Stuff and Stuffing

Exhibitions
Flux exh 2

‘Alert’ by Sam Shendi in FLUX exhibition

FLUX 3

 

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Section of painting at Flux.

Having watched the film of A Christmas Carol with the boys, I am all for Dickens focus of family at christmas, peace and goodwill to all. However, I also watched an almost disturbing documentary about the origins of Christmas and whilst it was Dickens who cemented the way we celebrate it now into the minds of the masses, it also confirmed my disillusioned view of it all, with the whole mix mash of pagan, christian and consumerist ideas. I have had to re read and delete much of what I had written as it was all very ‘Scrooge’ like and sounding bah humbug which didn’t really follow my last post very well but in some ways as humans we do all fluctuate in mood and feeling and can sometimes be hypocritical. So I will refrain. We are all in states of flux and so here are the images from the exhibition: FLUX.

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Close up of a painting at Flux.

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Close up of a piece by Dannielle Hodson, FLUX.

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‘Bedtime Storeis’ by Sam Shendi in exhibition at FLUX.

With the last exhibition of the year at The Royal College of Art now finished, we are ready to close shop and retreat a while. I think winter is important to rest, relax and refresh ready for the new year. Although I am not even sure time should be viewed like that.

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Section of piece at FLUX.

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by Emma Caton, at FLUX.

 

I think this last image looks like christmas bauble. Though if you look closer you will notice it is full of rubbish and sweet wrappings. How rubbish and waste can be wrapped up in something, golden and dripping with delight. Not that I intended to end on that note. Perhaps, more a gentle remind and a pause for thought about the ‘stuff’ we ask for this Christmas, about the rubbish and waste we create. I think I till sound bah humbug. Not intended, Perhaps, Remember, reduce, reuse, is slightly more upbeat. Seasons Greetings to you all.

Celebrating this time of year with sculpture

Exhibitions, Galleries, Mother and Child, Old Masters

Relief. I didn’t make use of the fact it is also a sculptural term. It doesn’t stop though does it. Relief comes and then it’s back to it, there is no rest. The sculptor was back up again in the early hours to load the van and make the journey down to London. This time for an exhibition at The Royal College of Art. ‘Royal’ somehow makes everything sound more prestigious. We shall find out.

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‘The Seed’ by Sam Shendi

He is exhibiting new work which is an exciting theme and style. It harps back to work he made after university. More curvaceous, softer and less abstracted. It echos work of the 1900’s figurative sculpture but with a contemporary modern coating of colour. The germination of many ideas.

The pieces are to be exhibited alongside a huge range of artists in a large group show entitled ‘Flux’ which he has been involved with before. With two previews and various meetings alongside it’s another few days stay away and so I’m back in charge of the business and this time in-amongst nativity and carol concerts, festive songs and lullabies. Someone recently made a comment that these pieces reminded them of Mary (Mariam), mother of Jesus. There is no religious connotations to these pieces but it is interesting what it brings out in people.

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‘Lullaby’ by Sam Shendi

At a time when the focus of the Christmas story gets lost in the chaos of consumerism, commercials and Claus I am trying to speak with the boys about the similarities and differences between faiths. What this time of year is really about and why. The other evening whilst having bedtime stories we were talking about the importance of Mariam, a righteous and honourable woman and an example and sign for all people. My eldest always surprising me, pointed out that we are all one family really, we are all brothers and sisters in humanity. Those were his words. How those innocent, heartwarming and important child-uttered wisdom’s get buried as we grow up and start looking at differences and divisions.

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‘Bedtime Stories’ by Sam Shendi

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‘Alert’ by Sam Shendi

The sculptors work encourages these ideas of sameness and humanity. We all have a body in which we house our emotions and we share those same responses of anger, doubt, envy, fear, sadness, joy, love, hope. So at this time of year; for those enjoying the Winter Solstice and the ancient pagan Roman midwinter festivals, or celebrating festivals of light, or just because of the tradition of having up a stocking or those focusing on the birth of Jesus or the birth of a newborn in the family, finding out your pregnant, or for those mourning a loss, finding this time of year a challenge as we move through this season into a new Gregorian year let us remember the focus of family and unity and join together and transition in the emotions of hope and peace.

