Tag Archives: galleries

4 shows in Londres

So my friend Christine dragged me up to London town this Thursday cos she wanted to see the Lego show at the old LegoBrick Lane brewery http://artofthebrick.co.uk/

It was a really beautiful show in which US artist Nathan Sawaya made it clear that ‘art is not optional*’ it’s essential.

bluskul2

*(Mr Grovel and all them other private school muts in Parliamunt take note. But of course they won’t. Stop now Pete, it’s their loss they don’t know the value of art socially, culturally, educationally, spiritually and loads of other ‘allys’.)

crackd

So the show of what can be made from lego by the expert hand of a man who learned to grow as he went thru the making process is a cracker. I took some images on my little mobile so I shall let some speak for the show.

hold shado

Next we were walking from Brick Lane t’ward the Whitechapel and saw a ‘new’ (2 years old there) Stolen Space gallery with wonder-full work by Italian artist Pixel Pancho. His paintings are good but his sculptures are great.

pix pan2 pix pan

I loved the ‘robot’ with light bulbs for a stomach and the chair with his character carved in the wood. Through in the other space was work by David Bray. A strange mix of linear images and colour geometries set in ‘rough wooden’ frames like the one I put my portrait of Marlon Brando The Godfather in the early 1970s. Always ahead of my time.

dbray smokes

In the Whitechapel there was a room of tings from the V-A-C collection, Moscow. I was particularly taken by the film of an Estonian called Jan Toomik wherein he dances to Hendrix’s Voodoo Child near his father’s grave. It’s called Dancing With My Father.

jan toomik dances

And I was watching him and I thought wow, he dances like what I do. A treat the folk who come to my ‘talk’ at BABE on Sunday 12th April will not forget. Reminds me that the day Hendrix died I took a sheet of black paper and drew him in white chalk from a photo on an album sleeve.jimi legolego jimi

I loved his Fly Oh My Sweet Angel track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83OD6JTe5pg

Then the treat of the day. We found a bookshop I was looking for which wasn’t a bookshop at all. http://www.fourcornersbooks.co.uk/ in Artillery Lane was my aim and I thought I’d find a bookshop selling artists books. In fact I found something even bettererer. A gallery called Raven Row http://www.ravenrow.org/current/ which featured a show of actual artworks themselves featured in 5 copies of Studio International! In 1972 my mother sent me a cheque for £20 to help me buy food at college and I spent it on a year’s subscription to Studio International. I still have them!

heapheap o dust by flanagan

It was good to see Flanagan’s early sculptures and even better to see the books and all which John Latham had stuck to a canvas in one of his paintings.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The show is curated by Jo Melvin who I am sure would love the article I did on Lucy Lippard in The Blue Notebook. Volume 8 No 2, April 2014:

Pete Kennedy: Lucy Lippard’s Activism and Artists’ Books Activate Me. Available at https://store.uwe.ac.uk/browse/product.asp?modid=1&catid=884#catid884

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Moving on, letting go.

Image featured above shows a strange bird looming over the slanted side of firstsite gallery. What will it be a harbinger of? What does it presage? Only good I hope in the end but that is going to be a challenge which must be worked towards wholeheartedly and in unison by all the stakeholders; the council, the gallery, the public and art lovers from all over this land. It’s gonna take time and investment.

Recently (12th Feb?) I saw a pretty damning report on BBC Anglia tv in which the footage they used was several years old, altho they did have a reporter there to interview the director that day. They reported that the ‘Arts’ Council was threatening to withdraw support for the gallery. I decided to write to the several parties (excepting the Beeb as they never seem to take any notice, you get this thing that says they get millions of letters and sorry they won’t bother to reply) showing my concern that the true picture of the valiant efforts made by the gallery in the past few years has not been recorded and to offer direct help to its director Matthew Rowe from my 50 years’ experience in art and gallery visiting since seeing the big Henry Moore show at Tate in 1967. On 13 Feb I said, ‘Dear Matthew, I believe with my experience and qualifications I may be able to help you. Please see the attached. Also, please acknowledge receipt as I have guessed at your email address.’

I felt that local MP Bob Russell’s take on the gallery was quite negative when he cited how much millions it costs each year. OK compare that to how much the Castle takes? He replied saying I should contac the press with one of my less positive points. But he had replied within 24 hours!

I contacted the arts council in the guise of Hedley Swain and sent him the above list of links to my blArts. He replied within 24 hours and thanked me for my ‘other’ views, ‘It is useful to us to have different opinions and view-points to draw on. I assure you that Arts Council will do all it can, working with other local stakeholders, to improve the current situation.’

matthew rowe

The Director did not respond to my offer to help. Not yet, 28.2.15, but it’s only 15 days since I sent my offer.

I’d like to update the story so far on firstsite gallery in Colchester. I hear they are preparing a new launch with a fresh approach, I wish them well and I pray that it works not just for them but for all the interested parties. I believe they need more help from Colchester Council not less. There is a need for parking right next to the gallery in the space down which buses used to turn in their scores daily. At present parking is totally banned there and it is a total missed opportunity. Our society is used to ‘on site’ parking like at all the big supermarkets nowadays. People are loathe to walk more than 50 metres to a place. I know that’s true and the council’s refusal to provide on site parking is adding to the gallery’s problems in the past several years. There was supposed to be an art college coming very close to the gallery as part of the plan but that fell through. The whole area was supposed to be being built up with a multi-million pound development which never materialised. Then the gallery opened with its slanting wall and very little natural footfall. I believe the gallery needs a re-structure/build. Getting in some consultant architect the likes of Richard Rogers may help. There’s a need to get rid of the slant and to somehow introduce a mezzanine floor something like the one at Barbican gallery which can add space to exhibit more stuff.

outsite leans

Strange flying tings seen looming over firstsite

There is still a lot of space around the gallery which could be used to provide amenities for the local population which would also bring more folk in proximity to the gallery but it seems that nobody has enough imagination to propose any ideas. At least I have not seen any moves on that front, but I am not local and don’t get all the local news. I have offered to meet the Director to put forward some of my own ideas but he is obviously too busy hatching the re-launch plans. Or he just doesn’t want to know what a fool believes.

in the not too distant past I was called an ‘advocate’ of firstsite gallery Colchester but in fact I am a commentator (a common ‘tatoe). I’d like to play in their team or at least help the team but they don’t select me. Last week I was told my latest effort to gain a place on the hallowed walls was unsuccessful. They invited bids for a wall space 8m x 3m and once again I gave it my best shot, but I  didn’t score this time.

