Category: Art

Henri Matisse : Dance (1)

Compare this with the previous post Damselles D’Avignon 1907

Henri Matisse Dance (I) Paris, Boulevard des Invalides, early 1909

Damselles was first published in an article about The Wild Men of Paris : Matisse, Picasso and Les Fauves.
Fauves meaning wild beast, was a handy term to differentiate use of colour, from that of the impressionists fascination with light ; the Fauves used colour in saturated blocks, rather than smaller marks, but equally representation was not literal.

Dance (1) was part of another earlier painting Le Bonheur de Vivre 1906

Henri Matisse. Le Bonheur de vivre, also called The Joy of Life, between October 1905 and March 1906. Oil on canvas

Dance (1) specifically shows the essence of the original’s overall lightness and joy.


Stand back a minute and think of how this is conveyed. Firstly, if the bodies were rendered as literal, in a painting of a dance like this; the movement would be of the mechanics of a group of people dancing – yes some maybe in the air mid movement, but the mechanics of the positions in relation to each other’s time-held movement would be the only way to mimic the real-life scenario.

As with Picasso and Damselles. Matisse takes the mechanics of reality out if this. He directly uses colour and the flatness of the canvas, away from a true sense of perspective.
The impressionists had also been doing this, depicting how they saw light rather than solidity of object. Now Matisse saw form through colour arrangement, as a way of expressing an emotion or feel of something.


The colours used are simple and easy to relate to. We could assume the background is green for grass or blue for sky or water. Either way there is no way of knowing for sure as there are insufficient details.
Only the dancers have the necessary detail to invoke a feeling. And that feeling is subjective to the viewer. But the simplicity and essence of movement and freeness in their abandon, with nude bodies, relaxed lines and lack of tension is shown in their lightness of touch with the perceived ground and the space they occupy on the canvas and as a group.

There is a break in the chain, this could be a point of tension, but the colour of a knee fills that, possibly. The break could mean all sorts, an offer for the viewer to join ( it is closest to the viewer’s stand point).
Or a gentle slip; in that a break doesn’t matter in the great scheme of the dance itself.  But it doesn’t detract from the overall unity of the group and feeling of a perfect moment.


All conveyed through a different way of using colour, form and arrangement to express an idea of reality.



Dance (1)

MoMA Dance (1)


Barnes Foundation Le Bonheur de Vivre


Attribution for images :
Dance (1)  :
Bonheur de Vivre :

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon


Damoiselles d’Avignon

What do you see.
Sharpe angular outlines of women? flat tones, little depth for expression of shape within the ‘unfeminine’ outlines?

Not a mirror image of real life for sure. Especially when portraits and figurative images had, from the beginning of 1300’s renaissance Europe, been striving for that similarity in likeness. Nature rendered as itself. The flatness of either godly or human form was given depth ; the new science of perspective having effect in architecture and painting.

Why now in 1907 did Picasso decide to ‘retrograde’ back to rendering an image flat? When artists worked in tempera up to the early renaissance, they didn’t have the luxury of time to mix and blend colours into formations of depth illusion and shape.
Picasso worked in the relatively new medium of oil and did, yet he had no desire to paint ‘photographic’ or even remotely similar mimics. He instead chose to invoke his questioning imagination. He was, as were many at that time interested in what had become in the west a developing craze – a fascination with all things exotic, born on the exploration and colonisation of continents since the 1700’s.
And, for artists like Picasso and Gauguin and Matisse… the fascination with African imagery, history and the far east, became a fascination with their own way of seeing and how they rendered images.

And the timing of 1907; specifically, this was a time of change, old certainties and the bedrock of faith, science and philosophy had been questioned for some time. But the first decade in the new millennium was a time when these changes gained traction. Some groups of artists created their own social norms in manifestos. This would be tempered or change again after the carnage of the first world war, but the years prior to 1913 were riding on new ideas, and importantly not resting on statues of older, time-embedded ones.

Picasso’s life may have shown evidence of his attitude toward women, but his paintings are, as far as paintings go, only able to depict the image represented. Any thoughts or feelings invoked are all subjective, along with any information about the artist the viewer has, and what the artist intended.

So from the point of the angular lines, the unfeminine lines, the aggressive lines maybe, what is their point? Or maybe they are ‘just’ shapes. The dark lines are not shadows as we would see them, but could be, holding the two central figures shape’s softer tones of pink, lifting them away from the lighter blue and white ‘background’. And African mask-like lines on the faces of two of the others. Dark tones on the face of the figure on the left. And green stripes and blue edging to the nose of the two mask like faces on the right. The fruit is recognisable, but not balanced on any surface. It could be sliding off the canvas.

The red ‘curtain’ or is it a block of colour, although a hand appears to be holding it. This could make for a dramatic or theatrical side drape to the canvas. There is no background as such, just more shapes highlighting the figures, as if backlit perhaps. The colour of the figures are pushed forward to the viewer, maybe that is where any proactive stance could be felt. As opposed to the passivity of so many previous reclining nudes throughout history.
And looking at it as a mirror of where the viewer is stood, changing that to looking downward.  You could see the surround to the figures as sharp angular shapes of fabric, a bed maybe.

The images in front of you are of female forms, for sure, but rendered in a completely different way from that of the norm. A shock inducing move for the times? Or at least a contentious one?
Except they are naked, nothing new there. They are erotic, the one on the left for example, holds her arm up, bearing all, as would many typical reclining nudes. Except she has a non-passive stance, her eyes and expression unflinchingly direct.
The nude and ‘vulnerable’ bodies eschew an angular fortitude, a strength. They certainly are foremost in the viewers eye when looking at the canvas, not shying away. Their eyes, almond shaped like that of Byzantine or Egyptian art. Three of the stares fixed on the viewer.

The white drapes an almost unnecessary prop. A coy reminder of female portraits of the past.
There are no references to pubic hair or erogenous zones, just shapes.
Not necessarily vulnerable as a group here. As was the single model of many portraits of nude women.

To me the group show a strength, with their in-your-face stance, nakedness, eyes fixed on the viewer and their bodies broken down into cones and triangles, shapes rather than voluminous curves.

Away from any ambiguities, we do know that they are five women from a brothel in Barcelona. The original figure on the left, initially intended to be male.

This painting would be put into categories; the flatness of Primitivism and the way Cubism would breakdown seeing; from what was considered ‘reality’ into paintings that would show in terms of flatness, shape of colour and movement.


Art Made Clear is a soon to be available series of videos intended to remove the mystery from art history.
Please take a look at some excerpts 


Further links

Venice Biennale 2017 : Damian Hirst Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

No cow’s (or artists) were hurt in the making of this exhibition :

This, by Biennale standards was a large exhibition. And by Biennale standards a move away from the more ‘equal space for all’ approach initiated all those years ago. Its Giardini pavilions designated for each participating country and designed individually, largely on an equal footing, size-wise with each neighbour.

Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, taking years to make, ten precicely, certainly needed the space of The Pinault Foundation’s two buildings the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi.

Aside from the work itself, it did appear to slightly overshadow the main event, by its size and the artist’s reputation. The main event being held as always in the Arsenale and Giardini. And various venues dotted around Venice.

First of all, the space. I saw Dahn Vo’s exhibition at the Punta della Dogana in 2015 and one thing I noticed was, how easy it was to move around the building; being able to view larger rooms from above and all with plenty of natural light. All, apart from one room (in this case used to great effect with lights dimmed for the gold and crystals).

The Sadness


I had read some reviews of the exhibition before I saw the sculptures in this part of the two spaces. The Dogana (Customs House) housing the wreck’s treasures and the Palazzo Grassi re-inventing these as expensive collectible items.
I didn’t get to see the second part in the Palazzo Grassi – all the drawings, and re-models of the broken and tarnished objects laid out in the first.
Or the huge sculpture,  a gigantic re-model of a smaller object housed in the Dogana. Which Hirst based on Blake’s Ghost of a Flea. I imagine this, the larger sculpture 18 metres high, with dimensions similar to Colossus of Rhodes 33 metres, to be the most obvious jewel in the crown of The Wrecks crowd-inducing benefits.

So a good space for the first part. And for so much.

And, just like visiting the ordered and complex nuances of a museum it left me feeling slightly stir crazy after an hour in the building.
I almost felt nauseous, at the abundance of garishly beautiful, faded colours of fantastical corals fastened to the sculptures. And with the Mediterranean blue of giant photo stills depicting a far from ‘deep water’ recovery of these would-be historically endorsed artifacts from 2000 years ago. After an hour persevering with the detail, they all seemed to blur into a mass. A fantastical, grotesque, barnacled discovery, from epic proportions to the minutiae. The smoothed powder-white and slightly distressed sculptures, revealing some ancient form of photoshopped beauty. Only to be confirmed when I later realize the model for Aten was Rihanna and The Pharaoh, Pharrell Williams. All very contemporary.

I thought the idea of recovered historical artefacts from a wrecked ship fascinating. Based on a legend, centered around roman slave Cif Amotan II and his reversed fortunes, his name an anagram for ‘I am a fiction’.
With this concept underpinning, a question about the basis of historical fact was introduced but also invited doubt into the exhibition’s origins, a doubt that would subsequently permeate through every image and piece.
But the ship especially, named Apistos or Unbelievable, a brilliant twist, as the meaning of the word Apistos is more akin to lack of, or loss of belief. And with belief historically being a glue of sorts, that all society would look to, this has now shifted away from the centuries-old traditions of belief, of empires, and god(s) of religious focus, to more contemporary obsessions, with money, fame, status and power.
Not least because the whole idea was given a plausible gravitas and believability by the sheer size and documentation of the collection.
You had to believe (or honour its presence as art) as there was just so much ‘evidence’.
To find any anomalies led to a sort of Where’s Wally hunt for truth.
And as in a museum the walk around led to consuming more and more of this historical novelty. Like I said I began to feel a little bit nauseous.

But it worked.
I didn’t like it, say, as a piece of art that would hold my attention in an aesthetic way through the forms, shapes or colours, whether I thought them beautiful or not.
It seemed all about (manufactured) recovered artefacts, an idea. Which was obvious, but unbelievable, a story. In parts beautiful, as in beautifully made. Intricately re-incarnated as expertly as any historical restoration. And because of the idea of unbelievability, the grotesque and uneasy elements could hold that attention (a little like the fairy tale attention grab of Koon’s Cicciolina Made in Heaven).

From the contents of the ship; everyday objects, old deities of worship, aesthetics of human form and differing states of societal ‘discomfort’, like slavery, rape or bacchanalian pleasure, they created an uneasy voyeurism. I drew parallels about believability in general. That and status, ‘worship’ and worth. How we consume uncomfortable facts, and how this unease and discomfort can be anesthetized into the everyday through onslaught and repetition. The way institutions have been formed over time and how facts are assimilated.
Also whether these unbelievable facts and subsequently re-modelled objects shown in this immense collection has relevance to art, the art of Damian Hirst, or the market he supplies, is an interesting thought.

Overall for me, this half of the exhibition was good, by its sheer audacious and all-consuming attitude. It is toying with ideas that bolster itself; neither fake nor real, it puts itself outside of that, with parallels to art’s worth, art making and collecting.
An idea of the unbelievable made believable, displayed with gravitas and made to be disbelieved. Fantastical in its conception, though at the same time more than a little bit tedious to consume.

And stating the obvious here, this is not something a new kid on the block could achieve in either time, money or scale. From this point he has used his own status as artist well.

Whether his naysayers like it or not, only Damian Hirst could have done this, in this way on this scale. His reputation and his art stepped up to this.
The jokey element just enough to cause a stir in the arena of the art world’s high-end comfort zone, without affecting its real-time collectability either I imagine.



The Art of Noise

The Art of Noise or rather film and sound; art with no dialogue, Douglas Gordon’s look at Zidane in his 21st Century Portrait of pure sound.


I am going to the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam sometime at the end of August – to see their reinvention of the old building into a bigger space under its new direction by Ann Goldsmith.

I like these kinds of spaces because you get a wide cross-section of the visiting public, becoming less reverential spaces that can often intimidate genuine response to the work on display.

I know some people really don’t like the fact that children can go and have a tantrum while mum and dad take in a Mondrian. But on the whole I think it is far better than the super-hushed and stark don’t cough or sneeze scenarios that can bear down in these places.

And as a side; no I don’t particularly like museums current trend for creating *theme park* art exhibitions, the kind that actively court ticket sales through a route of art-o-tainment relational aesthetics. But did also like the fact that while passing through Louise Bourgeois’ retrospective hearing a little girl of about three comment on her Amoeba sculpture, saying it was like mashed potato, I left enlightened!


Louise Bourgeois Amoeba
Louise Bourgeois : Amoeba

“‘At the dinner table when I was very little, I would hear people bickering – the father to the mother choosing to defend herself. To escape the bickering around me I started modeling the soft bread with my fingers. With the dough of the French bread – sometimes still warm – I would make little figures. And I would line up these little figures on the table and this was really my first sculpture”

Louise Bourgeois, May 1999

The last time I was at the Stedelijk was to see Douglas Gordon who again started a mini debate around one of his video installations Hand and Foot. When a couple of women started with “Oh no! not another video installation” rant as they thought art-proper was to be interacted with in a static form as moving image imposes itself. So receiving the image rather than engaging.