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Transporting transformation

Exhibitions, Galleries, Soul searching
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‘Witness’ by Sam Shendi. In show at Adrien/Kavachinina, Paris

There is a bite in the air, the season is changing. As my eldest son and I drove to swimming lessons the other night we spotted trees turning from their summer green into autumn shades. We saw a miraculous site of birds glistening in the sunset like pieces of glitter floating in one contained space. My son described them like ticks using his hands and saying it’s how Baba makes birds, he was transfixed. The shift from summer to autumn always feels more significant to me then any other season. It’s a reminder that all things fade away. We also had news this weekend of a family member in Egypt passed away. Deeply saddening, life changing news. But, there is always change. A kind of transportation, from one realm to another. Transformation.

“When change visits your life, you can be sure things are turning for the better. It may not look that way in the very moment change arrives, but if you will wait a while and have faith in the process, you will see that this is true.” (Taken from someone-lost the reference)

I have been thinking about this as my link to the transportation of sculptures. We’ve done so many trips to London (I write we but it’s the sculptor, the sculptures). I just sort out the congestion charges and ‘wo’-man the shop. Over the summer ‘we’ ventured into Europe with ‘a man with a van’ for exhibition in Germany. The sculptor flew out to meet them and then back out to pack them up. In a quick turn around ‘we’ then had pieces going to Paris.

I had a whimsical fantasies of going as well. In fact with this trip the sculptor didn’t go. We relied on the driver taking them to the gallery and the unload and unwrap happening without my husband. The exhibition opened last Friday. But really that is much more cost effective than having to fly out to meet the sculptures on the other side. It’s amazing how memories can take us to a place though. Thinking of Paris transports me to a time in my early twenties, still searching for myself. I took myself off with a black and white SLR and not enough warm clothing for a February weekend in Paris. Consequently the cold somehow lured me into a ‘Coiffeurs’ and I came out with my hair red.

‘The Girl next Door'

‘The Girl next Door’ by Sam Shendi now showing in Paris

Well as I reminisce, the reality of this trip was that the driver had problems finding the gallery so I had to practise my very rusty A-level French with a hotel reception staff which our gallery contact number went through to. I couldn’t ‘unlock the language’ and was a little disheartened, when he asked me if I preferred to speak English and he continued to speak in received pronunciation.

Aphrodite

‘Aphrodite’ by Sam Shendi

Yesterday the sculptor was  down to London and back to take ‘Aphrodite’ to Passion of Freedom. At the end of the week he will be back down again for the opening and picking up other pieces to then go somewhere else. At the moment my husband is almost constantly on the road. I am loosing track as to where pieces are! The difficulty with sculpture is the cost and space of moving them from place to place. Transporting them.

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Setting up at Mall Galleries, London

There is something about the space that transforms the sculptures. Having space around them to be able to view from different angles makes all the difference to sculpture. Space, dimensions and time all have connections both in sculpture and thinking. Which links me nicely back to this autumn days which have come around so fast again. This year has past by me again making me reflect that I am still waiting for that moment of transformation. When I am totally in the present and not wishing away time or clock watching, waiting for the next milestone or event. I am definitely better at it than I was. The best of thinking is to reflect on creation ‘How am I’? Taking ourselves into account, especially when we don’t know what the future holds. If poetry, art, sculptures helps to give us those gentle remind us then it’s a useful vehicle. The chrysalises gradually transforms into the butterfly. Transporting us from one way of thinking to the next.

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‘Madame Butterfly’ currently at Newby Hall, Ripon

Sculpture on site (3) The Henley Festival

Public Art

After installing ‘The Bench’ in London which was no easy feat, negotiating doorways, pathways and gravel paths it wasn’t without a bump or two. A small collection of work also had to be unwrapped, polished and placed inside the hotel which took a little longer than expected. So at 4.30 they quickly had to leave as they were due to be further along the river. Phoning to apologies for the delay they thought their next destination was only 1 hour away but that doesn’t factor in rush hour, London traffic and a small narrow bridge to get to Henley.

It was now 7pm and having only eaten a croissant in the morning, 5 hours sleep, travelling, lifting, polishing and positioning exhaustion was beginning to set in. Wrist band and security checks and HGV wagon to park they could then finally start placing work.

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Mother and child henley 3

Mother and child henleyMother and child henley 2

keyhole man henley

For me Henley is rowing, I raced there is 2001,spent a training camp so again the sculptures are following places of my past. My husband hadn’t realised how close to the river the pieces would be. So a good realisation that he had installed 4 pieces along the river Thames in one day. Also a couple of his sculptures  are being exhibited with  Hay Hill Gallery within the grounds.

