Tuesday, 28 February 2012


Here's some information about an exciting show opening soon at the amazing Perrott's Folly that I written a text for (but sadly not curated) > 

Preview Friday 23rd March 6.30 - 9.00pm, Perrott’s Folly

“Unreason possesses the folly, it stands brittle and always wrong with the Landscape” (Jones, Barbara)

Perrott's Folly occupies an unusual position in Birmingham’s topography.

Built in 1758, the folly once stood dominant on Edgbaston’s skyline, overlooking a vast park owned by the wealthy landowner John Perrott. Acting as a status symbol and place of escape, the folly would have been a source of fascination and intrigue for Edgbaston’s inhabitants. However, as the parkland was increasingly consumed in the height of the industrial revolution the folly became dislocated from its raison d’ĂȘtre.

Now finding itself a casualty of Birmingham’s sprawling urbanisation, the folly stands as an anomalous relic in a city strewn with the architectural revisions gone by from Chamberlain to Madin. “Irminsul, You are Lostseeks to consider the potential capacity of the building through re-conceiving the folly as an axis mundi. The artists have each produced new works which explore the incongruity of the buildings placement and past by opening up the tower as a platform for vertical play.

Artists: Alexis Soul-Gray, Eleanor Pearce, Alex Carr, Fiona Eastwood, Gaetan Sigonney, Caroline Underwood, Hannah Turner Duffin, Elizabeth Jordan.

Texts contributed by Charlie Levine and Jonathan Orlek.

Monday, 27 February 2012

mac staff ALLOTMENT

Saturday saw the 5th Plot launched for ALLOTMENT by mac staff.  
Artists: Emma Little and Tessa J Stevens.
Below is their blurb on the project and pictures from their day in their 70s inspired make over on the Shed.  Tessa's drawing of the Shed was available to colour in as well as a small art library.

Artists Emma Little and Tessa J. Stevens present an on-going record of their conversations about Utopian architecture.
It was whilst exploring the many hidden nooks and crannies of the soon to be demolished Birmingham Central Library, that the artists pondered its Brutalist design and began discussing what their own Utopian libraries would look like.
For this project Emma and Tessa will be posting each other designs and musings, alternately responding to one another’s ideas, they will slowly build up a collective of plans which will be displayed in their allotment space.
Alongside this display, the artists have also recreated a library from 1974 (the opening year of the Central Library) in the allotment shed, where visitors are welcome to sit and delve into the selection of books.
This project is dedicated to the architect John Madin who recently passed away. Madin was born in Moseley and contributed many designs to Birmingham’s post-war landscape, including Birmingham Central Library.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

AAS at ARTicle

Currently in residence at ARTicle Gallery in Margaret Street School of Art, Brum, are the brilliant AAS

In their own words about The Receivers' Temple of The Eternal Drone...
Receivers were drawn by the Eternal Drone to a space on Margaret Street, Birmingham.
Through sacred listening, we are finding a series of instructions for how to use this place, to bring people together and to spread understanding of our principles.
The first protocol tells us to establish the Temple, so we placed sacred materials in the circle for a day to meditate upon them.
We focused on a warm part of the room that it led us to, and that seemed particularly full of the Drone. This seems initially suitable for private relaxation and opening of the Third Ear.
If you find the Receivers Temple of the Sacred Drone, do come in, take some time to open yourself up to the Drone, and let us know how you would like to use the space yourself.
We will be putting up some possibilities that we have already discovered, and of course, as always, let us know how you get on.
Our next priorities have been to make the Temple more comfortable and to spend time there. A supporter donated a sofa and some chairs, and we’ve been bringing in books and musical instruments.
We started making a list of more things to bring, and also noting down some of the discussions we had. Someone very helpfully added a poster after we mentioned we were after more things to put on the walls. If you stand in front of it and focus on the Eternal Drone, you can feel your Third Ear opening.
We’ve started to set challenges for existing and potential Receivers, inspired by things that the Drone calls us to do. We hope that other people will be called to set more challenges as well, to test the dedication of The Receivers and help us to grow.

