Monday, 28 July 2014
Following a trip to York Railway Museum to photograph the famous Mallard steam train that was the inspiration for the Durham Brass festival operatic commission, I then put together this image.
Hexham station features, and two of the cast are also used as models in the completed piece. Collaged into this tableau are a couple of original lead train figures from the 1930s plus a model chimney and factory. The challenge was to make it visually believable; to allow disparate elements to sit together, and also to infuse a painterly dynamic whilst grappling with matched perspectives.
I wanted to reference the political climate of the time and to imply darker elements at work - hence the use of a decoy duck bought off ebay to which I added 'real' wings... a sort of 'eugenics of speed and technology' which make an alarming and absurd vision.
The opera had its premiere at Durham Gala Theatre in July 2014
Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Thursday, 14 November 2013
Meanwhile an account of the show can be read here >>
|Dawn Furness sings|
|Dawn with the crashing Hartlepool |
sea behind. She is sowing coal into
an organza parcel!
|video projection with |
doll in the foreground
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
There will be a preview event 5 - 8pm on Thursday 7th so please come down if you can. There may even be a somewhat unique performance of the song I wrote for this piece so it's not to be missed!
As usual check for project updates here>>
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
SHOW NOW OPEN AT HARTLEPOOL GALLERY
6TH JULY TO 31ST AUGUST 2013 TUESDAY - SATURDAY
Send Three and Fourpence - the Rink Ballroom project | Project blogs | Artists talking | a-n
You can now download the song written for this project "Our Three Shilling Affair" and have your very own Rink Ballroom experience. The song features singers Claudia Dunning and Lewis Mcbean and is played by Hartlepool based Big Band Musicians Unlimited.
DOWNLOAD the song from AMAZON here >>
You can also buy a limited edition pressing from the gallery, which includes the full music sheet and Jack Brunel's story.
Friday, 10 August 2012
Also I am filling in more up to date info on the LUX website so please keep checking here>
LUX have inherited my video back-catalogue from the now defunct London Video Arts. Some of this work goes back to the late 70's - but I will also be adding more recent videos soon. You can also hire it from them.
Sunday, 4 March 2012
Wednesday, 11 January 2012
My friends and I used to draw scenes of war during lessons and on rainy days - where one person would start off from one side and draw their army going in one direction and the other person (on a separate piece of paper) would do the same in the opposite direction. We would meet in the middle and then start drawing on the others paper too to attack them.
The pic here is the kind I used to make - though 'my' army would only be going in one direction rather than both. You are free to make any kind of army you wish (and use as many sheets as you wish) but please just draw them in one direction so they can fit into the overall piece.
I am seeking to make a large scale composite wall drawing made up of collaborators' work in this vein. If you would like to participate please make your drawing on a piece of A4 paper (or its digital equivalent at a printable resolution - 200dpi should do) and send either the digital file (jpeg, tiff etc) to:
or the actual drawing to:
Lower Steenbergs yard,
Newcastle upon Tyne
note* drawings cannot be returned but all work will be credited when shown. This work will become part of my ongoing piece 'Gestalt' and will form part of the larger project.
Many thanks in anticipation!!
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Monday, 29 August 2011
Just when I think I may have enough material then something else happens in the world. As the 'Arab Spring' continues to flourish (painfully), so does my inclination to keep this project open. There can be no resolution of course, as nothing is ever sorted out in its entirety, and so I keep telling myself to finish this piece and move on.
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Friday, 5 November 2010
I am just taking a deep breath and contemplating the next development of this piece. In the meantime there are lots of other projects to get underway or that have been back-burnered too long - so ever onward...
If you would like to follow Gestalt then my blog on the artist newsletter website continues here:
Thursday, 2 September 2010
Preview at the DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery
6pm 10th Sept 2010
11th Sept until 17th October 2010
The show is in three sections comprising:
1. portraits (both photographic and in digital frames)
2. 4 large scale tableau prints - with an accompanying book
3. A twin video installation featuring 'two chats with Andy' (Andrew Dodds of RAF bomb disposal)
Hope lots of you can make it and please leave feedback!
This project is on-going and is the first UK showing of a piece I have been developing over the last 6 years.
You can view the book (without its cover) by clicking this link
Four portraits of four teenagers – made with the collaboration of the Durham Light Infantry museum and using uniforms from their collection.
