Excited to be welcoming visitors to this annual event. New works mixed with old favourites.
Like many of us, my early exposure to the works of Constable were reproductions en mass on placemats - not particularly inspiring. His work has often divided opinion and been misunderstood though made familiar by these reproductions and I suspect many of us might have been put off taking a deeper look at his art because of this commerciality.
More recently, Constable came back into my life by chance via my work with windmills as his father ran a mill at Flatford. Because I believe that studying the work of other artist’s (in any art form) can take us somewhere we don’t even know we want to go to and can inspire us with new perspectives, I let the research lead the way!
Having already explored and researched ’Constable Country’ near his father's mill in Suffolk, I felt compelled this year to discover the other places Constable had painted, lived and frequently visited. This took me to Hampstead Heath with an open mind and open eyes to discover what links the artist of then to the artist of now i.e. me!
Hampstead Heath is enjoyed by many visitors but is no longer the grazing land way above the city that it was in Constable’s day. Greater London has now surrounded this green oasis yet tranquillity can still be found there.
What struck me on the hills looking out to the same spots Constable once surveyed, was not the structures below but the clouds above and how they contain the waters of time. The vapours from the planes which travel form time zone to time zone, across latitude and longitudes. Navigating the seas of the sky.
In the graveyard of the 300-year-old Church of St John in Hampstead itself, I discovered Constable’s grave underneath the canopy of an old tree. This peaceful spot encouraged a longer than scheduled visit and an unexpected encounter with the grave of John Harrison. Unknown to me previously, Harrison’s genius ‘time machine’ (marine chronometers and many others) creations have inspired me to think differently again about time and how art can give us glimpses of times now passed and enable us to find the things that connect us, the things that we experience regardless of time. I am excited at the prospect of the new works I am creating as a result of this research, art which will bring together the works of 3 artists of very different output forms…Constable, Harrison and Burke!
It is great to see that these hotels understand the value of art. Statement pieces look fab but treating the whole hotel as a gallery takes that one step further and gives guests another way to connect with their hotel experience.
Image: Walter De Maria,‘Time/Timeless/No Time (2004) Chichu Art Museum .Photo: Michael Kellough
There are things to like and things not to like about this time of year! The thing I love most is that for a short time, everyone seems kinder and warmer towards each other; I see it manifested through those small but significant random acts of kindness.
I love the fact that creativity (in all it's forms) can generate that same warmth throughout the year.
There is a quote that goes something along the lines of "it is not the scientists who will save the world, it will be the poets". When I first heard that, I read 'poets' as 'creativity' and totally agreed with it. Now, I think it is scientists and creatives who will save the world! That amazing fusion of creativity and practicality is a wonderful and powerful thing and one of the best cinematic examples (based on truth) is the scene in Apollo 13 where they have to fix a problem that at first seems unfixable, seems like the impossible. Worth checking out, especially if you are feeling a bit burdened with challenges at the moment! Here is the clip if you don't want to watch the whole movie!
We all have many thoughts and feelings around this time of year, mine usually get expressed through my art. Even though I believe that a picture really does paint a thousand words, I thought it was about time I came out of my comfort zone and reflected in other formats too! Hence this series of seasonal blogs.
As someone who embraces creativity and mentors others to develop theirs, I hope the gift of creativity in any form (both to ourselves and to others) becomes more valued. Whether it is a line from a pen day, music from a drum day, a play with paint day, a making with clay day, a cooking with hay day, a story of today day . . .
I'm now in my new studio space at Harrington Mills, lots of light and more space. It was once a lace factory and is one of the few remaining mills with a turret!
Art 'experiences' which occur outside of traditional galleries can be such an unexpected pleasure; experiences to both share and remember.
When responding to a site, I see it as my ‘job’ to create art works which connect ‘the viewer’ to a place, an idea, a good feeling; to take them somewhere they didn’t even know they wanted to go! Pieces do not necessarily need to make big statements, they can ‘speak quietly’ and be harmonious with their environment - imagery that slowly draws you in.
As an artist who also curates exhibitions for hospitals, I am always mindful of how people might respond and feel to pieces. We all connect to art in different ways and that's what makes it so wonderfully personal but one thing is clear….. there is much more chance of ‘a connection’ when an artist has been mindful of how the art might be perceived whilst at the same time staying true to their ‘own voice’.
This bridging of respect for the feeling’s of others and confidence in what you personally have to offer is what I think of as the art of balanced sensitivity - something independent hoteliers provide as a matter of course with their uniqueness and warm hospitality!
I’m continuing work on my Consider Constable series… seeking out the precise places Constable created his paintings, absorbing the feel, history and sense of time passing where he and I stood. As a result, each image in the Consider Constable collection has a strong connection to his work and life. He was innovative, brave, prolific and hard-working and I want my images to carry a sense of this past into the present. Please see the prints section of the website for completed works.
Featured image: Pastures Present and Past Years Present looks towards Dedham from Constable’s father’s mill at Flatford.
This article talks about luxury hotels but in actual fact, I would say it applies to the greater hotel population! As an artist, I am excited about the fact that art can potentially reach more audiences by coming out of galleries and into hotels. Not only does art enhance the uniqueness of a hotel environment but it provides a way for guests to connect with the art itself and the spaces the art 'lives in'.
Luxury hotels are becoming fine art spaces to rival many galleries . . .