 Loved the anonymous faceless bird.

Last week they created their own soundtrack to film Holy Mountain and it looked and sounded a little like this...

Hypnotised by colouring in whilst the film and AAS played - the time went so quickly and I loved it! Will be popping in again soon.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Following five years of producing international touring exhibitions and providing artists' professional development support Matt Roberts Arts is partnering with TROVE on 9th March 2012 a series of one-to-one feedback sessions and a lecture entitled 'What is the Artworld'.

If you would like to attend feedback sessions they will take place between 10.00 and 18.00 at TROVE.  Each event session will last 45 minutes. Please bring a CD or portable data device with 3-8 images of work, artist's CV and statement.

The evening lecture will take place from 7pm - 8.30pm and examines the relationship between the public and commercial sector in different countries. 

If you are interested in attending either or both sessions please email: trove@mattroberts.org.uk to book a place.

With thanks to Matt Roberts Arts and Charlie Levine/TROVE, this professional development opportunity has been supported by Arts Council England - Grants for the Arts.

Feedback sessions and evening lecture will be held at TROVE, Newhall Square, 144 Newhall St, Birmingham, B3 1RZ.  Please note TROVE will be fairly cold in March, we advise wearing warm clothing.

www.mattroberts.org.uk | www.TROVE.org.uk 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Collodion workshops at Minnie Weisz Studio

TROVE artist, and friend, Jo Gane will be at gallery collaborator Minnie Weisz Studio (MWS), London, over the next coming weeks leading a series of collodion wet-plate workshops.  See below for more info, taken from MWS website.


Following on from our first London collodion wet-plate workshops taught by France Scully Osterman and Mark Osterman in 2009/2010 in Kings Cross, we are continuing our specialist lab in Kings Cross for 2012, with a selection of workshops learning to make positive ambrotypes, images direct onto glass, tin and acrylic. Following in the footsteps of Frederick Scott Archer, the inventor of the collodion process in 1851, who came across the idea whilst experimenting in his darkroom on Great Russell St WC1.

We will be taught by experts in the field of alternative photographic processes Jo Gane, John Brewer.


MARCH  10th - 11th      

MARCH  17th - 18th
MARCH  24th - 25th
MARCH  31st - 1st APRIL 

Each workshop begins with a mini lecture about the history and science of the wet plate collodion process, each specialist in the field

will introduce their own work and examples of ambrotypes for the class to view and discuss.

Workshops start  at  09.30am - 6.30pm

Daguerrotype one/two day workshops will be included in our Ambrotype workshops from April 

till end of June 2012.
Classes limited to  6 people per day for one or 2 day weekend workshops.

For more info and to book a place please contact :

History and background to the wet plate collodion process

see  Scully and Osterman studio :   www.collodion.org

Sunday, 19 February 2012

ALLOTMENT - half way through 1st phase

It is officially half way through ALLOTMENT's first plot cycle at mac birmingham.  Plot #1 TROVE, Plot #2 Dan Auluk, Plot #3 Moonbeams and #4 Clarke Gallery are now all up! And a lot has happened in the first four weeks...

The TROVE plot has had a lot of action, Milk, Two Sugars' cups keep moving...once stacked tall they now move across the plot floor, every visit they're in a different arrangement...

Dan Auluk's blind drawing piece, done live on his opening Saturday, is now accompanied by the sound piece he drew to (the journey to mac from his home, blindfolded Dan was lead by his partner and the sound-piece is their conversation and navigation to mac.)

The Moonbeams plot has its first TV of three installed.  The first phase of ALLOTMENT Moonbeams are introducing their practice by showing three films made of previous workshops etc.  

