Thursday, 30 September 2010

Interview with Patrick Morrissey & Hanz

It is a pleasure to interview Patrick Morrissey and Clive Hancock (Hanz). In this interview I find out about the forthcoming show ‘Monochrome Set’ at Core gallery. Which is a collaborative project between Patrick, Hanz and ceramicist Leyla Folwell. The title of this show is intended to bind the works together under a theme which may evoke any number of associations with Pop culture and kinetiscism.

'Two People in a Room' 2010 © Patrick Morrissey

Morrissey’s work represents a development of ideas initiated whilst taking his degree at Goldsmiths College. Morrissey utilizes geometric and numeric systems to create a visual field or ground which contradicts and simultaneously informs the audience’s perception of each piece. 

Hanz has evolved his method as an outsider artist. He started to produce art in the late 1970s, very much influenced by the punk art and music scene. He uses ‘discarded’ material in his work.

September 2010  >>

CP: Can you tell us about your forthcoming exhibition ‘Monochrome Set’ at Core Gallery?

Hanz did a piece of work some years ago; unusually for him it was in black and white instead of his highly colourful boxes.

It was my Millennium box, obviously done in the year 2000 and is shown here in the ‘Monochrome Set’.

So we decided at that time to create black and white work at some point for a future exhibition. When Leyla joined Cor Blimey Arts, we both found something about her strong sculptural forms that appealed to us. We invited her to contribute some of her work to ‘Monochrome Set’, we were pleased that she accepted and she produced the work you see before you now.

CP: Given the title, how do you selectively choose colour within your works?

For ‘Monochrome Set’ the choice was easy, all the emphasis has been placed on the structures / language of the pieces. I usually work with colours that vibrate. 
Hanz: ‘Monochrome Set’ has given me the freedom to experiment with the language of my work also. In my colour boxes I choose a set of colours from the environment around me, then use a numerical system to place them on the tubes and cones.

Patrick: This is our first exhibition where we have created a body of work with a specific theme allowing us to go back to the very basics of our constructivist / concrete work and has re-affirmed our original direction.

Millenium Box,  2000 19"' x 19" © Hanz

CP: Hanz and Patrick, you have shared a studio space together since 2008. Can you tell us how your work has developed? How important is the studio practice.

Patrick: We have worked and developed in parallel for many years but since sharing a studio we have been very free with our ideas. We are both happy to have an open dialogue concerning our work and the creative processes involved

Hanz: We both work in very different media and can share a way of working in the studio but the work still retains its individuality. The work always seems to hang well together.

Patrick: Studio practice is all everything is about the work.

CP: What artists are you inspired by?

Patrick: Jose Patricio, Kenneth Martin, Francois Morellet, Sol Le Witt, Bridget Riley.

Hanz: Victor Vasarely. Mathew Frere-Smith, Fernand Leger.

Howeldrehevel, 8"  x 8 "  © Hanz

CP: Hanz, can you tell us how your abstracted relief constructions are formed and the materials you use?

I use 1” long pieces of electrical conduit and the cones are made of paper, in my random boxes anything goes.

CP: Why do you choose discarded materials?

Hanz: Discarded materials / found objects can be used to great effect; the colours and textures can create amazing patterns, initially I created collages using packaging and cut up magazines, it was very anarchic. I found an off cut of conduit and started to place textures and colours in the tube and the work just seemed to develop from there. Patrick encouraged me to look at the constructivist’s work; which was a revelation to me. In my random boxes there is still an element of that anarchy but the tubes contain and order it.

Exhibition view at Nolia’s gallery 2010

CP: Patrick, you utilise geometric and numeric systems to create a visual field. Can you describe this process and how do you begin to create your paintings?

