Saturday, September 27, 2008

Quad Opening

Derby City marked the beginning of the Feste Weekend with the official opening of Quad, the new digital media and arts centre located in the Market Square. Many hundreds turned out to get a special preview inside the multipurpose building, and wander around the city centre, taking in the evening's many exciting events ..

The view from 'The Box', the top floor of the Quad ..

The replica giants of such Derby luminaries as Florence Nightingale and Mr Rolls and Mr Royce, paraded through town in a gallant display of contemporary fun sculpture ..

And yet more giants, as this young lady told me I was 'a fruity one' .. look who's talking .. haha

Naturally, the celebrations went on well into the night, as most of the revellers followed the 'insects' around the streets and ended up in local hotspots and chill-out zones ..

Personally, I went on to Big Blue on Sadler Gate, where there were two bands and a host of familiar faces to meet and greet ..

Go along to Quad at any time and have a look at the installation 'Spiteful of Dreams' by artists Jane and Louise Wilson (featured in the October issue of Frieze magazine), search for friends in the photographs of the '17' exhibit on the walls, take in a film in one of the two cinemas or just have drink in the cafe on the ground floor .. it is worth a visit!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Riff Raff Festival

As the early evening's dusk draws the curtains on a summer of showers and scattered sunshine, the Riff Raff Festival once again signalled the final wave to a season of festivals, concerts in the park and outdoor events ..

Here I am reminding the gathered crowd that having a home to go to makes these camping weekends all the more enjoyable with my piece Hobo Jungle .. below, Joe Coghlan, a newcomer to the Derby poetry scene presents us with his view on the new Westfield shopping centre ..

Jonezy shined brightly whilst giving us a rhythmic work on relative revelatory profundities and the prolific Michael 'Fierce' Frearson gave us an eagerly consumed taste of (I work for) Cheese ..

All round it was a terrific weekend of entertainment and awareness raising, with some great bands and DJs, a welcoming atmosphere with plenty of spontaneous harmonious events, well prepared and delicious grub on the fire and a lovely cup of chi under the big top ..

Thanks for having me folks ..

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Wirksworth Festival Weekend

The crowds gathered in the drizzle outside the 'Hope and Anchor' pub on the market square in anticipation of the day's events and exhibitions.

A view across the bridge ..

Based on the Perry drawings of the character Ubu Roi, James Moffet's installation work is fabricated from iron and inflatable latex. These stunningly imposing pieces command the space with a heavy weightiness, yet suggest a lightness of being as the pressure from the air expands to push the forms beyond their seemingly restrictive boundaries.

The quiet stillness of the figures of 'missing' children in the work of Johanna Domke-Guyot inspires fear and dread in some and in others a peaceful contemplation of past times - before the onset of the seriousness of the seemingly important issues of life. Sculpted from cement 'painted' onto frames clothed in the winter outfits of youngsters, these melancholy and emotive statues remind us that childhood is fleeting and that people pass from us, like lost moments, often before we learn to cherish the innocence of youth.

Held annually, the Wirksworth Festival is certainly worth visiting - it is a grand exhibition that gathers together many fine artists in a lovely and quaint English village in the Derbyshire hills.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wirksworth Festival Opening

Just a few of the wonderful works on display in the Parish Rooms at the opening of the Wirksworth Festival. A fabulous evening was had by all, with the movers and shakers of the Derbyshire regional art scene in attendance .. a brief introduction was followed by the obligatory networking and pub crawl through the village ..

Maggie Cullen's miniature paper figures stand on plinths gazing silently into worlds unseen as though contemplating the words of W H Auden and the other poets that enclose their private space. Some clothed, some nude and some wearing the most extraordinary headgear, they attracted many positive comments and invited closer study.

The artist Michael Shaw displayed his oversized 'rubber rings' to reveal shape where there is only air, challenging the audience to consider form and substance in the space between the substance. Mike said, "I use the second and fourth dimensions to reveal the third." Okay.

Also utilising space as essential to recognising form is the Vicker's Art Award recipient 2007-08, artist Natalie Dowse. Her work reveals the sense of confusion and isolation one has when encountering a new place and was based on Derbyshire and the inhabitants of the city of Derby. Constellation (above) is made up of 54 separate portraits painted from photographs of random people taken while still a newcomer to the region. Natalie's drawings, paintings and animations formed an excellent counterpoint to the installation work of the other artists at the exhibition. Previously exhibited at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery the work will soon move to Buxton and other locations further afield.

The festival runs for a couple weeks and there are still performances to come .. so try to get out to the town (yes, I've been told - it's a town and not a village .. oops!) and see what's on and what's happening throughout the many venues.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Poetry Gig Flyers

As promised, a few of the flyers from various poetry gigs I have performed in over the past year .. I have been pleased to be involved in all of these terrific events, and look forward to being involved with some of these great professionals again soon ..

Bill and Natalie's Leaving Do

Well, here's the one decent pic that came out from Bill and Natalie's party - and they are not in it haha .. they are off to the Cayman Islands to teach, just in time to have caught Hurricane Gustav bearing down on their first week .. oh well, if they make it through that they will probably enjoy the rest of their time in the sunshine .. all the best to the two of them.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Birmingham Ikon

Greetings all from Brummieland .. yes, another sunny summer day out, this time at the Ikon Gallery and Bullring market area of Birmingham. I have been into the 'second city' previously, but to be honest I didn't really know what wonders it held till we took a stroll down around the canal area. The Ikon was a terrific space with some wonderful exhibitions - particularly liked the elevator music .. reminded me a bit of the "hole" incidental sound effects from the old Godley and Creme album Consequences.

Really enjoyed going into the Museum and Art Gallery and seeing all the old masterworks and a few new ones. Especially fascinating was Patrick Hughes' wonderful 3 dimensional painting in the foyer, it really played tricks with my eyes and I was almost convinced it was a flat screen digital optical illusion until the 'trick' was physically pointed out to me. A truly splendid play on perspective, something I tried once in another medium that I suppose I'll have to show on here at some 'point' now .. haha.

Perhaps, the only disappointment to the day was popping in to the Next store in the mall to find they were charging £25-30 for cotton shirts made in China - any guesses as to how much they paid the labourers who made the shirts? Or, where the cotton would have come from? My suggestions are 'not much' and 'somewhere near Kyrgyzstan' .. but maybe I'm jumping to conclusions - anybody know for sure?