elements inspired by their music…
Come Dancing / neon / net curtains / Weimar burlesque / fish, chips and mushy peas / Otto Dix / dayglo stars / nausea / lithographs / tacky souvenirs / neon / sticky rock / Punch and Judy / lager louts / classical symphonies / fetishism / disappointment / the Muppet Show / bingo / hyperbole / Wurlitzer organs

Categories
architecture art Illustration

Citygraphs

Some graphic abstractions of the city, experimenting with line, flat colour, found textures and photographic elements