Sunday, November 2, 2008

Book Contribution from Nicole Mortiboys

(c) Nicole Mortiboys

Ch - All quiet on the Western Front - is the war over?

After my rather lengthy response to Margaret Warman, following her recent outburst, the guns have fallen silent for the first time in about a month. Reconnaissance is yet to determine whether the assault will continue but things look hopeful.

(Translated: Margaret Warman did not respond to my last letter - if she did the editor has chosen not to publish it.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

ch - Margaret Warman Strikes again ....

Margaret Warman responded to my response ....


Chris Hodson gives a good argument (Standard, Friday, October 10) for what I called a waste of money training artists of today like Jade Bennett who wrapped a fish and chip shop up in newspaper for her course.

Perhaps he could enlighten me as to why the scruffy bedroom scene with the dirty knickers and a condom was given the accolade of a Turner prize, as was the row of bricks and the pile of car tyres.

Now with a great stretch of my imagination, and I have listened to this very extensive explanation by Chris Hodson, I still cannot forsee art collectors 200 years from now paying lots of money for these pictures unlike the collectors of Constable, Monet and Gainsborough to name just a few.

What planet do these intelligent creative and forward-thinking people (his words) come from?

So yet again I have fired off this repsponse:

What planet are we from? Well now, it's around 300 light years past Zeta Reticuli, I can't write its name here as the characters we use are far more advanced than those which appear on your average Qwerty Keyboard. If you haven't already guessed, im being facetious, we in fact hail from Earth.

Art is far more than the creation of 'pictures', it's about research, understanding, exploration, humour, the list is endless. Please open your mind. We aim to push the boundaries of art beyond the frame of a canvas. That's not to say that paintings aren't valid artworks, of course they are, it's just we are 8 (almost 9) years into the new Millenium, mankind has been making art for thousands of years - PAINTING IS NOT THE ONLY OPTION.

I take issue with Margaret Warman's justification for what is good or bad art. In their day Constable, Monet and Gainsborough all broke the rules and were slated for it, other artists over the past few centuries had work torn off the walls and spat on by people who just didn't understand what they were trying to achieve. Fast forward a few hundred years, and most of their work can be found on postcards, mugs, T-Shirts, you name it. Is commerciality really the benchmark for what is good or bad?

You may retort by saying "no, but they are skillfully made", but what you have to bear in mind is that being an artist is not about skill, it doesn't need to be. The huge six foot canvases you see in the National Gallery by the major artists of the Romantic and neo-Classical periods are not what they seem. Many cannot be claimed to be a by particular artist, only from their studio. Apprentices and underlings would do the bulk of the work leaving the 'Artist' to swan in after a few weeks, make a few adjustments and sign it. Stubbs is a classic example, who only used to enjoy painting the Horse's eyes, he ended up with a Mansion in Marylebone and Royal Patronage.

In regard to the works Ms Warman quoted, Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is a reflective piece, almost a self portrait of Emin after she had had a nervous breakdown. It is an exact copy of what her immediate surroundings looked like after she pulled herself out of a major depression. It comes under a type of art known as assemblage or installation, here all the detritus of her life is pulled together in a kind of sculptural collage. Carl Andre's 'Equivalent VIII' from 1982 is not a 'pile of bricks' it is a minimal, conceptual work. One of a number of different versions of the same piece - the bricks can be rearranged according to the will of the artist. The 'car tyres' of which Ms Warman speaks are actually a work by Simon Starling who created a submarine sculpture out of them as his practice explores recycling and re-using.

The works from the Turner Prize she gives are fine examples of the ammunition used by someone who takes no interest in discovering more about art for themselves. I would hazard a guess and say that Ms Warman reads the Daily Mail? She certainly shares their sentiments. What is more, those works are at least 10 years old, are you telling me nothing else has happened in that time? I can assure you it has and continues to. And why does art need approval from anyone? The short answer is it doesn't, not least from people who haven't got a clue what is really going on.

I become increasingly frustrated by people who cannot see past the end of an antique paintbrush.

