Category Archives: Exhibitions

A Potpourri of Observations

This weeks photo challenge is ‘extra’.  Last week I posted off a package of work for a mixed show in Jersey, in the Channel Island, as a guest artist in Observations with Art in the Frame, at The Harbour Gallery, opening this weekend.  I hope the show goes well.

So I present a few ‘extras’ for you: a potpourri selection of details from some of the work I sent off as my contribution.  (click on images for a larger view).

Seven + One, concertina ‘book’

From the Ancient Landscape Series:

Divided Cells:

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From the Membrane Portals Series:

For other ‘extras’, see here.

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Two Worthy Causes: Helping Survivors of Torture or Typhoon.

Christmas.  You know it’s that time of year when the begging letters with pitiful photos of suffering donkeys/dogs/homeless people etc., flop through your letterbox designed to tear at your heart-strings, and dig a deep hole in your pocket.  They are difficult to ignore.  I’ve seen the graphic images on Facebook too.  Images of unbelievable cruelty metered out on these poor innocent creatures.  They stay with me for days and leave me weeping with anger and sadness.

Poniou by Veronica Vickery

Poniou by Veronica Vickery

But it’s the cruelty we inflict on our fellow humans that is the most shocking of all and shatter the lives of families around the world.  Not to mention the natural disasters like the recent Typhoon Hayain that shatter the lives of millions of people.  At the very least, witnessing the survivors of these natural or man-made catastrophes serve to put any adversities we may be experiencing into perspective.  Anything that we can do, however small, to try to heal those affected and suffering is surely worth pursuing.

installation of 'kisses', Drawing the Line exhibition.

detail of installation of ‘kisses’, Paul Carter and Alexandra Zierle, ‘Drawing the Line’ exhibition.

Two exhibitions opened this week in Cornwall with the aim of raising funds for charities that help others in desperate situations: Freedom From Torture and ShelterBox.  It was a coincidence that they happened to open on the same evening.  Both causes are close to my heart and I am proud to say I have had a small part to play in both events.

preparing to hang

Works by Faye Dobinson (left) and Samuel Bassett.

‘Drawing the Line’, kindly hosted by the Millennium Gallery, St. Ives, is a sealed bid charity exhibition in aid of Freedom From Torture, the medical branch of Amnesty.  The charity aims to help rehabilitate men and women from anywhere in the world who have survived torture.  The exhibition has been organised and curated by artist, Kate Walters, and as a member of the West Cornwall branch of the charity, I offered to help ‘hang’ the show.

lunch break for Janet, Kate (and me).

lunch break for Janet, Kate (and me).

Over 150 artists, not only from Cornwall but also from across the globe responded to the call-out and generously donated works with some well-known names amongst the line-up.   Kiki Smith, Tim Shaw RA, Sarah Gillespie, Lisa Wright and Pippa Young to name just a few.  With such a diverse range of work from different artists and over 200 works, putting this exhibition together has been a considerable task and not without its challenges.

untitled, by Richard Nott

untitled, by Richard Nott

However, there are some truly stunning pieces on show alongside contributions of work by a few of the people who have been helped by FFT.   The exhibition runs until 7th December so there is still time to make a bid and own a drawing by your favourite artist!  (I have donated 4 ‘drawings’).

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A drawing by Hugh Mendes

Over £8,000 has been raised so far from successful bids.  Take a look at more drawings here.

‘The Christmas Postcard Show’ is a collaborative event this year between Badcocks Gallery and Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens.

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The exhibition is taking place in the Lime Tree Café at Tremenheere, with part of the proceeds going to ShelterBox, a charity set up in Cornwall delivering emergency relief to people around the world.  (Typhoon Hayain in the Philippines is still so recent in our memories).  The show which this year has a ‘botanical’ theme, runs until Sunday, 15th December.  You can see the works here  (I have contributed 3 small drawings which I did from a recent visit to the Gardens in November, see one below).   The café is worth a visit in itself.  A slice of their home-made coffee and walnut cake is highly recommended!

