Above is my latest completed piece, Heaven and Earth, Diptych. It consists of a pair of miniature “spatial-paintings”, oil on canvas, back-to-back, set in a sculptural wooden frame. The form is the same as the one that I am currently working on for my large sculptural canvases, but here the piece becomes much more objectlike and tactile.

This is actually a very small piece by comparison, approximately a 17cm cube. Because of the pieces objecthood and the unusual expositional qualities it possesses; the fact that in can be displayed on any of eight sides, and that the two paintings are back-to-back on the same stretcher so that they can only be viewed one at a time, it invites the observer to pick it up and handle it, making it a rarity in the world of paintings.

This is one of the most important pieces which I have made whilst at the Cow House for several reasons,but mainly because it was conceived and made entirely whilst here, which for me makes it something of a time-capsule of my residency here. The title, Heaven and Earth, Diptych, refers to the way that the country here has heavily affected my working practice.

I feel that this is a very important piece in lots of ways for my work, it is so much part of the project which I am currently working on but also has so much potential of its own. I have tried so show as many of the pieces qualities in as few photos as possible, but if anyone would like to see more or to get more details of  Heaven and Earth, Diptych, please comment on here or email me on info@antonyclarkson.com .

Happy Thanksgiving, not something that I think I have ever wished anybody before, but then again I have never spent nearly 10 weeks living in a half American household before. We are actually celebrating properly tomorrow, when more people are coming over for a big meal, and I mean big; I went to buy a lot of the groceries with Frank yesterday and it looks like it is going to involve the next two days cooking and baking. Should be fun, so I apologise now if my posting on Saturday is a little on the late side.

As my time here is drawing to a close now I decided to start today’s post with a photo of my studio with all of my accumulated work and “stuff” in; I’ve done this because I am thinking that it is probably about time I started to review what effect my experiences here  it have had on my work and myself. Actually I think it is my working practice that has been affected the most by it. Because of the dedicated time which I have spent working here I have realised that over the last couple of years my time has been increasing taken up by other things which have eaten into my “making time” and this I now realise has been one of my main drawbacks. I now realise that what I need to do is to consolidate my practice, on a daily basis, so that it more resembles the model I have worked with over the last 10 weeks. It may be more easier said than done, but if  I don’t learn from the experience it will have been pointless.

Work wise I am both very happy with what I produced and what I was producing before I came here. In those terms being here has affirmed the nature of my work; the outward appearance of some of it may have changed, but the underlying nature of my practice is actually solidified. I think the thing which I take from it is an even greater confidence in the validity of what I am doing.

Below is a link to something which I found on the web and thought was really cool, but now having seen this and other “YouTube” videos of it I am not so sure. What looks like a wonderful interactive piece of art becomes a half-hearted, hollow gesture when you really that not all of the Tiger and Turtle, Walker-coaster is actually accessible; read the instruction notice at the being of the video. Still have a look and decide for yourselves.

It’s a very dark and I think a little cloudy here this morning, certainly not the wonderful display of stars that greeted me yesterday. I had considered having a last attempt at getting up that mountain today if it was clear, but now I’m not too hopeful. There also appears to be no signs of a glorious sunrise today, hidden behind the clouds is my guess. I think if I were to start this blog again from scratch I would probably start each new post with a photo of that day’s sunrise from where ever I was and whatever the weather.

Anyway, last night on Twitter I mentioned that I would be featuring another piece from my portfolio today and looking back through my postings I now realise that it is a week since I did last show a piece, and so today we have Engine. This piece is in many ways like Still which I showed last week, not only in that it is another potential sculpture, but also that it is based on a simple although perhaps little known scientific principle; the solar heat engine or as it is more commonly known the rubber band heat engine. The idea is simple, if the heat from the sun shines on one side of a wheel with rubber bands for spokes the rubber will contract, shifting the center of mass away from the center of rotation. The resulting in balance of the wheel causes the engine to rotate. Well that is the idea, but this isn’t a scientific model it is a sculpture, what I did was follow the scientific principles involved with the intention of making a sculpture rather than an engine. It does not function as an engine, but in its failure to function as an engine it functions as a sculpture which was always the intent. Once again the piece has the potential for motion; to use energy, but fails to do so. Some people see a “green” agenda at work in these pieces of mine, I make no comment on that.

 For anybody interested the demonstration below shows how the science part actually works.

It’s another beautiful dawn here, it’s one of those places, some mornings are thick fog and then the next one it can be incredibly clear. When I came down to the studio this morning it was still completely dark except for a wonderfully clear array of stars, it’s a shame I couldn’t get a photo of them. So instead I’ve opted for this study of the straw bails in the shed just across the farmyard from me; with the early sun just reaching them over the Cow house roof top their colours are amazing; I particularly like the reflected light from their neighbours which illuminates the shadowed area of each of them.