If you don't like it, don't look at it - ignore it! If I don't like a particular Television programme I switch off or change the channel. I suggest Ms Warman and anyone else who shares her opinion do the same.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Book Contribution from Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Black Hole. 2008 © Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Book Contribution from Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Flow. 2008 © Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Book Contribution from Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Border. 2007 © Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Book Contribution from Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Art and Levitation 001. 2004 © Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet.

Book Contribution from Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet

Hungarian Artist Tamás Komlovszky-Szvet has kindly submitted the following text and the above images for inclusion in our Book:

Art and Levitation project 2004-2008

Levitation is now reality, what is more, a technologically working, and applicable phenomenon. Using it in sculpting, however, can bring up brand new opportunities. According to traditional European approach, sculptures are three dimensional objects, standing on the ground, obeying gravity.
Objects floating in the air, refusing to accept gravity as one of the main powers of nature, can be viewed as tools in seeking connection between the material and spiritual worlds. Sculptures stalled on the ground or the ones separated from it but still based on gravity are of essential connection between the soil and the material, in other words they grow out of it. 20th century hanged sculptures symbolise the connection with the sky, and are of metaphisical coherence. This way, floating objects bring on new thoughts and opportunities.


Tamas uses very strong magnets to make levitating sculptures.

ch - NGA - a little thing that made me smile.

ch - 'Artonaut' Blueprint

ch - ?

ch - Didn't See That Coming.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Exclusive - Contribution from Mark McGowan - enjoy.

Are all Spanish Racists? 2008 Mark McGowan©
Our thanks to Mark Mcgowan - one of five images to be published in our book - release Nov 08.

Exclusive - Contribution from Doug Fishbone - enjoy.

Untitled 2008 - Doug Fishbone©
Our thanks to Douglas Fishbone.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

np - The Future of Art Education - Ikon, ICA & Art Monthly - Cushti!!

Dear Art Monthly,

I am working in collaboration with Christopher Hodson, we are both MA fine art students and both studying in the Midlands, I'm at Wolverhampton, Chris is at Birmingham. We have chosen to write about our experiences in a blog - Our Fine Art MA. We are in the process of designing and editing this blog and have received funding to publish a hard-copy artist book. The book is primarily a diary detailing and documenting our work. However it is also a cursory look at art education and we are also promoting it as a 'users guide.' We have been formulating opinions about art education and comparing our respective institutions. I have been very interested in the recent debates at the ICA and the Ikon. From a student perceptive the positions we find ourselves in are bewildering. I would like to echo a lot of the issues raised in Art Monthly and at the debate, I would like to see a sea change in art education. However radical change would be challenged from both the student body and 'the (corporation) man'. A rock and a hard place. Students are already homogenized and obsessed with timetables, tutorials, semesters and assessments. Students demand their pound of flesh. Even if they haven't done any work they still want their student fees repaid in tutor quality time - they want a 'teacher' to feed and programme them, turn the key and set the cogs spinning. And to some effect what would £2000+ buy you, what are students entitled to? The fees aren't the only reason for this, younger students have already been institutionalized by school and college. The Education industry is here, a bureaucratic machine of the highest specifications in full swing, it has the capacity to make infant schools culture-less -SAT driven syllabuses are filled with Math Science and English. High schools and further education colleges are driven by league tables and an obsession for growth and sprawl with corporate partnerships. Art and a liberal philosophy doesn't really influence younger students. Yes, the conceptual artists of yesterday are working in the Uni's of today, but I dare say that they are not working in the primary or secondary or even in foundation courses, it seems to me a very British problem. That from PhD research to reception education each sector looks down on the the next. To effect change, the utopian ideals of 1968 need to permeate school, college and university education. So you conceptual artists out there, are you willing to forgo your 'cushti' positions and sabbaticals, your research grants and muck in down the ladder?

I thought not.

Heres my utopian dream - University lecturers become visiting and practicing artists teaching across education in uni's, schools and colleges - All have a good and equal wage across all sectors - all have the opportunity for sabbatical and research development.