I never understood that argument; I saw the work in its whole, complete with sound and engaged one to one.

But I have always thought that too much information before engaging with a work to be dictating or pre-empting the viewer response.


This bore out again this week on re-seeing Douglas Gordon’s film  about Zinadine Zidane.

Zinadine Zidane

A 21st Century Portrait.

image courtesy

The one where he filmed the footballer for the full 90 minutes of play between Real Madrid vs Villareal in 2005.


Gordon had 17 cameras trained on Zizou for the whole of game, without dialogue.

Sound was included, absolutely, yes: And if you have not seen it, the resulting engagement was a quite completely absorbing affair because there was no real dialogue just the roar of the crowd the background noise of a commentator when it switched to a screen view of the match, and back to the thud of the ball and the football boot.

In fact I became super aware, while watching, that the lack of commentary or the usual TV engagement with the game made this voyeuristic look with background noise and image, a more basic primal experience. Along with the fact the footballers rarely communicated verbally other than a spoken gesture, made the perceived experience very intuitive; always looking to see where the other players were a constant mental update in real time.

Playing as a team but a lone player also cut off from sound but surrounded by the sound of the crowd.

Zidane also was quoted in type half way through as saying when he was little he used to run up to the TV to get as close as he could to hear and see the match. When he played in the street he always had a running commentary gong in his head; he said when watching on TV it wasn’t what the commentator was saying just the tone of his voice, the noise of the crowd that conjured the whole atmosphere and excitement.

And also while playing on the pitch he could hear what he wanted, he could shut out the big sounds and could hear someone close by cough or move in their chair.

I will leave a link here of the full Google film-video because if you are into artistic film and or even football this is  a very atmospheric piece and can only really be explained by watching it:

Zidane – A 21st century Portrait

And this video although much shorter at 7 minutes includes Zidanes quotes above with the only music in the whole film by Mogwai.


But I recommend the full film as the music plays a different role when you surround it with the other images and sound.

So the viewer making their own mind up while engaging in a piece of work whether moving or not, and interacting on that basis alone?.

Even post analysis is a detractor from one to one engagement whether in a crowd or not. And although analysis is inevitable, is the engagement *pure* really what art is about?.


Brian Clough Statue Nottingham
Brian Clough Statue, Nottingham

Brian Clough of *old big head* fame:

Never one to mince his words or to cow his thoughts summed up this kind of engagement in an interview with John Motson in the 70’s

Motty probably never really recovered!


Brian Clough Statue

The lads very kindly asked if I wanted them to move for the photo – I thought Cloughie probably wouldn’t want that kind of imposition so stay they did!

Brian on post-match pre-match TV analysis

“…..yes John I’m talking about people like you. You, your team, your producer – you’ve never played professional football and yet you come on here week after week and lecture us after a match on how it should be played”

“….yes I used to be on the show as a panellist – as a critic – and far more qualified than you or any of your colleagues”

“Saturday night used to be an enjoyable family night in watching Match of The Day, I’m speaking as a layman – as a guy who pays your wages through his TV fee, he comes home to watch a bit of football, and we’ve got you lot lecturing us, not enough football and too much talk”



Back this Wednesday…..

No Smoke Without Fire

 Doing It Again Differently

I am a great believer in the idea that truly original works of art do occasionally happen but for the most part it is someone unwittingly doing something slightly different from another work that has already been done – a bit like music, the notes are there but eventually something will sound a little like another piece.


And on the same note (pardon the pun) considering the scope of the notes and the scope of creativity in general it is any wonder repetition doesn’t happen more often.


So I was not surprised when I heard that two British artists Patrick Waterhouse and Walter Hutton were embarking on a re-imaging of Dante’s Inferno (part of the allegorical trilogy The Divine Comedy).



Take time to watch this though – ‘cos they are doing something pretty daunting and the ideas they are expressing here are captivating in a mini sound-bite-tv-ad kind of way.


But….and it is a big But……..


Artists contriving to do what many would regard as blatant plagiarism? – well there’s nothing new there and nothing like a bit of preservation-angry detractors to up your ante.

Or Artists just showing themselves to be expressing a new and innovative way of *art as reinvented new*. Certainly commendable and no doubt the results will be interesting.

But then the idea seemed to go a wee bit off the beaten track when I also heard this was not their own venture but a kind-of-commissioned piece by those masters of advertising (who leave the Saatchi’s in the cold) Benetton.


Benetton Prague
Benetton Prague

The Benetton of babies in cocktail glasses and men dying from aids billboard fame. The Clothes Manufacturer and although the adverts at the time hit the shock horror we-need-to-talk-about-issues zeitgeist and very commendable for that – it always struck me as a tiddy bit tacky to use images in this way to essentially promote your sales – of clothes – not an aids related drugs campaign in Africa, say, but clothes being bought by mainly middle class Europeans with an aren’t we being edgy feel-good factor to it.

And it is true when hired photographer Toscani pushed his imagery to the max and upset a fair few people with a death row billboard the company did start to reflect on actual hands on rhetoric.


So, along side the ad-campaigns they joined up with The World Food Program and Micro Credit, all organisations with good intentions at heart. This though was still advertising and Ok, at least it was *raising awareness* and I’m not sure if any profits were re-directed but hey! they are not the only company on that tack and lets face it some are no where near making the kind of effort as shown on their recent campaigns; Benetton may have a track record for shocking adverts but it is still a long way off from many clothing manufacturers ducking and diving over human rights and ethical issues.

So what was it this time?. Benetton has been pretty consistent since the mid 60’s – fledgling company it is not. And you still have the green United Colours logo reverberating around the high streets. Along with the green logo Benetton Formula 1 zooming round the tracks.


Benetton F1 1983
Benetton Formula 1 circa 1983


Dante was pretty unique with this epic poetic piece of work and the name probably rings a bell somewhere in everyone’s collective psyche. A bit like St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians – no one really knows what was in it exactly, but we all know he wrote something.


So what is the point with this work of art/book advert in the making? Someone somewhere obviously thinks it is a good idea – advertising is not a whimsical thing in any company – the button counters are first in line to stop any unnecessary money and risk in promotion. And this *project* has money backing its production.

But there is no risk? certainly not like during the affluent 90’s-2000’s trail blazers of Toscani ‘s before it.

The ingredients are on the face of it, two relatively unknown UK artists re-working Dante, an (Italian) national icon, who most people possibly don’t know enough about to actually get affronted by the potential sacrilege, never mind understanding the re-worked concept. And a post-economic meltdown clothes company giving a pre-advert sound bite.


