Friday, 2 August 2013

Once Upon a Tide - the video


Captures the hard work and joy of this past week's residency.



Joan Edlis Aldeburgh Lookout Residency 2013 from Eileen Haring Woods on Vimeo.

Thursday, 1 August 2013


 A beautiful day (forgot to take a shot from my window)
Lucy and I get to work to finish the install  - all the hard bits of the ceiling.
Joe, son of new neighbours Janice and Ben, appears, all 5'11" of him to help as well.
With his superior arm reach on the ladder leaving me gratefully on the sidelines, I get to work on the Tide drawings. The tray of sea water and gouache I dip the paper into, layering washes, with drying time in between dips.
Magnets hold the paper to the cast iron stair.
A strong easterly so no flapping at all. Clear sun accelerates drying as well.

I created this image and Caroline printed out copies to post all over town
This is the middle room of the tower where Laurens Van der Post spent many years writing.
I've installed a photo still from Woody Allen's film Zelig, solely because it shows the elaborate multi-user stethoscope used in training medical students - a group 'hear'. I know there is an engraved illustration somewhere but could not recall where.
 Next to this is a vintage stethoscope, again, an eBay find.
Finally, after staying up until 1am last night securing monofilament to the watch crystals, tonight I affixed one end of the monofilament to a small magnet and left it resting it on the concave surface of the watch crystal (magnets can jump at minimum 2") to cure overnight.  This is the last installation to do tomorrow, tying the other end of the monofilament to a looped wire I hope to press into the window frame. A strip of self-adhesive white-painted steel tape will secure the magnet end so the crystals shouldn't rotate on the monofilament. the piece is poetically titled 'Full moon the colour of the sea, new moon the colour of the sky' or something along these lines.
 The final result of the paper hanging exercise is rather amazing.
Though camouflaged, the fireplace still makes a ghostly presence.
10.00 Friday sees me at the framers to mount some drawings for hanging in the house (and perhaps to sell?); Lucy and I tackle the installing the Moon work; Eileen arrives mid-morning to take more footage for a video documenting this effort; Sam and Jane leave after a dry-run of the stethoscope out to the sea action, and friends  start arriving for the opening at 18.00 and dinner at 19.30  that Caroline is producing for 30 people! What a whirlwind of activity in 4 days!


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Rain on the Aldeburgh Beach

 A grey beginning to the day.
The first thing Lucy and I do is to install the scrim work in the top tower room.
Stretched tightly against the sides of the projecting bay, this speciality textile is normally used to line old canvas during conservation. But its very stable weave of  a synthetic fibre means it has low elasticity so that when stretched its weave does not lose its straight of grain and it stays square and true. The result is satisfyingly magical; light plays on the surface, dimly revealing the merest shadows of the winds beyond; the sounds leaking into the tower from the outside world are pushed far into the distance. I am very pleased with this.
Next up is the transformation of the boathouse itself. I do a trial run of yarn stapled to the timber lined space, then draped with folded sheets of graph paper like a clothes line.
This required much folding of the reams found on eBay. A good task while it rains. Francis helps competently, amusing us with stories of when he was a bank clerk, adding columns of figures by hand.
Lucy and I start in stretching and stapling the lines to the walls, here across the front of the fireplace.
Up and down the ladder she goes to reach into the pitched roof and cutting across corners. 
The yarn creates interesting shadows
By evening the skies have cleared and it is a beautiful evening.
Sam and Jane, friends of Caroline and Francis, are staying for a few nights and we decide to dine inside the installation. After scrambling all day, I have a quick shower and join everyone for a glass of excellent fizz on the beach, courtesy of Sam
Once again, Caroline conjures a feast with no apparent effort.
 