Pernambuco, 2009, Acylic on canvas, 4" x 4"  © Patrick Morrissey
Patrick: I usually prepare for a piece of work by having an idea of a form literally in my ‘minds eye’. I try this out on paper, producing and working through several drawings until I feel I have achieved my original intention. The ideas are fundamentally instinctive, but are reigned in or structured according to the geometric / numeric development of each piece. All the work has a developmental progression contained within a framework, but there can be deliberate variation or adjustment; which will contradict the progressive order of the elements concerned. The results, by the paintings very nature, will be to automatically create a field or mid-ground between it and the viewer, so that perspective becomes irrelevant and the relationship (hopefully) between work and viewer will be totally direct or physiological, i.e., the experience of looking will become the initial reaction, perhaps followed by associations within the viewer’s own experience.

CP: How do you both incorporate kinetic techniques within your art?

The kinetic aspect of the work is a bi-product of the process.

Hanz: As my work has a depth to it, all of the surfaces cannot be seen at the same time. As the viewer interacts with the work its innate qualities are revealed.

CP: Do you have any forthcoming projects / news to divulge?

We have both started a series of new works and are currently in negotiation with other established artists in the U.S.A, Europe and London with a view to holding a group exhibition in the New Year.

CP: Thank you very much!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Interview with James Wright

It is a pleasure to interview James Wright a selected artist in Core Gallery’s Open Exhibition for Deptford X 2010. Wright is one of Eighteen artists who were selected from an outstanding pool of entries from across the world by Graham Crowley, one of the UK’s most distinguished living painters, Matt Roberts of Matt Roberts Art and Kate Jones, Marketing Director of John Jones.

The Shrouding, 2009

Wright graduated from the Royal College of Art. His work uses a vocabulary of symbols and motifs, often from historical painting but many of his own making, to denote the themes of original works which the artist revisits. James Wright was singled out by Kay Saatchi in the 2008 Selfridges Art Exhibition: 'Anticipation' as well as Jerwood painting and drawing prizes as well as being shortlisted for John Moores 25. James recently completed a residency at Gloucester Cathedral, culminating in two solo shows: ‘As It Was In the Beginning’ and ‘Memento Mori’.

I speak to Wright to find out about; his motivations for applying to the Open Competition 2010, the work he submitted, how significant the residency at Gloucester Cathedral was in the development of his work and the possibilities of his current practice.

September 2010     >>

CP: What attracted you to apply to the Core Gallery’s Open submission Competition at Deptford X 2010? 

JW: I was excited by Mark Titchner’s statement of intent and felt that my work bore a direct relationship. This along with wanting to be part of a much larger exhibition is what attracted me to apply. I also thought that the calibre of the selectors helped to ensure an exciting and stimulating show. 

The Sacrifice, 2009
CP: Can you tell us about the work that you submitted? 

JW: I submitted three drawing’s that each appropriate particular works from the annals of art history. The Sacrifice traces the composition of Caravaggio’s Crucifixion of St Peter, The Shrouding is informed by the work of Gerard David and his lamentation paintings in particular, and The Entombment is after Rogier Van Der Weyden’s The Entombment of Christ. Each drawing displays a reflected image which, along with the subject, reminds us of the fragility of life and the subsequent passing of time. 

CP: Your work is informed by religious iconography. How significant was the artist in residence program at Gloucester Cathedral in the development of your work? 

JW: For some time now, works of art from the Early Renaissance, with their particular idiosyncrasies and peculiar inaccuracies have informed my practice. The residency at Gloucester Cathedral afforded me the time to fully immerse myself within the work. I think that people naturally assume that I am religious person, but that is not the case, and it is certainly not a pre-requisite of the residency program. The fact that my work often addresses Christian beliefs, visualised in an apparent secular narrative, allowed for interesting dialogues to evolve. Attending the cathedrals many services certainly informed my practice and made for a stimulating and thought provoking period of research and study, much of which I continues to feel. 

The Burial, 2010, Acrylic on oak, 30 x 21 cm

CP: Your painting technique is highly informed by traditional methods used by artists from High Renaissance and Flemish schools. Could you describe the techniques you employ? 