Monday, October 6, 2008

ch - Yesterday's Chip Papers Today

Last Friday in my local paper, The Bromsgrove Standard, I read the following:

Whatever happened to real art? When you see a student. namely Jade Bennett on TV news, praised for her contribution by wrapping up a fish and chip shop in newspaper, it certainly shocked me to realise what a waste of money it is to train people like her for a future in art.

I take it she will be joining the rest of her ilk in the dole queue.

Margaret Warman, Droitwich.

So I responded with this (which is being published this Friday in the paper.)

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to Margaret Warman's letter published last Friday in the Bromsgrove Standard (3rd October).

Firstly I wish to congratulate Jade Bennett on a thought provoking and lighthearted art work - it is both refreshing and encouraging to see that Art in schools has moved beyond Batik, quilling and block paints.

I very much take issue with belief that it is "a waste of money" to train people like Jade Bennett for a future in art - this is an absolute fallacy.

Having completed my BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art last year (attaining First Class) and being currently halfway through my Masters Degree, I can assure Ms Warman that it was not plain sailing. This long held notion that all art students doss around drinking, smoking, do nothing and then get handed a 'worthless' degree which entitles them to little more than a benefits cheque, frankly, is ludicrous and personally offensive. I, like many of the students on my course (and I'm sure many others) work incredibly hard with little support from the wider community who pass us of as charlatans, wasting everybody's time.

Since having completed my degree last year I've been involved with many projects and exhibitions around the World including: 'The New Generation Arts Festival' in Birmingham, 'Roll Up Art' in Budapest and as part of my art practice attended a United Nations Conference in Vienna, to which I and a colleague were invited. I completely understand that the majority of people either have no interest in, or experience of what is currently going on in the art world, it is seen by many as a scary place inhabited by pickled sharks, it really isn't. It is a place where intelligent, creative and forward thinking people come together in order to stop the cultural aspects of society from stagnating. Come on in, the water's lovely!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

np - Martin Creed at Margaret St. Buying It.

I don't buy it. Buy what?
Martin Creed talked about his current show at the Ikon, there are many things I like, but equally, as many I dislike. I have always enjoyed the idea of numbering works, I like the simple ideas and the use of materials akin to minimalism and conceptualism. Martin however described himself as an expressionist, 'all artists are expressionists.". Martin's talk was labored and awkward to watch, he stalled with long pauses and felt no need to talk about any particular aspect of his work. He started by telling us he enjoys traveling and then encouraged questions. I piped up about the curatorial decisions in putting on a show. Martin talked about the arrangement and impact of works next to other works, he then used a band and album analogy - I concealed a dig by asking if his crumpled ball was the one hit wonder, the encore that the crowd always goes for. In many ways this would be my first criticism, for me Creed's work worked in a world of YBA when gasps of Art angst, and the Turner Prize held sway. Creeds worked played up to the artist-led initiative of creating a new market by referencing the nerve of what constitutes art. The Tate love this rhetoric, they love this provocation of the masses and Creed is a sure fire agent-provocateur. As to the rest the motives behind the work, do I really care? Do I really care about the convulsion or the state of involuntary acts being a state where creativity is at it's purist? It's all very interesting but a little obvious or in the case of Bill Viola done before. Creeds strongest work for me is his collaborative works in response to a brief. Reacting to a space- The Ikon lift is case in point a brilliant work- position specific and activating. protrusions and the lights going on and off at the Tate, these works are far more engaging.
The talk was also a bit 'I'm a genius artist, take it or leave it.' 'make of it what you will' - He may have as well created some adstract expressionist paintings. Martin said he just makes the work, it is up to others to use it - i.e used as art? I piped up again 'so your shit film (a film of a woman defecating), you'd be happy for that to be shown as a training video for a tele-sales team? He replied yes, but I didn't buy it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

ch - second thoughts

My visit to the Spaceguard centre did not go terribly well, I got the impression that the owner was completely uninterested in working with me and spent most of the time decrying my work and the work he does (although he did profess that the computers do everything.) I actually found him to be quite rude, as he proceeded to tell me that my art degree was a cop out and I'd spent 3 years doing nothing, and that he wretched at the thought of contemporary art. Suffice to say I shaln't be going back.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

np - Introduction for book

Sad Fuck

“Pour me another double cliché, you can’t write a song that’s never been song”

Chumbawumba Shh

There are approximately 114.2 million worldwide blogs, and this does not account for the estimated 72 million Chinese blogs.