One thing seems fairly certain this is a commission and how much say-so the artists actually have in their brief may be debatable.

No matter how interesting and possibly even good the finished work may be, even by literally doing-it-again-differently.

No matter how much the voice of reason (Benetton) suggests (I suspect) that its intention is to *re-awaken an interest in Dante’s work* (which is very applaudable) or even an interest in the artists? Especially if we can easily see the original work as well to get the intended meaning.


Gustave Dore's engraving in Canto 1 of The Inferno

Gustave Dore’s Engravings in The Divine Comedy : Dante lost in Canto 1 of The Inferno


This was a huge work of words and engravings and has been depicted in many dissected parts, in paint and drawing, by many artists. How this will work in 2010 – it does sound a fascinating endeavour. It is just the format of procedure that seems a wee bit off.

Delacriox The Barque of Dante

Delacroix : The Barque of Dante


I’m thinking about all the detractors of William Orbit’s Adagio for Strings here. Which as a piece of done-again-differently music worked really well, I thought. Especially as the original was so well known, a sound track to almost everything. And although purists rallied to the cry of sacrilege! he I am guessing, had a bit more freedom to create the piece artistically even within the framework of commercial music, as it was produced in the main as music for music’s sake.

This though seems not to be a wholly creative re-work of the poem’s imagery, possibly a measured attempt at re-inventing it: Artists who are already involved with Benetton’s Fabrica Centre then *decide* to do the piece and Fabrica fund it.


And so….


If not engineered, it seems a contrived work? to maximise profits by the clothing company’s specially formulated publicity arm or Communications Research Centre, Fabrica, who are primarily? interested in selling as many clothes off the back of the interest in the ad campaign as possible in order to satisfy share holders.


If so, this is art being used for clothes–horse sake. No matter how minimal the Benetton/Fabrica logo appears in a corner somewhere.


Or maybe I am wrong – she says hopefully:


A manufacturer who (like many are today) desperate to increase sales, decides sod it! dammed if we do dammed if we don’t so, we are interested in expanding artistic and social perspectives.

Somehow though, this time round the idea of it all just doesn’t seem risky or edgy enough.


back with Sundays………

Lives of Artists: The Graduate



Sarah Smizz

I first met Sarah through the #class project’s webby-internet tweetings and noticed she already knew the organising artists, William Powhida and many of the people involved hands on at Ed Winkleman’s in NY. Including Magda Sawon from Postmasters Gallery who did a very lively talk and discussion on running such a place from small beginnings to very independently focused well run gallery.

So I was intrigued when Sarah’s work was also posted onto the #class web-blog by William Powhida. I knew Sarah was at Sheffield Hallam Uni and was either finishing or part way through a BA or MA course. Along with the vague idea she had recently been to NY.

But nothing prepared me for the sheer energy in her response when I asked her about a post in this series.

Mostly this is Sarah’s wonderful reply – I have to say it completely blew me away! – a lot of me doesn’t want to faff around changing anything (& styling it into a me-neat little blog post)…….at all!!

Take it away Sarah!…..

“so errrrrm about me?”

“I’m a working class kid from Doncaster, UK. (Souf Yorkshire) or as I like to call it – the DONXX in New YorKshire- hehe ;)”

George Dickie

“My story is an odd story. Basically, I grew up in a single parent family (my mom and my younger bro).

My mom gave birth to me when she was 16, and had no support so we’ve always lived in relative poverty really as she has no qualifications and racked up a crazy amount of debt.

And then my mom got super ill and we missed a tonne of rent payments and got kicked out of our house because it was a great excuse to then build luxury apartments in place of the place that we lived in.

As the world gets smaller

So I was made homeless for about 8 months in total when I was 15, with my mom.

But we got things sorted eventually and things went back to semi normal. (I bring this up cuz its key in how/why I position myself and my practice).

Sarah Smizz

I LOVE working in my studio –

feels like it gives me a sense of purpose and just really living the dream!!!

Shadow Cities Favela Nice

I got to university at 18 to study contemporary fine art – first 1 in my family – in 2006 – Sheffield Hallam Uni – without a foundation. I got accepted to all 6 Uni’s I applied to, but SHU felt like the right decision, and I still stand by it today.   After 1st year I went over and did Camp America – I worked in the craft shop at a camp and I LOVED it!!!

I hitched hiked half way across the US (as a 19 yr old on my own) and got frauded! so I had NO cash for the last 2 weeks of my trip. It was like Into the Wild for real; and I thought this was awesome!

Shadow Cities Favela Nice

I got back to England, started my 2nd year and realised I loved working with people on projects like I started at camp.

So I got a group of my hommies together (which extended as we put a call out for interest) and started a thing called StreetForm.

The return to Dollershiem

This is a non-profits arts organization which delivers contemporary arts workshops for free in schools in South Yorkshire – priority at deprived schools as a way to engage kids with different learning techniques and kinda re-inspire their ideas and interests.

This turned out really successful.


Slam jam


Slam jam night


Utopian protagonist


At the same time we just got this new professor called Michael Corris from NYC.;

He was one of the players in art & language NY – I was interested in how dialogue and artists groups could engage in criticality as a community.

As the world is getting smaller

So I started another collective group called CAAD (contemporary art as dialogue). We started as a project like – the art school in the art school.

We went by our own rules and did collaborative shows engaging in different ideas surrounding the periphery and the art world. We put on our own art festival which you can see from the website too!

Street Performances production of space


Street Performances Production of Space



Sarah NYC

Contemporary Luxury Studio Showflat


I was kinda taken aback by Michael Corris and he gave me some much needed confidence in my own ability as an artist – his knowledge is awesome in my research background – which was completely lacking in my other lecturers knowledge.

I felt like if I wanted to make it in the artworld (or critique it)  that I gotta experience it properly! and not just from Sheff art scene.


Poverty is a gift that keeps on giving


Poverty is a gift that keeps on giving

So I managed to name drop Michael Corris to Magda Sawon at Postmasters gallery in NYC (He’s good friends with David Diao who Postmasters represent).  I’m the type of kid that doesn’t get amazing opportunities like this, I don’t look good on paper – state school educated, totally very rough around the edges – veryyy hopeful – thus naive about the world surrounding me; (naivety = I still get annoyed by people getting opportunities because of whom they know, and not from experience/applications)

Lucky for me Magda is one of the most kind, thoughtful, smart, risk-taking and generous women I have ever met. And she took a risk on me and let me work for her during the summer of 2008 in NYC.  I Had of course saved up all my own cash, and *it* still – despite all the other stuff I’ve done – is like THE BEST thing I’ve done – I learnt so much, made friends for life.