JW: A lot of it is actually quite dumb. Simple techniques employed to give believable, realistic painterly and visual effects. What may appear at first to be laboured and heavily worked, can be born from relatively simple means. The biggest challenge often comes from trying to get the paint to do something that it inherently does not want to do.

CP: What artists are you inspired by? 

JW: It is difficult to say. I am certainly inspired by many artists work and quite often a postcard hanging on my studio wall will provide a ‘light bulb’ moment. I think that somewhat unsurprisingly, most people would assume that I am inspired by works of art and artists whose practice is close to my own. However, this is not always the case. Sure, I like to see how certain artists achieve a particular painterly and visual language, but this is usually so that I can employ similar methods within my own work, I’m a kind of magpie in that respect. But, in a contemporary context, I really enjoy seeing works by Nicholas Byrne, Ryan Mosley and Paul Housley for example, and it’s also fair to say that I have a real soft spot for the work of Jane Harris. 

CP: Your paintings are loaded with symbols and motifs that revisit art painting history. By situating the contemporary with the historic, how has this transformed these urban landscapes? 

JW: Much of my work remains esoteric and certainly relies on a knowledge of art history and symbolism. The urban landscape, and more definitively the gutter subject that I choose to represent, are simply my props, my models and a source of continuous inspiration. I’ve grown up and lived in and around cities and large towns all my life, and the familiarity of these scenes helps inform the narrative. I think that at its heart, there is something really curious about introducing low-fi subjects to high-art supports on a scale usually preserved for icon or miniature type works.

The Waster, 2010, Acrylic on oak, 30 x 21 cm

CP: The viewer is presented with intimate, vignette shaped paintings that have been described in a recent article on the BBC as “small and jewel-like”. Is this a way of re-attaching sentiment back to these unwanted and abandoned landscapes? 
The Tomb, 2010, Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 21cm

JW: It is certainly about giving life to objects, and in many circumstances a new or even hidden life. The vignette aids this transformative process because of its relationship to portraiture and allows the viewer to attach human attributes to otherwise inanimate objects. The paintings themselves are actually rectangular in format and the vignette is archived by a simple framing device that has it origins in the generic school photograph with it faux gilded cardboard oval mount. Much of the work, because of it relationship to religion, has sentiment attached to it that is subsequently thrust upon the depicted object. 

CP: Do you have any forthcoming projects or news to divulge? 

JW: I do, I am planning an exhibition in a major public space outside of London, but it is perhaps too early to divulge in greater detail. 

CP: Thank you very much, James Wright.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Interview with Graham Crowley

It is a pleasure to interview Graham Crowley, one of the most distinguished living painters in the UK today. Born in 1950, Graham Crowley studied at St. Martin’s School of Art London 1968-72 and Royal College of Art London 1972-75, and has held significant teaching posts including Professor of Painting at the RCA (1998-2006).

GC on a 1950 Vincent | pictured on the TT Course (Isle of Mann) | 2007
His paintings span a vast variance in style from the appropriationist art of the 70s to his brilliantly luminous landscapes of the present day, tracking a fundamental narrative with political, cultural and personal histories within them.

Crowley is one of the guest judges for the forthcoming ‘Open Competition at Core Gallery for Deptford X 2010’, where eighteen artists have been selected from an outstanding pool of entries from across the world. I speak to him to find out; his views on the education system, ‘modern art’ and what it was like to be a student in the revolutionary 60’s.

September 2010 >>

CP: How did you and the other judges arrive at a selection for Core Gallery's Deptford X 2010 Open Competition?

GC: I can’t speak for the other judges, but If you’re asking me how I chose work. I chose work by my assessment of it’s intentions, it’s sense of context, execution and insight. I did not choose it because I liked it. As I’ve come to understand that I don’t like art. I think of painting as a discourse and not merely as an activity, and I don’t regard it as shopping, either.

