Tuesday, 10 July 2018

A Pride event happening in Margate on Thursday 12th of July

(Image above: Marsha P. Johnson drawn by Harry Pye) Some great artists are taking part in The Sex Show including; Alex Nobel, Mel Cole, Shaun Stamp, and Jay Rechsteiner. The exhibition at The Viking Gallery goes on until Sunday the 15th.
The Tom Thumb Theatre is having a party / night of performances (Tickets are £5 on the door)

Monday, 2 July 2018

PRESS RELEASE for "Push The Boat Out"

“Push The Boat Out” is an exhibition curated by James F Johnston and Harry Pye with Amelie Lindsay. The show takes place at The Art Academy, 155 Walworth Road, South London in the last week of July.The private view is on from 5pm til 9pm on wednesday 25th July - everyone is welcome to attend.
Every artist in this show brings something different to the table...
Harry Pye offers three possible replacements for a painting by Vincent van Gogh that went missing during the 2nd World War. The work reflects Pye's interest in the thin line between happiness and delusion.
Nicola Hicks has enjoyed international success as a sculptor for more than 3 decades. Her very personal contribution to the exhibition is about saying goodbye to a year of illness which still leaves a big shadow.
James F Johnston started painting a year ago. He's been inspired by both folk art and the expressionists. He creates dreamlike images informed by both daily life and the unconscious.
Corin Johnson has the same influences as James but he uses marble, stone, wood, plaster and clay to captures the wonder of people and nature instead of paint.
Cedar Lewisohn is an artist, writer and curator. His recent studio practice has used drawing and large scale wood carvings as way of exploring museum collections and issues of decolonialism in relation to Modernist art history.
Kate Murdoch is an artist whose work is also based on research but in her case, the emphasis is on class. She assembles and collages but her work is more likely to involve treasures found in a charity shop or food than paint and canvas
Gordon Beswick makes abstract paintings. The starting point of his work is photographs he takes of the patterns he observes in the buildings he sees around him.
Morrissey & Hancock are contributing just one sculpture to the show. The title of the piece is Chromatic. The artists aim to induce in the viewer, a visual and physiological saturation of consciousness.
Quote from co-curator: Harry Pye "From as far back as anyone can remember people have built boats that are too big for any one individual to push out to sea. There has been an element of collaboration and team work in getting the boat to take off and set sail. James Johnston and I have carefully picked a team of artists. Each one has a way of looking at the world that appeals to us or has a story we want them to tell. We hope this show features enough wit, warmth and wisdom to delight and inspire you all. Please note this exhibition is only here for a few days so come and see it before it sails away into the sunset.”
Quote from writer and critic: Sacha Craddock: "A group exhibition can be rationalised in any number of ways. It can be made up with things that look alike, for instance, or appear to say something like the same thing in the same media and tone. Perhaps work carries attitude, or has blue in it. Anyway, the work in 'Push the Boat Out' has come together because of the respect two artists carry for artists they admire and like, as well as their own work. From spiky cacti, through the combination of numerical logic and decorative history, to bald, blunt, painting, all the work carries consistent individual, or collective, quality. As Buildings around Elephant and Castle shoot up and the pub opposite stocks untried unknown beers, the featured artists who all live in South London, work with media and approach that displays a breath of intention and seriousness that overtakes any 'professional' narrative. Recently restored , the space on the Walworth Road retains a glow of civic pride and municipal common sense which in turn allows sophisticated artists to do their own thing and shine.
On a hypothetical walk around this show, before it is ever installed, we might gain the sense, at first, of a fleeting approach to movement pattern and place in London. Then there is painting done apparently to find, or gain experience, an act in itself that desires meaning to emerge from practice. Something light and funny can be found in this manifestation of collecting, with the detritus of every day life collaged into humorous vignette. The sense of every day painting, also, in a simple display where colour is placed, monosyllabically, onto the ground in the manner of a block print, suggests an attempt to evoke the lure and lore of ancient language. Instead of the flowers that bloom, temporarily, in the desert the free standing cactus has somewhat surprised and uncomfortable, cat attached , and nearby, perhaps, a strange combination, in paint, with the touch of an over packed primary school crafts cupboard, implying a static state with deliberate fumbling, strips of paper, crazy felt, and added pointillism . Across what used to be the main floor of the local library, you might be aware of a precarious balance between two and three dimensions, with the sway of perhaps a rope ladder bent over a precipice. And so it goes, on , this three dimensional play of work by artists, some who can work absolutely full time and others whose worlds morph between music, art gallery, and film making, shows a stimulating display of individual and collective pursuit."
For more info on each contributor... http://therebelmagazine.blogspot.com/2018/05/push-boat-out.html If you’re a journalist who needs images by artists in the show please e-mail: harry_pye@hotmail.com Nicola Hicks is represented by Flowers: https://www.flowersgallery.com For more info on The Art Academy: https://artacademy.org.uk/our-mission/

