19 October 2017

Shape of Sky



These photographs were taken from the rear window of our flat in central London at 20.10 hours on 24th June. Not only was the colour spectacular as a fiery sunset illuminated the buildings from this high summer unusual angle but the whole sky seemed to radiate with luminosity. These photographs required little processing and are very close to the camera's settings - the environment was totally photogenic!
Why put these rather than any other landscape? Why add them at all in fact! It is the shape of sky that interests here and moreover, I have spent 19 years looking at this shape of sky.

Canon Powershot SX610HS

29 August 2017

Open Studio with Helfa Gelf



Open studio with Helfa Gelf features new paintings made between February and June this year. Also project drawing books For El Arreciado Sculpture Wool Symposium May 2016 and Color de la Ciutat - Palma, Mallorca with the portfolio of gouaches made on location, 2014.

18 August 2017

Four New Works - 2 Paintings and 2 Gouaches

Four new works on consignment:


4.2.15 62 x 82 cm gouache

15.5.17 65 x 84 cm gouache

Central Red 37 x 49 cm oil on canvas

Sierra Nevada 33 x 48 cm oil on canvas

22 June 2017

12 Paintings: New Series: First Completed



The first completed painting of the new rectangular series of oil on canvas paintings has just been finished. The series, being made since February, marks a return to a rectangular format and support. The main reason for the use of a rectangular support was to challenge the shape format itself and test to see if the issues of pictorial image making that I have become familiar (forms constructing the perimeters) would be restrictive in the conventional rectangular picture frame format. Whilst the format has been challenging, shapes have engaged with the perimeter edges to define an integral but perhaps more unified painting. Further reflection on these no doubt to follow but results look promising and certainly different.


20 March 2017

A Note on R E - T O U R / R E - T R A C E



The film has been made as part of my contribution to the Re-take/Re-invent project. For this, I was looking at the work of Thomas Jones (1742 - 1803) and in particular, the series of small paintings he made whilst living in Naples. In December 2015, during the project time, I was able to visit Naples with International Contemporary Art Wales as part of a group exhibition in CAM Casoria Contemporary Art Museum. Whilst there, I visited the city centre, actually for one morning just before leaving, to research for the project and was able to walk across the city and visit the area around the Castel Nuovo, that features in the particular painting by Jones that I was working from. In Naples, I was struck by how familiar the city was through the eyes of Jones because of the light on walls and the washing that was hanging in the December sun to catch the warmth and how this is very much still the current character of the city as it was in Jones’ time. I live partly in London, where my family are based and was very interested to read that Lawrence Gowing (1) had a studio with others in Maple Street whilst teaching at the Slade and he thought it was the house that Jones used to live in with his family, when he lived in London. The street then, in Jones’ time, was called London Street, being renamed later in line with the furniture business on Tottenham Court Road. Part of it, directly next to the base of the BT tower does have a terrace that dates from Jones’ time. In reflecting on Jones over many years particularly since the 2002 National Gallery exhibition of his work (really a walk from Maple Street) right through to this project, my investigation required creative output and film seemed a possibility. Chance, time and place all play a part here under the construct of a project of reinterpretation. Connections and differences between two cities drawn together perhaps by noticing the transitory and temporary features of metropolitan life.  


(1.) Gowing, Lawrence. The Originality of Thomas Jones. 1985 Thames and Hudson

R E - T O U R / R E - T R A C E


12 March 2017

New Series: Return to Rectangle

New series of paintings under way in the studio. These are 18 small to mid-sized canvases and mark a return to the rectangular form. Utilising old stretchers (mainly) and canvas off cuts from previous large canvases, these new works are a return to the confrontation of the conventional edge of support and how this will or will not contribute, influence, dictate the content of the paintings. I am using photographs of architectural spaces to start these works and the palette is exploring a more tertiary hue range at this early stage of production.













Deep yellow almost a dark yellow





24 November 2016

iJADE Conference 2016: DRAWING University of Chester

Engaging Studio Practice for Learning: New Art from Past Art Re-take/Re-invent Paper at iJADE NSEAD conference on Drawing. 18 and 19 November 2016.
Big Naples Painting at Re take Reinvent Main Exhibition Oriel Ynys Môn


Re-take/Re-invent
Andrew Smith | Bangor University, UK


Re-take/Re-invent is a group exhibition project at Fine Art, Bangor University, looking at the art collection of the National Museum Wales as a start point for an exploration of studio practice. The paper will examine the role of drawing in the investigation and development of new ideas from the works chosen. Fifteen artists have taken part in the project with different approaches to drawing being at the forefront of several portfolios. As a result, strategies for thinking through drawing have been exposed that might not have been at the forefront of the artist’s usual practice.

