Showing posts with label Exhibitions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exhibitions. Show all posts

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

V&A Press Conference

Rabindranath Tagore: Poet and Painter

A pleasant start to the day – I went to The Nehru Centre in central London for the press conference on the forthcoming Rabindranath Tagore display at the V&A.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Tagore, the V&A’s display on this poet, playwright and social reformer will run from 12 December 2011 until 4 March 2012. It will focus on the four themes of Tagore’s work: animals and imaginary creatures; landscapes; human figures and human faces and characters.
On display will be approximately 50 of his paintings from the period 1928 to 1939, several of which have never before been displayed outside India. All of the works are on loan from the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi or the Visva-Bharati University of India, the university founded by Tagore.
The display is curated by Professor Raman Siva Kumar of the Visva-Bharati University and organised in collaboration with the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
I am particularly looking forward to visiting the display as I am aware of Tagore’s tremendous achievements and impact, particularly on Resurgence. I am also looking forward to a lunchtime lecture on Tagore by Resurgence’s editor-in-chief Satish Kumar on 25 January from 1pm – 1.45pm. Entitled, ‘An Artist Activist’, the event should paint a picture of the man who continues to influence so many.
For further information, please visit the Victoria and Albert Museum on
Sharon Garkinkel is the PR & Marketing Executive at Resurgence magazine.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Visual Jazz: Appreciation

The glitterati of Boston and Massachusetts ceramic and art society were there at the opening. In the speeches you would have thought I was as important as Picasso.

The response is full-on and enthusiastic. One collector told me she had bought a piece of mine from my last show here and then found the colours of her house did not work, so she bought a new beach house for the pot and designed the d├ęcor around it.

Another collector spent a very long time communing with the pots.  He gazed deep into the vessels, and was stroking them, feeling with his hands where my hands had been in the clay, noting all the thumbprints and fingermarks, and delighting in his visceral connection.

Some people had been following my work for years, and noticed developments and how it is evolving. Considering this is my first solo show in the USA, I wondered how they knew it so well. They said it has been featured in many books here, and over twenty-five years ago I was in a show of British Ceramics in Dallas which people remember. And some had been at a big arts conference, NCECA, three years ago in which I was the International Guest Presenter.

I was truly surprised to find that so many people here know my work well. I had thought that to most of the people at the opening I would be a new artist, but it was certainly not the case.

Lucy introduced me to all these people who seemed like immediate friends. It is a fairly intimate connection for me when people respond to my work so well. I know I am going to like them because they understand the essence of me. (Which is why I have always had a soft spot for Tony Blair as he is on record in a Sunday newspaper holding a piece of mine saying it is one of his favourite things.)  
Red spots were now appearing rapidly.

And then Lucy, myself and some of the guests had dinner in the gallery. It was a lovely gesture and a great way to get to know everyone, to talk, and then in pauses to look up and see the colourful ceramics dancing.

So all of my fears were totally groundless.

Now it is early the next morning and I have been invited to go pilot gig rowing here today with a club in Gloucester, which being America is only ten miles from Manchester and 40 from Weymouth. Bideford is not far either!

It should be a perfect balance to the arty activities in which I am expressing my individuality; in rowing I am in the boat with 6 others and we have to be in perfect harmony otherwise the boat slows. The sun is shining, the weather is warm and lets hope the sea is not too bouncy. I will find out if there are traditional boat builders here too, being kept alive by the resurgence of interest in sea gig rowing as a sport.

Sandy Brown is an internationally renowned ceramicist who lives and works in North Devon. She is the Art Advisor at Resurgence magazine.
Find out more about Sandy Brown

Visual Jazz exhibition takes place at Lacoste Gallery from 16 July to 3 August 2011

Friday, 22 July 2011

Visual Jazz: Communication

As I write this, I must admit to being a little nervous about how the opening will go; part of me dreads being there for fear of not being understood. There will be speeches made by the high-ups of the Boston artworld, and people will want to talk to me about my work and I wont know what to say. My fear is that I will shrivel and mumble and talk gibberish.

Then I tell myself perhaps it wont be that bad; I was anxious before the Harvard day and my fears melted away when I met the people there who said they were honoured to meet me, and that they had admired my work for years.  So maybe it will be OK today, but I am still worried. If Lucy were to telephone and say I am not needed (actually I was told that by one gallery many years ago, that artists just get in the way at openings and invite all their friends, which is partly true I think), I would say “thank you” and go for a walk. But that would be cowardly.

I do this as a way of communicating. I cant sing, I am not much good as a dancer, I have tried to play the piano but struggle, but I can play and improvise and place clay and colour in an original way.  And as it is a way of communicating, then surely I must want to continue the dialogue with those who understand?  “But what if they don’t?” comes the fearful voice.

I will have to trust – just as I trust when I do the work in the first place – that whatever happens will be OK. If I am attached to wanting some sort of particular outcome, then I am just making it hard for myself.  So maybe I can enjoy the opening by not being attached to having to be understood or admired. Yes, I think I can do that, as an observer of the human condition. And I do like my own work myself – I am very pleased indeed with it, so it will be fun to go and see it again and to share a glass of wine with some new friends.