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Peter Harris & Friends at New River Studios 24/06/2018

The legendary Peter Harris has organised an astonishing music and art event that is taking place this coming Sunday.The Rebel magazine were cock a hoop when Mr Harris agreed to answer a few questions for us...
The Rebel: Are you an artist who makes music as a hobby or do you see your music as being of your art? Peter Harris: "I see the music as being the same as the art, it's all about trying to find original ideas and expressing them as well as you can, whether it's a painting, film, a play or a song."
Who is in your band and why did you select the musicians you did? "The people in the band came together naturally through the long journey that started out with me playing slide guitar and peddle steel with the Arthur Brick Band ( which is were I first started playing with Thom Driver and Rick Carbone) and then that became the Piper's Son Band with Thom, Rick and Jared Fisher on drums and Victor Bock on bass. Dylan Bates (Stanley Bad) is on violin, I knew him from playing in the flea pit orchestra and collaborated with him way back on an e.p. I made, he played on a track with J.J. Burrell from The Stranglers, so I always had him in mind for playing with me, I’m Lucky enough to have a dream team of crack musicians and consider myself well blessed because of it! I began writing loads of songs that unfortunately (for people who like good voices) I had to sing as the content of the words was so personal ( a sort of self-portrait in song) so I began recording demo's and through a Rasta connection (Jah Youth) I started recording with David Fullwood who is a brilliant trumpet player who plays with Zion Train. And then Victor suggested I send my demo's to Trashmouth Records who then got back in touch and we started working together.
What can you tell me about this venue? "The venue (New River Studio's) was a place I used to rehearse in and then realised they had a concert area, so for my album launch I used it and also exhibited art works too, it seemed to work well, so i am putting on regular art and music events, rather than slogging away on the pub scene, which is expensive and a bit depressing! the art world also seems like a dead place, so this approach in combining my main interests seemed like a natural thing to do."
What other musicians are playing at this event? "The other musicians playing are BLINOV (their first gig I believe) who are a synth duo, Me with my band who for this event will be scaling it down a bit and will have Jah Bunny on percussion and hopefully (if it's now fixed) a vintage 1970's synth drum! oh, and Warren Mansfield from Meatraffle with be spinning some discs too! plus from The Fat White Family and Insecure Men the legend that is Saul Adamczewski will be playing solo and showing some of his great drawings!"
What would be your desert Island Discs? Which records mean the most to you? "The records that never seem to get old and bore me are: Miles Davies Dark Magus, David Bowie All Saints, Brian Eno Thursday Afternoon, Yabby You Jesus Dread, Lee 'Scratch' Perry Disco Devil (the 12 inch disco mixes), Keith Hudson Playing it cool."
Listen to the music of Peter Harris on bandcamp: here
For details on how you can buy Peter's album from Rough Trade click: here To find out about Peter's past project click: here For info on New River Studios click: here Address of venue: New River Studios, Unit E, 199 Eade Road. N4 1DN The event starts at 7pm. No tickets required.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Push The Boat Out