Selected Artists | Open submission competition for Deptford X | 2010

CP: What is the significance of 'independent' competitions such as the Core Gallery's Open Competition?
GC: Independent competitions are vital in providing a platform for work that isn’t being shown by commercial or public galleries. This becomes more important as the market seems to exert an increasing influence on public galleries. Peer group approval isn’t the same thing as commodification. I’ve said elsewhere that I think projects like The John Moores/Liverpool Exhibition provide a more comprehensive survey of British painting than just about anything else.

CP: What will you take into consideration when curating the show for ‘Core Gallery’s Deptford X 2010 Competition’?

GC: Bearing in mind that I’ll be one of 3 or 4 people involved in the curating. My immediate response is the audience. I’ll also attempt to hang the work in way that creates correspondence and dialogue between works. I’m also in the (now familiar, but problematic) position of not having (yet) seen the 18 finalists, except as digital images. I’m fully aware of the shortcomings of this method of selection. But this project and others like it wouldn’t have seen the light of day, as the cost of insurance, handling, transport and warehousing would have been prohibitive.

CP: In April 2008 you had a letter published in Art Monthly ‘Can’t get No Satisfaction’ where you expressed concerns about the state of art education in London. You stated ‘We now certificate, rather than educate’. How can the focus of ‘educating’ be restored?

GC: There’s no easy fix, and I suggest anybody who hasn’t already read my letter in the April 2008 edition of Art Monthly and (some of) the very extensive correspondence it provoked, to do so. Also view – ‘Angry students meet Sandra Kemp’ on You Tube. But, I suggest we go back to the ‘drawing board’. I come at this problem as a parent, a tax payer, an ex-academic (I was Professor of Painting at the RCA 1998-2006) and a painter.
Art schools should never have become universities. The primary reason that they became universities was political. We need a serious rethink. The imposition of what is called Taylorism (an American form of management efficiency) in higher education has been a disaster. It is blind to the social value of education. It acknowledges only certification. At what is currently foundation and undergraduate level I think one answer would be to look at some kind of re-invented ‘atelier’ model. A studio based ‘apprenticeship’ that promotes theory through practice, taught by practicing artists. I’m not suggesting we maintain the rather discredited teaching methods of approval and emulation. I imagine this to take place in artists’ studios or collectives, rather like The Core studios or similar.

Spider with Mushroom Soup | 1982 | Oil on canvas |122 x 92 cm
CP: You studied at St. Martin’s School of Art, in 1968 a time where radical thinking and innovation was emerging. Can you tell us about your experience as a student then?

GC: Yes. I was caught up in a ‘cultural revolution’. The driving force behind the education that I received was an inexhaustible curiosity about life and society, fueled by scepticism and affirmed by dissent.

To ask intelligent questions, requires an education. That was why the Tories abolished the ILEA, (Inner London Education Authority). They couldn’t bear the idea of quality mass education. That’s why, still today, the police

behave in an intolerant, violent and abusive manner when confronted by well organised and legitimate demonstrators, whether they be trade unionists or environmentalists.

Head (2) | 1977 | Acrylic on canvas |153 x 92 cm
Education is seen by the establishment as enabling social unrest. So now the state has a monopoly; selling useless pieces of paper at an exorbitant price and calling them degrees. Education is a human right not a commodity.

As a post-graduate I had to deal with the crisis in modernism. I realised that the two principal doctrines of modernism; originality and self expression, were now hollow rhetoric.

The ‘dominant discourse’ was conceptualism. As a student at St Martins I got involved in performance and wrote ‘plays about plays’. But I’d always had this love-hate relationship with painting. So when painting became almost demonised in the early 1970’s; I thought “That’s for me”. I had now learnt not to seek approval. As a painter I cherish the legacy of a ‘conceptual’ education. My generation received, what some regard as the apotheosis of a ‘liberal education’.

CP: What are you currently working on within your practice?

