Martin Puryear

Night Watch, 2011
Maple, willow, OSB board

This was an eye-opener. I’d only once before seen a sculpture by Martin Puryear and I was intrigued then by its craftsmanship and its implied utility. That was three years ago at Villa Panza in Italy and I thought I was looking at a redundant piece of machinery. But now here was a whole solo retrospective exhibition of pieces made with great attention to detail and a love of materials that suggested these were all much more than the sum of their parts. I was attracted to them because they were all such well-crafted, beautifully made objects, and also because they all seemed slightly illogical and perhaps even allegorical. But I didn’t need to know their story, I just loved their mystery, and their integrity. Read more

Frames of reference

Rooted In Instinct

This was a memorable exhibition seen when we visited Lincoln; it was just a few miles down the road at the National Centre for Craft & Design in Sleaford. Rooted in Instinct was a beautifully simple installation of works by Laura Ellen Bacon; three engaging sculptures made by traditional methods of basket weaving and thatching, handmade, handwoven, handtied, they seem to have been hand grown by the artist herself. In some ways the exhibition was a life-affirming companion piece to the more reductive Log Book performance we’d seen earlier in the Chapter House at Lincoln Cathedral. Read more

Frames of reference

Shepherd’s Warning

The view from our room in Lincoln on our last morning, looking towards the rising sun, the cathedral silhouetted through the trees, reminded of the ancient weather forecasting rhyme – Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning. But we had our hearts set on a walk before returning to London, so the more we looked, the more we convinced ourselves it was not red at all, but actually sky-blue pink. But it was the most sun we saw all day. Read more

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Heading South

Heading South

A new painting from Robert Newton up in Northumberland sent down south to hang on the wall of The Rowley Gallery. It came in a box together with other paintings, all framed in white trays, like a collection of core samples taken directly from the northern landscape. They’re all thickly painted, fresh with the smell of oil paint when they first arrived, now just about cured. Read more

Frames of reference

Mr Fox & Friends

Mister Fox

A new selection of linocuts for St Andrew’s Day from Linda Farquharson, lyrical characters carved from the heath and heather of Highland Perthshire, natural spirits in a communal cèilidh. Read more

Frames of reference

Francis Davison: Collages

The Redfern Gallery, 20 Cork Street, Mayfair, W1S 3HL is presently a great place to get lost. Until 9th December, it is the venue for a fabulous exhibition of collages by the late Francis Davison, a master of the art of papier collé or torn paper ‘paintings’. This is a rare chance to see such a spectacular display of his work all gathered together in one special place. Read more

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The Darktown Turbo Taxi

All aboard the Darktown Turbo Taxi!… Read more

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Tree Of Life & Other Stories

This Tree of Life by Jazmin Velasco is a variation on the traditional Árbol de la Vida from Puebla and Metepec in her native Mexico. Rather than depicting the more usual biblical story of creation, Jazmin has chosen to illustrate her own version of the Garden of Eden, with cats and birds in harmony. Read more

Frames of reference

Log Book

During our visit to Lincoln Cathedral we witnessed an elegant performance commemorating the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest. Logs of Scots pine were transformed into wooden beams by a group of hewers in the cathedral’s Chapter House, in a spectacular ritual lasting ten days that explored the dramatic, acoustic, material and olfactory qualities of the space. Read more

Frames of reference

In Lincoln

The approach to Lincoln was long and flat with wide vistas of huge arable fields, along straight roads accompanied by oversized tractors, through countryside reminiscent of the industrial-scale farms of northern France. But lest we should forget where we were, on the outskirts of the city a little old lady stood on the pavement nodding involuntarily at the passing traffic, waving a St George’s Cross with the word England written across it. A radicalised ukipper standing her ground against the waves of migrant workers come to steal her crops… But then we saw the cathedral. Read more

Frames of reference