"Push The Boat Out" is a group show curated by James F Johnston and Harry Pye with Amelie Lindsay taking place in South London for one week only.
Push The Boat Out takes place in the last week of July at The Art Academy Newington in The Walworth Road.The private view will be on Wednesday from 5 till 9pm On Thursday 26th & Friday 27th the show is open from 10:30 till 18:30. On Saturday 28th the gallery is open 11 till 5pm and some of the artists from the show will be talking about their work with Sacha Craddock Saturday the 28th July from 3pm till 5pm. The gallery is open 11am - 5pm Monday 30th gallery is open from 10:30 till 18:30.
Gordon Beswick: "While playing the ‘don’t step on the crack’ game with my daughter on our daily walk to her primary school, I became fascinated by the patterns and geometry of the surrounding streets and buildings. These shapes, forms and patterns have informed my recent paintings. I also think this old rhyme and superstition reflects the often obsessive nature of painting. My latest series of paintings reference the urban landscape, modernist architecture, contemporary culture and elements of the natural environment. Many of the paintings are based on photographs I have taken of parts of East London and Elephant & Castle where redevelopment and gentrification are rapidly changing the local communities. I am interested in themes of abstraction, connectivity and inequality. Modernist painting, pop art and geometric art all influence my work." For more info visit: Gordon
Corin Johnson:"I started drawing as a boy but discovered I have an aptitude for it when I was studying for O levels. My tastes in art are extremely broad: I particularly like Egyptian art ,German Expressionism , Religious art ,Gothic and Baroque sculpture , outsider and Shamanistic art and all manner of contemporary work. The natural world is very important to me and I am drawn to working with natural materials like clay ,plaster, stone , marble and wood .I sometimes like to use colour too. Sometimes I use materials in a way they were used in ancient times other times I take a more modern approach .A lot of my pieces are figurative. I like to sometimes work from life and have a model , but other times I work purely from my imagination .I like representing animals too. Often I will sketch an idea , then I may produce a maquette to work from ,or sometimes I will simply work directly on the sculpture with little or no reference .That can largely depend on whether there is a brief for a commission or not. I do like a lot of sacred art from all faiths / backgrounds and I like to try and imbue my work with a spirit of life." For more info visit: Corin
James F Johnston: - "Painting can be an opportunity to escape to another place, and hopefully create one too. Intense little worlds that reflect our subconscious, the loves, worries, joys and sadnesses, blurring past and present in dreamlike open visual metaphors. I began painting on a long music tour, fighting tedium and a musical block, hoping to free my imagination up. Initially working small in hotel rooms, and subsequently painting becoming an obsessive and prolific daily practice. I work from snapshots, found images, ideas from literature, dreams and the imagination - mostly without preparatory sketches, and often simply suggested by initial paint marks. Many of the pictures are scenes of isolation, landscapes both nature and urban, and are simply and descriptively titled to leave any narrative or metaphorical reading open, drawing inspiration from expressionist painting, neo-expressionism, folk art and medieval art." For more info visit: James
Nicola Hicks: ""Nicola Hicks's sculpture and drawing practice has focused upon heroic, humanized animals and mythic, beast-like humans. From the moment she burst upon the wider public stage, there has been no doubting her remarkable talent. While still at the Royal College of Art, she quickly established an immediate presence among the artists of her generation as a serious and substantial figure. She was remarkable on every count, for she flew in the face of the critical expectations of those days not just in the nature of the actual imagery she celebrated--figurative, romantic and expressive--but also in the direct and gleeful joy she took in the physical making of these things." For more info visit: Nicola
Cedar Lewisohn: "I am an artist, curator and writer. In my studio practice I am interested in Modernist art history and how it was influenced by “ethnographic” artworks from Africa. I have for the last three years been researching various museum collections around the UK and Europe looking at examples of these various artworks, both ethnographic and Modernist, which I reinterpret in my own visual style. I explore this idea of consumption of culture from a black British perspective. My work has recently looked at the marginalisation of the black body and the black experience both within Modernist art history, and within the contemporary psyche. This relates to the politics of the image and integrating the image. In practical terms my practice takes various forms. I make large and small scale wood carving as well as other types of print making and drawing. In 2015 I worked on a major project for the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, NL, making