The half way plot, Clarke Gallery, opened yesterday.  It's aim, to discover a potential art market in Birmingham with only one piece of work being shown at a time, changing only when the one up is bought, the next then selected by the buyer.  The first work, by Alana Richards, is for sale for £165 - quite the bargain! Email Elly Clarke for more details.

The Clarke Gallery saturday - here's Elly in the Shed.

And Elly was visited by Dan (Plot Holder #2), his partner Jaime, artist Anne Guest and me (not pictured)

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Ikon Feb 2012

This week was the launch of the 2012 Ikon programme.  The artists in the gallery are Sarah Browne and Hamish Fulton and the two artists really complimented each other.  Below are a couple of pics of the show, click on the artist names below for links to the Ikon website for more details.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Fantastic Salad in pictures

The current show, entitled Fantastic Salad, at DownStairs Gallery is by painter Tom Howse.  I went to see it yesterday and have to say I loved it! Here are some pic's from the gallery and the blurb.

 Tom Howse’s paintings, often anchored around a single image, solitary entities which the viewer is forced to confront. Drawing from a scattered range of sources, each painting plays a role or sets a scene within a larger narrative, allowing the viewer to establish their own construction of an overall puzzle. Although each painting holds its image there can also be seen a wider mythology unravelling when viewing the works as a series.
With his vibrant painterly language, Howse expresses a celebratory approach to painting, a vivid and confident vocabulary, incorporating the idiosyncrasies of mistakes and accidents. There is a definite humour and joviality within his works which allures and invites the audience, but sometimes perhaps disconcertingly so. Perhaps like some deceptive fairy-tale villain Howse is leading us, not down the yellow brick road, but perhaps into a haunted forest where we may glimpse the darker underbelly of a more sinister intrigue?
Howse explains that through his practice he is attempting to work through his own thoughts and investigations on the world. “We have a vast selection of theories and models to lend understanding to our lives such as sciences and religions. But essentially each of these versions on explaining our existence is just one angle. There is no reason why we can not manufacture our own theories”. Creating paradigms which are far more personal and therefore meaningful to the individual because they have been formulated as a unique system. Howse refers to his practice as his own form of ritualistic investigation, the act of painting being his source of creation; devising understanding and creating artefacts of a make believe order of magical logic.

His smaller work was especially appealing - and some costing for as little as £250.

Also up in one of DownStairs' galleries are some pieces made on site during a January month long residency by Chris Barnes.  This piece of a larger tree was found in the gallery grounds' pond.

This is what Chris has to say:
To start, you have a something- a particular kind of thing. A thing you have found and put in your pocket when walking to the shop. Not a valuable or useful object like a fiver, mobile phone or set of keys, but more of a non descript but simultaneously noteworthy type of thing. Something that caught your eye or arrived in your path, provoked an examination; a gentle kick with the edge of your shoe.
This thing in your pocket is of the particular sort and the kind of thing you often find yourself stopping to inspect. It is one of those things that seems to exhibit itself in that certain sort of way. It is not especially out of place or necessarily unalike the other things around it. It is just a particular type of thing, the kind of thing you have developed a habit, an interest, a ritual for putting in your pocket.

Monday, 13 February 2012

48 Sheets

Last week I popped into see Claire Farrell at the Mailbox to find out more about 48 Sheets, a billboard project she is leading that will take place across Birmingham City Centre.

Here's some blurb about the project :

Follow this project on twitter,  facebook, and on the website

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Sophie in the ALLOTMENT Shed

Yesterday TROVE's Sophie Bancroft spent the day in mac birmingham's ALLOTMENT Shed.  She was painting two interior walls to mimic her cabinet as seen in TROVE's Plot.

Here is a little film of her in action...

Friday, 10 February 2012

Aedas Presents: i have glimpsed the future preview pictures

Last night was the latest Aedas Presents exhibition.  This solo show by Anne Guest, entitled 'i have glimpsed the future' was a fascinating mix of art meets science meets technology.

Here are some pictures of the show, including the much talked about mummified dog piece, 'so i stay.'