This morning, in just over an hour in fact, we have a group of students coming on a visit to meet us and to look around the studios, like I said it’s been a busy time for visitors, I have seen the studios kept this tidy for so long before! It will be interesting to hear what they think about the work being made here, I think they are younger students that the one that we met with at Wexford last week  so they may have a different take on things, It has certainly been a different experience, I haven’t spoken to this many interested students since I was one myself.

Just as a final thing, I wanted to add this link to images of abandoned soviet monuments in the former Yugoslavia which Frank found, they are amazing, I would love to do some work referencing them. This is probably my personal favorate, but have a look at them all.

 http://www.cracktwo.com/2011/04/25-abandoned-soviet-monuments-that-look.html

Well, I’m now into my final week here at Cow House Studios and it has turned into a really busy period of time. On Thursday I had the day at Wexford Arts Centre and Art College, which was great: thank you once again to everyone at both of those venues who were so welcoming. And of course yesterday was the Cow House Open Studio which was another great event, bringing in lots of people from across the east of Ireland, I know from talking to them that several came down from Dublin, up from Waterford and we even had someone come all the way from Belfast in the North. Amongst them it was great to meet up and talk with Peter Prendergast, Director/Curator at Monster Truck Gallery Dublin; http://monstertruck.ie/blog/?page_id=2 , where we will be exhibiting much of the new work inspired by this residency in 2012: he is very excited by the prospect of this as are we all at Cow House. So today it is a little bit of a chance to get my breath back, because we haven’t finished yet, tomorrow we have a group of student coming over from Gorey School of Art.

But as you can see by the invitation at the top of todays post, it isn’t a quiet day for everyone, my good friend and co-residencee here at Cow House, Sabina MacMahon,  set off early this morning to start the installation of her solo show at Droichead Arts Centre, “Longevity, if not immorality”. From my contact with Sabina’s work this should prove to be a fascinating show and I would advise anyone who finds themselves in the area to call by for an eye-opening experience. Good luck Sabina.

Mario Testino ‘honoured’

to present Turner Prize 2011

Celebrity fashion photographer

Mario Testino will present The Turner

Prize in   Gateshead next month.

Mario Testino to be awarded the inaugural Moët & Chandon Étoile award

Mario Testino will present the Turner Prize 2011;

ABOVE: the photographer with supermodel Kate Moss Photo: REUTERS

By Florence Waters 11:31AM GMT 14 Nov 2011

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/turner-prize/8888480/Mario-Testino-honoured-to-present-Turner-Prize-2011.html

Turner Prize 2001

 

‘I think people can make of it what they like. I don’t think it is for me to explain it. I mean I like it you know. For me it’s full of life, but I don’t know what other people might make of it and I don’t think it’s for me to tell people what to think.’

– Martin Creed quoted in BBC News, December 2001

‘Take a bare white room with a light switching on and off and what have you got? A Turner Prize winner.’

– Tom Parry, The Mirror, December 2001

‘He wanted to get the biggest effect with the least effort. It’s the dis-proportion between the effort and the effect.’

– Germaine Greer, Newsnight Review, December 2001

Martin Creed's installation for the 2001 Turner Prize

Martin Creed’s installation for the 2001 Turner Prize
© Photo: Tate Photography

Shortlist:

Jury:

  • Patricia Bickers, Editor, Art Monthly
  • Stuart Evans, representative of the Patrons of New Art
  • Robert Storr, Senior Curator, Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Jonathan Watkins, Director, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
  • Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate

In a way this was the year the media had been waiting for, Creed’s conceptualism raises the question: ‘what is art?’

Media coverage became increasingly disgruntled as the Prize seemed to have become a victim of its own success. This year’s shortlist was seen as ‘obscure’ while a number of critics felt that the Prize had reached a plateau. There was a demand for less elitism in the selection process, less ‘conceptual art’ and an attack was launched on the ‘art-world’ language used to contextualise the exhibition. Awarding the prize to Martin Creed for Work No.227: The lights going on and off only fuelled this sense of agitation. The choice of Madonna as presenter of the award was criticised as a cynical marketing strategy.

Crowds flock to Turner Prize show

Queues outside the Baltic
Queues have stretched outside the Baltic gallery

Almost 25,000 people have visited the Baltic art gallery in Gateshead in five days to see works by this year’s Turner Prize nominees.

26 October 2011 Last updated at 11:45 GMT

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15460697

Apologies for the late posting, very busy here preparing for the Cow House Open Studios tomorrow:

 http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=109522982496148

Today it is of  course all about the Turner Prize once again. Whatever the press are saying, and it varies a lot the Turner Prize shoe seems to be more popular than ever this year. As I say there are many different takes on the show across the media, but I thought this like to The Guardians “Turner Prize 2011 in Pictures!, was a notable entry and one worth passing on.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2011/oct/21/turner-prize-2011-in-pictures#/?picture=380747339&index=12

Hilary Lloyd.