So here I am writing an introduction? My first thought is who cares, who will even read these words. I suspect no one, and suddenly I’m filled with the criticism leveled at me on a comment enabled You Tube film. I made and posted the film in response to a collaborative project between myself, Chris Hodson and John Lunburg*. The video entitled Nasa Breach has had 346 hits and one comment which reads; Sad Fuck... It hasn’t bothered me until now, and suddenly it hurts.

But before you level this same criticism at us, let me explain why we are writing this blog;

An archive of our practice.

Chris, although ten years my junior is an absolute equal, we share common ground and an understanding about what art means to us at this point or at least at the point of departure on starting the MA proper. We can converse easily without worrying about the other formulating a judgment about our relative positions, we compete with ideas and concepts but not in understanding, we give up as much as we gain from art, language use and understanding. The blog is a relaxed venue of amateur art criticism, publish and be dammed doesn’t really exist amongst those 114.2 million blogs. A postmodern sercurity of infinite insignificance. So in the first instance we wrote this blog for ourselves, a record of our respective MA’s.

Question Education.
Also, Chris and I have questioned art education. Chris believes the reason he has found a voice or an early praxis is because of the type of preliminary arts education he received. I also believe the reason why I am only just coming to into my ‘voice’ is because I have been held back by my art education. Chris studied a product design course and happened across Fine Art through a multi-disciplinary route. My ‘pathway’ was via A level art Foundation Art and BA Fine Art. I missed the point and floundered in a world of art that I thought should be technically skilled, lone authored, self-obsessed and critically reflective. A seminal moment was the realisation that a syndicate sponsored horse named ‘A Real Work of Art’ which ran in the 4.30 at Chepstow was actually a piece by an artist named Mark Wallinger. Something clicked and my work changed.
This blog was not intended as any sort of critique on education however myself, in particular, have developed or am developing some opinions about art education.

I attended a very good symposium organised by artists and curators Celine Condorelli (support structure) and Andreas Lang (public works) 'Institution and Initiative’. Matthew Cornford and Sam Curtis gave two very good talks, questioning education. Matthew alluded to a new realisation that the independent art school is very much a thing of the past and all Universities are in danger of becoming the same. A bureaucratic homogenization of modules, ‘professional practice’ and rationales tethered by economic factors that have no bearing and restrict research based investigative art practice. Sam Curtis proposed his own education that of the self-imposed residency and setting up his own multi-inter-disciplinary school within Goldsmiths. Chris and myself have invited other artists, critics, writers and collectors to contribute to this debate and I hope you enjoy reading them here.

A Rolling Project
By buying this book you are supporting another collaboration between two or more artists who would like to move their online blog into an off-line published diary.
Again thank you for buying this the inaugural edition.

So there you have a few reasons why I have made this book, Chris, I’m sure has some more of his own. As to the You Tuber critic, user name 'rmarther10' thank you for your valued comments.

Monday, September 22, 2008

np -Groundhog Day

A glitch in the matrix, Deja vu or I am Bill Murrey in Groundhog Day!
I have decided to join the new 'cohort' (ugly word) of MA students, because there is a clash with my bread n butter lecture work. It was strange, I witnessed the same anxieties and ideas over. It made me question art education again and has added further resolve to this project. Our Fine Art Ma is a blog, a diary, and hopefully someone might pick there way through the blog to find some sort of points of reference or case in point - ? - Who knows.

