i. Jo warned us not to neglect our studio practice whilst we write our research papers but I just don’t have the time get in the workshops as well. I also feel so out of any sort of practical routine that I know I won’t be able to get back into one until this essay’s handed in.
ii. We finished the week with a group crit that was fairly positive. I think people agree that there’s mileage in my current work but it can get a bit wearing having to justify every single decision I make (colour, composition etc.). I just want to get this paper finished so I can get back to making.
iii. I followed up on a prize I was awarded earlier in the year: a year’s use of Bainbridge Print Studios. I signed a contract, completed an induction and booked in some printing sessions over the next few weeks. Luke Wade, a Camberwell alumnus and skilled etcher, will also be there on Wednesday afternoons which will no doubt be entertaining as well as educational.
iv. Thursday was devoted to Symposium 1, a series of short presentations by all MA Printmaking students summarising our practices. It was reassuring to look and reflect on the last year and realise how much progress I’ve made (and I think my work looked strong). There are some really exciting figurative artists (Liora Tchiprout and Liliana Romero) in the year below. Perhaps there may be opportunity to exhibit with them in the future? It also helped me to think about why I make the work I make. Both artists reference their cultural heritage (Jewish and Columbian respectively) in their work. I’m a white, middle-class man from the South West. Making work about my experiences (via the pub and other portraits) may seem less politically-charged but it’s certainly no less authentic.
v. On Saturday, I spent the day visiting galleries in London with my friend Beth. We briefly popped in to see Babes in the Orchard, Rachel Mercer’s small group exhibition at Mercer Chance. Geraint Evans (who exhibited a few weeks ago) and Michael Chance (the next and final show) and both brilliant artists but tend to have a rather negative outlook on the world whereas Rachel’s paintings are always playful and joyful. Sadly, it was probably my final visit to Mercer Chance (they close for good in a couple of weeks’ time). I’m grateful to Rachel and Michael for the support they’ve shown me over the last couple of years and wish them well with whatever they do next!
vi. We also visited the Photographers Gallery to see Silver Lake Drive, an exhibition by Alex Prager. Prager makes filmic photographs and short videos that reference Hitchcock and Film Noir. The work throws you into the middle of complex narratives but never reveals the whole story. Jo has spoken about narratives in my pub images - perhaps this is inevitable given the subject matter. Also on display was Tish Murtha: Works 1976-1991, a series of documentary photographs that offer ‘a tender and frank perspective on a historic moment of social deprivation and instability in Britain’ including several of a pub in Newport. The photos were bleak but also honest, poignant and surprisingly tender.