Writer, artist and musician Rob St. John (who contributed to our Random Spectacular No. 2 journal) has announced details of his latest project, Surface Tension.
In summer 2014, Ben Fenton, project manager of the ‘Fixing Broken Rivers’ campaign run by London freshwater conservation charity Thames 21, got in touch with Rob. Ben had an unusual commission in mind: could Rob design a project drawing from both art and science to creatively explore and document pollution along London’s River Lea?
Almost a year later, and the project – Surface Tension – is finished, resulting in an album of new music and field recordings taken along the Lea; a book of writing and photographs documenting the Lea Valley and the creative processes in Surface Tension; and an exhibition of film photographs from the project at Stour Space, Hackney Wick, London (E3 2PA) throughout April 2015.
In late summer, Rob walked most of the length of the Lea – one of Britain’s most polluted rivers – wearing holes into the soles of his shoes as he made field recordings with binaural microphones (which look like cheap headphones, but capture a 360 degree soundscape around your head), underwater hydrophones and contact mics. At the same time, he took film photographs on both a vintage 120 camera and a 35mm pinhole camera made from a Lesney toy matchbox (the Lesney factory was on the river at Hackney Wick).
Rob’s work has always had a foot in both art and science: working with sound, photography and natural processes in ways that are both experimental and accessible. In 2011 he released a critically acclaimed LP ‘Weald’; in 2013 the Water of Life collaboration with Tommy Perman; in 2014 the Bastard Mountain LP; and in 2015 Surface Tension and a sound installation Concrete Antenna at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.
Surface Tension is released in April on limited edition CD, housed in a beautiful book of Rob’s photographs and writing, designed by Tommy Perman.
Posted by Simon Lewin on March 4th, 2015
We're pleased that we'll be working again with artist Charles Shearer who formed part of our 2010 St Jude's In The City exhibition in London.
Charles was born in Kirkwall in Orkney. He studied at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen and later at the Royal College of Art, London, specialising in illustration. Charles now teaches printmaking in numerous art schools and works on commissions for books and magazines, such Faber's poetry series.
His work also features on a favourite CD at home, Drever/McCusker Woomble's Before The Ruin
His prints are inspired by his extensive travels both here and abroad.
Posted by Simon Lewin on February 19th, 2015
I was delighted to be asked to take part in the 'Nostalgia & Progress: Illustration After the Second World War' exhibition at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery in Leeds.
The exhibition explores the history of British book illustration in a fertile period after the Second World War. This era was marked not only by technological progress and innovation – even in the midst of rationing – but also by nostalgia and a romanticising of the pre-war past. Artists exhibited include Edward Bawden, Edward Ardizzone and Ronald Searle.
The exhibition also includes a display of contemporary work by artists who particularly reference this period, including Mark Hearld, Emily Sutton and Ed Kluz. I have two limited edition prints forming part of the exhibition - Shoreline and Knockando Thrift and Feathers.
The exhibition runs until 28th February 2015 at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, Parkinson Building, Woodhouse Lane, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT. Find out more via the gallery's website
Here are some images of the catalogue which features essays by James Russell, Sarah Butler, Laura Millward and Layla Bloom. Copies are available for purchase from the gallery shop.
From top to bottom: Cover illustration by Edward Ardizzone, then another image from Edward Ardizzone, Charles Keeping, Esme Eve, Edward Bawden, Reg Boulton, Emily Sutton, John Broadley, Ed Kluz, Jonathan Gibbs, Angie Lewin, Edward Bawden.
Posted by Angie Lewin on February 10th, 2015
As we finalise details of our next Jonny Hannah exhibition in Edinburgh, we thought we'd take the opportunity to share a few photos from Jonny's 2010 exhibition at our former gallery in North Norfolk, "A Bed of Sea and Dead Men's Suits".
Posted by Simon Lewin on February 4th, 2015
We're pleased to announce our next St Jude's exhibition in Edinburgh.
The Darktown Billets-Doux will see Jonny Hannah bring a selection of paintings, prints and other flotsam and jetsam to the city.
We'll also be launching Jonny's new wallpaper for St Jude's.