a series of very large scale book objects. The project took as its starting point research into museum collections and Modernist artworks which referenced African imagery or culture. These art historical images were seen in museums collections in the Limberg region as well as other nearby locations around Europe. For The Black Book (2015), these artworks I saw were re-drawn almost entirely in black creating images which verge on pure abstraction, but also hinting at figuration. A selection of these images was turned into a huge scale artist book/sculpture. The hand-made books have been screen printed using a unique printing method where drawings are directly turned into screens for printing, with no pixilation. The books were hand bound in Nijmegen, a city with an important history in relation to book binding. One of The Black Books has recently gone into Tate’s archive collection. In 2017 I had an exhibition at Exeter Phoenix. The show explored the collection of The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM). I worked closely with RAMM’s curator of ethnographic collections to explore the history of a group of mainly West African objects in the museum’s collection. I was interested to explore the history of the objects and how they travelled from West Africa to Exeter. Using this historic research as a starting point, I made a series of drawing of the objects. These drawings where then used as the starting point for a collaboration with a costume maker, who turned the drawings into costumes. The costumes where then used in a short film (Ndungu, Isca, 2017 ), filmed at various historic sites in Exeter. The title of the film, Ndungu Isca, reefers to one of the West African objects I was inspired by, as well as the Roman name for Exeter, Isca. This mixing of various histories, locations told through museum collections and their hidden stories is central in my work." For more info visit: Cedar
Morrissey & Hancock: "Patrick Morrissey utilises a modular language to promote an appearance of gradual mutation. Permutating numerical sequences are used in the process of creating images which are febrile, seemingly operating between two and three dimensions. This process leads to a kinetic binary outcome which can either be modified, controlled or left to accrue randomly. In every instance, the intention is not to present an identifiable focal reference point, but rather,to induce in the viewer, a visual and physiological saturation of consciousness. ‘The feeling of a durational changing space is critical to Patrick Morrissey’s work. He employs numerical systems, juxtaposing trapezoids, rhombuses and parallelograms in a ‘meandering geometry’. The works seem to respond to the possibilities in projected imagery, light, monumentality and sequential / serial development. For Morrissey the idea of playback or obliteration of content from continuous playing opens up the notion of an after-image, either from the modality of the past or from the experience of pure colour saturation in varying systems." (Laurence Noga 2017) "Hanz Hancock’s work is derived from the use of numerical sequences that create a rudimentary code which ultimately creates variable, mandala-like imagery in his drawing, painting and constructions The picture plane is galvanized into a series of alternating planes which are evanescent in appearance, but never typically 'kinetic'. Structures that form in the close mesh of drawn lines coalesce and dissipate, and are metaphors for the transient nature of geometric form found in the natural and built environment." For more info visit: Morrissey
Kate Murdoch: "Kate Murdoch works predominantly in the medium of assemblage, collage and installation. Her work centres around a lifelong passion for collecting. Found objects, images and other materials, mostly from the everyday and dating from the last century, are modified, transformed or placed together so that they retain a sense of their original function, but also assume new meaning. Work presented for 'Pushing the Boat Out' reflects Murdoch's interest in objects as clear indicators of the passage of time. Steeped in social and political history, the selected images and objects open up opportunities for personal and political discussion, particularly around issues of class, privilege and value and worth. Wider themes of loss and remembrance are also explored, reflecting Murdoch's fascination with the permanence of objects versus the fragility of human existence." For more info visit: Kate
Harry Pye: "I studied Fine Art Printmaking at Winchester School of Art. I didn’t start painting till 15 years ago which was around the time I turned 30. Art has been a means of finding out how I feel about people and things. It’s also stopped me feeling bored and lonely and that everything is pointless. My paintings often cheer me up. Recently I’ve been working on a transcription of a Van Gogh painting called The Painter on the Road to Tarascon. I’m hoping to exhibit a new painting based on the Van Gogh painting and also a very large painting I made in collaboration with Gordon Beswick which is of Chris Packham and is also a part homage to Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night." For more info visit: Harry
How to get to The Art Academy Newington...

