|My 'Sentinel' Sculptures, 'Visions Of A Free-Floating Island', (Upstairs) Surface Gallery, Nottingham, |
After seemingly endless months in the planning, Shaun Morris, Andrew Smith and I have finally opened our exhibition ‘Visions Of A Free-Floating Island’ at Nottingham’s Surface Gallery.
|Sculptures By Andrew Smith (Downstairs)|
|My 'Sentinel' and 'Childish Things' Sculptures, With Paintings By Shaun Morris (Upstairs)|
|My 'Childish Things 1 (Misled)', With My 'Fridges' and (L.) Painting By Andrew Smith (Upstairs)...|
|'Childish Things 4 & 1', with 'Sentinels' and Paintings By Shaun Morris (Upstairs)|
This is the most ambitious joint venture, in both scale and scope, that we’ve attempted to date - and is the culmination of an extended period of hard graft on everyone’s part. Indeed, it was only as the adrenaline started to leave my body on opening night (to be replaced by my first sampling of the excellent beer selection laid on by Surface), that I realised just how tensely focused I’ve been for the entirety of this year - and for much 2017 too. That was in part due to my branching out into the (for me) unfamiliar territory of sculptural assemblage for much of this cycle of work, and perhaps also - some anxiety about its undeniably Brexity sub-themes running out of currency, by the time we actually made it into the public arena. As it turns out – that particular fear has proved entirely unfounded.
|Sculpture By Andrew Smith, with Work by All Three (Downstairs)...|
|Work By All Three (Upstairs)|
|...And Two More By Shaun|
On a more practical level, there was also the familiar old worry that we’d fail to fill Surface’s ample spaces with new work of consistent quality (always a personal neurosis of mine). That also proved to be unfounded, and I actually think that we’ve populated both floors of the gallery pretty satisfyingly - with no obvious lacunae, or indeed anything that I feel even remotely embarrassed about. In the event, what did nearly catch us out was the extended time needed to install a show of this scale, over two floors. It’s fair to say this one went pretty close to the wire. In the event, it required two exhausting late night shifts - and a heroic, last minute sprint by Shaun to ensure we could open in proper order.
|'Fridges' by Me, and Writing By Andrew Smith (Downstairs)...|
|...And The Same 'Fridges' Again'|
|Eight of My 'Flagging' Pieces (Downstairs)...|
|...And The Other Two.|
|'Coloured-In' Piece by Andrew Smith..|
|...And Again, With His Sculpture, And Painting By Shaun (Downstairs)...|
|...And More Work By Andrew, With My 'Childish Things 2 (Mistreated)' and 'Fridge 1'.|
Anyway, open we did, and it was gratifying that, when I raced over for the opening, after a full day’s work – I found a show, not only ready to meet its public, but also looking pretty well curated. As a result, our opening event was very enjoyable, despite (or perhaps because of) those waves of relief, and somewhat euphoric exhaustion). I should certainly take this opportunity to thank all those who turned out (many travelling, on an evening of variable weather) - and who stayed for the duration, to make it a convivial success. Foolishly, (and again due to fatigue, perhaps) I neglected to take shots of the event itself with bodies in the room – so you’ll just have to take my word for that. But at least there are enough general views of the show itself here, to give a reasonable impression of what all the fuss is about.
|'Childish Things 4 (Mistaken)' With Shaun's Paintings (Upstairs)|
|'Childish Things 2 (Mistreated)', With 'Sentinels' and Shaun's Paintings (Upstairs)|
It inevitably takes a while to properly reflect on the nature of what might actually have been achieved in these situations - but there’s a couple of weeks of the exhibition’s duration, for that to occur. I’ll be back there, with Shaun and Andrew, for an Artist Talk on Saturday 22 September, and that will inevitably focus my thoughts on the matter further still. I’ll attempt to put some of them into a subsequent post. For now, it just remains to spread the love…
Thanks go to:
Jez Kirby, Nathan Dean, and the rest of the Committee and Volunteers at Surface Gallery, Nottingham: For giving us a home, and helping us to realise and market the whole venture. They’ve been consistently approachable and tolerant of our own quirks. It’s worth mentioning, to any other not-too-well established artists in search of a venue - that the Surface ‘offer’ is really pretty impressive.
Chris Cowdrill and Miri Bean: For designing the publicity material and our accompanying exhibition booklet. Chris, in particular, has done similar work for us on several occasions now - and always labours far beyond what we can actually afford to pay him for.
The residents of West Leicester: For unknowingly furnishing a seemingly endless supply of fly-tipped, damaged toys and unwanted fridges - and for parking innumerable white vans around the place, for me to catalogue.
Tim Durham and Susie Fletcher: For both providing more specific examples of the same, and always encouraging me to keep having a go.
Rushey Mead Academy, Leicester: For an equally copious supply of cardboard boxes, and for the use of their circular saw to cut all the MDF, after hours (and to Tim and the rest of the Art Team, for tolerating the long weeks when I had it all piled up in the Stock Room).
Lorel: For always turning out (even with a bad back), and for putting me up - when I finally just had to go to sleep.
City Self Drive, Leicester: For lending me great vans of my own (and for always being reliable, and easy to deal with).
And, of course – Shaun and Andrew: Without whom…
|Paintings By Andrew, Including (L.) The One Which Lent The Show It's Title...|
|... And The White Van That Helped Deliver It.|
‘Visions Of A Free-Floating Island’ continues until Saturday, 29 September, at Surface Gallery, 16 Southwell Road, Nottingham NG1 1DL. We'll all be jointly giving an Artist Talk about the exhibition and our work, between 14.00 - 15.00 on Saturday 22 September. Maybe we'll see you there...