Friday, September 19, 2008

ch - The Hanbury Orbs

Just got an email back from the editor of the Hanbury Parish magazine, she's going to include my letter to her in the next issue, so hopefully i'll be able to get some first hand info for the work for next year.

ch - Spaceguard centre

I recently got in touch with a fantastic place called the Spaceguard centre, they're based in Knighton I think, and their job is to be on the lookout for near Earth Asteroids and other potentially dangerous space objects. I really want to do some work with them and hold some kind of show at the centre.

The reply email said "It will be delightful to meet you and discuss your plans."

Sounds positive!

ch - First day back

Walking through the double doors at Margaret street I quickly noticed that the security guard was new, how did I know this? Being greeted with "Who are you .. and where are you going?!" is a bit of a clue as was the miserable face. Barrie (who retired last year) was a really friendly character, he didn't really know us but he was always smiley - even if you happened to see him outside of Uni. Come back Barrie, all is forgiven!

Anyway... after having survived Cerberus it was off to the canteen where a handful of my friends were sat round having coffee, although it was only now 1.30pm they had already handed in their essays. I followed suit and popped literally next door to the Department Office. "I've come to hand in my essay - I'm on the MA", I uttered.
"You've got to fill in one of these forms first", came the reply. It takes a good five minutes to fill in a handing-in form, so many boxes and things to tick. The woman behind the desk received a personal phonecall whilst I was filling in the last section, so when i was finished she held the phone to her shoulder with her ear and continued to chat whilst I whispered "Thank you" so as not to disrupt her gossiping. I'm just too nice.

It was then a good hour or so before our 'welcome back' meeting with the course director, we were provided with two new handbooks and an array of photocopied timetables and year planners. That lasted half an hour. More coffee methinks.

At around 6pm we arrived to meet the new intake and have drinks and nibbles, there wasn't really much mingling going on new people at one end of the room, Part time 2's at the other. I remember the second years being a bit intimidating, dunno why, maybe we're having the same effect? We're all nice though, we shaln't bite their heads off.

It was then that I discovered I had been given the tutor I really wanted, I make my best work when i have him as a tutor, we share the same interests and seem to be on the same wavelength. That really helps. Some people haven't been allocated a tutor yet, I'm not sure but the form seemed to suggest that no-one had been appointed for the job. Some students are thus in limbo. All in all, a good day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ch - Rutherford Appleton laboratories

You may recall that a few months ago I had a tutorial with Dr Brian Haddock, a great artist who does work which is right up my street. Well, as a result of the tutorial I had with him, I got in touch with the above mentioned institution who have recently agreed to organise meeting with me to discuss the possibilities of making work with them! Out of all the people and places that I've contacted in regards to my practice, they are the only ones who have responded positively. Things are looking up!

ch - Back to school tomorrow.

My bag is packed and my pencil case is brimming with overpriced and under-used stationery ... that can only mean one thing ... that term starts again tomorrow. We've got a meeting at 3.30pm, our essays have to be handed in by 4.30pm and then we've got drinks and a mingle from around 5.30pm. Should be a good day. In between times I've got to take some library books back, wouldn't want to get a fine.

I'm going to make a concerted effort to blog on here at least once or twice a week, maybe even once a day... lets not get carried away here! Hehe!

I shall log on tomorrow with an update.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

np - Night Owl

It's sixteen minutes past four in the morning, I've just finished the 100th page and sent it to the designers, we have a veritable who's who of artists, historians, critics and of course the worlds Number 1 Streaker Mark Roberts. The contributions are flooding in, some large, some small, all perfect, all welcome -

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Funding for publishing blog received.

Hi all,

CALL FOR PAPERS > Hello out there, I'm not sure if anyone is following this blog, if you are, and would like to contribute to a piece of writing, art or anything to our forthcoming publication, please send it to us at
IDEAS ARE BREWING more details to follow.

np - Nathaniel's Back

It's been a great summer and despite the last two months, I'm ready to get back to this blog - Chris and myself will re-double our efforts. I'm sure.

Friday, August 29, 2008

ch - 1 year to go....

Tonight sees the opening and private view of the Margaret Street MA courses. I'll be attending alongside hundreds of others... what this draws to my attention is that: a) In a years time it will be me, two years work and research laid out for discussion and constructive criticism. b) this blog has been operational for a year. c) I realy need to get some work done.

