Feedback and Subodh Gupta at Hauser & Wirth, Bruton

Art, Exhibition, public Art

The feedback from my Formative Assessment was fair and useful, but hit all my buttons – I’m not good enough, why do I think I could be an artist, what do I think I’m doing, all that sort of stuff. The anxiety and unease that throws us into making art in the first place, perhaps.
I have now resigned myself to not getting high marks in my art subject, but just to keep going. Paying more attention to presentation and the aesthetics of my work, as suggested. I always suffer from a surfeit of ideas and a lack of technique, I think.
Anyway, last weekend I took some friends to Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, to visit Subodh Gupta’s new exhibition there, ‘Invisible Reality’.
I do like going to this gallery; they offer free access to well-curated and presented high-end art, with plenty of information available to take away (great for context folders for my Uni course)and regular quality ‘community outreach’ and educational events. I still want a job there…
The current exhibition begins with a huge brass cooking pot hung on its side alone in a room. You first see the shiny underside looking like a huge gong then going round you look inside, to find a tangle of barbed wire where you’d expect food. Thought-provoking as well as quite beatiful. Gupta continually references his Indian homeland with domestic objects, often used and battered. If I could post the photos I took, I would – but for some reason the template on WordPress has changed and I can’t find how to post images any more. Perhaps I pressed the wrong button a while ago. Anyway, the ‘featured image’ is of the final exhibit, a stunning compilation of actual Indian cooking implements cunningly hung to represent an enormous cauldron.
I’d recommend this exhibition, as well as this gallery.

Qwaypurlake, and surfaces

Art, Ceramics, Exhibition

Two topics to report on this time – the Hauser & Wirth Bruton exhibition Qwaypurlake and my latest experiments in the studio, plus group crit feedback. Let’s start with my visit to the gallery, for a Director-led tour on Saturday 28th November.

The young Assistant Director Lucy MacDonald took us through both exhibitions – the other is a Don McCullin retrospective – pointing out particular exhibits and filling us in on the background to the shows as well as particular pieces. After the tour I just had time to go round for a second look before the gallery closed. The information sheets are also very useful to get more context – and context is needed. This is Contemporary Art. You need to know what the ideas behind each piece or the collection as a whole are about, otherwise you will definitely wonder why beautiful delicate Hans Coper vessels are displayed in the same show as a lump of Bruton clay or some half-burnt candles in the shape of ox bones.

This is H&W Bruton’s first group show, curated by local (Frome) artist Simon Morrissey, and with a title which references the historical landscape of this town. Quaperlake Street is the road to Frome from Bruton, but Simon has re-imagined the Somerset landscape after speculative fiction, creating eerie narratives from the juxtaposition of photographs, sculpture and installations. I was particularly interested in the work of Heather and Ivan Morison, their use of a wide range of materials, the way they are displayed, and the titles of their pieces suggesting an unknown story.

As to my own work, I wasn’t shot down in flames at the Group Crit, but was clearly told I need to start focusing on surfaces and textures for my heads. They seemed to like the new work – large coil-built pots after Sarah Purvey, with oxides and white slip scraped over the exterior.

I have discovered we have a sandblaster in a corner of the kiln room, and had an induction at the end of last week, so I’m looking forward to playing with its possibilities. Also I’ve been ‘drawing’ – a thing I avoid as much as possible due to frustration and anxiety – so far mainly with ink, brush and stick. I have told everyone, including myself, that I’m going to the life drawing sessions on Wednesday afternoons. Scary stuff, but I have to make myself do it. It’s so much easier to be the model…

So here are a couple of the Morisons’ previous works I found, and images of my new pots.


A text piece by Heather and Ivan Morison, 2010. Reminds me of one of my poems.


‘Anna’ by Heather and Ivan Morison, 2012, at Hepworth Wakefield. They displayed a similar ‘egg’ at H&W Bruton with a different title.


large coiled pot after Sarah Purvey, via Linda Starkey… with oxide and slip surface


large coiled pot after Sarah Purvey, via Linda Starkey… with oxide and slip surface