I have sent out a newsletter to subscribers, having merged my audiences from Flow Contemporary Arts with CarolynBlackArt.
It really has been a weird, and exciting, year for me. Not despite Covid19, but possibly because of it. Below is my ‘annual report’ on activity, and some links to where you can see my work. If you enjoy reading this, do subscribe to receive future newsletters (very occasional – rarely more than 4 a year, unless i have great opportunities to share with you – or brilliant exhibitions to see!).
This is a year in review and will go some way to explain why I plan to merge Flow Contemporary Arts with my personal art practice. Times are a-changing.
In February last year I ordered 100 more copies of my book, Severnside: An Artist’s View of the Severn. I did so because the first 100 had gone and I wanted to put some in bookshops. Which pretty promptly closed.
An art project in the public realm I was involved with was eagerly awaiting decisions on grant applications, so we could deliver a brilliant event across the Forest in empty phone booths. You can see information about the research stage here. Now ground to a halt and put on the shelf until brighter days.
Other Producer work in the public realm has been slowed down, time has been stretched like a rubber band. But not snapped, which is fantastic.
In my studio, my practice has developed more than I could have imagined. After finishing the large panoramic drawings for the book, I began to consider returning to earlier media – such as printmaking and film. Lockdown provided an opportunity to embrace that. I made my video “When You Call I Shall Come” (855 views on Youtube) during the spring tides 2020. Having had a longing to deliver a public art event at the river involving a Swedish kulning song, making the film sparked off the possibility of using such a song as the soundtrack. After all, with no surfers, few bankside viewers, this was my first, and likely only ever, opportunity to film the high Severn Bore without human presence – no surfers, no watchers, no hang-gliders. This was not only a time for the tide to turn, it was also a turning point for me. Swedish singer Eva Rune and others gave me permission to use their beautiful voices, providing a haunting soundtrack to a very special moment in time.
Eva and I have been collaborating ever since – expect some new films in the near future.
I submitted it for the EarthPhoto2020 exhibition, and it was selected from over 2.6k applications worldwide. My film can only be seen in their online exhibition. I then went on to make other films and submit them to other opportunities. “Bev D “ is the most recent, which is causing quite a stir (forgive the pun – she is a dredger). Andrew Heath worked on this one too.
“As Above So Below”, with a soundtrack by composer Andrew Heath, was selected for Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2020. They managed to open in Marlborough and Dundee, and now at AUB in Bournemouth, but sadly the London show, and awards event, could not be held.
When You Call I Shall Come is also in the RWA Open 2020 – finally opening its doors this weekend – the 17th of April 2021. They also have two photogravure prints of mine for sale on their website – and on my own too. Thanks to an Arts Council England Grant for professional development I am relearning printmaking (I have a post-graduate diploma in printmaking but not done any for years.) You must book a slot – but it is worth it – to see a wide range of fantastic work.
It feels to me that the arts have had a really rough time of the Covid19 rules. As lockdown lifts priorities are for shopping and sport – I cannot comprehend why it is ok for people to hang out sweating and exhaling vigorously in a gym, or drinking and eating, but cannot sit quietly at 2metres plus away from others and enjoy drawing in a small group, with windows open.
Personally, I have found drawing a wonderful way to immerse myself in place and am actively involved with various online groups. Not all virtual some involve walking as well as talking! I am currently putting together a programme to share this passion by running Looking Classes (drawing workshops). Find out more here.
In a nutshell – where to see the work made during the past year:
RWA Bristol 17th April until 9th May 2021
AUB Bournemouth Trinity Buoy Wharf Prize 17th May – 2nd June 2021
EarthPhoto2020 online – it may be opened in venues, please check their website
Fingers crossed we can move forward embracing the learning we have done during the pandemic. Social and economic inequalities have been brought to the forefront, as has environmental awareness. Many have spent more time in nature and, for some, being unable to see loved one’s has been horrendous, but it has expanded my world via online interactions. Many have found solace in creative activities and their importance must be reflected in wider society.
I celebrate the gain of my return to practice, I hope others have been as lucky as me.
Be well, stay safe.