Alex Toledano, a Paris-based art consultant whose clients include Ritz-Carlton hotels, says: “Hotels, especially hotel owners, recognise that they have been spending a decent amount on art for many years without it doing anything special for their property. They’ve realised that the money could be used not only to tell an interesting narrative about their properties but also to make them more memorable."
He adds that hotels used to purchase decorative art from “manufacturing companies” that churned out works in bulk. “Now you’re starting to see the desire of hotels to ask more of the artwork to make their property unique, rather than resembling many others.”
There is also a move away from abstract art, previously considered the “least offensive” form, he says. “Now, hotels are willing to take more of a risk. That is what is making art in hotels exciting right now. Our clients are asking for a diversity of art that we wouldn’t have expected a couple of years ago.”
According to a recent study, works of art can give as much joy as being head over heels in love.
Human guinea pigs underwent brain scans while being shown a series of 30 paintings by some of the world's greatest artists.
The artworks they considered most beautiful increased blood flow in a certain part of the brain by as much as 10 per cent – the equivalent to gazing at a loved one.
Paintings by John Constable, Ingres, the French neoclassical painter, and Guido Reni, the 17th century Italian artist, produced the most powerful 'pleasure' response in those taking part in the experiment.
Works by Hieronymus Bosch, Honore Damier and the Flemish artist Massys – the 'ugliest' art used in the experiment – led to the smallest increases in blood flow. Other paintings shown were by artists such as Monet, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci and Cezanne.
Professor Semir Zeki, chair in neuroaesthetics at University College London, who conducted the experiment, said: "We wanted to see what happens in the brain when you look at beautiful paintings.
"What we found is when you look at art – whether it is a landscape, a still life, an abstract or a portrait – there is strong activity in that part of the brain related to pleasure.
"We put people in a scanner and showed them a series of paintings every ten seconds. We then measured the change in blood flow in one part of the brain.
"The reaction was immediate. What we found was the increase in blood flow was in proportion to how much the painting was liked.
"The blood flow increased for a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love. It tells us art induces a feel good sensation direct to the brain."
The test was carried out on dozens of people, who were picked at random but who had little prior knowledge of art and therefore would not be unduly influenced by current tastes and the fashionability of the artist.
The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan measured blood flow in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, part of the brain associated with pleasure and desire.
The study, which is currently being peer reviewed, is likely to be published in an academic journal later this year.
Professor Zeki added: "What we are doing is giving scientific truth to what has been known for a long time – that beautiful paintings makes us feel much better.
"But what we didn't realise until we did these studies is just how powerful the effect on the brain is."
The study is being seized upon as proof of the need for art to be made as widely available to the general public as possible.
Image shown: Constable's Gold, part of my Consider Constable series.
It has been a good year so far for Kant's Sublime as it was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and National Open Art Competition.
The Kant's Sublime was inspired by a lecture. Studying extracts from The Critique of Judgement by German Philosopher Kant I was fascinated by his theories on art; ways of seeing, interior and exterior mapping in the mind.
I became transfixed by the marks on the edges of the photocopied lecture handouts, making copies of these copies. I cut them up, collaged them and photographed them over again.
A simple photocopy sent me thinking about Kant’s philosophies in the everyday. These prints are a visual outcome of his theories on perception. Hundreds of years later his thoughts have both informed and become part of my landscape.
"Impressionists were actually realists as they believed the truth came from light. We only see things because of light, therefore we ought to paint in white and/or the colours of the rainbow, no black. They said there was no fixed reality, only fleeting moments (Monet), like a reflection in a pond, it is all transient" Unknown.
As an artist who usually uses photography at some point of my creative process, I love this quote as it reminds me of the definition of photography - drawing with light. On sunny days like these it is easy to acknowledge and appreciate fleeting moments as the light is more obvious; dancing between shadow and light. There seems to be a direct link between the energy of light and the creative flow. As an artist, I see it as an honour and responsibility to acknowledge 'the fleeting'.
Last week took me on a road trip to Suffolk and Norfolk, I met some fab people and didn't give my camera a rest as I gathered source material for new works.
I was six when my Mum and Dad brought a caravan home. “So here’s the caravan, where’s the holiday?” I enquired, puzzled. I assumed it would instantly transport me to a different place and time. Ever since then I’ve been exploring moments, energy, time and space. I am fascinated by the things we can’t see like love, sound, memory, social history and much of reality.
This new series of work (coming here soon!) builds on my previous collection which was inspired by the history of windmills and my time following in the footsteps of artist Hilkiah Burgess.
After attending a symposium about the German philosopher Kant, I became fascinated by his theories on art, ways of seeing, interior and exterior mapping of the mind.
Although intrigued by his theories, I also found myself transfixed by the physicality of his words; specifically the edges of the pages of his ‘Critique of Judgment’ manifested as parallel marks made by the photocopied handouts
I introduced these marks to my mapping process; collage, camera lens and software.
Two and a half centuries later his thoughts have informed both perception and representation by becoming part of my visual outcomes.
Prints will become available in the shop section.
Exhibition runs to the end of 2015 and includes a selection of my framed prints.
My 'Humble Pie' piece is part of the Harrington Mills Studios touring INBOX exhibition
May 17 - 30, 2015
Viewing: Saturday 30th May 2 - 5pm
June 4 - 7th 2015
Please join us at HMS before INBOX tours to Art Athina in Athens for the largest art fair in Greece. Studio holders past and present, plus artists who have shown at the HMS EXHIBITION SPACE have been invited to make work (dimensions 30 x 30cm) on the theme of 'INBOX'.