My dissertation is finished, the first draft at least, it's due in by 4:30pm on the 17th September. It's 300 words over-budget but that's why they call it a first draft, after talking it through with the tutors I may be able to shave most of that off, although I think that what I've written is as succinct as it possibly can be. The title is: "Space Art: Exploring New Worlds and Art Practices In Relation to Smooth and Striated Space." It may be the first draft but i've already changed things massively - everyday!

**** Chris' Tip of the Week **** Chris' Tip of the Week **** Chris' Tip of the Week ****

When writing an essay or dissertation I find it easier to concentrate on a section at a time - I write each section in a different word file - in a different colour - and periodically bring sections together in a 'master' copy. Keep the colours different and as you edit the text or move bits around you can see which bits are where and how the structure of the work progresses. I find this easier than writing the essay in one long section.

******* Tune in next week for another thrilling installment. ********

Friday, July 25, 2008

ch - Dissertation

Hi Everyone! Just to say that the reason I haven't posted anything for a while is that I'm writing (or at least attempting) to write my dissertation. As soon as I get them off my phone, I will be posting photos of ISA Mission Control and the APB show that me and Nathan had at the Pitt - that may be by the end of the day depending on how my writing progresses.

I'm still trying to get my space probe project off the ground (yes... that pun was intended.) so watch this space! (#ouch#)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hi this is Pitt and Hodson reporting live from the UN in Vienna - We are sitting at the back of meeting room waiting for the morning session to open. Chris has identified fellow cosmonauts and important delegation. Unfortunatly The Pakistan delegation hasn't turned up, so our meeting was cancelled.

Friday, May 16, 2008

ch - Mission Control continues....

Because I'm having such a productive time at the Pitt Studio, my mini-residency has been lengthened to finish on/around the 31st, so i've got another 2 weeks or so to complete a body of work... including my Space suit. I will be posting pictures of some of the work I've already produced soon... maybe Sunday night.

Over and out.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

ch - Mission Control

From now until the 18th May I will be carrying out a residency of sorts at the Pitt Studio and Gallery in Worcester. As part of the work I will create whilst there, I will be constructing my Astronaut suit for use in Vienna, working on blueprints and the final design of INSP-1 and we will also be continuing with filming the documentary we started in London, following me through a multitude of creative processes. Please drop by if you can!

Please view:

ch - assessment over

Just a quick post to let you all know that I have just returned from uni having taken down my installation as part of my 1st year assessment. The external examiners will now have looked over the work (one of them apparently is cousin to Helena Bonham-Carter!) and my fate is sealed... i won't find out what my mark is until next week probably... will keep you informed.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

ch - Final proposal

The final final draft of my proposal was handed in promptly at 1:30pm yesterday, a good 3 hours before the deadline. I shaln't be receiving an email this time to tell me that I missed it! I thought it was quite good, but we shall see.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

ch- Roll Up Art

I completely forgot that that I had submitted some photos of my work to be included in an exhibtion in Bucharest.... turns out my photo's were accepted (although i didn't hear if/not they had been) and during March they, and almost 100 other artist's work, were on show on a large projection screen suspended on the School of Architecture in Bucharest. I've had to give permission for the images to go on tour at other venues around Romania! I can now consider myself an international artist!


i'm around 19th down the list.

ch - I did it!

I have completed the final draft of my MA proposal, all the 'i's are dotted and the t's crossed! wahoo! all thats left to do now is to continue reading and hand it in on the 23rd April!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

ch - Tutorial

I've just come back from a tutorial with 3... count them... 3 members of staff! It was just to run through my draft proposal, outline any changes that might need to be made, think about other aspects that may need to be written about. Generally, just to make sure that my practice tutor, theory lecturer and course director know about the work I'm doing.

I've got 2 weeks to get the proposal moved from draft to final, including all references and bibliography, notation etc sorted... I can do it! ... can't I?