They sit looking out into their uncertain futures with mesmerised expressions. The uniforms are from a random selection of history and also exist in an odd 'other world', both suggesting historical context whilst hinting at current fashion.
The backdrops are contemporary and also imply another less obvious way of reading the picture. They refer to painting in that they are 'considered' and have a feeling of having been 'worked at'. They are dramatic in lighting, but they are also very much of the here and now, and the theatre they represent is one that questions what it is to make a 'representation'.
These are now framed in lovely, heavy black frames with a fillet pushing them back off the glass giving them extra depth. I plan to release a small framed edition of prints so please get in touch if you are interested in acquisition.
Friday, 30 April 2010
Gestalt is quite an involved installation project which I began a few years ago. It has expanded and now includes an ongoing element called:
5131 Bomb Disposal
Andrew Dodds is a member of the RAF bomb disposal team. I interviewed him before his tour of duty in Iraq and then afterwards. I was interested in all the things that go unsaid in the usual reporting of such subjects. I wondered more about what it was to 'imagine' being there versus the reality of having been there afterwards.
As I have been exploring in my work for some time, the linear nature of experience is less important to me than the duality of time experienced through it's accumulated reporting. I am fascinated by the fact that time is all we have to record happenings and emotions and yet it is an intangible - forever running away from us.
This takes the form of a dual projected video installation - with 'before' and 'after' meeting somewhere in the middle.
I am very pleased to have been offered a showing date in the main gallery at the DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery for summer 2010 to preview this piece in its entirety and hope to add other venues afterwards. Initial production was supported by the Arts Council.
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
28 years is my latest piece - taking as its starting point, source material from a video I produced in 1981. Originally titled When was NOW? - the new version poses a question comprising 28 characters to 28 interviewees. Each person represents the year they were born. This is obviously going to lead to some interesting interpretations of the question as the age of the participants gets younger. I anticipate a fracturing of response of course, but am hoping for some gems of perception along the way and feel the process should generate some complex cross overs.
As this is currently in production I can't reveal the question, but suffice to say it has an internal relevance to the overall piece and my role within it. Watch this space.
The irony is not lost on me (being that this piece is concerned with the manipulation of linear time).. but I have to admit to not getting as far with the project thus far as I would have liked. Currently I have a bowl of chocolate letters in the fridge which are supposed to be picked by the participants - but I am now concerned that they are probably mouldy and that I can't use them. There is a certain Duchampian element here though (think the cracked Great Glass) that is urging me to accept that as part of the work...maybe
Thursday, 9 October 2008
To read my AN blog for this project click the link below (this may get blocked if you are not a member)
This project was also profiled in the November 2008 edition of an magazine
To read the article click here >
I have just recently installed the finished piece and am now looking for a suitable gallery to put a larger show together around this subject. I have soooo much more material than I have so far been able to use - and I feel i can make a related installation with much larger scope.
The piece is currently made in 6 mute 'movements' with a 'controller' video that plays audio also. In the Specials context this enables them to create permutations of what is shown on the four monitors on any particular day.
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
The controller video is 15mins long - the clip here gives a flavour of my approach. Sequences 'suggested' captions and refer backwards and forwards in time, making unexpected combinations. The process of making a 'Special' (in the pharmaceutical sense) is very much one of taking disparate elements and making one off potions... in this way I was hoping to make a conceptual link in a purely structural way.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
This piece revolves around the theme of war/conflict reportage. The same actors take differing roles in the four scenarios, questioning aspects of what we bring to our viewing of the piece, and how we subsequently perceive them. I initially saw these as tableau - cross referencing themselves and referring to a mass media framework. I later decided that there needed to be aspects of the 'real life' actors present too... and hence the video tower came into being.
Print sizes Sizes: 350 x 120 cm
Although Gestalt appears to be specifically about our contemporary media desensitisation to conflict, its subject matter was arrived at primarily because I saw the gun (and explosion) as a motif for near instant, powerful change. They create tension and hopefully makes us question the nature of each actors narrative. For some characters the urgency of the situation implies time may be stretched/held in an everlasting moment, whilst others are more relaxed and linear.
For the viewer the nature of examining these images, frozen as they are, also references back to painting and all those issues associated with editing and artifact. Closer inspection reveals objects 'buried' in the picture. These are personal items brought by the participants, put there to add an element of intrigue into who these people really are.