The journey didn’t end there though. After finishing and packing up they left Henley at around 9pm. Still not having eaten and rather famished but with large van in tow it was difficult to park up and eat. Deciding to travel back up the M6 they would stop at a service station -why they didn’t just stop and eat I can’t really fathom, something to do with fighting the fast food principles so it ended up being 11pm when they finally ate a not partially pleasant sandwich. Then in an unfortunate turn of events the M6 had several diversions and a stop for a short nap to keep them going meant the sculptor finally got back to the house at 5.45am the following day. HUGE thanks to Anthony Hartley.  So the night of no sleep was the day after, after all. Is that what all sculptors do? my husband is wondering. When do you get to a point where you have a team of people that take the work for you instead of being on the road yourself.

The Henley Festival : this weekend 8-13th July

Sculpture on sites (2) Opposite Canary Wharf at Hilton Double Tree

Public Art
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‘The Bench’ opposite Canary Wharf, London

Well, I was wrong about having little sleep on Tuesday night. The sculptor slept through the alarm. Although that still meant only 5 hours sleep. A sudden sitting bolt upright, duvet off the bed and expletives woke us both up an hour later than expected. Unfortunately, this had a knock on effect of meeting rush hour on the motorway. Added to that road blocks and diversions around London they arrived at destination- Double Tree Hilton almost 2 hours later than schedule.

Having moved from Cartwright Hall where I have worked, ‘The Bench’ is now sat opposite Canary Wharf where quite by coincidence I did a work experience placement when I was 14 at The Sunday Mirror Magazine. Anyway that isn’t the point. The photographs as I thought, look amazing. The sculpture filling our studio now looks dwarfed by the booming business buildings behind. The sculptures colours are stunning and make it stand out against the city backdrop. Like colourful buildings themselves with the curve simply suggesting a head resting on shoulder. a reminder of how important it is to rest, be with the ones we love and sit and reflect. Most poignantly placed opposite London’s major business district and financial centre.

The story of the journey doesn’t end there but for now, enjoy the pictures ….

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Sculptures on sites (1)

Making, Public Art
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‘Evolution’ at the Tarpey Gallery sculpture site.

This week is a challenge in more ways than one. To speak of the sculptural challenge the sculptor has an almost marathon like day tomorrow, a culmination of  several weeks of preparation.

If the sculptor is not sculpting, or taking sculptures to sites then there is also removing, repairing and re-spraying. It is none stop. The size, shape and volume of the sculptures means large wagon hire and time on the road. (With huge thanks to Anthony Hartley)

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‘installing sculptures on site -Tarpey Gallery’

This afternoon the wagon needs to collected, sculptures need to have final polish and loading on the wagon in a particular jigsaw like way. A ridiculously early start might mean the sculptor has no sleep tonight to arrive in  London tomorrow to install ‘The Bench’ in an exciting location but I almost won’t believe it until I see the pictures. However, it doesn’t end there they then have to make their way across to Henley-on-Thames to install 2 new pieces which have just been finished for ‘The Henley Festival’. The sculptor is listed along with Damien Hirst and Marc Quinn. Again…..I can’t wait to see the pictures.

This is all following a busy June which involved picking up sculptures from venues, inspecting others for suitably and taking sculptures to the ‘Tarpey Gallery  (77 High Street, DE74 2PQ Castle Donington)

‘Evolution’ as well as other works are outside amongst an amazing collection of sculptures. The opening is this saturday  July 11th from 2pm -6pm.

Tarpey gallery

‘Troy’ at Tarpey

Trpey gallery

‘Evolution’

Portrait of an artist

Exhibitions, Galleries, Old Masters

 

Portrait

Oil on Canvas by 250 X 140 cm by Luca Indraccolo

 

This is not another art swap (unfortunately..more of that coming soon) but I had to share this. We just got an email through with an image of a painting produced by the most incredibly talented Luca Indraccolo. It is the one which my husband stood for last summer. It is a massive painting, oil on canvas 250 X 140 cm.

For me, this initial view looks mysterious and dark, Italian Mafia meet Turner. It also reminds me when I first met my husband and he said something along the lines of, follow and see how deep the rabbit hole goes. Perhaps this is what he is saying here, though there is more of a sense of foreboding in the painting which wasn’t true in our life. The contrast between the dark depths of the pit below his feet and the white misty landscape behind is stunning. The likeness to my husband is remarkable it looks like a photograph of him. I want to take a closer look so I really hope I can see it in the flesh on day.