Collecting Seeds, mixed media collage, 23cm x 18cm.  Inspired by the knowledge that the owner of the garden is a modern-day seed collector and visits foreign parts of the world to enhance his garden.

Collecting Seeds, 2013, mixed media collage, 23cm x 18cm, by Caro Woods.  Inspired by the knowledge that the owner of the garden is a modern-day plant collector who visits foreign parts of the world to bring back seeds to enhance the garden at Tremenheere.

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Filed under Art Works, Exhibitions, my sketchbook pages, The Art Business

untitled

'untitled'

‘untitled’

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, By any other name would smell as sweet.  Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Act ii.  (That’s certainly true for my little granddaughter, Rose!).

It’s a good question.  After all what is in a title?  There is potential to get it terribly wrong.  On the other hand, get it right and books like ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ so inspire people’s imagination with their title that they fly off the shelves no sooner than the ink is dry.

However you look at it, it’s worth taking a bit of time to get it right.  For works of art, it may simply describe what is there, such as Two Pears in a Bowl, but a title also has the power to inspire you or leave you puzzled.  (see also La Fontanelle)

Many artists prefer to leave their work in the mysterious zone of ‘untitled’ (always with a lower case ‘u’).  Even a local Hotel named themselves, untitled, supposedly with a reference to the artworks on the walls before it was taken over again and reverted back to its original name, The Abbey.  Does ‘untitling’ an artwork make it less important (the fact that it is untitled is a title in itself), or is the artist just lazy?  Sometimes it is genuinely difficult to find the right title for a work and ‘untitled‘ seems like the only real solution.

The collective

These days I am more likely to work in series, each individual work becomes part of the bigger picture like the piece in a jig-saw puzzle.  The title in this case then becomes a collective theme for the series and individual pieces in the series are numbered to identify them.

spider 20304 (b)My geological works were categorized in this way: Polarize – a collection of work inspired by looking down the lens of a microscope and rotating a thin section of rock in polarizing lights; Rock Series – work exploring fragments and textures of rock surfaces;  Strata – a video animation made with stitching many photomicrographs of thin sections of rock (I had taken with a camera looking down a microscope) into a moving image which had the effect of boring a hole through different layers of rock.

This sort of behaviour where work is sorted and arranged into categories is something that I have come to recognise as an important part of my practice.  I even do this with my blog!

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Fragments of Rock

Business Card Caro artwork + blog 3 reversed

I have a small group of works exhibited in the bucca gallery mixed Palladium Painting Show which had it’s PV last night in Newlyn.  These paintings originated from a phase of work which I called the Rock Series – one of which I used for the image on my business card.

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After my ‘shift’ volunteering at the  Newlyn Gallery this morning, I popped into bucca which is just around the corner, to take a picture of this small group.  (As you can see, there are too many reflections for a decent shot).

The four pictures on show here are part of a series of ten in all.  They were inspired by surface textures of rock.  Built up in many layers using a mixture of materials: paints, ink, charcoal, pastels, oils, on different layers of opaque and transparent surfaces such as fragments of rejected prints, acetates, tracing and cartridge papers.

The show runs until 9th February if you happen to be in the area.

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Tempus Fugit

‘Where are we now?’ croons David Bowie as he emerges from years in the wilderness to create a new album for his fans to celebrate his birthday (8th January).  It’s a good question.  Where are we now and where does the time go?

There’s nothing quite like a birthday or Anniversary to remind us how quickly time passes and  I learn that it was 30 years ago today (17th January) that the BBC just pipped ITV in the race to be the first to broadcast breakfast television.  It is also the whippets birthday as Zola and Tamzin reach three human years today.  And, the BBC are not the only ones celebrating a 30th Anniversary.  Across the Channel (this time a sea crossing not a television station) in the Channel Islands, the Jersey Arts Centre is also celebrating 30 years (gulp) since it’s opening in 1983 by hosting a special  festival of arts.