Friday, April 4, 2008

ch - Missed Deadline part 2

I was literally in Birmingham for an hour and a half this morning, but I was able to get quite a lot into that time. First port of call was the office at Margaret Street, after filling in an assessment receipt form, I handed in all three copies of my draft proposal. I've got a tutorial with 3 staff members on Tuesday to discuss the proposal and iron out any creases.

I left Uni after 5 mins and decided to kill some time before my train. I nipped across to the Waterhall Gallery, where i was greeted cheerily by the lady behind the desk. Veering round to the right I entered their current show art of the STITCH. The BM&AG website says of the exhibition:

This acclaimed international open exhibition from the Embroiderers’ Guild aims to represent the role of stitch in contemporary artistic practice, and is presented in association with Coats Crafts Europe. An unprecedented 944 entries by 608 artists from 37 different countries entered art of the STITCH 2008/9, highlighting the continued and ever increasing popularity of stitch around the world. In total 56 works were selected by a panel of international professionals and representatives from the arts and business sectors. art of the STITCH 2008/9 represents 54 artists from 13 different countries including Lithuania, Cyprus, Hungary, Canada and Japan.

It was a really great show, a testament to the skill of the artists and the versatility of sewing and needlework. It wasn't as you might suspect, a show of Women's Institute samplers and amateur cross-stitch, rather, a refreshingly varied and vibrant array of sculpture, drawing, applique and other sewn items. Some of the more stand-out pieces include a 'quilt' made of up Guinness cans cut into square pieces and stitched together. The squares were jumbled in such away that created a sort of disorientation akin to that of having drunk that many pints of the stout. The 'format' of a quilt also is no accident, it references what many a tipsy bloke (or woman for that matter) reaches for when home from the pub... a comfy bed and a chance to sleep it off. I'm not sure how comfy aluminium is to sleep under though.

The other piece that raised a smile was M Van der Stoep's Hermit Crab (pictured - taken from a great example of 3D needlwork and soft sculpture. Hand stitched and embellished with fabric paints and wire I could almost see a cheeky glint in his eyes. The show is well worth a look if your able to get down.

art of the STITCH 2008/9 is a touring exhibition showing at the Waterhall, Birmingham, Deutsches Textilmuseum, Krefeld, Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, Hungary and Fundación Valentín de Madariaga-MP, Seville, Spain . A fully illustrated colour catalogue accompanies the exhibition at £6.00 (10 Euros) and is available through the Embroiderers’ Guild and at exhibiting venues.

ch - Missed Deadline part 1

So, yesterday I received an email from the faculty office telling me that I had missed the deadline for handing in the draft of my essay proposal (2nd April - 4.30pm) - oops! And that I had to bring 3 copies in as a matter of urgency. I'm off in to Uni in a few minutes to hand it in and get it signed off. I couldn't believe that I had done that, although it is still the Easter Holidays according to the course handbook... why put a Deadline within the holidays literally 2 days before the end of the Holiday? I know that a few people on the course are actually abroad and dont come back until this weekend?! Nevermind!

I'll post again when I get back!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

ch - The Independent Space Agency

I have become increasingly dissillusioned by the Governmental Space Agencies and organisations, who are either too proud to reply to me or are unwilling to even contemplate working with me on artistic projects, (even though they profess to supporting the arts). It is to this end that I have made the decision to create my own Artistic Space Agency. Named the 'Independent Space Agency' or ISA, it focuses on new frontiers for Art. Ok, I havent got the Billions of pounds they have behind them, but why should the exploration and artistic uses of Space be their preserve?

I'm in the process of setting up a website for the agency, that will contain all the information and how perhaps other artists [you] could get involved - the address of which I'll post here when its ready or put a link at the top of the page with the others.

