Ok, so. The show goes on, tomorrow nicht is the preview. I am glad I set it up yesterday cos the weather has really dipped and you don’t want my books and all getting damaged in the wet and the wind now do you. I had a lovely unexpected meet yesterday at John Doubleday’s studio. My etchings of the six mystics were on the stage awaiting hanging and I was talking to Sue Polten a local artist when a woman came over and said I heard you talking about David Jury’s course, I was on it in its first year. It was Jean Wood. Jean was a folk hero on the course, one of her books had been displayed at the Summer Show at Royal Academy in 2012 and had sold two of the three copies in the edition. That’s the good news. Then she said although she had submitted one this tear it was not displayed. My friend Anna Johnson had submitted hers too and that was highly regarded in the artist book genre, a very beautiful bookartobject which also had been deemed unworthy. In fact Norman Ackroyd and his mate what judged it may be excellent practitioners in their own field, Ackroyd’s etchings are nearly as good as F H Haagensens, more of him later, but they are inept at judging artist books which is a special field. I did email them and suggest they incorporate likes of David Jury and Sarah Bodman to judge books but they couldn’t be arsed to reply. I think it is criminal practice of them to decide, having advertised book as a category , to abandon it and not refund the submitters of what I know were excellent books. But the RA is too big for its boots and feels itself above ethical good practice. Ever since they awarded me RA Doubtful status I have not submitted anything. They said congratulations on your success but I lost nearly £100 in getting my pics up and although they were selected they were not hung by the curators. Pah humbug. Sadly, I have now been informed that Jean’s book is not in the new Codex catalogue designed be David Jury but I saw Ailsa Clarkes in the open page illustration in David’s ABYB article.
My article in the Artist Book Year Book 2014-15 is placed by Sarah Bodman close to an article about creating the Codex catalogue by David Jury, who features strongly in my article and one by Gustavo Montero, librarian at Chelsea School of Art Archive, which mentions Dieter Roth, one of the subjects in mine. Clever Sarah for such placement.
I managed to get abour 80% of my show in place yesterday. I have still got to do a lino-print print from the lino I have prepared of Kane’s poem but I have today to fit that in. It is great to be able to exhibit the books I did for the MA and stuff from before that. I have included some sculpture so that my mates on the MA can see something new to them. Also I include some never exhibited since my final show at St Lukes in 1973 prints. There’s a ‘Melody Maker’ screenprint, all hand cut stencil with the drawing I did of Jimmy Page Jagger Richards and Van Morrison from which I hand painted the screen. Then the highest achievement I have made in screenprinting wherein I compare the opposite ends of the art spectrum; photo realism and pure abstraction. In a way i was doing a Richard Hamilton type print with Albers abstraction on the same plane which was a tribute to Barnet Newman. It is relevant to the show because of the use of words on art surface. So in the ‘Barnet Newman/Henley’ prints I played with his use of the word ‘zip’ which he used to dsecribe the gaps between his fields of colour. I then left one gap empty, like he did, one gap has the word ‘zip’ lino printed repeatedly all the way up its length and one gap has a lino printed representation reminiscent of the zip in Warhol’s cover for the Stones album Sticky Fingers which had just come out. So, even in 1973 I was playing with signs and symbols. i loved the ideas that Newman generated in his interviews and writings. The photo I took at the Henley regatta where I saw this woman all dolled up with a fag in her gob and a pint of beer in hir mit.