Lockdown week 42

The Snow has gone, the temperature has risen and the birds are out.

The annual RSPB Garden Bird Watch was this weekend and for an hour the quiet focus was only interrupted by the birds calling or singing to each other as they found food in the feeders or the buds and berries that are beginning to show themselves. Two distinctive blue and orange Nuthachs appeared to display their clever food collection techniques using their long precise beaks. They run up and down the trees tap, tap tapping as they go.

Nuthatch, Ingoldsby 2021.

Below the less colourful and more camouflaged pair of Dunnocks pick up the seeds as they forage amongst the undergrowth before lifting off to sing their loud song. Seasonal activity is on the increase as the seasons change and perhaps we are more aware of them in these times


Literature and written research is taking precedent over drawing and printmaking in current times. However I have drawn two portraits for the series: WHEN WE COULD MEET AND SHARE #BLM. The first is from a photograph made before Lockdown in the Birmingham School of Art Print room when MA student @ray_workz dropped by with her statement hat. The orange flat colour is reminiscent of that which she chose in her CMYK large scale self portraits. The second was while visiting the British Museum for The American Dream, Pop to the Present in April 2017 drawn from the museum’s collection of prints. Art Desk review by Mariana Vaizey. That was sometime ago when many peoples attended the Museum and shared cultural experiences.

Rachelle 2019. Digital drawing January 2021.
British Museum 2017. Digital Drawing January 2021.

Lest we forget

September 17th. Digbeth, Birmingham UK

covid update

There are no words to describe the level that the death rate has risen to this week.

BBC News

Cathedral Vaccination Centre to Music.

Impromtu music makes such a difference.

Follow the Salisbury Cathedral Organist who provides a soundtrack to vaccinations in unlikely surroundings and a commentary on the introduction of a vaccine service on his twitter feed. Look out for the surprise appearance of Bernie Sanders who has been turning up in his mittens across the globe. Made possible by NYU masters student Nick Sawhney.

Thats it

Lockdown week 41


Mesmerising. Illuminated Triangle Rises


Last week’s webinar flurry was followed by an animated and erudite presentation by Professor Erin Manning from Canada. Her paper Art as a Practice of research seminar is available on the Material encounters website.

Q&A at the conclusion of the fully engaging webinar.

Erin Manning is a professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). She is also the founder of SenseLab (www.senselab.ca), a laboratory that explores the intersections between art practice and philosophy through the matrix of the sensing body in movement. Her current projects are focused around the concept of minor gestures in relation to colour and movement. She talked about the concepts of “research-creation” and on issues around whiteness, black life and neurodiversity.

Impact 11 the international print conference has announced it will be fully online in 2021 as the 2020 had to be cancelled owing to the pandemic. There’s not much time for final preparation and for recalibration for a virtual environment. 


Mark Holden of Invigour published the 2nd of his architectural reviews. Chamberlain moved to Birmingham in 1853 and was known for his Victorian Gothic style and was one of the earliest practical exponents of the ideas of architectural theorist, John Ruskin. He was increasingly influenced by the early Arts and Crafts movement in his later works. 

He served from 1865 until his death as Honorary Secretary and on the Council of the Birmingham and Midland Institute. Among his notable and surviving creations are Highbury Hall and the Chamberlain Memorial fountain.  Shortly before his death he completed the designs for the Birmingham School of Art and it is widely considered to be his masterpiece. 

Lest we forget

September 17th. Digbeth, Birmingham UK

covid update

Even though the hospital cases are slowing and the vaccinations are being given in increasing numbers the death-toll continues rise. Per Head of population the UK death rate is one of the highest in the world.

BBC News


Listening to the morning after melting.

Thats it

Lockdown week 40

Web/seminars. Murals, Whooping Cranes, Buoys, Lighthouses and Lightships.

