Hide and Fight, Taxidermy and Mixed Media, 140 x 201 x 104 cm
Harbour, Taxidermy, Rubber and Mixed Media, 124 x 76 x 60 cm
My work has turned more into a exploration of colour and texture and how it can be created through interaction of paint in its original and edited form. After getting myself a new phone, i have become able to blog instantly. So this is my kitchen side and my experimental work.
After getting myself some new paints and a nice, big roll of decent paper, I decided to paint straight onto the paper without any kind of planning in my mind. Using a mixture of watercolour and acrylic varied in thickness/thinness (diluted with water) I ‘automatically’ painted onto the paper from above, similarly to Abstract Expressionist and ‘Action Painter’ Jackson Pollock. I say automatically, but at the time of painting this and due to the fact that it was my first large painting i’de done in a while, I felt that I had thought about the placement of the paint too much.
Understanding paint and how it changed when diluted, thickened and applied in different ways was something I felt I needed to explore more so before continuing working in a larger scale. I have always felt more comfortable working in a smaller scale because i’ve had more practice in doing so. At this point, I have moved on to working in a A3 sketchbook where I will be able to create quick paintings exploring the characteristics of different paints, how they transform and how they work together.
David Hancock – Cosplay
A few of the works at Wolverhampton Gallery by David Hancock- ‘Cosplay’
I apologise for not having the names of the works.
Manchester based artist David Hancock’s work focuses on the theme of youth subcultures, in ‘Cosplay’ he explores the gaming world through characters and costumes, something which has become increasingly popular. His work is very modern, creating photo-realistic paintings interlayer from watercolour. ‘Cosplay’ (short for ‘Costume play’) shows both the realism of the characters as well as their extremely detailed costumes. Certain characters have been placed in various locations around the city of Wolverhampton, “Hancock is interested in examining the world of escapist fantasy which Cosplaying s its participants to enter and by using the city as a back drop he is able to show how Cosplayers transform the ordinary world around us into a realm of fantasy“.
Although i’ve never really been interested in fantasy computer games, or computer games at all really, when seeing the character from well known games as a form of art, I started to think about them in a different way. The artists i’ve been looking at from the avant-garde, artists that were so innovative that they changed art forever, artists that most people would recognise, artists such as Salvador Dali and Jackson Pollock. The Surrealists and the Abstract Expressionists have inspired me greatly in my art practice and I always wonder what is the modern day equivalent. I’m not saying that David Hancock’s work is anywhere near as inspirational as those mentioned, however when seeing something such as ‘Cosplay’ displayed in a contemporary art gallery, I begin to draw connections. Of course, the two movements, particularly the Surrealists used various methods to enter “into a realm of fantasy” (Hancock) which was their unconscious. The avant-garde wanted to make art accessible to the the masses and to make art a part of everyday life. When you can start to look at anything as art, art becomes a part of the everyday. For example, the ‘readymade’ object which Marcel Duchamp so famously made art with his urinal. David Hancock’s work is slightly different as the detail put into these paintings is incredible, its crazy good. The way the layers of watercolour have been built up to create such tone and colour is remarkable. So of course, it is art in its technique, ability and subject of portraiture. The theme, concept and origin shows how accessible and possible art is today. I see the artist as a modern day surrealism as I admire a world of gaming I am not all too familiar with.
Click here for pdf Poster version
‘The Nature of the Beast’
Humankind has long been fascinated by animals, who in turn, have been subjected to research, collection, categorisation, documentation, display and experimentation. Each of the artists within the exhibition creates works which involve an intensive scrutiny of animals and nature as well as a critical engagement with the ways in which we have attempted to understand and control the natural world.
Both Tessa Farmer and Polly Morgan will be creating brand new works for the exhibition.
26 April – 30 June 2013
As part of this project, artist Mark Fairnington has curated an historic exhibition which focuses on portraits of animals. Images and objects are brought together that depict in particular the domestic and local relationships between people and animals and show how these could be pragmatic, eccentric, brutal and loving.
Thursday 25 April, 6pm-8pm
Friends, family & colleagues welcome.
Saturday 18 May, 2pm
Join Steve Baker in conversation with artists Olly & Suzi.
Book your free place in advance by calling 01922 654400.
Do you have reoccurring dreams or nightmares?
I do dream often – it depends. When we’ve been skinning birds, taking their wings off and de-fleshing them, something repetitive like that, I dream of it. I’ve had classic dreams that I’m working on a bird and that it comes to life and attacks me! Most of my interns and assistants say the same thing; we talk to each other in the studio about our dreams. Kim my assistant told me about one in particular. When you skin a bird there‘s all these fat globules underneath the feathers follicles, you have to make tiny incisions and cut it out. It’s boring and can be disgusting if the bird is smelly. And Kim had this dream where she was decorating her room and instead of putting up wallpaper she was scraping fat off the walls. And another one that she was scraping fat but it was off her arms, from pustules all along it!