The logo above is the one I have designed for the ISA.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

ch - Meeting

There's a simple way to tell if it's the Easter Holidays or not... the train was absolutely packed on the way to Birmingham and it was even worse on the way back this evening. The main reason I went to Birmingham today was to have a meeting with the curator of our show as part of the NGA. We met in Starbucks on Colmore Row, it was a really cool meeting. I explained the pieces I'm hopefully going to be showing (which for now are works in progress - they will be ready for the show though, I've no doubt of that.) and we discussed various other projects that we each are involved with. It was a nice informal chat but we got a lot talked about. After half an hour or so, another of the artists arrived and the conversations continued, we must have been sat there for an hour and a half or more in total! I'm going to post images of the works in progress as they... well...progress. Stay Tuned.

ch - a bit of a catch up..

Its been a while since I last posted so I thought I'd better rectify the situation! Carrying on from where I left off, the rest of my day on the the 5th March was a very good one. I met Robin at Central Hall and he took me on a tour of the space which is huge! Our show is going to be on the 3rd floor (i think) and it is immense. I'm plumming for one (or more) of the smaller, self contained rooms which are currently being used as storage. They're full of really great architectural features; stained glass windows, iron fire-places and cornicing.

I'm meeting the curator next week to discuss the show and what pieces I want/might show, it'll be great to get a lot more focused on the show and how it's all going to work.

As usual, I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

np - There and back again

There and Back again

No it’s not a tale of elves, dwarves and wizards, rather a conclusion to our theory lessons. We have, as I understand it, travelled far and travelled nowhere. We’ve being following the avant-garde through revolutionary inception into crisis, to re-emerge in minimalism and conceptual art to be pressurised by modernity and suppressed by post modernism. And yet we find ourselves here at the end of the our practices aligned with postproduction and relational aesthetics sharing some ground with the original avant-garde.

Authorship, collaboration, relationships between art and science and now (new technologies), de-skilling of art, new skills and the role of the artist in the social realm, all of these ideas are still relevant and occupy us in our practices as artists today.

Postproduction beware: In the constant re-historisizing, sampling the past, present and the future, being able, being empowered to go anywhere, use anything. Are we in danger of autopoiesis. Art for arts sake, a self generating art?

Not a hobbit in sight.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

ch - Tutorials and Meetings.

7:30am on the dot, that's what time I left the house this morning. I was at the station for 7:45am and the train arrived to whisk me on my merry way at around 7:50am. It was early aswell, which for a Wednesday morning is quite surprising. I do enjoy being out and about at that time in the morning although it means getting up quite a bit earlier than ususal - nothing a cup of coffee won't fix. It's now 9:55am and I'm sat in the library computer room along with two others who I think are year 2's.

Anyway, the reason I was up so perilously early is because I've got a busy day today. I was supposed to be in a tutorial round about now, infact I should just be leaving. My tutor was caught up in traffic so to let him get his breath back we arranged to meet at 11. "But 11 is when you're supposed to be meeting Robin Dobson from NGA!" I hear you cry... well fear not, whilst waiting for my tutorial he wandered along the corridor (to the office he shares with my tutor) and introduced himself to me, he explained that he recognised me from the picture that I'd provided him with as part of the proposal. We got chatting about various things whilst we waited for my tutor, he seemed really interested to know how the MA was going and what I was up to. I told him about the space work I've been working on, although he kind of knew a lot about it because unbeknown to me, he was the man who had been working in the same office whilst I've been having tutorials! I did though have a sneaking suspicion it was him! :-) - Robin suggested that we meet a bit later on at Central Hall, he was meeting another Artist there at 5:30 so to make it easier on my tutor and him, I agreed and am now meeting him at half 5. I've got a few other bits and pieces to attend today so the time should pass quite quickly.

So that's how you find me here in the library, I'll let you know how the rest of my day pans out.

Monday, March 3, 2008

ch - NGA 2008 - Venue Confirmed!

I received an email a few days ago from the organisers of the New Generation Arts Festival which I'm taking part in this year (see previous posts). The venue has been confirmed as Central Hall on Corporation Street, Birmingham. From what I gather it is a rather old building with lots of rooms and various other spaces - there are even school rooms apparently, so there may even be a balckboard or two kicking around somewhere which would be great!

Anyway, we're all meeting up this Wednesday (4 artists) with the organisers and our curator at the venue. I will keep you all informed!