Turns out what I was missing was a strong smart woman role-model in the artworld/general, and Magda is just that for me. It was perfect working at Postmasters for me, because it allows my research to be a lot more even.

Postmasters allowed me not 2 be completely judgmental towards this ‘elite’ art world. I learnt that it’s not all bad (despite what I’d like to believe purely because of my outsider position).

That there are people who are willing to take risks and don’t put shows on just for commercial success. And even though some commercial galleries are ultimately a business, they treat their artists like family.

It inspired my practice because it taught me that artists do have to be competent at what they do, relevant and risk-taking not just good at networking (although that totally helps).

Being in NYC at that time (during the boom) taught me how important criticality in an artist’s practice is. I just gotta accept that  I’m not that strong of an artist yet !. That’s ok though; got another – what 9 years? (me, with interjection …errr Sarah maybe!, just maybe a mold has been broken here with that one!!)

In my 3rd year I switched from BA to a MART course, which is half a masters- integrated course. You do an extra year doing double credits in your 3rd yr and the LEA still pays all your tuition fees.

I had my 1st real London show at re-placed.  And got published in two books one of which was released at the Canadian Center of Architecture.

I was interested in the idea against the white cube space, and how collectives can have revolutionary potential. I used to make collages of buildings and fly poster them around the city in run down places.

You can see this work on my website Sarah Smizz


#class a reflection (also placed on thier web-blog by William Powhida)


We also did a project where we critiqued the biennale structure of art festivals – focusing on the Venice biennale.  It’s focus (of the project) was on curation and collaboration.

We created a biennale in a book talking about the periphery! and released it at the Venice biennale 2009 (

It was a fantastic project that is still on-going!

I taught Spanish kids English over the summer of 2009 and worked in a bookies, lol, saving cash for my internship at AREA Chicago in Chicago for 3 months.

This was my research about the artist as a social double agent. Can collectivism help to make change? Is institutional critique re-invented?

Have u ever been to Chicago? I suggest you check it out if you haven’t, there is SO MUCH stuff going on. it’s this vibrant art community that doesn’t get acknowledged in the way it should!

Magda invited me to put some work in her emerging artist show in Dec 2009. And then obviously I saw the proposal call for #class which suited me perfectly with my background, my research interests and the plain rejection that I feel/felt by both academia and the art world, amongst other systems; and did that show.

I felt like after the class experience I truly needed to embrace this investigation into collectivism – to a new level.

So I took a risk and changed the look of my work. And I’m really enjoying it. I’m not sure whether the risk will pay off for my degree show grade wise.

We also just curated a talk at TATE Britain on the contingencies in curation – some of this debate was brought up at #class!

I hate degree shows. I think that they’re contrived. They don’t represent a person’s practice properly, especially not one that’s diverse and exists in a different format. And so everything is compromised.

As part of the MArt – the deal is that you get a MA Place – and it’s one-module-studio-work;  and it only costs £800 of your own money. I’m not finishing my degree next year into a full MA because it doesn’t interest me now I’ve learnt what I needed to learn.

I’m sure I will go back and finish it when I’m stacking shelves in Asda or something but right now, the institution has grinded me down.  It doesn’t really accept me because my ideas don’t fit into the ‘white cube’ or ‘relational aesthetics’ lark.

Yet out of my whole graduating year (BA and MART) I’ve been the most ‘successful’/done the most thus far. So it shouldn’t be the grade that matters to me, but I’ve had to overcome certain barriers to get where I have got right now.

On June 23rd I’m heading back to the USA for four months; two months in Boston working with kids and a residency. Getting paid for it all – and good pay!.

Then I’m going to Syracuse University in NY State to hopefully start a project with an amazing professor up there who has similar research ideals as myself.

Then I’ll do a lil’ travel and come back to the UK for my November Residency with international film festival DocFest – which is also paid.

After November – gosh knows what is in store for me! ha!

I need a normal job – to make ends meet and pay off my crazy over-draft. I’ll probably move back to Sheffield cuz its convenient and my network of folks from Uni lies there, just whilst I sorta relay adulthood out in my head!

I will be starting my new project though “temporary department for (kinda) academic research”. A curated project, and I want to release the bi-annual publication objekt that we set also set up this year.

I have an exhibition in Canada in May in 2011 to look forward to, (moving to Canada is on the cards for the year after).

I would ultimately LOVE to teach, from high school to university level as you have the chance to help change someone else’s future. But feel like I wanna give my practice a good taste of what it means for an artist to set up projects and continue in the real world with a 9-5 soul destroying job first.  I’m totally looking forward to it! (not liking the idea of paying council tax! haa) but let’s see how this optimism fades eh? 😛

For me the journey of learning and experience is just as important as the practice itself cuz for me it all just seems to add up/inform the research (in the best respects). I don’t have a specifically special focus. I’m just interested in the idea of power in systems – regardless of what system. The ideas of access/ and class boundaries are always present.

Dialogue is very important for me; it’s all interesting for me, that and collectivism, I truly believe art does have the power to change the world, but more in helping, teaching, helping people to be optimistic, bringing people together etc.”.


Work in progress

Sarah Smizz

And, if I were ever to think *what’s the point* as we artists all do at various stages for various reasons:

Sarah, I hold a torch up to you and your inspiration!!!

Back on Wednesday …….

Lives of Artists: The Artist



Man Bartlett

A few weeks ago the name Man Bartlett meant nothing to me, but that is I believe, down to my location Nottingham UK, and not New York US nor even London UK for that matter.

I think location can and does count. Ok not so much in these internet driven times but still location draws on the local, especially in the arts through live exhibitions and events.

However with Man’s work the first thing I noticed was he always seemed to include some form of internet access whether YouTube, Ustream or Twitter or all three depending on the type of art involved.

So, the first time I caught any of his art was of a webcam showing him blowing up balloons inside a gallery for 24 hours. The gallery being Winkleman and the overall project #class which I posted back in February and March.

This was a Ustream/Twitter interaction, with him all the while blowing balloons and engaging with responses, which after 24 hours became more fervoured, especially toward the end involving a mass balloon-burst.

Starting pile
Jerry Saltz in the nest

24h #class action
24h #class action

24h#class burst
24h#class burst
web-cam-view of the balloon burst



So on that basis I was not expecting the next exhibition to show quite the images I found. And in this instance I would have loved to have been able to actually see not just ‘cos it’s my sort of thing, (and no less the performance art either) but also sometimes the whole atmosphere, even the minutiae of things like the smell and sound of the space can enter into the work.

But that’s just me I always want to look further. And let’s face it no matter how much the net does for us, it doesn’t do that yet!.