Do the forms for new sculptures come to you in dreams?
Kind of, I’ve had dreams about work. Sometimes it’s more like a sense of something, or a specific bird. I dreamt of a whole show once that I never made, it was surreal.
The artistic vocabulary of Cathy Wilkes is unapologetic and features the most abject and awkward of domestic, everyday objects. These constellations of sculptures and paintings slowly emerge from the most intimate of personal experiences, coupled with a precise and liberated formal language. In an interview with Bart van der Heide, published as part of the exhibition, she mentions:
“I know that it’s impossible to be objective – I have concluded that over time. And being nonobjective brings all the mysteries of my mind into my work. I think these parts are very important to any artwork: not knowing why something is exactly as it is or why it’s there at all. I want to show these mysteries in an expanded way, but I am not interested in being confessional. I don’t want to share my story or something. I can see and feel that my work shows loss and sadness and I know that my work is brought about by these experiences to an extent.”
A: Your portraits are often imaginative and unconventional, how do you approach a portrait subject?
MS: I am thinking about the identity or the multitude of figures portrayed, large collections of human passions that are heavily tinted and sometimes grotesque and decadent. There is also an enchanting, yet dark side to the characters an intriguing depth that appears to be destined to highlight the drama of life and capture the sincerity of the journey, the scenes of intimacy that confront human vulnerability, challenging our own fragility.
A: Is there a particular type of photograph you prefer taking?
MS: I strongly believe in the immortality of film, the real essence of photography! For me the most important is to tell a narrative trough the pictures, regardless whether it’s a portrait, nude or a composition of characters.
A: What do you want your viewers to take from your photographs?
MS: I want the viewers to stop in front of my composition and start “traveling” into a mental journey, reading my characters and suggesting the story to their own interpretation. This is the significance or the advantages of the escapist nature of the photograph itself. I want the viewers to be taken by fresh impressions of scenes of dreams and fantasies, to be lured mysteriously into their own unconsciousness.
A: Your Big Scenes Series is quite theatrical, do you like to tell stories through your images?
MS: Since I remember I have been fascinated by films and I wanted my photographs to “talk” in cinematic style. I developed my style of photography based entirely on the dream imagery of an evolving multilayered story- creating a highly personal, imaginary cinema. Magnifying imagination beyond imagination, there is dedication to the often elaborate projects that are staged as a live theatrical performance.
The three artists link together through their approach to their work, all three of their works have a personal and imaginary aspect to them. There is a ambiguiety that questions the viewer exactly what their work is about. Cathy Wilkes targeting personal experiences in her life and expressing them through installation, explains that it is ‘very important to any artwork: not knowing why something is exactly as it is or why it’s there at all.’ She wants a mystery to her work to provoke feeling, that she is fully aware is mostly sadness. Her work, containing various objects including a mannequin, creating a sinister and surreal world which could be portrayed as a nightmare. Polly Morgans work is often mistaken to be about death, however she explains that it is the complete opposite, it is a celebration of life. Her work, sometimes conceptual but always about the skill required for taxidermy shows animals in a new environment, a surreal setting that seems similar yet it doesn’t exist. The particular works I have choose for the exhibition use balloons, for me these works have a huge contrast between life and death. The bird is limb and lifeless instantly referencing death and the balloon symbolises life and the ability to float away. The balloons varying in colour, are fun and playful and a common object amongst us all, associated with celebration. Both Cathy Wilkes and Polly Morgan have a similar aesthetic to their work. Polly Morgan has a delicate touch to her work showing the beauty of a bird and the fragility of it. Likewise, there is a delicacy to Cathy Wilkes work which is destroyed by the placement and destruction of the items, though these works are both similar they also contrast. The combination of the two artists highlight life and death and all that comes in between. The works are both beautiful and sinister, surreal and familiar. The work speaks out to the viewer and makes us think about the experiences in life and how easily life can end. Marco Sanges has a imaginative cinema like quality to his work which allows its viewer to take a ‘mental journey’. The video Circumstances by the artist has a sinister and shocking vibe to it, jumping between images from various scenes. Marco Sanges quotes that “identity or the multitude of figures portrayed, large collections of human passions that are heavily tinted and sometimes grotesque and decadent. There is also an enchanting, yet dark side to the characters an intriguing depth that appears to be destined to highlight the drama of life and capture the sincerity of the journey, the scenes of intimacy that confront human vulnerability, challenging our own fragility.” Similarly to the other artists, Sanges work has a balance of contrast between life and death as well as a vulnerability to his work which is portrayed through the characters of his photographs. His work also seems surreal yet familiar, confusing, intriguing and questioning its viewer.