Online web/seminars are getting underway after the not-so-festive break. Although not the real experience online video events are becoming more efficient with less tech teething issues allowing access with ease to content and interaction. The global internet allows participants and presenters to contribute from their base, no matter where they may be. The old democratising dictum of digital to be accessible to anyone “anytime anywhere” is coming to pass.  The first alert to pop up was from the Yale Alumni Non profit Alliance : “Public Art: Supporting Art as a Way to Build Up & Bind Local Communities” 

The session’s first speaker was my newly appointed second Phd supervisior Dr Jonathan Harris, Emeritus Professor in Global Art & Design Studies. He talked about the value of the Roosevelt New Deal art and cultural programmes to help counter the affects of the great depression in 1930’s USA. He drew parallels with the current pandemic and how there might be similar effective measures taken by global government’s. The panel provided a diverse range of responses to the public art question. The role of major mural projects were highlighted including the Philadelphia Mural arts Programme : ‘Personal Renaissance.’ The programme was extensive and drew upon mutual health and cultural needs and benefits, which was evaluated over time and in detail.


Next up: The Tamarind Institute: Independent curator Candice Hopkins talks to American born, Columbian Mexican artist Harold Mendez about his artistic motivations. The conversation was wide ranging as is his work, however, he did talk about his motivations to make prints at the institute.  The two lithographs created at Tamarind incorporate a screen as the final printed layer of each image, which visually changes the viewer’s engagement with the work either up close or at a distance. There is a veil to peer through to the image, but it is not separate, but a part of the image. He had travelled to Havana, to find traces of the life and memory of Cuban artist Belkis Ayón, who tragically took her own life at the age of 32. He set out to find her grave and encountered sites of commemoration, offering, and sacrifice. He made a litho print from a metal plate titled Counterweight which depicts industrial steel weights and pays homage to the lost burial site of Ayón.

The Institute was founded in 1960 on Tamarind Avenue (hence the name). Tamarind’s founder, the artist June Wayne, with whom I worked closely, later likened lithography’s plight to that of the whooping crane: “In all the world there were only thirty-six cranes left, and in the United States there were no master printers able to work with the creative spectrum of our artists. Tamarind’s challenge, as she saw it, was no less than to create a new ecological system, in the absence of which “this remarkable medium of expression [might] die in its youth without having been asked to reveal its untapped powers for new aesthetic expression.” An informed energy: lithography and Tamarind by Clinton Adams.

More about the dedicated Lithography workshop, press and gallery that was launched in Los Angeles: https://tamarind.unm.edu/about/history/

Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize

The annual TBW drawing exhibition was unable to be held this year. The photograph advertising past events was a reminder of what we are not experiencing as the gallery was rammed with enthusiastic participants enjoying meeting and sharing the event. Much effort had clearly been made to make the 2020 winning announcement one to remember. The exhibition includes 71 drawings by 56 practitioners selected from 4,274 submissions received from across the UK and internationally.  Founder artist Anita Taylor introduced the event from the Cooper Gallery in Dundee with a series of short films and a tour of the exhibition of the 2020 drawings. The event culminated with the commended and winning artist’s drawings.

As well as the winning drawings there is an interactive virtual gallery on the  site. Each drawing can be zoomed into and has an information label. Online gallery produced by V21 Artspace  

The TBW Trust has a long and intriguing history: 

The Corporation of Trinity House was originally a voluntary association of shipmen and mariners and was granted a charter by Henry VIII in 1514 as “The Guild or Fraternity of the most glorious and undividable Trinity of St Clement”. It received its coat of arms in 1573 and with it the authority to erect and maintain beacons, marks and signs of the sea, “for the better navigation of the coasts of England”. Since then, it has been the famous company responsible for buoys, lighthouses and lightships and pioneering the techniques involved. 

This history was not particularly alluded to by the TWB representative in his introduction to the ‘Hugely expansive exhibition’, but the value of drawing as ‘the basis of everything’ was. The drawings are rewarding of a visit if not by peering through the windows of the TBW gallery on the River Thames, through the online portral.

Material Encounters and printgang

Photo: Boyana Aleksova.

Coming up next is Material Encounters Research Cluster with Erin Manning from Sense Lab in Montreal for which preparatory reading has been undertaken. Tuesday 19th.

Printgang took to the internet again with an all-round catch up. On of our number had experienced covid isolation and talked of a soundtrack of omni present ticking clocks and door knockings. Good to report the virus has been banished from the household.

Lest we forget

September 17th. Digbeth, Birmingham UK

covid update

The death-toll continues rise even though the hospital cases are slowing and the vaccinations are being given in increasing numbers.

UK Government

Thats it