Of courses todays posting is actually about Hilary Lloyd, the video artist who has been nominated for the Turner Prize 2011 for her solo show at Raven Row in London. Anyone who knows me has probably heard me expound at length about my opinions of video artists, and are probably even now rushing for cover. So they may well be surprised to hear me say that I don’t just like Hilary Lloyd’s work, but I think it is probably the strongest work in the show and in my opinion she should win the competition. However I do temper this judgement by pointing out that Lloyd isn’t your traditional video maker; the videos are simply one element in what I see as a much more thoughtful, sculptural approach to her practice. It’s funny, the amount of times that I have been in sculpture studios at University’s which are full of students making videos and have thought to myself; they really shouldn’t be here. But here is a video maker who really deserves the title; sculptor.

Nevertheless, it is video and video used as if should be, not as a piece of documentation which has been mistaken for an art work. Here the images and sound are components  in a sculptural installation, of which the screens, projectors and even the structures that hold them in place become a part of.  The videos themselves are at first appearance straight forward, but involve concepts of abstraction which challenge our ways of seeing as well as what is being  seen.

Tomorrow I will be looking at the Turner Prize from 2001.

When I say down to start writing todays posting I really had no idea what I was going to write about. Not only that but I didn’t know what I was going to use photographically and when I looked out of the window all I saw was grey skies, wind and rain; but still I thought I should go out and look for inspiration and it wasn’t hard to find. As so as I stepped into the farm-yard I took this photo of straw in a puddle and the reflection of the fence: which gave me the subject for today as well; the potential for inspiration in the everyday.

The subject actually ties-in to an awful lot of what my lecture was about yesterday, I often cite Perec’s Approaches to What? essay as one of my main influences and this is what it has to do with; the realisation that the big headline events that we see in the news are not what life is actually about, they are few and far between and in a world as big as ours with lives as short as ours we will probably never be involved in such events. No real life is actually about the things that affect us everyday, the weather outside, whats to eat for dinner or as Perec would put it; “Question your teaspoons. What is under your wallpaper?” If we don’t take the time to look at what is around us all the time, and as artists draw inspiration from it, we are missing most of what life has to offer us. There is no point in waiting for the big event to happen to you, it may never do so.

Well if anyone has been wondering where todays posting is, and I see some people have looked, it is here now, just somewhat delayed and I’m afraid shortened.  Today has been very different, I have spent the day working at Wexford Arts Centre, as visiting artist: giving a lecture there in the morning and then doing tutorials with final year degree students  at Wexford Art College in the afternoon. It has been a very enjoyable process all around and one which I think I got as much out of as the students seemed to. They have a really good set up here with the Centre and College really working together and supporting each other; it has been a pleasure to work with them toady and I am really looking forward to coming back to exhibit next year.

But as it has been a rather long and intense day I am going to leave this post at this and in way of apology I leave you with and hope you enjoy the photo of the beautiful sunrise over Enniscorthy a couple of days ago.

Today I am returning to a piece from my portfolio and as my good friend John Cleese would say, “and now for something completely different!” Still. Whilst I had spent the previous three years working on my spatial paintings I had come across other ideas and inspirations which I had not had the chance to follow, but with the completion of Reality Plus One, I had decided that the spatial paintings project was complete in its present form and that the time was right to take the opportunity to explore these different avenues.

There were two areas in particular, both literary, that I had become interested in. One of them is what is often thought of as 19th century gothic horror, Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and of course, H.G.Wells. Whilst these authors do take direction from the supernatural folktales of the past they also look forward into the new scientific Victorian era. They were able to foresee many of the great scientific leaps of the 20th century, but visualised them through the mechanisms of their own times: steam, gears and cogs. And of course to this we owe modern Steampunk writing. The other thing which I had started reading were the works of George Perec and I was particularly taken with Approaches to what?;

http://artsites.ucsc.edu/faculty/Gustafson/FILM%20162.W10/readings/perec.approaches.pdf

 from Species of Space and Other Pieces, a book I’d highly recommend. In Approaches to What?  Perec’s argument centres around the sentence, “To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us.” He advocates that we should take more of an interest in the everyday, L’Infra-ordinaire as he describes it, and pay less attention to the spectacular.

For me there is a form of synergy between the two ideas and I started to experiment, or play if you will, with the everyday objects around me to see if I could create or recreate certain scientific models. The first of these I looked at was the solar-still. The resulting piece, Still,  did not function as a scientific device, but that was not the idea, through the pursuit of this process I had created a new sculptural piece. The first of what I call potential sculptures, something I will talk about more at a later date.