If you would like to, it will be on display at ‘Le Dame’ gallery in London from July 9th to the 30th.

Art Swap: ‘Choose London’ for ‘Only Human’ featuring John Clare

Art Swap
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Choose London by John Clare

So the second of our Art Swap pieces by John Clare has been here a little while but after a little re shuffle we have it now hanging in our living room side by side to another piece which I will post later. The two together make a good combination and compliment each other nicely. Many people do choose to go to London, the pull of the bright lights the big city. My husband stayed in London when he first arrived in UK and quickly left. Only now returning for exhibitions or meetings. I went to London after University with the intention of Rowing. Fate intervened and I left after just short of a year. My sister lived there for 7 years.

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The piece hanging in our living room, by John Clare

This framed almost poster like piece came the furthest and survived the post. It appeals more to the three males in our household. I don’t know why skulls do that? The colours are great though and again a link with my husband’s sculpture. Bright, bold and vibrant. I am quite interested in the psychology of the artist and the piece itself. The Keyhole man we swapped it with was ‘Only Human’ which  like the last art exchange, seems an appropriate swap. Almost an answer to the question in Choose London?

'Only Human' by Sam Shendi

‘Only Human’ by Sam Shendi

‘Big Questions’ for ‘I’ll Call you’. Art Swap featuring Sal Jones

Art Swap, Colour, Galleries, Relationships

For the first time in four years of blogging I have lost a post I started. Must mean I didn’t save it which is odd because it usually does it automatically, doesn’t it? But even if it doesn’t I can’t believe I closed it without a reminder for me to save it, or that I even forgot to click the save draft button. Must have been the pre-cursor to the way I felt last night and this morning, not good. So I have had time to write today  from my bedroom, feeling a little under the weather but happy that the sun is starting to shine and it is teasing us with spring. The view from my window a painting in itself. But I digress….

All of this has nothing to do with what I want to write about today which is our first successful art swap. We successfully exchanged ‘The Big Question’:

The big question

‘The Big Question’

with ‘I’ll Call you’ by artist Sal Jones .

So today I am going to write a little bit about her work. It is interesting to see the links and comparisons between painting and sculpture and of course the obvious differences.

I'll Call you by Sal Jones, Oil on canvas

I’ll Call you by Sal Jones, Oil on canvas

Sal Jones focuses on exploring colour and form expressively, aiming to engage the viewer with visually exciting work. Many of her paintings use bold and vibrant colours as my husband’s sculpture usually does. However, The Big Question, above is simple monochrome. I think you can tell when as artist is thinking about the way a viewer might interact with their finished work. It gives a more complete piece of work somehow.

The heightened use of colour adds emotional and expressive dynamic to the work. Many of her pieces have a vivacious quality to them. This one a little more muted, with moody blue tones adds to the story and the suggestion of a dark tunnel ahead.  For me having had a little experience in painting I love the gestural brush marks and the layers of colours. I also am fascinated by the way the suggestive marks give rise to the folds and forms of the fabric. So the light and dark make this piece.

Here is the painting hanging in our hallway, like it was painted to be there. The first things I see when I come out of my room.

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‘I’ll Call you’ by Sal Jones

As the figure is walking away you can almost put yourself in the painting. “By taking an isolated image out of context and using the dialogue as the images title – I’m hoping to create a friction or ambiguity in the reading of the image interpreted in different ways by different viewers depending on their personality and viewpoints and what they bring to their understanding of the subject”. I really appreciate this factor.

Interpretation is everything and an important part of my husband’s work too. Much of Sal Jones’ work features portraits which although I like and she describes more as ‘character studies’, in our small terrace house I don’t think hanging the face of someone would really work. Where as this piece has an abstraction to it because the figure can be anyone, I also like that it is a full figure as many of my husband’s pieces are the female form so there is lovely link there.

Indeed, both the sculpture and the painting tell a story. Like a pictorial book we are invited to create our own words for the images we see. Jones herself states that she is “interested in capturing moments of expression that portray the human psyche, of blurring the boundary between fact and fiction; also in the relationship between the title and image.” Titles are everything, as I said in my last entry about my husband’s laconic titles very different from some of the long-winded titles of many modern minimalist pieces. Sal Jones’ titles are the stories themselves, inspirational points for an aspiring writer.

