Sunday, November 29, 2015


Time has a different relevance for different activities. For example, when looking at a work of art, does it really matter whether you know that a particular piece was made yesterday or ten, twenty, fifty or 100 years ago? You'll say it matters if you're a curator/archivist/critic/biographer/art historian. I'll say it doesn't matter at all in terms of the work's impact (or non-impact), its qualities and/or flaws.

As a long-lived artist (thanks to providence, long-living genes and stubborn age-denial) I've decided that it's not only okay to resurrect my old work but that it's possible to be re-inspired by one's own earlier explorations, abandoned or shelved along the way - especially useful if you're never sure which of your many selves is the 'real self'. Chagall and Miró both said that the source of all their work was the place they came from and their early lives there. I'm still waiting to discover my own essential source but it seems that autobiography, in the form of words and images combined, regularly pops up in my life's so-called oeuvre.

I'm very happy that a couple of my not-recent autobiographical works have been selected by Natalia Zagorska-Thomas to include in the exhibition Please Do Touch which she is curating at her Ex Purgamento studio-gallery from 5th to 31st December.

The Continuing Story is both a book and a construction on which it is held. The little book is a one-off journal drawn almost daily in pen and ink. You can leaf through the whole book online (put it on full screen to be able to read the small writing) at this link.

Dimensions of the construction: 23 x 40.5 x 10.5cm

Confessional is another construction which is also a holder for a one-off journal Augustine's True Confession drawn and written in pen and ink and watercolour. I applied for and received a grant from the Arts Council of Great Britain to publish a paperback trade edition of this book in 1989. It is currently out of print but copies can still be found from secondhand book dealers. I hope to reprint it some time.

Dimensions: 39 x 28.5 x 16 cm

Thursday, November 12, 2015

STORYLINE Exhibition in Cardiff

On Monday's wet and blustery afternoon I took a train to Cardiff to attend the opening of STORYLINE, the exhibition organised and curated by Bill Garnett in aid of Shelter, the Welsh charity. I recently posted about this here and on FaceBook.

I've only been to Cardiff briefly once before and on both occasions weather, time of day (dim then dark) plus my deficient sense of direction conspired to make it difficult to locate my destination which, this time, was the Norwegian Church (no longer a church but an Arts centre) on the waterfront.

No doubt the population of Cardiff is huge but, while those few individuals I came across on my way to the gallery were cheerfully helpful in the endearing Welsh manner, the population itself must have been hanging out elsewhere. Three or four persons on the bus to Cardiff Bay, half dozen or so in the vast Millenium Centre where I wandered in to ask directions, and not a single human or animal on the long and winding windy waterfront. I had miscalculated and was too early for the gallery opening, too late to go back into the city centre (couldn't find it anyway) and no cafe in sight where I could catch my breath. Finally, a sudden glimmer of light around a deserted corner revealed a pub - allelulia! Also deserted, apart from the cheerful owner, his wife and one customer. Perfect. All I wanted was to sit somewhere warm until the Norwegian Church, standing whitely spired at the far end of the pier, would be open. Indeed, at the appointed hour, Bill Garnett was there to welcome me.

Enough preamble, I'll get to the point: the exhibition at the Dahl Gallery, upstairs in the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay, is full - overflowing - with truly exceptional examples of artwork by over 20 exceptional artists. Some of them are household names: Elizabeth Frink, John Piper, Paula Rego, Ceri Richards, Michael Rothenstein, Philip Sutton etc. and some are known in fewer households. But never mind names: if it's wonderful, original, distinctive artwork you love, then you must make your way this week (it's only on for a week) to the Norwegian Church on Cardiff Bay.

Most of the work is for sale, at absurdly reasonable prices, and the very worthwhile Shelter charity will benefit. Cardiff is only two and a bit hours by train from London Paddington and who knows how many hours from wherever you are but it's well worth the trip. If you really truly can't get there in person then you can contact Bill Garnett at Pomegranate Fine Art to get a full PDF catalogue of all the artists.

You already know that this blog is usually (not always) about me so I won't apologise that the photos below are of some of my works in this exhibition (around 20 of my prints and a couple of my artists' books are included.)

The bottom photo is of my artist's book For A Song (7 poems and 7 etchings). Full details are here and all the pages from this version are shown  here.

Friday, November 06, 2015


Since the last time I blog-posted I've been back to Tavira, Portugal, where five years ago I was artist in residence at Casa 5 (documented starting here). This time I went with London friends to visit my brother who is living there at present.

It was a wonderful mind, body and vision-refreshing break which I'm very happy to share some visual proofs of. I realise that my photos are probably cliché postcardy things but I don't care. There's nothing cliché about actually being immersed in moments of splendour like these and if I've only got superficial records of the live experience, well, so be it. I'm not going to write about the history of Tavira or describe the place verbally - you can look up the former and I'm sure there are good travel writers who have done the latter.

Spectacular sunset on Gilao River, Tavira
Roman bridge, Tavira

The small hotel where we stayed, facing the Gilao River
Crossing bridge, Tavira

Orange stucco house, Tavira

Yellow front of demolished house, Tavira

House waiting to be restored, Tavira

Cloudy day, Tavira environs

Meanwhile, back home, I've made a photobook/catalogue of 109 of my old drawings, some of which were posted below. The printed copy (of which there's only one at present) will be sent to me soon and I'm going to look into having more copies printed for anyone who'd like to buy one. The drawings themselves are for sale individually - if interested let me know.The online version of the photobook can be viewed here (put it on full screen and click the arrow on the right to turn the pages).