It’s been 13 years since A Computer in the Art Room was published. My original intention was to provide a highly-illustrated, accessible introduction to a subject that was, in 2008, little explored and to give voice to the very many pioneering artists and practitioners who made work in the 1960s and 70s in Britain. For many, this was the first time they had told their stories. Sadly, a number of these individuals are no longer with us, which now makes me grateful that I was able to record their contributions in the way that I did, placing their work within a wider art historical context. Today an increasing number of scholars are working in this field and there have been many more contributions to this history; this book still contains valuable information about the early days. It’s now available as an ebook for an affordable price – see SHOP tab above. Also available on Apple Bookstore – search the title.
The Open I have curated for Wells Maltings, in North Norfolk is now up and running. CONNECTION is the inaugural exhibition in the Handa Gallery and celebrates the quality and diversity of art in East Anglia today.
A call to artists with connections to East Anglia was made in October 2017, via an anonymous entry process. We were thrilled by the enthusiastic response, indicative of the large amount of talent in this region. A wide variety of styles, materials, methods and subject matter was immediately apparent as was the high standard of works submitted. From over 900 entries around 250 two-dimensional works of art were selected. The idea was based on a true Open, taking inspiration from the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, giving visitors an opportunity to view and purchase work by artists at every level of their career, from emerging talent to established figures. Come and see! Open every day from 10 to 6, until 30 September. Free entry.
I am thrilled to join the Wells Maltings Trust as Art Advisor. The Wells Maltings is a historic Grade II listed building in Saithe Street, Wells next the Sea, Norfolk currently being redeveloped to create North Norfolk’s Premier Arts & Heritage Centre. I am devising a programme of exhibitions and arts events for the new art space, under construction and due to open Spring 2018.
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.
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 â€“ the beauty and sheer high quality, they truly were miniature masterpieces. Thank you again to Roger Law.
My recent book launch – Janice Sylvia Brock: My Life on Canvas was a huge success with over 200 people in attendance, welcomed by Sir Cliff Richard at Sugar Hill Club House, Barbados. See photographs here.
My new biography of the English-born, Barbadian-resident painter Janice Sylvia Brockis OUT NOW published by I.B. Tauris. The book launch is Thursday 23rd Januaryat Sugar Hill, St James, Barbados – to be opened by Sir Cliff Richard. If you are going to be on-island, please email me for an invitation.
See me speaking about the history of landscape painting in North Norfolk in the new film Cley Marshes: A Wild Vision, produced by David North for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes Appeal. If you are visiting Norwich in September, do pop in to the Forum to see this inspiring film featuring Bill Oddie, wildlife experts, artists and others sharing their stories of this special place.
The NWT is the oldest of a national network of wildlife trusts. The 400 acres of Cley Marshes were purchased by Dr Sydney Long in 1926. Long went on to found the Norfolk Wildlife Trust with Cley becoming the Trust’s first nature reserve. For generations this site has enjoyed a worldwide reputation as a superb site for watching birds and experiencing nature. The appeal is raising funds to purchase an additional 143 acres – this is a unique opportunity to ensure that coastal land from Blakeney Point to Kelling would all become one continuous nature reserve. Find out more about my landscape art project, Spirit of Place.
Alan Turing Year 2012 continues apace with a variety of events inspired by the great contribution made by the mathematician and code breaker to the history of computer science and modern biology. For this month’s BCS column, we’re featuring the work of artists/curators Craig Morrison and Joel Cockrill who have been commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales to produce a laser and light installation honouring Turing’s life and legacy. Appropriately entitled Thank You, Craig and Joel’s piece will be shown at theblinc digital arts festival in Conway, North Wales, and is a thanks on behalf of the media arts world, based on the very digital materials that Turing helped to invent. According toTuring’s biographer, Turing believed in the survival of the spirit after death. Perhaps he was right; here we are remembering him nearly sixty years after his death, his legacy surrounding us in the ever-present technology we use every day. Read the full article here: http://www.bcs.org/content/conWebDoc/48180
Also recommended is this lecture on Turing by Cambridge historian Professor Christopher Andrew, who argues that it is no surprise that Turing’s great legacy has been overlooked: no other country other than our own great country has the ability to hide its secrets as we do. The belief that for 30 years after WWII it was necessary to keep the fact that Turing invented the world’s first computer a secret, meant that two generations of students grew up thinking that the single most important invention of the 20th & 21st centuries the computer was American.