GC: Ive recently moved back to London. Since I left the RCA in 2006 Ive been living and working in West Cork. Some years ago I learnt that the artist I wanted to be was not the same as the artist I needed to be. So now I make paintings about where I am, what I think, what I’ve read and most importantly what I’ve seen. Seeing is a very underrated activity.

Blue Drift |2010 | oil on canvas | 114 x 137 cm

I’m currently making landscape paintings that I regard as synthetic. Synthetic paintings exist simultaneously as object (the thing itself) and illusion (window on the world); the legacy of Manet.
My paintings also refer to modernist painting, particularly cubism and early American modernists like Stuart Davis. I’m becoming more concerned with illusion and apprehension. I want to make paintings that acknowledge both the human and the historic.

Red Drift 3 |2010 | oil on canvas | 114 x 137 cm

I’m also very suspicious of the academic orthodoxy that insists on contemporary landscape painting being acceptable providing it’s uncanny, sublime or abject. I want to make landscapes that celebrate sight and life, before I die.

There are some images of recent paintings on my website;

CP: What is so captivating about your work is your intense involvement and assurance with the medium of paint. Could you describe some of the techniques you employ?

Farm on the Sheep's Head  |1998 | oil on canvas | 178 x 152 cm
GC: Yes. I abhor the convention of the artist as slacker convention – the ‘I meant it to be like that’ tendency. Whilst I was at the RCA I abandoned acrylics and started to use oil paint. At that point I had no option, but to learn how to paint. This doesn’t sound that remarkable until you realise that I spent 7 years in full-time higher education and not one of my tutors knew how to teach students painting as a skill. As a student one dared not to ask, for fear of being regarded as reactionary, or worse.The situation is no better today. The teaching of painting technique still has the stigma of the amateur. The ‘romantic’ notion of the artist as ‘free spirit’ staggers on.

Flower Arranging (6) | 1998 | Oil on canvas |178 x 152 cm

Over the last 30 years I’ve employed a variety of methods including grisaille, impasto but most importantly glazing. Glazing has shown me why colours such as Payne’s Gray, Davy’s Gray, Indian Yellow, Transparent Golden Ochre and Rose Dore exist. Glazing is to painting what ‘ambient’ is to music. I’ve always been fascinated in ‘how things work’. I think it’s my ‘diet’ of Meccano, The Eagle and The Boys’ Own Paper in the 1950’s and 60’s.

I have the sensibility of a * ‘rodder’ rather than a poet. I think contemporary practice is becoming increasingly located in the vernacular. It’s important to study every aspect of painting, if only because knowledge presents choice; historical, theoretical and practical. I also consider carefully, the composition of my paintings, as every aspect of a painting carries meaning.

Flower Arranging (1) | 1988/92 | Oil on canvas |178 x 152 cm

* rodder - as in Hot Rod. Someone immersed in the aesthetics of custom car and bike culture. Someone who values the vernacular. See David Hickey ‘Air Guitar – Essays on Art & Democracy’ and the work of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth. Also check out Matthew Crawford’s ‘The Case for Working with Your Hands or Why Office Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good.’

CP: In your most recent works, do you feel you have revitalised landscape painting through your use of colour?


CP: Do you have any forthcoming projects or news to divulge?

GC: I’m currently in a group show of past John Moores Prizewinners in Korea. I have a one man show at Churchill College in March next year and I’ll be giving a lecture about my painting whilst the exhibition is on. I’ve plans for a graphic project; a mix of artist’s book and a semi-fictionalised graphic autobiography. (About 13 years ago I collaborated with Stuart Hood and Richard Appignanesi on a graphic book about the Marquis de Sade). I’m also starting work on some new paintings about South London with reference to The Ash Can School. For some years now, I’ve been fascinated by The Ash Can School (Sloan, Davis, Luks, etc) and their leftist publication The Masses. They were written out of American art history during the McCarthy years; Post-Second World War. They remain almost unknown in Europe and the UK. I’ve also been influenced by the Canadian David Milne.