Now, personally, I am ‘Moving on, letting go’. I done e‘nuff’, I tried and tried agin and cannot suck seed. Am not moving on, letting go through any bitter feelings, I still have sympathy for their plight but I feel I have done more than the average commentator in my effort to assist. Picture me standing outside the gallery banging my head against the wall. I believe I deserve a bit more respect but of course what I believe and what actually happens are rare bedfellows.

It’s not hard, there’s lots of evidence.apul gnum wall

ps You have to replace the brick wall with a gold tin wall.

Well it may surprise some of yez but yes it hurts. But I am almost a Buddhist and am learning not to cling on, I’m no clingon!

Before I go let me give some links to the blArts I done about firstsite:

About Bruce McLean- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/bruce-mclean-not-trendy-but-twitchy/

 

Bruce McLean said- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/this-is-the-best-exhibition-of-my-work-ever/

 

Two part report on firstsite symposium- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/so-we-live-in-a-digital-cage-part-2/

 

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/so-we-live-in-the-digital-cybernetic-age-the-d-c-age-digital-cage/

 

Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Norwich University of the Arts gives a  talk about Henri Chopin- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/henri-chopin-and-others-who-got-forgot/

 

The Man from New York talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/andrew-roths-talk-at-first-site-last-saturday/

 

Ann Stephen from Australia’s talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/first-site-talk-success-but/

The gallery is going to find it difficult to re-connect with the folk who once frequented it as it has been empty now several weeks and the café has disappeared and the continuity has been discontinued. If you pop in there at present not only do people keep coming up to you asking if you had permission to venture thru to where you stand perusing the 8×3 space before you apply but there is an eerie silence and emptiness which is going to hard to re-fill or even firstfill. I hope I have filled you in with my fill. Eugh that’s Awe-fill!

 tward entrance

Some more images of firstsite gallery at present

skylites

lookin out

 

17.03.15- I managed to spend a few minutes in conversation with the Director who came over as an amicable man with a basketful of challenges which I must say he is approaching with a good degree of patience and positive planning. The gallery has re-launched and re-branded with a wonderful new show which I like but I fear the local population won’t be won over with. The four artists local(-ish) at least to Essex I am reminded chosen to fill the 3x8m space are all very good practitioners, evidence of which is shown in a display of some work from each in the 8×3 space. the new cafe proprietors look to be setting about setting it up beautifully with local suppliers being utilised. Good luck for the future!

some new pics of the new set up, still quite empty of footfallers.

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Now for something completely different but I believe relevant, especially for my regulars and  you know about my ‘what I believes’:

When I was 30 year old I scored two goals in 2 minutes (big head), one headed into the top left hand corner from a corner and t’other straight from the re-start when I nicked the ball as they kicked off, ran half the pitch length evading a lunging leg of a desprit full back and rounded the goalie to chip it in against Ingatestone for Maldon Saint Marys second eleven in a cup game which we won 2-1. Later in the same cup the manager left me on the sub’s bench for the Final aginst RHP which my goals had gotten the team to, playing a kid of 16 in my stead. Earlier that season, in the winter cos the ground had an inch or two of snow on it I had headed a goal in from a corner in a melee and felt a deep pain in my belly, so deep I thought someone had kicked me, it turned out this Charlie had decided to thump me in the stomach as I headed the ball.

a bad tackle(beyond the pale)

Unlike Nemanja Matic of Chelsea v. Burnley last week who took this bad (beyond the pale) tackle from Ashley Barnes I withheld my desire to retaliate*, I took his number, I remembered his face. Ten minutes from the end of that final I aksed Old Bill the manager if I was going to get a kick? “Oh sorry Pete I forgot you, get on now.”

a fyutballa peteHow could you leave this fella out?

PK in 1981

Sadly I couldn’t pull back the goal deficit in the 5 minutes left (which meant in the 30 odd years I played football I never got a winner’s medal!) but I had my eye on Charlie. I am not sure he remembered me without snowdrops on my head. Anyway I re-introduced myself on the half way line. It was a fair but hard tackle (NOT beyond the pale). He didn’t get up but only missed the last three minutes of play. I never returned to play for Maldon Saint Marys second eleven, not ‘nuff respec’. I did return to football 20 years later and scored loadsa goals as a veteran, well the ball is still a sphere and the goals are still in the same place and I still loved the game.

But ‘respec’ is wattam talking about. * Matic was sent off and banned from a Wembley Final for retaliation, Barnes got off scot free. Talking about the dinosaur attitude of institutions the FA have done FA about the ref’s ineptitude; he should have sent Barnes off before Matic took the law into his own hands and then the FA should lift the ban so Matic can participate in the Wembley Final . It’s not as if his shove on Barnes was life-threatening, more like a person in the isle at a supermarket pushing a trolley. (ps Chelsea still won!)

 

Newcastle Hatton gallery & the Baltic

 a peter yates (2)

Sound art at the Hatton gallery Newcastle

10.30 hrs, 27.1.15

Attendant ‘Ray’ says, ‘It’s quite interesting…more than you’d think…but there’s other galleries [rooms] thru there…’. His voice (not quiet) adds to the sound as Danny Bright’s sound art show ‘Ghosting the Periphery’ begins. http://www.bogstandardaudio.co.uk/

Man (Ray) on a phone (that’s an attendant called Ray not the great artist bloke who did Rayographs!) …footsteps (on the loop) across wooden floorboards…electronic sound akin to Brian Eno (?)…7-8 minutes in a sound like a didgeridoo… am facing two pillars

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The minimalist atmosphere heightens my senses, I’m ‘looking’ at these pillars and the light from the windows. Beebeep Beebeep Beebeep from the desk area adds to the noises, more from the student shop area in the foyer adds or distracts? Another attendant on the desk mumbles on the phone…ancient domed skylites above

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Foyer voices overpowering. Subtle sounds at 16 minutes…real footsteps and Sneeze from deskman who begins talking with Ray. 18 minutes sounds like bins rattling…Australian girl’s voice from the foyer very loud…quiet creaking floorboards from behind, it’s Ray walking on his rounds.

I expected a light show from what I saw on the post card. In fact a light show would enhance the sounds. The light from the windows etc was doing a light show of its own. The minimalist atmosphere really heightens my senses.

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Like when I awoke today at 04.20 hrs 4.2.15 and looked to the sky, not an elephant’s eye no, only/just the nearly full moon and a ‘star’ which happened to be Jupiter. What more would you want? Earth’s satellite and a planet from our Solar System!

T’other rooms were full of good stuff too. Kurt Schwitter’s Merzbarn wall

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resides there and his sound poem Ursonate inspired ‘Ghosting the Periphery’. http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/hatton-gallery/latest/news/new-sound-installation-to-reflect-on-hatton-039-s-history.html

a peter yates (4)

Also showing at Hatton is a peter Yates exhibition. Yates was a colleague of Richard Hamilton at Newcastle art college: http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/hatton-gallery/whats-on/exhibitions/peter-yates-paintings-1939-1982.html I really like the way the curator of the show mounted these images in a pyramid shape which is so much more exciting than just setting them in a line at eye level. Especially when you see that the images refer to triangles and pyramid forms.

All this Schwitter’s stuff has it seems influenced me too and last night I finished preparing a reading for the new bookart show at Slack Space in Colchester from the version of my poem created by David Jury. I have typed it up as it is on the letterpress page with the subtext in there too and it’s going to be interesting trying to read it. I hope I don’t go off into a sound wail to match Schwitters! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2L6mbZalg8E  (This is a wonderful intro to his work.)

And here’s one of my poems from the DJ pages:

Let’s Go, Ego

Deep inside the jug swirling & Dancing Getting up with Sophia  And living Finding symbols from the ancient of days. Peeping behind the curtain of   appearances and finding  the word hidden within. In Mystic Synchronistic swing each With his Gnostic ring ting ding  C G Jung deciphers your dreams Moment as With a ring a ding a ding SING  Fighting the monster of the It comes, without fear deep  In the dark sea of Sometimes profoundly well Metanoia night.  Plunging into the deep abyss of Nekzia  Rising astraddle a silver steed All past masters dance to greet him. Clinging to nothing Other he reaches balance. Synchronicity is everywhere, Nothing  Times comes from happenchance.  Contacting the eternal source He realises his place With a Badly, altogether sadly RING A (there’s nothing wrong with that) DING TIW NIH

So, if you got the time and the notion be there, the reading is in the 7-8 pm section.

OK so the open event was good, the show is great and I did my ‘reading’ along with 4 others, see my report which I shall post on Sunday.

And then I went into the Baltic which is quite a big noise gallery in Gateshead. I loved the small exhibition of a winner of a prize for last year’s MA students. Mo Coade MA had some images of beautiful colours made in the river by pollution from a glass factory (?) and two screens showing film of the riverside where the colours change with the ebb and flow of the water oh the beauty of pollution!

 Image020

I followed my nose up to the library which has grown exponentially in the past 10 years under the guiding hand of Gary Malkin. Here he is looking at my rubber stamp from my new book Inside This Earthen Vessel which prompted him to tell the tale of when he worked in London making rubber stamps. A call came from the set of Octopussy for an urgent need to make a stamp which they needed to use as a fake tattoo on a Bond girl’s back. He had to explain there was no helicopter landing pad near the stampworks, so they sent a motorbike around.

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I mentioned that I do artists books and he asked to see some and he liked what he saw acquiring two for their collection then he took me and showed me the artist’s book archive which is the next part of the library he’d like to develop. Baltic has already got a strong tie with the world of artist’s books, in 2003 they had a big exhibition of them curated by Clive Phillpot who compiled an informed ‘catalogue’ of views & opinions on artist’s books at the time in ‘Outside of the Dog’. There’s a difficulty displaying artist’s books as they, or many of them, don’t necessarily fit into normal shelves. Gary intends to give access to the archive where folks can then open the archival boxes. I look forward to my next visit to Newcastle to view the growing archive.

 

 

At the risk of being ridiculed

I know some parties who read this will look upon my suggestion as an object fit for only ridicule, I am writing this piece and am asking for a BIG space in a gallery to show my work from the past 48 years. It is going to be a BIG exhibition as I have enough output to fill a gallery… (like First Site* in Colchester for example).

But my aim is not specific to First Site, no I want to be shown at BIG galleries in major cities too. I don’t mind smaller galleries and I have done about 25 solo exhibitions since 1977. I understand their (the ‘established’ places) problem, it also applies to commercial galleries like those in Cork St., you don’t get a look in unless you and your work tick some boxes, many boxes like; right college, saleability, reputation, articles about you, fame, and you know all the rest. I happen to not tick any boxes and have made it a mission to untick any that were ticked. I am an old fashioned player. Some trendys would say I am a Modernist and the same folk would say this is the Post-Modern era, well listen, it’s not, ask Wil Self who will tell you it’s too soon to change the name.wil an gabr wil an gabr2

And to place the word ‘post’ in front of anything is rather lame; Post Impressionist, Post Structuralism, Post Haste, Post Card, it doesn’t change anything, at least they were more imaginative early 20th century; Fauvism, pointillism, Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism but all of them are really part of Modernism as is post modernism and Modernism is the era that followed Classicism, the latter going on for thousands of years.

I believe an artist, with a brush, with a ball, with a voice, etc has to be individual, original and be saying things few if any have already said in ways that others would not imagine to say them in. Well, I tick all those boxes BUT, nobody except people with imagination and independent choosing can see the quality in my work, and there’s not many like that in the gallery world, is there?

Martha Graham, the woman who helped develop ‘modern’ ballet out of the old style ballet, said, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this experience is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost”. I have been aware of that for many of my 64 years and maybe that’s why I have always carried the torch for ‘art’, or rather my particular version of the arts which I developed thru years of study, hard work, experiment, getting out there and showing it, putting it into my books and all. I am happy, like Blake (Wm., always William, only William is worthy of the name!), I know my work is unique, unicorn, one corn, corny, crazy like O’Dorkey. But I’m not your ‘normal’ artist, or anyting for that matta, (Matta is anudda great artis) I am ‘off the wall’ (well maybe that’s why they wouldnie hang you on the wall at all?) My arts never fitted no box no never not at all. even when at school learning my trade I zoomed thru taking on influences, devouring them; Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Soutine, D D Watkins Scarfe.

mags dots

 my fauve sister c. 1968

I had more than one ‘style’, I had the painterly bit after heroes like El Greco, Rembrandt, and Grunewald, then I had the comic pArt after Steve Ditko and e Jeffries e jeffreys toby twirl

Even when I went ‘full time’ artistbloke tween 1976 – 81 the arts council wallers couldn’t fathom where I wer coming frae nor going to, I even had writing in my locker and that wasn’t allowed in ‘art’. Yet early on my talent was recognised by David Wild, Quentin Bell, Ruskin Spear and the Principal of Birmingham College of art who on assessing my Bachelor’s stuff in June 1973 said I should consider applying there for an MA. AS I wer £80 overdrawn, a lot in those days, I took a job teaching and got drawn in to that gulf. I decided to follow my own canoe down the rapids of my life and never had time to court the galleries and forgot about the MA. Sadly I waited 40 years then chose to do it at a college with issues and without facilities and vision of how to treat ‘adults’. But I met David Jury there and also became acquainted with the world of artists books which in many ways leap frogs the ‘art world/gallery’ fields and as most of my ideas will go into books albeit some will have to be a bit big I can live with that.

I am an original and the trouble is if you are the first to do it ‘this’ or ‘that’ way, few will ‘get’ what you’re on about and most will call you a madman, or woman if you are the other gender. Which brings in the agenda, yes there is and always has been an agenda. The modern ‘art-world-market’ started in a gradual stunted way with a few proprietors trying it out with artists like Gauguin. A crop of gallerists opened in France (Ambroise Vollard , Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler Léopold Zborowski) and they sold works and this spread to other countries and it caught on. Some of the early artists didn’t tick the boxes but the world was young. Gradually some became ‘established’ and one of the boxes had to be you were ‘established’. BUMPH that cuts out the majority of us artists, don’t ya. (Actually, I am established but only in a small field, actually it’s not even a field, it’s a shelf tucked away on the end of Wigan Pier) And how do you get ‘established’? You have to be chosen. Of course this choosing goes further back, back past Josh Reynolds and further back to les Louis the Kings of France (they were all called Louis for a while til that one was topped, then it stopped. So Picasso was chosen by Gertrude Stein. Etcetera. Etcetera Etcetera

You can see a record of what I did (mostly my writing and shows, not my artworks), over the years at:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/about/

 

*First Site is a much maligned landmark gallery with wonderful potential STILL which this county of Essex England needed for decades and now it has been opened the folk of the local area have taken a very poor opinion of it. This is mostly because of the fiasco over its build which should now just be a historical fact rather than a vendetta against the people who run it. I have spoken up about the gallery and the work it has already done. I even applied to be an associate artist but didn’t get selected. I wrote a small article which got published in a magazine about arts from Cambridge called Venue putting a very positive light on the gallery. Yet I know for sure they would never see me as an artist worthy of a major show, or any show for that matter. They have a view that only internationally recognised artists, even if totally obscure to the local population, are worthy of hanging on their walls. And that is very sad especially when there are several colleges within 25 miles with many people involved in art. I, who am steeped in art and who taught it to almost every age from 0-90, have learned a lot from the shows at First Site. They’ve had some great shows and some great talks, but not a lot of people attend them, partly cos many would feel threatened by the attitude that seems to prevail. There’s an aloofness, a separateness, a communication-less-ness. The space has rarely felt welcoming. They are revamping it right now, I hope the revamp leads to a better atmosphere and that it becomes a popular place, like Tate Modern did when it opened, a fact which was by no means guaranteed.

 

ps I don’t mind if I never get another venue to show at cos it’s quite hard work showing.

pps I forgot, that’s an age thing, no it’s not.

 

Poym of the week

 

I shud av gon far

Wid my repertoire

In my old car

(Twer a ford Pop-(u)-lar)

 

Burri got stuk in th’moat

In a ricketi boat

And am barely afloat

Tanks to a singer of note-s

Cos that’s wat he wrote

 

His name you can’t guess

The the ansa to thes

His name is not Jess

(This poym is a mess)

 

I’ll let him fini the res-t

The clue’s in the the

Why I say it in jes-t

Will u pass the test

 

 

Here’s a couple o dames who nearly gave up, listen in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJUk1UklklE

A Moanie Lisa me

Careering t’ward th’end of an era for me.

Still straining after all these tears trying to gain a foothill in the crevices of th’Arts and not sucking seeding cos the doors of the glass bead game are firmly closeted. Nobody let me in. How many times did I knock on Cork Street or Burlington house or Millbank or anywhere elsa the lioness? And really I don’t have time for calling and for crawling and for holding my hat and I couldn’t afford a hat to get a head. More often than not I refuse to knock on wood Otis nor Eddie Floyd can make me. and even when I knock on wood doors, or is it wooden skulls? And I say let me in , or gi’e us a show etc, they just laugh in ma face and say, ‘Who, just WHO, do you think you are to come rattling at my door after 47 years of making art etc? Go away and don’t darken this hallowed step no more no more no more no more’ and I say that is rather rude and they say ‘RATHER lather larder dear, shoosh!’

There’s a warning here to all the kids who enter the ‘art college’ DON’T DO IT ! th’bastewards won’t let yez in, there’s no moom in the gym. THINK very very care-fully before embarking on a career in art as ‘making it’ in ‘art’ is nearly as hard as making it in football. You can only do it fer love of the game! I don’t like artball, i loathe it. Hee Hee silly mee.

Most of the time I just made art. But, I knew early on that without outlets it wer like hissing into the wind as Rich Hamilton http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/richard-hamilton-1244 said in his catalog to the 1983 print show, ‘a mass of paper is likely to accumulate which, without an outlet, would soon clog the place up. it couldn’t be produced without an assumed public and an efficient distribution network’. My ‘studio’ and other outbuildings are crammed with my ‘pile amass paper accumulate, papa (hey a new movement, PAPA, with it I shall strip bare dada’s bride!)’ Pete’s PAPA pile of junk assaults th’art werld, fart werld is inundated wit a heap o stuff, fert wold is Annie Hi Elated, it is no more, it is defuncted and it is the ‘late’ artwoild.

Diter Rot said in 1966 decided to ‘stop being an artist’ he turned down an offer from gallerist Bruno Bischofberger of a show because he had ‘given up painting’ and was ‘sitting in a tiny place with a tiny table and am writing’. Of course it was a ruse. As he knew and stated in his bok Mundunculum the eyes have it, the eyes think they see the lamp, or the sign, ‘lamp’ for the lamp we ‘see’ is called lamp cos its tag is ‘lamp’ its sign. But what Roth says is the ‘lamp’ is itself ‘pointing’ the sign, it signifies the sign of ‘lamp’. So we are all artists, those of us who can see visually, even those who cannot ‘see’ with their eyes, because when we look we ‘see’ things; a ruler, a book etc, blind people ‘see’ a concept they have gathered for ‘book’ ‘train’ etc. But what is ‘seen’ is, Roth says, the ‘object’ sending a sign. I suppose that in reality, even Buddhist notions of ‘reality’, the object, is in fact not what it seems, it is in fact just ‘energy’ which manifests in the forms we read the signs for. Rot was well into Wittgenstein when he created Mundunculum, but he was also into satire.

But anyway, like Rot and Ernst before me am stopping being an artist, why, becos

I embarked on my ‘career’ (careering?) as a committed artist 47 years ago and really I got NoWhereerehWoN. I never broke through the barrier into ‘earning, selling, being ‘shown’ or even just bought, except for tiny sales. I am not in any books, except my own. It seems clear to me that I failed. Any ‘success’ in any future would be by proportion to my years of ‘trying’ only piddling, not even fair to middle in! My output failed to assist my progression; it has not paved my way. I started as a poor boy with no money and after 47 years am still poor, yet my output and my certificates are abundant and so are the 20 odd solo shows I have had in Essex since the late 1970s and a big yun in Burnley in 1981.

“So I have proved it cannot be done. I spent 47 years forlorn hoping I could break the code of silence, break through the boundaries & barriers ‘the art world’ fabricates and defends but I failed to do so. So bollocks to all of those people and institutions that have ignored scorned or overlooked my work. I shall give up trying. They’ve had 47 years to ‘catch on’. So sod it. The life of an artist is not so good I can tell you that for sure because I know because I have lived it. AND now I see the light. The artist is like a cursed spirit that ‘clings on’, it’s part of being an artist. Now I understand that’s not too good. The real trick is to stop clinging, to stop trying to capture image, memory, dreams etc. the trick is to just BE. And that’s what I am going to be, me, just BE. I know I failed as an artist, infinitely more than Van Gogh or William Blake. But as an educator I know I succeeded. And as an observer I did not fail, for the observer can observe without judgement. Observation is but observation, witness, at best. And I have been witness to my lack of progress, the art world and a few other things which I elucidate in my ‘blArt’ which stands for ‘a blog about art and all that stuff’.

25.12.14

So I admit it. I was a failure in my attempt to make a mark in th’art world (thart wouldnie, fart woodna, tart wooargh) altho I created hundreds of images & words in all sincerity, even when I were taking the piss I were sincere. Even my jokes were sincere. Sincerity got me not very far. I don’t mind now. I learned that success isn’t everything and it only breeds more success then you get to worrying about who’s gonna target your expensive car house jewels etc so I never had to worry, about them things. Then if you get famous etc you start to worry about your reputation. Never had to worry about that neither. So I guess I got lucky never ‘making it’. I decided to stop making new images etc but I shall allow myself to manipulate reprise etc my existing bank of images & words. The dream is over like Lennon sang then lived, or rather, died. He had seen thru the illusion. As did George Harrison. I shall present all the books I worked up since 1969. I shall use many of the images I created or ‘took’ with cameras of all types including photocopiers. I still have a lot to do. Just remember to enjoy doing it; like the man walking up the mountain needs to learn to enjoy the trip up, the trip down may be faster than he anticipated.

Oh, I fergot to say- neither walt Disney nor pixar nor bart simpson nor speilberg nor lucas ever needed the ‘art world’ (I shall call it fartwerld frum now on) nor the ‘gallery’(maybe I shall call it the Ghouleree or Goolierie?), did they? Time for me final poems of this year:

I’m rolling down that river

(Starts to the tune of The River by Joni Mitchell.)

I’m looking for the answer

Tho I know I can survive

I been searching thru the questions

Hoping one day I’d arrive

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

I been struggling to get thru

Now for many years and more

I don’t really know why

Because I know the score

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

No matter what you do now/ give her

Offer four and they want five

I been swimming up the river

And am continuing to strive

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

There’s no need to worry

No no need no more

There’s no need for any hurry

No am not knocking on the door

 

Am rolling down that river

And I’m still alive

 

Waiting at the tunnel’s end

I been pointing to the light

It’s hiding round the bend

Just watch you may catch a sight

 

Am rolling along that river

And I’m still alive

 

and anither y’n

Just cos it rhymes doesn’t mek it a poem, duz it?

Just because it rhymes

It’s not necessarily right

Even then sometimes it may be

Shite

Just don’t darken my door

With your doubts

I don’t wish to hear them

I am no longer listening

To doubts and bouts of gouts

And shouts

Of words

That are glistening

(what rhymes wit words?

Dieter Rot would say turds*)

Ta ra diddli um dum doo

Boo boo to you

I

Am

Out

*(I wouldn’t, too rude)

 

 dan odork on mi gmail accntapuldan odork

ps I may look glum but really I am very happy, the glum look is my age, when you get to my age your face just looks glum. Glum’s a good word, I never thought of it before. No, I’m happy cos wanting to shoe in the ‘gallery’ hangs over the head of all artists like a yoke, believe me that’s no joke. Not being ‘shown’ etc seems to be a big failure. But I know my work is popular from the reactions of over 25 solo shows since 1978. I know how people react to my work. It’s just them that organise the galleries don’t, and/or they don’t care anyway, why should they. They got plenty o meat to sell. My gallery is my books. Yet I also challenge the concept of the ‘book’. Mind you so did Roth and keifer and and and, oh shurrup Pete, while you still can.

pps if you turn the image round, upside down, you’ll see an image of Apulhed, screaming.

William Blake (part 2) The Ghost of a flea chez John Varley

William Blake was round his old friend Varley’s house when he saw The Ghost of a flea, no camera at his disposal he quickly called for his drawing implements, or so they say, and proceeded to sketch the darned thing:

 The Head of the Ghost of a Flea. Verso: A Profile and a Reduced Drawing of Milton's First Wife circa 1819 by William Blake 1757-1827

(some images not my copyright, hope that WB doesn’t mind me used it)

How good is that then? What I saw in the Oxford Ashmolean exhibition of Blake’s work is that he was not averse to satire and he did ‘take the mick’. It’s what we boys do when gathered together, we may do a little caricature of someone we all know, and maybe dislike, and then we have a little giggle. Am not saying Blake did this here, I’m surmising. In fact F. W. Bateson in an article in 1957 explains that Blake had a way of looking upon things with what he called ‘double vision’. He saw it for what we see it as, say a thistle, and he would also see it as ‘an old grey man’. A more Blakean example would be that he saw the sun as the sun AND as ‘Los in his Might.’ Reportedly Blake was once asked, ‘Does a firm persuasion that a thing is so, make it so?’ and he replied, “All poets believe that it does, and in ages of Imagination this firm persuasion removed mountains. But many are not capable of a firm persuasion of anything.”

This blArt is looking at one or two other things that he did which have been clarified by Michael Phillip’s (& others) wonderful selection of work for the unique gathering of images in this collection. I have been glancing at Blake’s words & images for over 40 years now and always felt so small, so inadequate, because I couldn’t get the overall ‘feel’ of the man nor his work. There was always something more I had to read, go see, ask about. I think Blake was a highly intelligent, talented, practitioner who was much, let us say, ignored, maybe maligned, by his contemporaries. And I know from personal experience what that type of man does sometimes he stretches the limits. He looks at what’s happening and says to himself, “Now then, I understand what they are doing there, I can do that, only when I do it I shall do it better. And if possible I shall find new ways to do it, better ways.” Now the problem with being an initiator, an original, is that many folk out there neither want anyone to rock the boat/status quo nor do they understand innovation. Most people like it to be explained to them by ‘someone who knows’ before they can adapt to anything ‘new’. So when some of us are dissatisfied with the ‘norm’ and wish to move it on and some of are built that way, for whatever reason, we push, we discover new ways and we are not always the best ones to ‘sell’ the new ideas to , anyone. Well I believe Blake was like that. So he received scorn but was unaffected at being ridiculed. As Samuel Palmer said, “he was…one of the few who cannot be depressed by neglect and to whose name, rank and station could add no lustre…He enobled poverty…”. He rattled boats like Joshua Reynolds’ craft when he disdained painting in oils. He made powerful enemies who would not wish to find ‘good qualities’ in his work and who may (as such is the nature of the human being) even have quietly declared the ‘new kid on the block’ to be insane. It has been a title I have noticed about my own efforts, “You call that art, you must be kidding, my monkey can do better” and other pleasantries. But you see Blake had no desire to convince any of the status quo of his genius, he knew he was rocking boats and continued to do so. His mentors were proven already; Milton, Dante, Botticelli, Durer and his mentor, John Varley whose beautiful water colours must have impressed both Blake and Turner. The nice thing about having mentors who have been there and done it who appreciate from experience the qualities in your work, you don’t need everybody else to give you credit. Blake even disputed Dante with Dante, his late work on Dante is in fact not an affirmation but a disputation! Blake did not agree with Dante’s take on Heaven and all and he satirises his own hero, but such wonderfully illustrated satire, I don’t think Dante would include Blake in Purgatory.

Let’s look at some of the other incredible revelations in this exhibition. I knew before I went in that Blake had had an interest in Swedenborg. Blake’s own parents were non-conformist Christians and in their day that meant REALLY none conforming and Blake had obviously been influenced. Swedenborg in his book ‘Heaven & Hell’ and other writings had us believe he had been taken by angels to other planets and introduced to beings of non-human origin. Obviously to ‘believe’ him we would all need to suspend our understanding of what is real. Blake came to the conclusion that Swedenborg was a fraud and went on to satirise him in, wait for it, ‘Marriage of Heaven & Hell’.

swed alone

This work is astounding in its introduction of new techniques of print but more so in its mentions of Swedenborg by name, he was not disguised as a flea. I have dipped into Swedenborg’s writings but came away more confused by his work than by that of Blake. Blake had annotated Swedenborg’s ‘Wisdom of Angels’ on p56 earlier, ‘Good & Evil are here both Good & the two contraries married’. I knew of ‘Marriage of Heaven & Hell’ as one of Blake’s works BUT, idiot that I am, I had not realised he had used Swedenborg’s title within his own ‘Marriage of Heaven & Hell’. He is using it as pure satire. Taking the mickey out of the Swedenborg title by incorporating it in his own title. One of Blake’s disputes with Swedemndborg, maybe why he condemned him (?), was that the latter had not really dipped into ‘hell’. That he was only familiar with heaven. Blake considered that the incumbents of hell had a right to their opinions and had a right to be represented, so he married them. Brilliant. How better could you rectify an omission? And I believe this also gives a deeper insight into the way Blake’s mind worked. He was like Peter Cook & Spike Milligan combined into one. Almost as important he represented Swedenborg in the guise of his first draft of his later larger print of Nebuchadnezzar. He had him crawling on hands & knees. Then the technique he used was also new and it heralded his later larger version of Nebuchadnezzar in technique.

a blake socty neb

Back in 1978 I had stood and admired his larger works with their mottled surfaces but I waited to hear from Michael Phillips last week to see/realise that Blake was hundreds of years ahead of his time with his technique which predicted that of Max Ernst’s ‘decalcomanie’. Or behind the time, depending on which way you view it. ‘Tempera painting was an ancient form executed with pigment ground in a water-miscible medium.’ Tempera was the form he was mimicking because he disdained oil. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/586515/tempera-painting

Image038

So he put water based inks onto his plates but allowed the colours to permeate and intermingle, so each ‘take’ was different from the last and all of his takes were in fact monoprints, each unique in itself! So am lifted from the hell of not-knowing into the heaven of finding out how he did it and more importantly that should be reflected in my own future work. This is a massive injection of inspiration into my willing to be influenced by Blake hands. I did a series of etchings during a recent Master’s degree and I, deliberately as I have always done, made each print I took from the plate different from the last. What I did not do, which Blake did, was add more layers of colour. So, watch out prints of the six mystics, I’m coming back to see you.

So, inspiration, that’s what I will finish this little blArt with, how Blake has inspired so many by his work. Blake’s graphic revolutionary technique of ‘illuminated printing’ and his other innovations were so ‘far outside the ken’ and were not picked up on by the print trade of his day except maybe in Samuel Palmer’s adaptations and one or two others of the ‘Ancients’ group directly influenced by Blake. The fact is few would have had Blake’s tenacity, his dedication to task (for little immediate remunerative reward), his technical dexterity and his DRIVE to create in every area; print, write and make image. Blake would also, like Rembrandt after him, change images as he took different pulls from the plates.

This is shown amply in three prints of The House of Lazar on show. One recumbent fellow’s hand moves from limp to ‘splayed in tension’.

up face gulp face

One face changes from a toothful grimace to an open mouthed gasp. The long length of paper (?) which straddle across the top of the page in the hands of the bearded character changes in each print. In two there are arrows and in one the ends which curl in the other two become as a scroll.

a flash a whorl a scrol

Blake was using visual imagery to show fluctuating ideas and meanings which themselves changed as a result of the imagery shifting. It’s a self-perpetuating wholistic creativity, a process in which the most of us are mere dwarfs compared to the Master, Blake.

Also three versions of the title page of Europe A Prophecy show how Blake experiments with creating difference. First he did a trial grey monochrome proof, then on another he added some water colour on the snake and added a figure beside the snake. In a third version in ‘relief etching with colour printing’ which in fact shows as textured like tempera. So Blake was really working surfaces for effect and for the difference that visual creativity brings but he always maintained a tight grip of the textual printed outcome, so they can be read, except that is in instances where he obliterated the title words Europe & Prophecy maybe to enunciate the figure? Blake was giving his customers individualised visual feasts. I see similarities in the modern artists Frank Frazetta http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/fantasy/Frank-Frazetta.html & Richard Corben’s work http://www.corbencomicart.com/gallery.html. He could never have been still. Even on his death bed he created over 100 images to Dante’s writing. Samuel Palmer who became one of the so called ‘Ancients’ who followed after Blake reported on visiting him, “ …’tho 67 years old but hard working on a bed full of books sat he like an Antique patriarch, or a dying Michael Angelo. There he was making in the leaves of a great book the sublimest designs from his Dante.” These were no acolyte’s acceptance of the words of another genius, no, Blake disagreed with some of Alighieri and he satirized him too, even expressing his own alternative views one of which was his belief in a form of Christianity which believed in a merciful god which would allow forgiveness for all sins, rather than a vindictive one.

Blake’s experience and imagination was one of the most developed ever witnessed in the western world and his dexterity in making word & image remains unrivalled. He has inspired including, in my view; William Morris, the Pre-Raphaelites, Kahil Gibran, Baum, Tolkein, Kenneth Patchen, Phillip Pullman, J.K. Rowling and myself (Pete Kennedy), plus many many more, maybe even including the children’s favourite in the 1950’s Tiger Tim.

