i. I want to clarify my use of the word 'clumsy' in last week's post: I recently listened to the podcast 'The Importance of Being Clumsy' by Jonathan Jones. Jones states that the genius produced by artists Cézanne, Picasso and Auerbach begins in clumsiness and awkwardness and that these artists are 'immersed in the physical world and obsessed by the physical presence of things'.
ii. On Wednesday, I visited the BP Portrait Prize predominantly to see work by Casper White who won last year's BP Travel Award for his proposal to create works about music fans in clubs and concert venues in Berlin and Mallorca. White made paintings of his friends dancing in the nightclubs as well as drawings of them hungover the following day. The body of work is concise, bold and playful, especially in the context of the National Portrait Gallery (the main Portrait Prize exhibition was even more polished, photorealistic and boring than normal). White and I follow each other on Instagram - I might get in touch to ask him about the project over the summer.
iii. I also went to visit Howard Hodgkin: Last Paintings at Gagosian Gallery. These paintings are records of the last moments that really mattered to him and as a result the show was incredibly moving. In 1984 Hodgkin said 'I don't care about mortality in the slightest, but I certainly want to beat time. I certainly want to defy time... the point being that really they should be like memorials, that's what paintings were.' The moments Hockney transcribes through paint are gentle, everyday events and these works become quiet, poignant monuments to the life of an extraordinary painter.
iv. Artist Victoria Ahrens gave a talk about her practice which deals with political and historical narratives as well as the physical nature of printmaking. Ahren's practice and PHD is particularly research-heavy. I'm not sure my work will ever be so intellectual/complicated but if I'm going to continue making work about The Three Crowns (which has been a pub since the early 18th Century) then undertaking some historical research about the town, the pub and the people could be an interesting starting point. I'm not sure what this would necessarily add to the project but perhaps that's the point.
v. I had my final tutorial of the year with Jo who seems encouraging about my current work. Next week I'm heading back to Chippenham for a couple of days to start the project by make some drawings in the pub, speaking to the landlord and visiting Chippenham Museum and Wiltshire History Centre. I hope that by October I will have a wealth of source material to draw upon (drawings, photographs, interviews etc.). I now know what I want to do and am eager to get on and do it!
vi. Jo also suggested I be braver with my printmaking and drawing and to consider not always being limited by the conventions of the rectangle. Specifically she mentioned visiting an impressive drawing by Patrick Metcalfe in the Camberwell BA Show (made as 'a recognition of the privilege afforded... as white, British male' full of images of colonialism and popular culture). Ignoring the interesting and complicated subject-matter, it was presented as a sprawling, large-scale, sculptural work. I aim to make a new print for the interim show in a couple of weeks' time and intend to be more playful and experimental in its making and display.
vii. Tom Hammick is currently Artist in Residence at The Seventy-First Aldeburgh Festival of Music and The Arts. I've been enjoying his recent posts on Instagram such as the beautiful presentation of works below and a small series of works about the sea made as part of his residency. I want to approach the creation of a body of work (in my case about the pub) in a similar fashion. Back in February Tom invited me to his studio for a tutorial but was then (understandably) too busy with a solo show to see me. I will get back in touch with him next term to reschedule once I have a pile of works to discuss.