William Blake (1757 – 1827) : the enigmatic and inspirational , visionary artist and poet was reimagined during this conference as a kind of time- transcending ‘ influencer’ , a counter-culture spark , revolutionary and predictor of future visual arts developments.
How did I come here?
In Summer , following a thread of enquiry into mysticism , I worked with the Blake originals at the Whitworth, drawing, painting, researching, questioning, reflecting, seeing and listening. I wrote about my experience in the post Curators, Collections and Conversations. During this time, the curators at the Whitworth recommended I attend this conference at the Rylands Library as it had some of the leading Blake scholars and specialists including: Colin Trodd (The Univeristy of Manchester), Sibylle Erle ( Bishop Grosseteste University) , Martin Myrone (Tate Britain) and also the poet Mchael Horovitz in converation with Bryan Biggs ( The Bluecoat , Liverpool).
Who now remembers Edward Young?
I arrived early and was whisked into the bible room with the special collections curator to have an eyes on experience with some beautiful original works by Blake and those influenced by him such as Jeff Nutall in Bomb Culture.
The most striking and powerful book for me was a copy of Night Thoughts written by the poet Edward Young . When asked, the curator told me the etchings had been hand coloured in water colour by Blake. According to the Blake Archive the book has 537 watercolour illustrations.
Young, Edward, ‘The complaint, and the consolation; or, Night thoughts’ (London: printed by R. Noble, for R. Edwards, 1797)
The curator asked us ” Who now remembers Edward Young?” which made me consider the power of the art and the fact that even though Blake was a poet these were not his words, yet the work visually speaking is held in his name. There is no substitute for proximity to the original hand of the artist. What struck me was the sheer volume and quality of the watercolours. Some of the repetition of bodily poses , arms reaching upwards, others down appeared almost like an intersecton of realms. Figures were prostrate, kneeling, reaching, expressing; they seemed both classical and mythic. Colin Trodd in conversation with Miriam Dafydd Deep England: Blake & Neo-Romanticism (1pm -1.20pm) later described Blake’s work as a “body-centred art” and as “a series of hieroglyphs” which resonated with me as the figure is part of the essence of his work and occupies a liminal space at times between realities. This thought had connections with my own developing use of figures in visual art.
This body of work has taken me to unexpected places. Through
Creativity is not as the crow flies but rather as the tree grows.
Below is an adapted part of the poetical art statement in two ‘wings’ expressing the themes:
Evolved Triptych: the idea of three distinct images connected through time and meaning
Painting as an expression and archive of time
Perspective change over time
Time is relative
Birds: messengers and symbols of freedom, vulnerability, protection, shadow
Divination, communication, ancient meaning
The crow family circle the battlefield
Open to interpretation
Together, the Fine Art element of the MA put on a group exposition as a culmination of our expanded studio practice. After considering various venues, we secured a show space at Partisan. The build-up and process of developing the exposition
One-Night Stand: a performance that happens only once in a particular place
However, we did use different media platforms to promote the work such as
When we had all set up, we were reflecting on the tumultuous process and decided it would have been a better plan to allocate roles to working parties and to spend more time on promotion. Personally, it was interesting discussing my work with those who attended as I found a distinct polarity of appreciation in that some really resonated with the paintings, use of
Yves Klein…. This was such an inspiring collection and a journey through recent movements, artistic and social change. It was all free for the people too! My kids couldn’t wait to show me what was in the next room..
An Art Exhibition of Birds and Dragonflies in paint, linocut and giclee.
This Summer Solo exhibition at The Yorkshire College of Music and Drama this Summer explored the cultural meaning, beauty and significance of birds, the transcendent moment when a dragonfly appears and the otherness of winged creatures.
I see birds as messengers and symbols of freedom.
Thanks to all the people who came to see the exhibition from all over the world. We shared some very moving and profoundly insightful experiences. It has been an extremely validating experience as an artist.
Fantastic trip to Glastonbury and Wells where I sketched and painted on Wearyall Hill, reflected in Chalice Well Garden and sketched in Wells Cathedral gaining a great feel for the place. I am now developing my final pieces for the exhibition which I will reveal in the traditional manner at the Cathedral rather than online..