Sandy Brown is an internationally renowned ceramicist who lives and works in North Devon. She is the Art Advisor at Resurgence magazine.
Find out more about Sandy Brown:

Visual Jazz exhibition takes place at Lacoste Gallery from 16 July to 3 August 2011

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Visual Jazz: Exploration in Clay

I am so pleased with the title of the show, Visual Jazz. It just came to me in a flash. I have often been aware of an understanding and empathy with saxophonists who say, on hearing back the music they have just played, that they have no idea how they did that. Improvisation is like that, it allows playful experimentation and exploration, drawing on everything we have done before.  The more I look at my work, the more that the title Visual jazz conveys the way I work, in free expression, using clay and colour, and a childlike connection to the moment, without worrying if it is going to work or not, or if it is going be good or not. None of that is relevant at the time.  

In the latest pieces in the show I have incorporated some rich earthy brick clay into the body, and then partially overlaid that with layers of pure white porcelain. I have a box of toys, in which I keep things which will make an interesting texture as I press them into the clay.  Such as a jacaranda seedpod from Trinidad, the square end of a piece of cut wood, bits of curled wire from old electric storage heaters and the sole of my shoe. 

Pressing these textured bits and pieces into the clay is FUN. I don’t plan, I don’t think about balance or structure or form, I actually don’t need to as a need to control gets in the way.  I can safely leave it to my intuition, much as I can leave the editing of Resurgence to Susan and Satish, or the display of my exhibition to Lucy. I, or what I think of as my I-ness, just gets in the way and interferes. 

So I have learned to stay back, and just watch what comes. And interestingly, there is always a structure. There is always a balance; just as there is a balance in a tree, or a rose leaf.  It may not consist of straight lines and formulae, it may be asymmetrical or off-centre, but nonetheless the sense of balance is there in an organic way. We all know this, it is in the core of our being, which is often why we recognise it when we see it in art, even if we don’t know that that is what we are doing.

As the pots dry they shrink, as earth does in a drought, and the porcelain surface crackles and crinkles delightfully geologically. Its whiteness is asking for colours; and they show clearly and fully. So I have titled the pieces using musical terms, such as Riff, Andante Ma Non Troppo, Bose Bouncing and Razzma tazz.

Sandy Brown is an internationally renowned ceramicist who lives and works in North Devon. She is the Art Advisor at Resurgence magazine.
Find out more about Sandy Brown:

Visual Jazz exhibition takes place at Lacoste Gallery from 16 July to 3 August 2011

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Visual Jazz: Creating the Exhibition

Before the workshop, I have been resting for a few days in Concord. It is a beautifully preserved town with an English feel despite it being the birth of the revolution. While I have been enjoying walking about the leafy streets admiring the weatherboard houses, huge broadleaves trees and interesting bird sounds, Lucy Lacoste, the gallerist, has been working on the exhibition display. She has a particular ability to call on an intuitive intense focus on each piece, and is creating a vivid strength of environment for each artwork in the show.

She works slowly, very slowly, she has been working on the display for nearly five days, with her tireless indefatigable helper, Linda. Lucy lays out all the work on the floor in what looks like a jumble, and spends time absorbing the form and colour and sense of each piece, so that her creativity can come into play with the exhibition layout. She does not like having artists around while she is doing this, and was visibly relieved when I said I would stay away and leave it to her as she knows the space. I was tired when I got here, so it suited me too!

During the five days she was working on the display she was as focussed and as intense as I am when I am in the studio creating the work; although I dropped in to the gallery a couple of times to see if I could be of any help lifting pieces, Lucy was polite and kind but it was clear her mind was elsewhere. She was thinking about each piece and how it would look in relation to each other piece around it. It is a great art, the art of display and exhibition ‘hanging’, and can only be done quietly and without distractions.    

And now that the display is done and the work on show it is clear that Lucy has done an excellent job. Each piece sings.

She was a potter herself originally, and so understands the medium and the people in it. She has the great respect of all the ceramic artists in the USA and shows the best of them, so I am in very good company. She shows adventurous work, and is not afraid to experiment, to welcome new directions.

Sandy Brown is an internationally renowned ceramicist who lives and works in North Devon. She is the Art Advisor at Resurgence magazine.
Find out more about Sandy Brown:

Visual Jazz exhibition takes place at Lacoste Gallery from 16 July to 3 August 2011

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Visual Jazz: Harvard Visiting Artists

The first in a series of blogs by internationally renowned ceramicist Sandy Brown, on the lead up to her exhibition Visual Jazz.

I am in Concord Massachusetts for the opening of my exhibition Visual Jazz at the Lacoste gallery here.  Yesterday I did a workshop and talk as part of the Harvard University Visiting Artists programme, demonstrating being free and fearless with clay and moving ones arms about in a loose relaxed fashion.  The lively acting director of the studio told me when we met that she had been using images of my work for years in her talks to her students.  

The Harvard Ceramic Studio is very interesting because of its open policy – amazingly it is open 24 hours a day for students, many of whom are studying on other university courses here, or are employees of Harvard University, or have regular jobs.  They have great need of the late night opportunities provided. 

It is remarkable in the breadth of its intake; participants in my workshop here ranged from some internationally known ceramic artists to one woman who said it was her first day in the studio. As several of the top ceramic degree courses in the UK are being shut down this model offers ideas for a possible way forward. It is largely self-funding in spite of its connection and support it receives from the University. This gives it an independence and strength.

There are many Ceramic studios in the USA that offer residencies and workshops and I have been invited to do more here in the future, which is very tempting. 

Sandy Brown is an internationally renowned ceramicist who lives and works in North Devon. She is the Art Advisor at Resurgence magazine.
Find out more about Sandy Brown:

Visual Jazz exhibition takes place at Lacoste Gallery from 16 July to 3 August 2011