Untitled

I recently stumbled upon this video, if that’s what you call a static image with a soundtrack attached, and now I find it’s stuck on repeat, I can’t shake it. There’s no title for this piece and no telling where it’s from, except that it’s played by Gary Windo, one of my all time favourite saxophone heroes. I had heard him play with Carla Bley and Robert Wyatt and Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath, and circa 1974 he gave an earbending performance in a tiny lecture theatre at Maidstone College of Art. I was mesmerised and immediately afterwards went straight out and bought a saxophone of my own.

Frames of reference

Living Calendar

The first advent calendar I remember was a snowy landscape splashed in chunky glitter. Little numbered doors were hard to see and fiddly to open but I was delighted when a tiny candle or perky robin was revealed. It was all about finding the right number each day. The increase in open doors a very satisfying way to get to Christmas. Read more

Frames of reference

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

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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