RSC Residency – Susan Stockwell

I visited Stratford at the weekend and saw Susan Stockwell’s installations at the RSC. She is nearing the end of her one year residency at the RSC. I was particularly interested to see her work. Not only is she a very successful artist, but she was my sculpture tutor at Farnham and she progressed my thinking about sculpture significantly.
The Paccar Room was open, where Susan has made a smaller installation based on Sail Away, which was in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern.

Sail Away RSC Susan Stockwell

Sail Away RSC Susan Stockwell


Sail Away RSC Susan Stockwell

Sail Away RSC Susan Stockwell


Susan’s work is about trade and maps and the use of much handled currency for the sails of the boats is entirely appropriate.
See the University of East London’s video to see Susan making boats for the installation
Sea Markings
The site specific installation of sails above the foyer cafe is very powerful and again Susan has used second hand (much used) sails and also she made some sails out of used commodity sacks
Sea Markings RSC Susan Stockwell

Sea Markings RSC Susan Stockwell


Sea Markings RSC Susan Stockwell

Sea Markings RSC Susan Stockwell


I love the way that you can see a tiny person sat at a table in the cafe in this photo.

As for my own work, I am working intensively in my studio now preparing for my finals (late August) and the MA the degree show starting on 9 September in artOne.
I shall post some snippets of my work soon.

Feeding the inner artist

A trip to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition was the start of my day in London. Jim Lambie’s installation on the staircase up to the Wohl Central Hall was amazing:
ZOBOP by Jim Lambie
I was excited to see Pippa Blake‘s painting The Rehearsal, which resulted from her residency with CFT, observing Pitcairn.

The Rehearsal by Pippa Blake

The Rehearsal by Pippa Blake


Check out Pippa’s website for a better photograph than mine!
Oh, and did I mentioned that I was overcharged by 49p when I spent a penny in Victoria Station? 50P!!! It makes you want to get your money’s worth.
Visiting exhibitions is such a good opportunity for artists to step away from their own work and see what other artists are doing or have done in the past. It may seem like a luxury but I see it as essential nutrition for the working artist, even if you stumble on some junk food on the way.
The Sonia Delaunay exhibition at Tate Modern was equally rewarding. I had no idea of the scale of some of her work. Seeing someone’s work only in books can be so misleading. Her devotion to colour ticked all my personal boxes too. By contrast Agnes Martin‘s paintings use colour but at the most subtle level and seeing the two exhibitions on the same day was very interesting. I noted that there were not many men looking around the Sonia Delaunay – but rather more in the Agnes Martin exhibition. Draw your own conclusions.

Malevich at Tate Modern

I’m glad I went to this exhibition, but the paintings themselves did not excite me. I felt that I was there out of academic interest. I was looking forward to seeing the black square painting but was so distracted by the noisy film behind it that I didn’t feel able to stand and bathe in it as I have done with some of Rothko’s paintings.
Malevich’s return to figurative painting after all the suprematism and geometry seemed remarkable. I was left feeling confused – possibly he was too?

Summer Exhibition RA

I loved this exhibition – my first Summer Exhibition – amazingly. I was gratified to find that the paintings that caught my eye were all by painters that I already follow:
Barbara Rae, Alan Davie, Hughie O’Donahue, Frank Bowling, Ian McKeever. In particular I liked the Frank Bowling paintings – Across the Wadi is fabulously colourful.

Across the Wadi by Frank Bowling

Across the Wadi by Frank Bowling

And I don’t know why I worry about titles when Hughie O’Donahue uses ‘The Changing Face of Moo Cow Farm 2,3 and 4’. But I did love the paintings.

The Changing Face of Moo Cow Farm 4 by Hughie O'Donahue

The Changing Face of Moo Cow Farm 4 by Hughie O’Donahue

I didn’t know Anthony Wishaw before the exhibition, but Blue Cellar obviously appealed to me with its door subject

Blue Cellar by Anthony Wishaw RA

Blue Cellar by Anthony Wishaw RA


I like the crunchiness of the surface and the addition of the grid – food for thought

Raumzeichnung (Reflection) | Fabrica

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Raumzeichnung (Reflection) | Fabrica.

Pictures of Grzymala’s work on the Fabrica website had reminded me of some ‘drawings in space’ that I saw in the Hamburger Bahnhoff Museum in Berlin. This was possibly her work as she lives in Berlin.
I was interested in how the building had been used to create a totally unique piece of work that could not be repeated anywhere else, because the pillars and positions of windows etc were all critical to the work. I like the fact that she had used reflective tape as this emphasised the transition of light across the installation during the course of a day. It was still light when I was in the gallery so I didn’t see how artificial light might have affected the installation.
Monika Grzymala

Monika Grzymala

Heather Duncan – Morcambelake Art Wave West

Heather Duncan’s paintings are joyful representations of the landscape. I liked her compositions, especial one painting with a dark sky and light ground, called At the top of my World.

Heather Duncan

Heather Duncan


She created a clever cruciform with a wide light area going up to the top of the painting and then a narrower dark area going down to meet the bottom edge – very effective.

Her painting called Tamar was the best interpretation of the viaduct that I have seen – so often it is quaint and twee. It is an exciting painting and I like the use of colour – I found there was too much in the painting for my taste, but again I liked the way she had created a kind of a grid – a pattern emerging here.

Heather Duncan

Heather Duncan

The promotional material for the exhibition showed another grid based painting: allotment

Heather Duncan

Heather Duncan

Ashley Hanson Open Studio at Shire Hall Bodmin

Visited Ashley Hanson who was operating a 3 week Open Studio in Shire Hall, instead of working in his usual space – his garage. His paintings were large and colourful and for me, very appealing. His use of complementary colours was excellent. I also like the way he used aerial vision and then subverted it with upright depictions of tall buildings. The City of Glass series is based on a detective novel written about Manhatten. Ashley lived in New York for a while.
City-of-Glass-16

The grids in the paintings are road layouts, the people represent people in the book. It’s a very interesting approach to finding source material for paintings. He showed me a diptych, each painting with a figure carrying a case, and seen from behind. They represented two characters in the book who were seen leaving a train.
City-of-Glass-10

Both characters fit the description of a man that the detective was meant to be following. The paintings are about the choice which character should be followed. The arrangement of colours and composition of the paintings lead the viewer to favour one choice rather than the other.
Ashley told me that he always works with two complementaries and one other colour in his paintings. He certainly has excellent sensitivity as to which red he puts with which green. He was achieving the Hans Hofmann effect of push and pull.
Ashley had been exhibited in the National Open at Chichester – not sure which year.