The Jersey Arts Centre happen to own a couple of my larger paintings, such as the one illustrated here, Plemont Cave, Red, 1996, 4′ x 3′, oil on board.  They kindly asked if they could exhibit one of these in the gallery for the duration, along with works by other artists who have been involved with the Arts Centre in some way or another over that period of time.  Of course I was delighted.  Those early years in Jersey were not only a happy time in my life getting married and starting a family, but also proved to be an important part of my artistic development.

plemont cave, red, 9630

In the latter part of the 1990’s,  I became fascinated by the dark holes that signified entrances to caves along the rocky shoreline.  You can see some of the preliminary ideas for these larger paintings, sketched out in my post, Not all Black and White (exploring caves), focusing on the wonderful caves along the beach at Plemont.

Jersey shares a lot of it’s geology with Cornwall.  Indeed, I believe some of the same seams of granite that run through Cornwall stretch right across the drink to the Channel Islands and on into Northern France.  It is no wonder that the landscape and coastline of Cornwall have a familiar feel.

So, if you just  happen to be visiting Jersey in the next few weeks, (and who knows, you might be?), do take a look.  The whole festival looks like a lot of fun and I wish all my friends who are celebrating this fantastic milestone, a very Happy 30th Birthday!  Just tell me, where has all that time gone?  We might well have survived the Mayan’s predicted ending of the world on 12th December and managed to weather the year that was 2012, but Bowie is right.  Where are we now?

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New Proposal

Whilst we wait for tiny baby Rose to play catch-up with life outside the womb in the postnatal ward, I received an email from Green Hill Arts in Moretonhampstead, a gallery I had discovered on a recent visit to Dartmoor.  They are asking for proposals of interest for hiring the gallery in 2013.  Thinking this would be a good opportunity to start working towards a fixed point in time, I started to cobble together some sort of cohesive proposal in less than 300 words.  Something along the lines of:

Fabric of the Land. (working title: Making Waves)

For this proposed exhibition at Green Hill Arts, I would like to show the outcome from various lines of enquiry that I am currently working on.  My focus, in particular, is on the elemental aspects that make up the very substance of the land: physical / non-physical; seen / hidden from view; experienced and imagined.

Still from Fade to Black

Recently, I have been using the human figure to explore the ‘thin veil’ that exists between the physical, material world of matter, and the spiritual, ethereal world of myth and the supernatural.  The result of this enquiry is a series of short videos exploring shadows as trace elements of human activity, using light as my medium.  (See ‘stills’ from Dip to White, and Fade to Black).  When combining ‘shadow’ imagery (absence of light) against other elements such as water, it gives the reflection of the human figure a fluidity of movement that distorts the image so that it no longer represents a true mirror but reveals potential for graphic and poetic responses as well as a range of historical references and meanings.

Still from Dip to White

Literal interpretations thus become abstracted into reflections (ponderings) on the distortions of waves of energy: in water, light (and air) and sound. The shadow itself is a displacement of light from the figure. As eddies and ripples vibrate around the solid objects of figure and boulders, the energy of the reflection becomes integrated into the energy of the water. The air also, is filled with refracted sound waves in a collision of gurgles and laps, bouncing and bumping into each other as they eddy and ripple around objects in their flow.

As I continue to explore this theme, both visually and philosophically, I envisage new work being realised in a range of media: anything from more video work, to mixed media which incorporates freehand machine ‘drawing’ on textiles – hence possible title.  I am very happy to share the exhibition with other artists working along similar lines of enquiry, although I shall probably have more than enough work to fill the space.

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Postcards for Shelterbox

10 Long Row, Sheffield

I have just delivered a ‘postcard’ sized drawing of one of our whippets, Zola (see below), to include in Badcocks’s Christmas exhibition.  It runs over two weekends, 3/4 and 10/11 December – or by appointment – at 10 Long Row (see above, ‘picture postcard’ cottage) Sheffield, Penzance, with a percentage of proceeds going towards Shelterbox.  Including ceramics, textiles, fairies, bunting and handbags as well as paintings, this exhibition promises to be full of Christmas cheer, and you could be helping this most worthy of causes.

Zola, pencil on board, 16 x 13cm. Nov. 2011

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