CP: In a society where ‘modern art’ is increasingly institutionalized and administered, how important are places such as Deptford that have a growing community of artists?

GC: Vital. In the current dismal climate. It's clearly a cause for celebration and a matter of great pride. Here's something that reflects the 'health' and vibrancy of a community. Its projects like this that define Deptford.

It's a matter of recorded fact that 'modern art' has been institutionalised, commodified and is about as edgy as a j-cloth. It should come as no surprise that the rhetoric of modernism has found its place in tabloid journalism.

Contemporary art is a different matter. It's a moveable feast - it's what's happening now, by definition. Contemporary art doesn‟t even look like „Modern art‟. Modern art is a manifestation of an historical movement that has long been in decline. It doesn't speak to me any longer. It has always been an instrument of capital, celebrity and the media. Only now it's also an instrument of 'pikey'* culture. As far as I'm concerned Sky, The Daily Mail (et al), Heat, Simon Cowell and Charles Saatchi can have it. Popular culture was once a celebration of working class creativity. It's now a tool of oppression, and no amount of irony can redeem it. 

*pikey. Once used as a derogatory term to describe Irish itinerants. But now a derogatory term to describe the aspirations of the ignorant, materialistic wealthy and the ignorant, materialistic poor, which are the same.

CP: Thank you Graham Crowley, it has been a fascinating interview!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Interview with Enver Gürsev

It is a pleasure to interview our very own Cor Blimey(ite) Enver Gürsev! He is a painter and sculptor, who studied his BA (Hons) Visual Arts and Sculpture at Camberwell College of Arts in London (2000). Gürsev has a broad experience of working in the arts and has worked on projects such as; ‘The Way We Are’, which brought together the work of displaced and re-located children and young people living in the north and the south of Cyprus.

At present he is an associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London and is an integral member of Cor Blimey Arts Studio Space. I take the time to find out about his upcoming exhibition 'Pleasure Parlour', his motivations as an artist and his role within Core Gallery.

CP: You have been with Cor Blimey Studios for a considerable amount of time, Can you tell us about the development over the years?

EG: I joined the studios that are now ‘Cor Blimey Arts’ several years ago. I saw it emerge from a bankrupt space under a different name, run by a ghastly thief of a man (who took all our rent and never paid the landlord) and who almost managed to get us all evicted, to getting swooped up by Cor Blimey Arts and turned into a serious working studios. We have maintained a collective co-operative atmosphere, with an active role in mainly localised arts events and in the last year, there has been a massive surge of energy in the space, with the arrival of new members, bringing new ideas and pushing for the creation of projects such as Core Gallery, our very own prolific exhibition space within. I feel that Cor Blimey are really on the map now, more than ever before.

CP: Pleasure Parlour at Core Gallery is an Art Festival, celebrating the exotic, the erotic and sensuality within the physical form. How does your work represent this?

EG: The work I am submitting, is true to the elements of seduction with integral statements about what erotica embodies.  I employ what might be deemed as traditional erotic figurative imagery, with a personal take on seductive ‘pulp art’.  It leans rather nostalgically on my memories of illustrated magazine and comic covers from the 60’s and 70’s for reference. Stark and vivid, with sexy mysterious figures and a spurious longing in their eyes.  I think that fits the bill.  

CP: How was this exhibition conceived, and can you tell us how you have worked collaboratively with the other artists involved?

Red Nude: 'Pleasure Parlour'
EG: This show began life at an after party in Kelda’s place. We were discussing what we have been working on respectively and we soon found that we had accumulated a similar body of work, which in its essence was very much a celebration of sensuality. Kelda suggested I meet her friend Holly, who has a very interesting way of working with erotica and I in turn suggested we invite Peter Davis, my partner’s father and an astounding sculptor, who happens to also have beautiful sensual forms in his work, to show with us.