The exhibition will run from 10th-14th April 2015 in the heart of Edinburgh. For an invitation to the opening event, please sign up to our e-mail newsletter.
Posted by Simon Lewin on February 1st, 2015
We're off to North Uist for the first time later this year. Was rummaging in a second hand bookshop and came across this, with a cover featuring designer Ashley Havinden's 'Ashley Script' typeface which is still available digitally.
Posted by Simon Lewin on January 26th, 2015
We were delighted to receive a set of chapbooks from Desdemona McCannon, produced as part of her 'Women In Print' project.
Each celebrates the work of a woman who has inspired the designer of these risograph printed publications.
The set we have features Enid Mark (by Desdemona McCannon), Sheila Robinson (by Chloe Cheese), Pearl Binder (by Alice Pattullo), Barbara Jones (by Rosemary Shirley), Peggy Angus (Carolyn Trant) and Olive Cook (by Lotte Beatrix).
We asked Desdemona to tell us more about the project...
"Over the last few years I have started a collection of books by 20thc women designers I admire - people like Barbara Jones, Enid Marx, Pearl Binder, Peggy Angus, Lettice Sandford, Dorothy Hartley - who alongside being 'jobbing artists' also wrote (and illustrated) books about folk culture, craft skills and 'popular' art'. Initially I was interested in the ways their research and writing was folded back into their creative practice, but as the collection grew, I became more and more fascinated by the idea of 'print culture'- the ways that publishers and art directors, printers and booksellers as well as authors and artists are entangled in a huge web of connections. I became hooked on the idea that, as Elisabeth Eisenstein says, print itself can be 'an agent of change'.
The main catalyst for setting up Women in Print was seeing a photo in a book, I forget which one, of Tirzah Ravilious on a step ladder with a paintbrush in her hand, in the process of putting paint on a wall, with Eric Ravilious standing by looking down, and the caption underneath saying 'Eric Ravilious painting a mural'. I realised that there was a silence around these women in the way histories were being told, a huge blind spot when it came to celebrating their achievements.
So the point of the Women in Print network is to focus attention on women who deserve to be better known, and their contribution to 'print culture'- as writers, academics, artists, art directors, publishers, journalists, printmakers and illustrators. This happens through an ad hoc series of events, enjoyable study days with speakers and discussions. Alongside this there is a growing set of tribute chapbooks. Anyone can contribute to the series. If they know of a woman they would like to celebrate, I send them the template and they send the (two colour) artwork and text back. I print them up on the risograph machine at Manchester School of Art with the help of students at the college, and we sell them and give them out at the Women in Print events, in the spirit of radical pamphleteers! Lots of really interesting artists, writers and academics have contributed to the series already... Alice Patullo did a beautiful one for Pearl Binder, and Carolyn Trant made one about Peggy Angus who she knew well. Chloe Cheese made one about her mother Sheila Robinson too. I would love for there to be a whole shelf of them one day.
Over the last 18 months there have been three fascinating days of talks about the different ways that women contributed to print culture in the 20thc, the first at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, the second at MMU Special Collections in Manchester, and the third at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne to accompany the Peggy Angus exhibition there. Speakers have ranged from Professors to recent graduates, researchers into design history and daughters of the designers themselves. The days attract a mixed audience too, which has been wonderful. Artists, academics, people interested in craft, ex librarians, collectors, and the odd husband quietly trying to sleep in the corner. There have been biographical talks about individual women- people like Peggy Angus and Pearl Binder, Susan Clough Ellis and Sheila Robinson, but also fascinating insights into publishing and visual culture of the period, for example Natalie Kay Thatcher recently gave a blinding talk about the Perry Colour Books at the Towner event.
There are more Women in Print days coming up- one in Boscastle next April looking at 'witchcraft in the popular press 1920- 1990' - inspired by a visit to the wonderful library at the museum of witchcraft there. Several people have already offered to give talks about Doreen Valiente, Ruth Manning Sanders, Margaret Murray and Ithell Colqhoun. The call for papers is still open, with further information available online, and so I'm looking forward to seeing what comes in.
