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. Continue reading “Living Calendar”

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. Continue reading “Martin Puryear”

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. Continue reading “Rooted In Instinct”

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. Continue reading “Shepherd’s Warning”

Frames of reference

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. Continue reading “Heading South”

Frames of reference