So we are privileged to have a unique and precious painting on our landing and if you want to see her work you can do from next week at Espacio Gallery . Click the link to another blog entry about the gallery, as my husband has also exhibited there.

Sal Jones exhibits in:

Y Not?
31 March – 5 April 2015
Private View: Thursday 2 April 6-9pm
An exhibition in aid of International Women’s Day.

Symbolic sculpture forms signature

Colour, Philosophy, Steel
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‘Signature’ by Sam Shendi, 2014

 

Language is symbolic. Words are symbols. Even our own signature becomes a symbol of ourselves. This new piece entitle ‘Signature’ is one of a collection in which my husband is focusing on the outline of the human figure, it is almost the abstraction of form. His own work becoming progressively more ‘abstracted’. Following a contour of the body producing a language of its own rather than creating a solid object. It is as I have mentioned before like a cursive writing style, a sculptural calligraphy. I have started reading around the subjects I am writing about in an endeavour to improve my writing and think about what direction to take my writing in.

So I have finished ‘Notes from an Exhibition’ by Patrick Gale I borrowed from the library alongside reading ‘The inspired heart’ by Jerry Wennstrom. On the subject of libraries we are lucky to have a library pull up practically in our back yard which means we visit every two weeks and drag a bag piled high with children’s books back up the path. We have done this since my eldest was a baby and consequently they both enjoy sitting and turning the pages, looking at the pictures absorbing the details. It is one of few things I am proud of instilling in them, if it lasts!  I enjoyed taking along my long list of books I had researched that might assist in my own creativity. However, they only had the one for now. The library is under threat though with ideas of community led ones. Why funding for libraries and librarians should be pulled makes no sense at all. We still need real books and real spaces.

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‘Signature’ the shadows playing part of the art

Abstract art a way forward or a dead-end? was my first art essay title I wrote during A-levels (many years ago) I loaned it to a student I worked with once and never got back which is a shame, it was before the digital days and so I no longer have any record of it. Perhaps it is no bad thing, it would just be sat in a plastic tub in the attic. Although there were some photos of my visits to galleries including my 17-year-old self stood proudly next to large Rothko. Currently ‘Whitechapel’ has an exhibition entitled ‘The adventures of the black square”  a journey of abstraction,  which if I could get to I probably would go and visit, but I got a nice flavour of from the ‘misadventures’ blog link above and also listening to the director’s introduction. The exhibition follows four themes, utopia, architectonic, communication and the everyday.  I definitely used to see abstract art as contemporary and new, as a progression  “a springboard for the imagining of new tomorrows” and “freeing art from the dead weight of the real word”. As the director, Iwona Blazwick introduces, “Geometric abstraction influenced around the world and was crucially linked with politics and society,”

Signature 2

‘Signature’

 

Signature 3

‘Signature’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Abstraction’, whatever the word means has certainly influenced and is increasingly used in this ‘dehumanized digital age’ we live in. Now I wonder how far this abstraction  has led us. For me, I feel I am going in a full circle with it, on a journey as I learn more about art and sculpture. My husband’s work offers a simple solution. Although the work is rarely as simple as it seems. It is the abstraction but with the humanity. It has the modernity in colour and the spirituality in meaning. I have started to think even more about words, the meaning and the choice of words. “Language is marvelous powerful tool” I heard this recently on the radio 4 programme ‘Life in Suburbia’.  It is an important addition to abstract art, many people needing the addition of words to hang along side the ‘black square’ or the large canvases of pure colour.

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Part of the ‘Body Language’ collection

So to add some words to this piece. To many it may still seem completely abstract, a wavy whirl of colour. Even if that is what you see, it is visually appealing, there is a harmony and a high aesthetic quality to the piece. It is still however, the contour of the human form. In this image above the ‘green’ forms the head and arm. The ‘red’ the back and leg. Sit and stare at this one a while and you may start to see it. The fact that each image above creates its own unique shadow and picture in itself is an art. Seeing it in reality in its true three-dimensional form adds to the experience. The image below shows it in situ and the realisation of the scale of it is perhaps enlightening, smaller than the blank white back drop suggests. My husband’s sculptures all have the will to grow and they would look so amazing on a huge scale in the centre of a town square or in the fields of a sculpture park. This is the next dream.  In a world where we text and tweet and use words often devoid of meaning. This sculpture embodies meaning of living in the dystopian present.

Signature at 88 wood street

On display at 88 Wood Street, London

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from a different angle