Monday, 24 August 2015


Wolverhampton Art Gallery Hire Space Gallery

I’ve put a bit of time aside during the summer break to visit again some of the venues that I’m exhibiting in during the coming months between October until March 2016. The aim being to try and get my head around what I want to show, what space is available to show it, and what do I want to ‘say’ in each exhibition. I ask myself this, as each place is quite different, and two of the exhibitions will be very close to each other, in January at the Artrix Arts Centre and March at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.  
The first exhibition in October is at the Blue Moon Café in Sheffield in association with Cupola Gallery, so this has a more commercial slant to it from my point of view, although the Gallery has said they are happy for me to exhibit whatever I want. I don’t think paintings of crashed cars will do me any favours though or go down that well with the vegan clientele of the café, so I’m trying to think what may be a good mix of work that will combine with my intention of putting on a good, striking exhibition that will hopefully sow the seeds for more interest from Cupola in the long term, but also sell some pieces, which will again make the gallery more interested in me as an artist, and make the most of the opportunity that exhibiting in this sort of venue and with Cupola’s support presents. 

In the past, I might have turned my nose up a bit at showing in a café like this, but I think it is a good venue: lots of wall space and lots of people seeing the work but with the added bonus of a credible gallery supporting you, rather than working totally independently.  The gallery has said that some artists sell lots of work when exhibiting at Blue Moon, others none. It is, as ever, very hard to predict. I don’t want to think too much about this really. The gallery is promoting the exhibition, which I have again called ‘Black Highway’, through their regular marketing strategies of pamphlets, newsletters and social media, but as it’s so far away I’m not planning an opening of any sort. I have enough trouble trying to persuade people to come along to any local things I’m in. I’m looking forward to doing something different, feeling somewhat tired of all the other normal types of exhibitions I do in public or artist-run spaces. As I say, I’m also hoping it may help me foster a longer term relationship with Cupola Gallery.  
Current painting, oil on canvas, 138 x 100cms

I’ve decided to exhibit a mixture of older and new work too: older, as I still think there is a lot of exhibition mileage in some of my better motorway paintings which haven’t been seen out of the region, and these are also the pieces the gallery were originally interested in; and newer pieces to hopefully nudge the conversation forward a bit with the gallery. I’ve been working on this new lorry painting (above) with it’s dominant slashing yellow and blacks with the view of it hanging well alongside these other paintings. 
'Silence', oil on canvas, 100 x 120cms, 2012
 'Canal', oil on canvas, 120 x 150cms, 2014

The next exhibition is more like the things I usually do, and will be in January 2016 at the Artrix Arts Centre in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. I exhibited here in 2006 and enjoyed it; the three wall spaces are generous and you can put quite an extensive show together, which is what I hope to do. I originally thought I may combine some of the, now older, motorway paintings with the newer ones made in the last two years, but I’m moving away from that idea now, and think I just want to exhibit all new work as I seem to have made quite a lot of it now. This is also in light of visiting Wolverhampton Art Gallery too, and my thoughts about this space. 
 One of the walls at Atrix Arts Centre, Bromsgrove (but not my paintings!)
Wolverhampton Art Gallery Hire Space

This space, the Hire Gallery, is seemingly quite generous with its wall space but it also quite awkward: it is narrow and hard to plan that easily for. With this in mind, I’ve therefore decided to try and develop a series of new larger, more ambitious, paintings specifically for the space. It would be a good venue to try something a little less safe in scale, as there will be plenty of visitors to this busy gallery, and also try and create a more coherent statement of some kind in relation to the lorry theme I’m currently exploring; something that will bring the different strands of ideas together. With the two exhibitions so close together I’m also thinking it may be an interesting idea to promote them as a two-part exhibition: the first a collection that represents the diversity of things and experimental work from the last two years; the second part the larger paintings that will try to lock down some of this into something stronger and more coherent. Sounds like a plan? Well, we’ll see…I’ll probably have a different idea next week…

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