Sunday, 6 September 2009

Generation Gap Private View

I meant to try and take some photographs of the new Mill gallery show before the crowds arrived for the preview but didn't quite have time. I'll post some better ones this week. It is a show put together by mother and daughter Belinda Ellis and Gemma Challenger and features large abstract canvases as well as some highly detailed drawings of some quite random things such as insects, frogs, flowers and dismembered limbs. The amount of work that has gone into them is absolutely astonishing and must have taken forever.
As the new gallery bod I stick around for these previews but tend to feel like a bit of spare part loitering in the background. I'm no good at shmoozing or being remotely sociable to be honest and I think this stems from art college where I never quite fitted in and used to feel quite small surrounded by so much arch loftiness. I'm not even useful when I have my own work on the walls and tend to stand in the corner nervously clutching a glass of wine. I become quietly deranged if someone wants to buy my work and send in Tim, one of the house managers, to do all of the talking. He has offered to be my unofficial agent and this is fine until he starts asking for commission.

Anyway, this is about as close as I got to the action for most of the night, except to go around and collect glasses every so often. After hanging this work I became prompted to study my own drawing technique which is, at best, frenetic and lazy all at the same time.

Below is the same lily using a pencil in grade F. I haven't used anything less than a 4B for years. I also tackled the shelves in my bedroom thinking it would be good practice to try and render all of those CDs and bottles. I only had to stop because I used my deoderant and forgot where i'd picked it up from.

Still life is great. I try to encourage my students to do as much of it as possible but they all seem to gravitate towards landscape (as do I most of the time). I think it's because you can render skies, rivers and trees with so much atmosphere and emotion and that is the main attraction for the artist; the wish to impose private feelings on the natural landscape, it becomes the means by which the self is expressed (i'm writing this like it's the most revolutionary thought in the world when, of course, it's really quite obvious). It is very diffuclt to make an apple moody or impassioned. An apple is an apple whether you paint it angrily or carefully. And yet, i'm sat here thinking I would love to draw a landscape with that same detail, I would like to draw every tiny piece of bark texture, every ripple in the water and blade of grass.

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