A spectacular array of fresh seafood on greens - prawns, dressed crab and hot smoked salmon, followed by a spinach risotto bejewelled with a whole brie.
In the back, here and above, a fully clothed wall of paper is just visible.
Totally knackered and I fall into bed.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Once upon a Tide - one week in Aldeburgh

First day of residency here in Aldeburgh at Caroline Wiseman's South Lookout. I am working in the low white boathouse at the foot of the three-level tower. From inside the boathouse, a low window looking north.
The shingle beach has very small stones furthest from the North Sea's edge.
The Artist's bedroom, in an eyrie by itself, where I am staying for the week.
Late afternoon view out my window overlooking King Street,
and then towards the open sea.
As I'd imagined, the colours of sky and water are what I am trying to capture in gouache.
Each vintage watch face crystal is a different colour, but composed only of white, a green and a blue.
Also to be used for my tide drawings, where I am dipping water colour paper into the sea multiple times to affect the paper's surface. Or so I thought, as this is last  I saw of the tray holding several sheets as it floats off from the shore and is swept away by the force of the waves! So sorry to lose your tray, Caroline!
Instead, I get a small bucket of sea water and start over, just saturating paper and letting it dry. Will be continuing this until Thursday when I must do the drawing to get them to the framer spot on 10.00 Friday to mount.
Caroline cooking dinner at her fabulous Aga.
The lovely Lucy, newly graduated from Loughborough (with a First!) who I am happy is interning for this week, learning about how galleries work from Caroline and how artists work in residencies from me. She is carrying one of Caroline's visual feasts to
Francis, sitting at the dinner table set up on the beach.
What could be a more delightful setting?
And this is what Aldeburgh is all about.
Sat with candles until about 22.00, meeting new neighbours, one of whose son's, Joe, is looking to do art at school when he starts in the Autumn. He has been easily persuaded to assist me in installing inside the boathouse. Lucy, you now have an assistant!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Centre for Recent Drawing exhibition

Easy installation as my friend Christine helped me manage the huge drawings up to my old studio space. Each sheet weighs in at just over a kilogram, or over 2 1/4 lbs - 6 sheets are a floppy, unwieldy 6kg or 13+lbs. They had to be carried flat.

Arriving at the space we find Roisin, who manages the space, scrubbing the bathroom it to within an inch of its life, as promised:
 Very helpful interns Will and Michael looking at the chimney breast...
and measuring with the spirit level to get things relatively horizontal. Good thing it was them going up and down the ladder.
Jason Hicklin, my printmaking tutor, clued me into how to hang heavy sheets. The trick is to remove the springy bit of the clamp.
This leaves a very clean unobtrusive bit.
When I trialled this at home the paper was so heavy it kept slipping out of the clamp. What to do? Ah, a quick dig in my storage bins revealed a non-slip foam rubber matting, normally used for bar trays on which freshly washed glasses drain, and used in a prior work, Confessional .
Carefully trimmed to size and slipped within the clamp's jaws, the heavy sheets stay in place.

Tiny (1.5 mm diam) hardened steel headless nails I found in Paris five years ago are the perfect, albeit somewhat brittle, 'hook' upon which to hang the clamped drawings. And a final shot of Christine against the drawings for scale.
I didn't take enough shots of the installation process but here is the interview with Simon Wilson:

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Art Scene 2.0 - a copper kiss

The area around Istanbul Modern is called Tophane. Close to water's edge it nonetheless looks landward. Small streets are starting to fill with uberhip coffee shops and galleries between the motorcycle repair shops and other hardware stores.

Sarkis, the artist whose work I had seen at SALT Beyo─člu in April has a solo exhibition in a very nice artspace in Tophane called Galeri Mana.
The space is industrial chic and beautifully done - airy, simple, with nice exposed brick and sittable window ledges. Since this exhibition filled both the ground and first floor, the crowd and drinks were out in the street.
I went back the next day to photograph the space and Sarkis was there giving an interview upstairs, as he was scheduled to give a student talk nearby that afternoon.
While I am not sure what this work is about (other than it is what it is) I very much like the cymbal on a slowly oscillating chain made of connected short copper springs. The cymbal's excursion is only about 20cm and as it approaches the copper clad puck (same diameter as cymbal) there is the tiniest 'chunk' - not enough vibration to sound the cymbal, but a tiny cupping of air trapped within the void of the cymbal's concavity affecting the sound of gentle impact - a kiss, in fact.
I'm always a sucker for oil spread. In this case, however, I also very much like the way the work on paper is presented. The backboard is birch ply, encased in a perspex lid. The paper is very simply pinned to the back board. A nice compromise between just pinning a work to a wall and strangling a work behind glass, cutting off all escape with mitred frame corners.
These look like Muji pins to me.