It's really heartening that Chloe Cheese has recently written a book about her mother's work, and that Ann Ullman is writing about her mother Tirzah Ravilous too... there are some other projects in a similar vein in the pipeline too. It feels like an exciting time, a chance to have another go at writing the history of the period, and points to the continued potency of print in shaping the cultural landscape. What I find most most enjoyable is the enthusiasm and generosity of all the people involved- that a shared love of print has enabled these connections too."
Desdemona McCannon was born in Liverpool and studied English Literature at Bristol University before going on to train as an illustrator in Liverpool and Brighton. She is interested in investigating popular and vernacular art forms through organising events, curating exhibitions, writing articles, editing the Journal of Illustration and making work. She is currently a senior lecturer at Manchester School of Art. Find out more
Posted by Angie Lewin on December 9th, 2014
So it's been great to read of artist David Cass' time spent working in this unique landscape.
We're great fans of David's work. I remember being particularly impressed by his degree show at Edinburgh College of Art from where he graduated in 2010, receiving the Royal Scottish Academy’s John Kinross Scholarship to Florence.
As Guy Peploe of The Scottish Gallery explains...
“David Cass has an innate understanding of matière; a sensitivity to material, it’s texture, tone, pigment, weight and beyond this its context, history and emotional resonance. He works with found objects and by an act of appropriation and minimal intervention – perhaps merely turning the front of a drawer through ninety degrees – he creates works of art with quiet authority."
A large part of the work David is creating during his time at Cortijada Los Gázquez will be exhibited in an upcoming show, during the summer of 2015, with The Scottish Gallery. His new works are taking his exploration of water (and the sea), a step further - these new works on paper (informed by his recent photographic and film works) illustrate both real and imagined scenes of flooding, inundation and destruction. His landscape exploration has developed, and he's taking time to learn new methods of response - film, photography, writing and sound.
You can view more of David's work over at his website.
Posted by Angie Lewin on November 3rd, 2014
We recently made an overnight stop in Newcastle upon Tyne - to see Brita Granström’s paintings at the University Gallery.
On the ground floor are her lively illustrations for The Beatles - a book on which she has collaborated with her husband Mick Manning.
Upstairs is an extensive exhibition of Brita's bold paintings - often the result of working in the great outdoors, whatever the weather.
Many of the paintings depict her native Sweden where she includes family and friends in the landscape - fishing, swimming, hanging washing to dry. Others include black hollyhocks, cow parsley or the orange stems of pollarded willows and views to calm interiors.
The exhibition runs until 31st October 2014 at University Gallery, Northumbria University, Sandyford Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST.
All of the works being exhibited can be viewed in a PDF file via the gallery's website.
Posted by Angie Lewin on October 26th, 2014
Just published by Merrell is Jonny Hannah's wonderful 'Greetings from Darktown - An Illustrator's Miscellany', the first book devoted to the work of this popular illustrator, printmaker and painter.
Born and bred in Scotland, Jonny Hannah now lives by the sea in Southampton, but he also resides in Darktown – a mysterious coastal town, not found on any map, peopled by pin-up girls, jazz artists and tattooed sailors. Darktown is home to the Unquiet Grave junk emporium; the Mermaid Café, where folk legend Woody Guthrie still plays each week; McVouty’s vintage clothes shop; and a pier with a condemned helter skelter. Joining Hannah on his trip to downtown Darktown are the writers Philip Hoare and Peter Chrisp, who explore the eclectic influences on Hannah’s work, and Sheena Calvert, who introduces a special typographic catalogue of hand-drawn lettering. As he tours Darktown, Hannah presents his prints and paintings in thematic chapters reflecting his passions, and bids farewell to his alter ego, Rocket Man, who inhabits the darkest corners of pop culture.
In April 2015 we'll be hosting an exhibition of Jonny's work in Edinburgh which will incorporate prints, paintings, music and spoken word. Sign up for our gallery newsletter for details.
And later in 2014 we'll be launching Jonny's first wallpaper for St Jude's, the follow up to his fabric The Captain's Pattern.
Posted by Simon Lewin on October 4th, 2014