Systema mundi installation
Systema mundi drawing
Systema Mundi Installation at Flux Factory


Man mentions on his web site, in small print and very briefly, that he is “also son of artist Bo Bartlett”

And in a city like New York many would jump at the chance to promote themselves through this avenue – I think with Man it is mere fact – an artistic family. Creativity comes in many different forms and within that individual meaning.

And as the daughter of a mother who realised too late, as she saw it, that she loved to write I sometimes wonder how many of us have creative notions left untapped.

I asked Man if he had any qualms; “Only that I’m still in the process (and hope to always be) of finding out what works and what doesn’t. Part of the construct of the performances is that they develop in real time. This can be a scary and exhilarating place to be. Some experiments work, some don’t.”

His next two performances certainly seemed to with these twitter based interactions:

#24hEcho at PPOW Gallery

#24hOpen at the Whitney Museum

Man’s description:

Beginning Thursday, May 27th at 6pm, I will spend 24 hours in the Whitney Museum.

I will remain engaged with the work on display, and conscious of the space in which it is exhibited.

Man equates with his work so: “While there is sometimes an element of endurance in my performance practice, I prefer the term “duration”.

This distinction draws attention to the fact that the performances are simply happening in an extended amount of time, not specifically that pain or suffering is an integral part of that time. Labelling is a tricky thing as I also create drawings and installations. So usually I just say I’m an artist with practices in performance art, drawing, and installation”.

He went on to add…. “I strive to make art that’s both fun and serious. Art that is solitary yet inclusive. Art that sees life through a lens of one part ‘everything is nothing,’ and one part ‘nothing is everything’”.

He has recently started a monthly block print sale on line,which he rendered this video of work in process.


May lens


“I’m still exploring different ways to earn income from the performances. One thing I’m getting more interested in is creating ‘tangible’ works from the detritus of these performances.

For example I affixed the Whitney admission sticker for #24hOpen to a piece of archival paper. This serves as both a document of the performance and a separate work of art.”

One of the earlier 24 hour performance durations before #class saw him walking round the streets of NY in Theseus.

#Theseus walk

“Additional References (besides the obvious):
– Spiral Jetty
– The mazes I used to draw as a child”

Man was a regular visitor to the #class debates and events, the points of which he is very much aware;
“The ideas raised in #class are still percolating. It was so much to take in. The accessibility aspect is definitely something I keep coming back to though.

Particularly with the performances I strive to make them entertaining/interesting/valuable to both artworld folks and to complete strangers, who may not be too familiar with art at all”.

There is no doubt Man is living in a very art centred city and with access to things like Marina Abramovic’s recent MOMA exhibition The Artist is Present……..

and his fun, insightful tweetings and images from that event as he queued and waited his turn for hours (for a thwarted attempt) to sit opposite her, highlights the double edge spin offs from being around those benefits.

Marina Abramovic the Artist is Present

Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present

image wikipedia


There in is an idea I think Man would maybe agree with. The energy of input for artist’s in places like New York is the draw. The benefit being, You Create.

And also in such places the pressure to make and pay your way with *more of the same* the accepted, the patronised, cannot be far away. I get the idea that this is not on the cards for Man.

“I will never compromise my work. I may adapt it when/where necessary, but compromise is really just not in my vocabulary”.

Quite simply what it means to create.

Thank you Man!

And Man’s up-and-coming events and happenings include:

A re-performance of #cleandream as part of the Escape From New York exhibition on June 12th.

Followed by a group show in Seattle at Platform Gallery (the details of which are being listed as this is posted) “where I’ll have an installation, opening July 1st.Then hopefully a few weeks “off”, before holding a solo show with performance in Houston, Texas in 2011”.

In the meantime, as well as being artist in residence at Flux Factory which involves a collaboration at Lumen Fest June 26th, Man will be planning on “assembling” a group show for the fall/early winter.

And I will be back on Sunday with more in this current series of Lives of Artists:

Fourth in this series is someone who I was completely blown away by. Her sheer enthusiasm and energy – for someone so young (in my terms!) – at 22 and a Graduate BA/MA fine artist Sarah Smizz

Sarah Smizz
I know this is Sarahs web-page and is not strictly her art but …..: )

Back on Sunday…

Lives of Artists: The Photographer



Helen McCabe


It’s that time of year again, I remember it well – spring sort of breaks out of winter and all that you have been working towards suddenly hits like a bolt out of the blue – your show is upon you, imminent, no time left whichever way you look at it; the last minute detail rears its fickle head again.


This year I literally stumbled upon a series of pop-ups scattered around Nottingham’s city centre, they have been showing degree shows like this for a while now, but it always fascinates me to find art tucked away in spaces on the restaurant and shopping routes, like a treasure hunt in waiting.

It was just such a space that I found off Bridle Smith Gate. The space under the NTU umbrella degree show name of Raw-photo 2010.


Quite simply I wandered in and glanced around four walls of what seemed like very different works. Usually I will start looking at the first to hand, but found I had a momentary-without-thinking not sure I want to look at these just yet. I don’t know why I changed my mind but on looking closer a lot became clearer.


There, without embellishments were a series of 7 photographic portraits of unadorned and simply positioned, male soldiers faces.


The photographs didn’t scream out at you they were subtly lit and exuded a sense of calm.


My subconscious I believe, had initially took in the uniform, an image especially of late that has reverberated through the media in the UK and indeed around the globe. But the images I, and we all see in the press usually come with a traumatic message, a thing maybe we don’t readily succumb to – and there has been so much.

Hence my hesitation.

I continued to look and noticed a small amount of explanatory text at the beginning of the line of photographs. My knee jerk reaction is usually don’t tell me! I want to receive my own impression. But the information was simple and subtle; these men were on their way to Afghanistan.


The thing that struck me most about the work was it was all about the faces, whatever lay behind the process it was the compelling nature of the expressions that quietly reflected their momentary pause in front of camera.

I will stop there as the images should speak for themselves, here are two of the seven:

Helen McCabe Soldier

Helen McCabe Soldier

Soldier  :   by Helen McCabe

One very astounding thing for me was the difference but similarity of their collective gaze.

Underneath the images were a few randomly placed quotes from the soldiers echoing a resolve and recognition of imminent dispatch.


I really recommend looking at the images on her website to see how Helen intended to portray them.




Helen’s show and the Raw exhibitions are now coming to a close. With the inevitable packing and clearing of the space I asked her what she saw ahead of her…

Part of raw-photo 2010
RAW2010 space in Bridle Smith Gate


“My future, is quite unknown at the moment.  I want to stay within the industry of Photography, be it in a Photographic gallery or an archive.  But I also hope to bring what I love about Photography to others by way of photographic workshops, that suit beginners or people with experience.  Hopefully visiting places like photography clubs, schools or colleges”.