18 September 2016

A Note on the Films for RE-TAKE / RE-INVENT


RE-TAKE/RE-INVENT was to include interviews with each of the participating artists. I was thinking that the best way to do this was to visit each studio and have a conversation and see what was being made first hand. Alternatively, a correspondence document type question and answer was also an option being the easiest and most cost effective way; although this was always to be the last option.

I have always enjoyed artists films and have been inspired by many during my career. They were very much a way into practice when in the 80s and 90s visual arts programmes occasionally surfaced in the listings. I remember the series on the St Ives artists with interviews with William Scott amongst others. The South Bank Show was always one to watch whenever an artist was featured. The programme on Patrick Heron was one of my favourite VHS tapes and I watched it many times; his approach to painting at that time seemed so invigorating and advanced.

I also remembered when growing up watching Face to Face with Jeremy Isaacs ( I was a little too young for the earlier version).  I liked the close encounter and at times rigorous questioning; they seemed to reveal other things about the people being interviewed who one knew through their work, literature, film and art. With television, we could actually see these people talking; it seemed amazing to have this accessibility. However, with the interviews there was something else, something about being in the place just to respond to questions in a focused and challenging way that seems so revealing.



For Retake Reinvent I decided to visit each studio, and record the interview rather than take notes (I have done this before).  The next step was resolved to make a film of each interview. I had not done this before so the whole process of filming would be a new challenge. Each film is exclusively documentary in nature but I wanted there to be a feel of the visit evident in the captured conversations around the work being made. In the event each 15 to 25 minute film is simply a record of studio practice at this time September 2015 to April 2016.

As I started making these I realised that they would probably be one of the most significant parts of the evidence of studio practice in terms of historical record for the project and possibly highly popular being available through online channels. As a spontaneous gesture the films stand as an exploratory and improvised action. They work because everyone engaged with the process so enthusiastically.




The final compendium film of nearly 50 minutes, to be shown at the exhibitions works very well as the overview of all of the project work in progress.

The individual interview films can be found at the project blog.

The final compendium film will only be available to view at the exhibitions.

06 September 2016

AIL-WNEUD / AIL-DDYFEISIO RE-TAKE / RE-INVENT

AIL-WNEUD/ AIL-DDYFEISIO RE-TAKE / RE-INVENT is a project devised in 2013 as part of my creative practice and to raise the research profile of the group of artists I have worked with for over ten years at Bangor University. The concept behind the project was to explore the creative process behind studio practice using the work of another artist as a starting point and engaging with issues such as transformation, ownership and working with another artist's practice as part of one's own. By engaging with the collection at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, 15 artists have selected one work form which to embark on a new series of work over an extended time of two years.

The exhibitions are taking place in September across three venues with the first opening on Saturday in Conwy.

Exhibitions 2016

Royal Cambrian Academy

10 September to 15 October 

Oriel Ynys Môn

24 September to 6 November 

Storiel
24 September to 12 November




16 June 2016

The Conversation: 'From Antony Gormley to Wolfgang Tillmans, artists' Remain posters leave something to be desired'

Current article published for The Conversation reviews the posters created for the EU Referendum Remain and considers the visualisation of issues for contemporary practitioners.

31 May 2016

Line of Wool - El Arreciado International Wool Sculpture Symposium



Line of Wool. Artwork for El Arreciado V International Wool Sculpture Symposium May 2016

My intention was to explore wool as a drawing medium. To do this I thought of using lines of wool across the ground and over bushes or trees. On site at El Arreciado the stone wall was immediately recognised as being relevant for the process by providing a 'pictorial canvas' on which to work with the inherent sculptural quality from its construction. (Stone walls are something I am very familiar with living in Wales and part of my visual consciousness of the environment). In the event and not knowing what to expect of the wool as a medium for making line, I found a pliable material able to stretch over stones and bend around corners and being strong enough to tie itself. It is rich and varied in colour.

The wall was south facing and during the day the sunlight shifted from one side to another; this is in part exposed by the film that reveals the effect of the wool standing away from the wall and itself casting a shadow from one side to another, further illustrating the 3D sculptural nature of the line. The film is very much to do with light. I see the film as part documentary but also as a work in its own right; the wool having been now repacked for agricultural purpose.