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

"Come And Stay With Me" (a.k.a. "Vincent van Gogh on his way to work")

Above: Come and Stay With Me by Harry Pye May 2018. Every artist is influenced by other artists. Sometimes it's surprising who inspired who. In Vincent van Gogh's later years he became very interested in Japanese prints that depicted plum orchards or celebrated the arrival of blossom. He was amused by the way Japanese artists gave the impression that making their work was "as simple as breathing" and as straightforward as butting up a shirt in the morning. Vincent's versions of these prints tended to feature more thrusting brush stokes and he'd swap some colours around so pink might become orange, he'd also paint black outlines round trees. On the first of May 1888 Vincent wrote a letter to his brother Theo to thank him for sending him some money (on this occasion he'd received a 50 franc note). In the letter he mentions he has discovered this new house that is yellow on the outside, white on the inside, and has a red brick floor. About 4 weeks later, Vincent writes to his brother again and this time he asks if Theo would mind contacting his friend Paul Gauguin? He says let Gauguin know that the yellow house has 2 bed rooms and he adds "You know that I have always thought it idiotic the way painters live alone. you always lose by being isolated." Paul Gauguin was based in Brittany at this point. Gauguin was a friend of Theo's who Vincent had got to meet in Paris. They got on ok but P.G. had found V.v.G a bit intense. There was also a bit of a problem in that P.G. was an atheist and VvG was the type of chap who believed every single word of the bible was true.
Vincent started to go on walks to a place called Tarascon and, my understanding is that he began to get a bit obsessed with the idea that if Paul Gauguin did come and stay with him in the yellow house all his problems would be solved he wouldn't have to worry about money any more and Gauguin would encourage his work and give him advice and support.
I think Vincent was happy fantasising about a best possible scenario of the two artists being under the same roof. Throughout the Summer Van Gogh started making paintings that were intended to decorate Gauguin's bedroom. He writes to another friend that he's excited about a dozen or so paintings he's made of Sunflowers that feature a yellow that will blaze forth on various backgrounds.
By September the Yellow house has been done up to Vincent's satisfaction and he paints his bedroom and then he does a self portrait which again he intends to give to Gauguin as a present.
A short time later Vincent writes in one letter that he is out of money lives on just bread and that he drinks 23 cups of coffee a day. I think when Vincent tells Paul that he paints he does so as though he's a sleep walker I think Gauguin gets cold feet about the whole idea of living with him and it dawns on him that there might be trouble ahead. However, Theo van Gogh manages to sell one of Gauguin's paintings for him and, knowing that his brother isn't the easiest person to live with, he promises Paul that if he does go and stay with Vincent he will actually pay him 150 francs a month. Vincent felt bad that he was financially dependant on his brother but dreamed that one day his paintings would be highly thought of: "I cannot help it that my paintings don't sell. Nevertheless the time will come when people see that they are worth more than the price of paint" Many, many years after his death Francis Bacon made a series of works inspired by Van Gogh's image of a painter on the way to work.
Bacon said he loved the way Vincent lied to get to the truth. But Gauguin couldn't see the quality that Bacon saw. Gauguin believed Van Gogh should use his imagination rather than exaggerate what he saw in front of him. To put it in a nutshell - he wanted van Gogh to be more like him. The whole idea of Vincent painting himself on the way to work and deluding himself that Gauguin will be the expediter of his dreams is something I find very interesting. "Life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel." In my painting my intention isn't to make fun of Vincent - what I'm doing is presenting him as I see him which is like a child whose head is full of dreams and whose happiness is based on wishful thinking and delusion. In my collage/painting I was trying to capture that joyful, optimistic, childlike sunshiney feeling we get - it's the high we experience just before everything downhill.
Here is a song called "Come And Stay with Me" sung by Francis Macdonald. I wrote the words and Francis composed and performed the music.The track appears on our album Bonjour.
The painting "Come And Stay With Me" will feature in a group show ("Push The Boat Out") which takes place in the last week of July at The Art Academy, 155 Walworth Road, London, SE17 1RS

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Rutlemania returns to the U.K.

Above: Fans of the Rutles go crazy for Ron Nasty, Barry Wom & their pals.
Last Wednesday I ventured to Highbury Corner N.5 to see what's left of The Rutles play The Garage - I had a totally fantastic, "Ten out of Ten" evening and left with a spring in my step. Highlights of the night included Barry Wom's paper tearing and some amazing guitar playing by "Rutling" Ken Thornton.
It was surprisingly moving to be part of the sell out crowd go wild in the aisles as we sung along to firm faves from the pre-Fabs such as Cheese and Onions.
If you haven't seen them. Don't panic as there are a few dates on this tour left...
Friday the 18th of May: Leeds, Saturday 19th of May: Godalming, Monday 21st May: Wolverhampton, Tuesday May 22nd: Cambridge, Wednesday 23rd May: Hull,Friday 25th May: Newcastle upon Tyne,Saturday 26th: Glasgow, Wednesday 30th May: Morcombe, Thursday 31st May:Carlisle, Friday 1st June: Liverpool, Saturday 2nd June: Hertford, Saturday June 16th: Caernarfon. For more info: Tickets
Meanwhile, both albums by The Rutles are well worth buying...
The first album features; I Must be In Love, Ouch, Living in Hope, Let's Be Natural, and Cheese & Onions.
The fantastic follow up features; Questionnaire, Now She's Left You, Easy Listening, and Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik