I feel privileged to have known the ground-breaking artist Gustav Metzger
Gustav Metzger at the book launch of A Computer in the Art Room, CAS event, London 2008
who passed away a couple of weeks ago. He was a very early member of the Computer Arts Society and the first editor of our journal PAGE from 1969.
His links with the early world of British computer arts is discussed in my article published today on the BCS
Just a reminder that my book – A Computer in the Art Room, The Origins of British Computer Arts 1950‐1980 is still available to purchase from this website (it seems to be prohibitively expensive on Amazon for some reason) – click the SHOP tab above.
Read a synopsis here: A Computer in the Art Room synopsis Also read reviews of the book .
In a wonderful start to the new year, the Barbados Museum and Historical Society unveiled its brand-new Walled Garden Theatre, part-sponsored by Catherine & Keith. It is a great pleasure to be a part of this important new venture for culture in Barbados. The Museum’s Chairman, Sir Trevor Carmichael said it was “a dream come true.” We hope this new facility will become a much-loved feature of the museum, helping to grow audiences.
One of the Theatre’s first events will be to host the opening gala of the Barbados Independent Film Festival on Wednesday 11 January.
Discussing the building with festival sponsor Ian McNeel
I very much enjoyed a talk given by Roger Law in aid of the Wells United Charities, in Norfolk this week. Law, as one half of Luck & Flaw created the fantastically satirical Spitting Image for television in the 1980s & 90s. He brought along one of his brilliantly-crafted Margaret Thatcher puppets (in all they made over 2,000 different puppets all by hand):However Law always made ceramics on the side (remember the ‘ugly’ mugs of politicians and royalty?) and what was most interesting was hearing him describe his recent experiences making pots in China. These 3mm thick vessels are carved deeply into the surface by the artist with beautiful images of flora and fauna, seen during the time he was artist in residence at the National Art School, Sydney. In fact he says he often had to reassure his Chinese assistants that such creatures as mudskippers really do exist!
Roger Law is a remarkable draughtsman and his talk was illustrated with his own sketches to illustrate the processes of making and the characters he encountered in Jingdezhen, a city famous for porcelain. Here he is able to work with highly skilled specialists and as he says, it was “very good to learn to fail, which was impossible in the UK”. Experimentation is difficult in the UK due to the high overheads in the industrial potteries meaning commercial interests must take precedence.
This is his postcard-sized work of art created for my recent Secret Postcards project, in aid of the Maltings, Wells-next-the-Sea.
Roger Law, watercolour & ink on card, 2016
Ninety-nine artists from across East Anglia produced a total of 123 miniature (6x4inch) paintings which we sold at a fundraiser on 6 October at Holkham Hall for £60 each. This event raised in excess of £30K. I worked on this project for many months and was incredibly touched by the generosity of all the participating artists including the hard work which had clearly gone into each and every card – the beauty and sheer high quality, they truly were miniature masterpieces. Thank you again to Roger Law.
Andy Lomas Morphogenetic Creations, 2016 Installation view
Andy Lomas’s new solo exhibition at Watermans, (until 21st July) provides a perfect opportunity to see his complete vision. From framed prints and moving image animations to 3D printing, Lomas explores the aesthetics of biology inspired by the theories of Alan Turing and D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson. Based on his cellular growth model, he creates intriguing, uncannily beautiful shapes with the feel of living organisms. The quality of and detail in this work is superb, I urge everyone to see this wonderful show.
Jackson Pollock, Yellow Islands 1952, collection of Tate
I will be giving a lecture on Jackson Pollock and Post-War American Art on Wednesday 30 September for the Richmond Art Society. The venue is the American University in London, Queen’s Road, Richmond TW10 6JP (non-members are welcome: £5.00) Hope to see you there!
Emily Allchurch, Albert Square, Manchester (after Valette), 2015. Collection of Manchester Art Gallery ? Emily Allchurch
Congratulations to Emily Allchurch on her newly-completed commission for Manchester Art Gallery. (Emily was a British Computer Society-featured artist of the month in 2013) This latest work references a painting from the Gallery’s collection by French Impressionist Adolphe Valette, who lived and taught in Manchester, influencing a generation of artists in the North, including LS Lowry. Albert Square, Manchester (after Valette), seen here, was crowd-funded through the Art Fund’s programme Art Happens. Typically of Emily the composition features many subtle details of the goings-on in this city as well as incorporating suggestions submitted to the artist via twitter. See the exhibition in Manchester 13 March – 7 June, or later in Nottingham
Sally Sheinman, What Makes You, You? number 215 My continued inability to understand most of the rest of the human race! inspired by Keith H On Lin
Congratulations to 2014 Lumen Art Prize winners Andy Lomas (Gold award for Cellular Forms) and Sally Sheinman (Founders Prize for What Makes You, You?), both outstanding artists who featured in my BCS column last year. The Prize is a major international competition with 800 submissions from 45 countries. The vast array of different styles and approaches which this prize attracts demonstrates the vibrancy of contemporary technological art. Exhibitions will be taking place around the globe this year, check it out.
An exhibition of Wells based artists at Catesby Court, an historic 17th-century Merchants House located on the harbour of Wells next the Sea., organised by me, with the kind permission of Valerie Chitty. For a private view invitation please email me.
Gustav Metzger, Liquid Crystal Environment, 1965/2005, exhibition view. Kettles Yard, University of Cambridge, photo: Paul Allitt
On view last month in Cambridge was Gustav Metzger’s Auto-Creative art, a variety of materials and methods demonstrative of his long interest in kinetic art, particularly movement and random activity. His 1964 statement “At a certain point the work takes over, is in activity beyond the detailed control of the artist, reaches a power, grace, momentum, transcendence” is apt for an installation which has both a hypnotic visual and a psychedelic delivery. Read the full review and learn about his connection to the Computer Arts Society here.