And the immediate future?  ….

“As for my work…I hope that by carrying this on alongside a job Photography will continue to be something I do because I enjoy it and not just something to keep me living.  But we shall see in the coming months”.

I also asked her about the inevitable student loans, and, on leaving the University space; how she was planning to afford her own studio, equipment and the like….


“At the moment the only ‘debt’ per se is my student loan (and an overdraft). But thankfully I’m not too worried about this because of the leniency of the repaying. Knowing that until I’m earning I do not have to pay it back, and then its rather small increments which are automatically deducted so no worrying about forgetting to pay it!”.


“So it’s not going to hinder me I hope or at least I don’t plan to let it”.


“As for things such as equipment and studio space. At the moment I am lucky enough to have parents with a garage not in use. So with some persuading and hard work I want to turn this into a studio for myself, at least for now (everyone’s got to start somewhere!).


Equipment wise, when I land a job after graduation I will be saving money as much as possible to buy the equipment I need, and I plan to get it second hand.


Thankfully there are a fair amount of photographers with a lot more money than me, who like to upgrade their kit, often leaving me with their cheaper (but usually in perfect condition) older equipment. This is how I afforded my camera; a hobbyist who’s upgraded leaving me with a barely used, new looking camera”.


I did initially return to the space and was really pleased to see the quality of all the work involved. And wondered what if this had been shown in a different city?. Not to say that Nottingham hasn’t always had some sort of connection to London based Art through local galleries. But It is still a provincial city.

Helen had been keen to stress that although she is from London she liked the idea of branching out of art centric cities.


And with the thought of location very much on my mind. I was extremely pleased to come across a Degree/MA pool of images, info and events now available via web ushered in by the combined Universities of Leicester De Montfort, Nottingham Trent, Loughborough and Derby along with the Arts Council called UK Young Artists; for all who are interested, be they artists, curators, buyers, collectors or whatever.


Which is kind of blowing away the usual suspect’s habit of hovering around the same Universities like Goldsmiths, St Martin’s and the like; creating the safe bets of recent times.

It’s a start!

Having said that! Helen is also excited to be included in Free Range 2010. A big independently sponsored graduate show based at the Truman Brewery Building in London which shows Art and Design practices from all over the UK.

With the obvious quality of work emanating from this show, the signs are it’s looking very good!.


And as Helen and her contemporaries prepare to embark on a new phase in their creative lives, where time, money and studio space all come into play big time. Events like this by both the Arts Council and Free Range can really, only be a good thing.

I will be including another Photographer in the next series with works by Zoe Boundry


And will be back this Wednesday with New York Artist Man Bartlett

Lives of Artists: The Curator

Louise Starkey

Opposite one of Robin Hood’s favourite residence’s to rob, Nottingham Castle, sits the aptly named Castle Bar. Here was the site for Louise Starkey’s latest exhibition; Stop Robbing The Rich. I’m sure if there was any indication in the title it was the RH scenario, but aside from that they found a unique space to hold something, and well, something I was surprised to see.

I was expecting a local event, if you like, artists brought together with nothing more in common than their city, and found instead a group of Urban Artists from all over the UK and beyond under the banner Affordable Art in the Heart of Nottingham.

Stop Robbing The Rich is Louise’s second show, and the first one in Nottingham.

She is a keen collector of Urban and Contemporary work and sometimes sells to finance her own art *habit* as she calls it!. So it was around two years ago that she sold a piece to an enthusiast in California. And usually keeping in touch with the people she deals with, as they have common passions a rapport ensued.

This particular buyer was also involved in the music industry and had got together with other likeminded people to buy an art gallery in Philadelphia.

When Louise found out about this she asked when she could have a show.  He replied “May 2009” which in her own words she said she “was shocked, as I didn’t think he would take my request seriously”.

That was the start really for Louise and she hasn’t looked back. She still works full time at Nottingham Trent University, and also works as a part time chef. So her enthusiasm for her art and artists is palpable.

The show, which she called ‘Cruel Britannia’ “was to be an invasion of Urban-Contemporary work from the UK”.

Setting up Cruel Britannia at the then T & P Gallery, Philadelphia

Cruel Brittania Gallery View


Cruel Brittania Gallery View

Cruel Brittania Gallery View

Louise mentioned it didn’t go unnoticed and joked

“The USA fought back with a Shepard Fairey paste up outside the gallery”.

Paste Up

When she got the unsold work back from Cruel she decided to recycle it, mash it up, and add to it, and show in a place which was more accessible to the UK where the work originated to balance the showing.

It was The Castle Bar that she chose and although in hind sight she noted “It was slightly shabbier than I would have liked when I got in the space last week so spent three solid days painting.  I wanted the show to look good but also to be a success for the artists and saw no point in making really expensive work available.  I wanted people to come and have a look, see something that they might like, but not have to really think it over and be concerned about a massive financial commitment that would make things difficult”. Going on to emphasise the fact “I had original work available from £10, and have enabled people to pay for work over a period of time if it makes it more affordable”.

Final touches to the exhibition

Opening Night

Opening Night

Opening night of Stop Robbing The Rich, at The Castle Bar


Many of the artists in this exhibition are established and well known names in urban contemporary like:

Replete who has worked with people like Cold Cut (Matt Black & Jonathan More) and their Ninja Tune label.

DON who was brought up in Borneo and in his own words

” When I came back to England felt the confines of the concrete jungle around me. But it was to be a blessing. I looked at the stone and concrete walls in a different light, I saw them as vast spaces ready to be painted and moving spaces were even better, trains…like cheetahs in the wild, were fast, got everywhere, but most importantly, were always ‘spotted’ . I quickly learnt that a jungle kid could fast settle into his new pack when he earnt himself respect from his name and ‘got up’ . I was 12.

Old habits die hard and as important to me as it was then, it is now. I’ve taught East End children at an East End school to nicely mural a wall. I’ve convinced myself that you don’t have to cling onto a carriage late at night, under tungsten light, to be seen the next day. I’ve had my knuckles slapped and paid the price.

I have conformed as much as I am able for now, bringing my art to TV and Film. Employed to TAG a Batman set. WOW one of the best cities I’ve tagged….graff stays in my soul, the movement, the colours, the people, the sounds. Beat street, hiphop and those crazy, crazy legs are going to be around for a while longer and I’ll grow with it, its time has come”.

DON & DBO's work


Dan Kitchener's work

Dan Kitchener


Luke Twigger's work
Luke Twigger

Louise went on to say “Kev Munday recently had his first solo show in Covent Garden called ‘Making it up as I go along’ and Matt Jordan enjoyed great success with a solo show in Athens earlier in the year”. Louise is also hoping to do a solo show of Matt’s work soon.