Our collaboration has been a very relaxed and remote one, with only a few meetings and very limited contact, mostly via email. This doesn’t mean to say that our meetings have not been intense in the least; they have been concise and very productive with many ideas being presented almost mechanically.  I think that when everyone knows what they are doing, things fall into place with minimal effort.

CP: You have been actively involved within ‘Core Gallery’ can you tell us what role you have played?

EG: From the outset, my role with Core Gallery has not digressed much from the one I had previously in Cor Blimey. I am responsible for organising the performances , parties and events, organising live music, as well as the general dogs body, putting up work, making good etc. But I like to think I’m a well oiled cog of an exiting and commited group, and a vital contribution for the smooth running of the gallery.

Exquisite Corpse: After party performances

CP: What is your most memorable experience as an artist?

EG: That’s a really loaded question, as my experience as an artist is very much ingrained into my experience as a person. I guess, if I think about it in terms of creative experience, it’s got to be my entry into the ghost town of Varosia, Famagusta in Cyprus, which is an entire city on the coast that has been uninhabited since 1974.

It’s miles of coastline with abandoned flats and empty grand hotels have haunted me since childhood.  I had been researching this place for a number of years, but entry is forbidden as it’s a military occupied zone, which made it all the more mysterious.  I gained access, got many photo’s (which are strictly forbidden), nearly got arrested and even had a gun at my head.  I went on to create a series of work, of immense importance to me.  

Famagusta, Enver Gursev

CP: Previous work that has featured in the show ‘Wilderness’ focused on the abandoned landscape and ghost town of Famagusta- (in the wake of the Greek-Turkish Cyprus war). Would you say your cultural background is imperative to your work? Can you tell us how this has influenced you as artist?

EG:  Yes, my cultural heritage has a lot to do with who I am and I think that even if unintentional, it rears it’s little tanned Cypriot head sometimes to have a poke at my very British self.  I wouldn’t say it’s imperative in my work, but somehow it is present, especially in my assemblages and installations, made of toys and knick knacks.

CP: What artists are you inspired by?

EG: Victor Brauner, Max Ernst, Wilfredo Lam, Louise Nevelson, Emil Nolde, Eduardo Paolozzi, Austin Osman Spare, Jan Svankmajer, and many Outsider Artists….a good mix of very different styles, many of the old masters and…oh and that guy that painted that massive swan that’s embracing that naked guy and chick on the beach at moonrise….(nah, just kidding!)

CP: You ‘recycle’ unwanted and discarded paintings to use within your work. How does this emphasise your work aesthetically and conceptually? And would you say you are responding to the current economical climate?

EG: There certainly is something to be said in terms of responding to the economic climate, albeit, unconsciously, as by reusing discarded material, there is no doubt one is saving on material and money; imperative for every impoverished artist. 

However, truth be told, this is not the only reason I use discarded material. It is simply because my work relies heavily on memory and abandoned spaces and objects. I consider it to be a very poignant statement that by including someone else’s marks and memories, within my own work, I can literally build on someone else’s abandoned thoughts. Re-using someone else’s half finished statements to complete my own in whole. I find this profoundly exciting!

CP: And finally, have you got any upcoming projects or news to reveal?

EG:  Yeah, this time next year I’ll be in Hollywood!!!

Thank you Chantelle!

CP: Thank you Enver!

For more informfation on exhibitions click here

Interview with Peter Davis

I am pleased to interview Peter Davis, a renowned Sculptor who has a long track record of group and solo shows in UK (RA and Barbican). He has been successfully working since 1966 and collectors include the National Gallery of South Africa.

I want to find out; how he embraces sensuality through the bodily form, more about the upcoming show 'The Pleasure Parlour' and the sustainability of his art practice. 
September 2010

Assyrian Wolf © Peter Davis
CP: In South Africa you worked as a furniture maker and Interior/furniture designer, why did you move into sculpture?

