A round up of the weeks’ events

5 Feb

As promised here is my final account for the week, and I would first like to congratulate myself for sticking at this for more than two days!

So this week it appears that 2012 has properly started. I am aware that it’s february and so people have had a month of doing things already. However, talking to many people I have come to the conclusion that no one really does anything of importance in January. Instead the general consensus is that we all walk around in a “zombiefied” state filling out menial tasks slightly depressed because there is no light during the day, no exciting events happening and it’s a tad chilly. My point was proved on Wednesday whilst up in London at my internship, when BAM a flurry of events were passed my way to compile into a list and 90% were taking place in February. Moreover, in the last five days I have attended two exhibition openings and one Zumba party (which I am unashamed by) and looking at my diary it appears I am pretty chockablock for the rest of the month. So here we have it 2012 has officially started, just a month late!

So now that they have been mentioned it is only appropriate to discuss these art events further.

In the run up to the Olympics Essex County Council have commissioned artists to work with atheletes from Team GB to produce work that follows their journey to 2012. On Thursday the exhibition opened for its stint at the Beecroft Gallery, Southend and I must admit there were some very interesting pieces on display.

I was already familiar with the work of two of the artists on display and so I knew that I was going to enjoy at least two of the works in the show. Neither was a disappointment, unsurprisingly! The work of Stuart Bowditch and Damien Robinson plays to my tune because it seeks to explore the territory between sight, sound and the environment. Downstairs Robinson’s ‘Chimerascope’ explored the ever-changing conditions experienced by British Paralympian sailor Hannah Stodel and the British Sonar Sailing Team. The work manifests itself through a series of digital animations being played onto a series of recycled technologies inside a wooden cabinet. The effect is truly magical, when one first looks at the work it appears as though it should be in the corner of a Victorian curiosity shop under a layer of dust and books. I mean this in a good way, if you were inside my head its the type of thing A.S. Byatt would have a Genie fly out of because when you look inside and a kaleidoscope of images appear, creating an optical illusion that reflects the absolute determination and perseverance  of the athlete in adverse conditions.

Stuart’s work consisted of a track compiled from the recordings he had taken whilst attending a series of training sessions for disability powerlifter Adam Alderman entitled ‘First Flight’. You listen to the work whilst laying on a weights bench underneath the weights bar. The effect certainly gets your heart pounding and mind equipped for a work-out and a masculine one at that. It’s well worth a listen and I feel it completely encapsulates the feeling of building up to a momentous moment through a lengthy process of training and practise.

Finally I quickly wish to mention here an artist’s work who I had not seen before. Helen Morse-Palmer worked with Team GB shooter James Huckle to produce some spell-binding work. Focusing on the absolute precision needed in shooting Palmer created work that made precious moments of Huckle’s talent. Making Huckle stand at a distance of 10m away from his shooting target (five times less than he would at competition) Palmer asked Huckle to shoot through the eye of a needle. To anyone but an exceptional shooter this may appear to be an impossible task. But as the work demonstrates Huckle succeeded with great aplomb. The pins are displayed on a velvet cushion, emulating the way in which precious jewels are presented and as such these tiny buckled needles become things of beauty representing the individual talent and work of Huckle.

Coming to last night now. In early December Katie Surridge won a residency at the TAP Gallery Southend as selected by Grenville Davey and the TAP directors. She then had a month to live in Southend and to create a work which would be exhibited in the Winch Room of the Old Waterworks located along North Road. It really is a fantastic show and I urge you all to see it, each one of the artists is of such high quality that I guarantee there is something for everyone! Out of all the works I would say four pieces really caught my eye. Firstly, the work of Jennifer E Price who sought to subvert the processs of printmaking through her ‘inkblot’ of a grand piano. The effect is magnificent and painstaking, unveiling the internal parts of the instrument the work pushes the boundaries of the subject in the painting and the act of printing into painting and sculpture. Lovely local artist Sarah Buckle’s video work is perhaps something not for those prone to blushing, although I challenge them all to go and break that habit by viewing it. A series of rather heated monologues develops the ideas of propriety and social correctness in society with fantastic clarity. Plus I got to hold her baby grand-daughter so she deserves a mention just for that! The work of Hanae Utamara provided another breathtaking insight into our perception of the environment. I almost don’t want to say too much about this work because it is simply so magical that I really don’t want to give too much away by explaining all I will say is that it involves a lot of red paint and one of England’s most famous landmarks!

Finally, I come to Surridge’s work which took over the Winch Room. Again I don’t want to spoil the surprise here, speaking to the artist about the work she wanted it to be a performance piece of herself. She spoke humbly of how she watched her friends perform circus tricks of juggling and dancing with such brevity that she felt she had nothing to show. If that is the case then this work certainly makes up for it! It is a microcosm of theatre suspended in a room, there is something uniquely tribal and ritualistic about the work, overall it is breathtaking. You have to see it!

So there you have it, two shows of exceptional merit for your perusal in the coming weeks! Go begin your year and get cultural!

 

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