Matt Jordan's Dyeing Of Hirst Skull

Matt’s skull – yes they are smarties! the flash is slightly obliterating the Hirst reference.

Matt Jordan & Kev Munday
Matt Jordan (top) & Kev Munday

see the links for Matt in Athens and Kev in Covent Garden


As the result of 6 months hard work. Louise was more than delighted with how it looked, and for the three days it was showing, does seem a shame that it’s gone already.

She is planning her next show for November, workload permitting, but apparently it’s all in a rather dream like stage for now, once she gets cracking though, I’m sure it will be so much more than ok.

It’s going to be called ‘Hardly Original’ and will, as she puts it “feature affordable prints from my little army of willing artists, that will have been made especially for the show and will be unavailable elsewhere”.

There were 16 artists involved in the exhibition and I hope to do a more in depth interview style post with some of them in the future.

For now though, here is a taste of the Stop Robbing The Rich exhibition with a list of the artists involved:

As Louise said later “I enlisted some of the artists I had approached for America, and approached some more.  For quite a few of the local artists it was their first show….(MaxRock, Kresh)”

In no particular order;

Jonny Norridge Jonny Norridge

Finbarr Dac
Finbarr Dac


James Baker
James Baker




Dan Kitchner
Dan Kitchener


The Shaw
The Shaw


Matt Jordan
Matt Jordan




Kev Munday Kev Munday





Ben Allen
Ben Allen


Ame 72


Kid 30



Max Rock

Kresh  :  no link as yet but will update


Luke Twigger
Luke Twigger



All the above images have been sourced from the artist’s websites.


Back on Sunday with a look at Photographer Helen McCabe fresh from her degree with her very enigmatic work

Also a quick mention pre-post of Wednesday’s Man Bartlett article – he is also doing something at this weekends Bushwick Open Studio (BOS) see here as well for NYTimes mention.

Lives Of Artists



With another #class event emerging any time soon, I have decided to take a look at the lives of a group of artists and people involved with them from very different styles and stages of their *careers*.


This will be a series of images and discussions with artists from different areas and countries as they find and negotiate their way through the art world. Some fresh from degree shows, others still navigating them.

Whether established or aspiring to be established, this series of posts will endeavour to take a look at the very different and sometimes novel approaches on how they continue with their work. Addressing compromise, locations, and *the day job*.

But no less important, also a look at individual pieces of work and the artists behind.


The group include:


The Curator

Louise Starkey,who curated Cruel Britannia at the T & P Fine Art Gallery in Philadelphia last year.


Sadly the gallery itself had to close, even with the enthusiastic team that ran and supported it:


“After thirteen openings and showcasing 100+ international artists, T & P Fine Art will be closing their doors at the end of November, 2009. It may not have been ideal to open an art gallery at the beginning of the worst recession since the depression, but we found a cool spot, in an incredible city, showed some superb art, and had blast the entire time. Thank you to all who have supported us, patrons and artists alike. We hope to see you one last time between now and the end of November.”


T & P Gallery

T & P Fine Art Gallery


Cruel Brittania Poster

And back from Cruel she decided to recycle it, mash it up, and add to it. Her most recent exhibition also includes up and coming if not already established  contemporary urban artists from the UK with Stop Robbing The Rich in Nottingham.


Stop Robbing The Rich Poster

Stop Robbing The Rich, group exhibition

Castle Bar
The Castle Bar, opposite Nottingham Castle




The Photographer

Helen McCabe from London who has just finished her degree in Nottingham. “I hope that by carrying this on alongside a job, Photography will continue to be something I do, because I enjoy it and not just something to keep me in a living”.


 One of Helen McCabe's Soldier Portraits

One of Helen McCabe’s seven portraits



The Artist

Man Bartlett, who as son of US artist Bo Bartlett, is finding his feet as an artist in New York:

Echo 24
Man Bartlett’s recent #24Echo held at P.P.O.W Gallery

in his words : ) By Man Bartlett and The Internet.

He pledged to repeat anything and everything that was tagged with #24echo via twitter feed and relayed over Ustream for 24 hours

“Labelling is a tricky thing as I also create drawings and installations. So usually I just say I’m an artist with practices in performance art, drawing, and installation.”

“While there is sometimes an element of endurance in my performance practice, I prefer the term “duration.” This distinction draws attention to the fact that the performances are simply happening in an extended amount of time, not specifically that pain or suffering is an integral part of that time”.


Systema Mundi Installation
Systema Mundi Drawing
Systema Mundi exhibition at Flux Gallery earlier this year:


“Flux Factory presents Systema Mundi, an exhibition of drawings, installation and pyrography by artist-in-residence Man Bartlett.

The works in this show include a “circle drawing” in which thousands of small circles are tightly clustered, and form a rectangle. From a distance it appears as a solid mass, but closer inspection reveals a chaotic yet ordered composition. A pyrography piece consists of small burned dots that appear to create or mimic the pattern of the grain of the wood beneath them. In opposition to these maximalist tendencies lies a minimalist earth and water installation, sourced from in and around the Flux Factory building.

This juxtaposition of means is of critical interest to the artist, whose work often deals with the union of paradoxes from within a wide spectrum of art history and human experience”.

Both images and above text sourced from Flux Gallery.




The Fine Art Student

Tim……who half-way through his degree is embarking on a stint at a Cork Street Gallery in London for 2 months – despite his reservations about working in the midst of all things The-City-And-Art stand for.

NTU Fine Art Bonington Building
From NTU bonington Fine Art Campus

Cork Street,London

To Cork Street’s short but wealthy 1/4 mile


Stop Press! slight alteration….Tim has been called away to help in a performance, hence I will be coming back to him later in the next series.

So the fourth in this series is someone who I was completely blown away by. Her sheer enthusiasm and energy – for someone so young (in my terms!) – at 22 and a Graduate BA/MA fine artist Sarah Smizz

Sarah Smizz
I know this is Sarahs web-page and is not strictly art but …..: )


The hashtag project first rolled out in February at the Winkleman Gallery for a successful month of discussions and with it delving into the ins, outs and polarities of the art market in the midst of that very art-centred city of NY.

The illuminating and upfront discussions took place with artists of all types and cultures – some relatively well known others from over the other side of the world.  Gallerists, Dealers, Critics, and Collectors also being invited to be in on the call. Enabling face to face and honest discussions about location, class, education, money, who exactly pulls the strings-who are the gatekeepers, those with specific agendas and the minefield of art protocol that tempts or repels artists and can exclude them from engaging on those basis.

With that very much in mind my first stop in this series is to address amongst other elements a local exhibition held over three days in a non gallery setting curated by Louise Starkey.


Starting this Wednesday!………