 PD: My friend, Beryl Jensen, a sculptor in copper, saw my furniture and said I should be a sculptor. I made a piece and showed it to her and she said, “That’s rubbish, try again” until I finally produced a piece she said was “Ok, not good but ok”. Three years later I sold my first publicly exhibited piece ‘Assyrian Wolf’ to another sculptor. 

CP: Pleasure Parlour at Core Gallery is an Art Festival, celebrating the exotic, the erotic and sensuality within the physical form. How do accentuate and embrace sensuality?

PD: Every woman has her very best parts and draws attention to them blatantly or discreetly. Men tend to defend on their reputation as athletes or warriors. I treat each sex as they would wish. 

Mother © Peter Davis

CP: Can you tell us about the sculptures you are exhibiting in the upcoming show at Core Gallery? 

PD: 'Shoulder Fragment' – Some women have beautiful shoulders!

'Crouching Form' - made from alabaster. Hipbones and back, hidden legs, breast and face!

'Seated Form In Contemplation' – made from stone. This lush form in repose shows no flabbiness and has dramatic hair. Serene knowledge of her attributes

'Hidden Face, Beautiful Hair' -– It’s all in the title.

'Pregnant Woman' – Obviously an attractive exercise in French curves

'Pregnant Torso' – made from Portland stone. You never know what she’s on (unless you look)

CP: In Greek mythology, ‘Pygmalion’ from Ovid's Metamorphoses X was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved of a woman.  How significant is the masculine gaze in sculpting the female form? 

PD: The artist can devote his whole attention to contemplating women and their ways over a long period without focusing censure and is often favoured in a way not readily available to most people.

Torso © Peter Davis

CP: As a sculptor do you have a strong visualisation of the end result or is it an intuitive approach?

PD: I always have a strong visualisation and make the piece over and over in my head before starting the actual physical work is pleasurable but not mentally demanding. 

CP: Where do you draw your inspiration and what artists have influenced your work?

PD: I love Michelangelo, Brancusi and Jean Arp. I have no idea where my inspiration comes from.

CP: You stated that you work mainly with wood. Is this because there is a higher degree of autonomy over the outcome of the sculpture through the direct approach of carving? 

PD: The greatest autonomy is in carving stone as it holds few surprises and mysteries. The same for plastics, but wood which is in a sawn up state can hold surprises. Free form wood is the greatest intellectual challenge and requires the very utmost vision and skill with tools.

Persophone © Peter Davis

CP: How do keep a harmonious balance between the material and form, and how do you let the characteristics of the material hold resonance?

PD: By acute and constant visualisation until you are ready to tackle the piece from all 360 degrees before you even pick up a pencil or other tool.

CP:  How important is the accompanying space around the sculptures and is this something you take into account prior to making the work?

PD: Since I have a storage problem I tend to make intricate pieces which are happy in a home an invite handling and close observation. This question has more relevance to monumental sculpture of which I have done none.

CP: you said that “I am interested in creating forms that are recognised instinctively by anyone’’ What qualities ensure a work is identifiable to its viewers?

PD: Since all art (apart from Dadaism) is abstract the qualities which separate it from the banal or the mundane in execution is the quality of the artist ‘I never thought of it like that’.

Birth © Peter Davis
CP: You have been fortunate enough to sell a vast amount of your work, with over 95 pieces of your sculpture sold. How does the art market compare to when you was first starting out? And what advice would you offer to other artists in creating a sustainable livelihood?

PD: I started in South Africa where the population is very well educated and informed and skill is highly regarded. In comparison in England skill is lowly regarded, something a ‘workman’ needs but a ‘gentle man’ doesn’t. He can get by in intellectual banter.

CP: And finally, Have you got any upcoming projects or plans to reveal?

PD: I am close to 80 years old. I never know what I will be doing tomorrow.

Thank you Peter Davis