I wonder what he might have done with modern technology at his fingertips. He would be fascinated with the luminosity that emanates from our computer screens and of course we know Blake had no access to Photoshop, did he? All the changes he made were rendered by hand. Bless him and his ever helpful wife Catherine.

And by the way the Ashmolean’s catalogue is a great read so thanks to they for doing it and to Michael Phillips, Colin Harrison & Martin Butler for the insights written into it.

Well done, I nominate all three o’yez Honorary Ancients!

Above are my own views and they are not necessarily all based in worldly reality but I believe they give added insight into the marvellous man whose feet did indeed traipse upon the streets of London and it’s hallowed hills which would ‘assume a kind of grandeur from the man [passing] near them’, as Palmer would say of this fitting companion for Dante, this man without a mask!

blakeman in my card

Another blArt composed by Pete Kennedy MA (Art & the Book), Adv Dip Ed (Cambridge), DMS (Danbury), B/Ed (Exeter), RA Doubtful. Thorsday 11.12.14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drawing on Rembrandt inspirations

I done a flurry of London visits & reported them in my last couple oblArts; Poetry Library (A Happy Man) & Keifer (Books of lead fly in the R.A). This week I saw the new Rembrandt show at National Gallery (which was the first London gallery I visited as a kid of 10 years in 1961 and I sent my dad away so I could just sit and look at the Leonardo cartoon fer an hour or so). Of course I love his self portraits but the best in show are the etchings, the way he works the surfaces of the different takes and the surprise that he printed them on Japanese paper which was being imported by the Dutch East India Co. in the 1600’s! despite her overt military history epitomised in their fascination with the sword there’s been ages of producing beautiful pots, paper & calligraphy there. For me Rimbrandt is unequalled in the fields of oil paint & etching. F H Haagensen was a great etcher who was probably inspired by Rembrand’s technique, as was most certainly Picasso. Funny how ‘great ‘ artists get access to collections of work that many of us never see. Auerbach  http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/aug/29/frank-auerbach-painters-painter-freud-tate-retrospective  and Lenkiewicz http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Robert-Lenkiewicz-s-estate-settled-decade/story-17699462-detail/story.html in their separate ways took inspiration from the Dutch Master too and so did I, take a look at my Van von Maan painting below

van on sax oil sm

Van von Maan

 keifa hd

keifer

k c bloova

ken campbell

herman hd

josef herman

We live in an age where the ability to ‘draw’ is almost scorned (by some prevalent ‘successful’ artists and their agents) but it is deeply embedded in my psyche and I love drawing in the different ways I do. Over the years I’ve sat and drawn Keifer, Josef Herman, Steve Berkov, and others with Lord Bath, Feliks Topolski and Ken Campbell amongst my ‘sitters’. Oh and by the way, I do love rembrandt’s self portraits which put him up there as probably the best chronicler of the process of aging with their insight into his very soul, that goes without being said, burram saying it. And you know i do a fine line in self portraits misen th’ knows:

d’y mean pete kennedy?

best self portrait
this is ma best self portrait innit, catches the spirit widdin!

The skill was hard earned and am reluctant to desist. I shall draw til I die (drawing?) I draw cartoon like with my Apulhed-man, in surreal sketches with my Squidgerats. I draw inspiration too from the work in many media by those who have achieved before me. So I read folk like Philip K Dick, Vonnegut, Mervyn Peake & Brautigan in the hope that some of what I see may rub off on my outputs.

And it’s the same with poetry, although I write my ‘poems’ from a deep sense of apart-ness I don’t try to write ‘like’ anyone (else). But I am inspired by some. I write intuitively I write what comes and I don’t try to write in any grammatically ‘correc’ way. Interestingly when I wrote the ‘poems’ for Inside This Earthen Vessel they had little or no full stops nor commas. As I began the collaboration with david Jury some punctuation crept in but often I do not have it in my writing (like I do not adhere stricktly to ‘correct’ spellinks). Both of these avert-tions allow me to be free(er) and (more) inventive.

I am reading Beckett’s translation or transmutation of Apollinaire’s poem ‘Zone’. I don’t exactly agree with his changes, great writer tho he was, but I do note that Apollinaire has used no punctuation. A WRITER WRITES WORDS. So my punctuation in  Inside This Earthen Vessel is the gaps I left. I write this thought then I stop & drop to the next line. Often in poems they start each line with a capital. OK that’s fine, that’s OK, I can do that, but sometimes I refuse.wrtiting for me is to do with the jist, getting the gist, of things (tings) of ideas, notions, suggestions… my writing is not scientific like Wittgensteins is was etc.

For me writing is communication, getting what’s in my mind, spirit, soul, experience or view over to others. Some may say that I might communicate better if I spell by convention, punctuate & grammaticise my pieces. OK you’re entitled to your opinions and your conditionings. I am free of those constraints. And I hear you laugh or snigger and say ‘Yes, free of income, free of distribution through official channels, fields etc. But see this face, AM A BoVVad.

 

NEY*

(can’t he even spel nay reight?)

he neighs like a donkey

do they

neigh

nay not never

nay mare

nay

tha’s not ritten

an udda poym

lad

?

who fetched the cow?

nay not eye

norri

nor I

 Next weak am in Oxferd to see a bloke gie a tork abArt William Blake, now there’s a proper poet bloke man. And an etcher?

*I bought an lectric typewriter t’other day, I just decided that this will be the first poem I type using it. I thought I’d try my fingertips at tie pin sum concrete poyms. Just like what Henry Chopin and his lot did. Vache dis spaced oot.  https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/henri-chopin-and-others-who-got-forgot/