Tuesday, 18 April 2017

10 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About "Bonjour" The debut album by Francis Macdonald and Harry Pye

Next month sees the release of "Bonjour" a ten track record and CD that Glaswegian based musician Francis Macdonald made in collaboration with London based artist Harry Pye. To celebrate it's arrival we have compiled a list of ten astonishing facts that you can impress your friends and fellow music lovers with.
1) The intro on the first track on the album ("Sometimes I Feel Like A Record That's Scratched") features the voice talents of celebrated comedy actor Kevin Eldon. Kindhearted Kevin spent a whole weekend practising his lines to make sure they were perfect.
2) Francis's favourite song on the album is, track two: Sympathy For Jean Luc Godard. Francis and Harry each drew dozens of post card sized images inspired by Godard movies which film maker Gordon Beswick then edited together. The end results were first screened as part of the "This Is Our Art, This Is Our Music" exhibition at The David Risley Gallery in Copenhagen which also included contributions from R. Crumb, David Byrne, Captain Beefheart, The Soupdragons, and Faust.
3) A spoken word track on the album called "Mondrian in Liverpool" has been described as being both "distinctive and affecting" by Paul Carey-Kent (the former editor of Artworld magazine) and "very touching" by Paul Du Noyer (the founding editor of Mojo). The track is a largely about the death of Harry's father, the impact it had on him and how he came to love non representational, minimal paintings. Harry's favourite Piet Mondrian painting is called Broadway Boogie Woogie and it was made the same year that his Dad was born.
4) The silliest song on the album is "Mike Love Fan Club" which is celebration of a founding member of The Beach Boys not known for his modesty. Francis and Harry are both huge admirers of The Beach Boys and they genuinely love Mike Love.
5) Francis composes music for films/TV and has worked with Laura Cantrell, BMX Bandits, Alex Chilton, Robert Forster, Kevin Ayers and Kim Fowley but he is best known for playing drums with Teenage Fanclub. Harry is pro re-cycling and has come up with a new twist on a very old gag.... “What’s the difference between Francis Macdonald and Walt Disney? “Francis plays drums for Teenage Fanclub and Walt Disney.”
6) When Harry met Ray Davies (of The Kinks) they got on just fine
7) When Francis met Mike Nesmith (of The Monkees) they got on like a house on fire
8) One of the tracks on the album is "Paul In Vauxhall" which is a song about Harry meeting up with a friend who lives in the same part of South London that Vincent Van Gogh stayed in. Curiously another track on the album "Come and Stay With Me" is about Vincent Van Gogh moving to the South of France and asking his friend Paul (Gauguin) to join him. Artist Howard Dyke is a fan of "Come and Stay with Me" and described the track as being "fucking beautiful".
9) Most of the album was recorded before Francis and Harry ever met (Harry emailed lyrics and Francis made recordings and emailed them back to Harry).
10) "Bonjour
released on Shoeshine records on May 26th https://bonjour.tmstor.es/cart/product.php?id=31502 It's one of the few albums released this year that ends with a heartfelt tribute to the French artist and philosopher Jean Debuffet.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Eggs 11 show at The Mainstream Gallery

"Eggs Eleven" (currently showing at Ramsgate's Mainstream Gallery) Press Release...
Just as the dairy industry is dependent on rape, eggs are the result of a process of eugenics, ethnic cleansing and extermination on a global scale. Of course, other than a few guilt-stricken and sickened individuals and pressure groups, the human race does not care. Why? Because we deem ourselves the superior species? Because we are made in God’s image? Or is it because those beasts are nameless, and therefore hold no sentimental value for us? Is it because the chicks that are refused the gift of life are so far beyond number they simply, if ironically, don’t count? These questions - of the nazification of the food industry, of Man playing God, of the billions of animals tortured and slaughtered for our nourishment and delight - have been flowing through my mind like a river of screaming vomit, but it is only upon seeing “Eggs 11”, with these life-deprived chicks caged dead in their shells, that I saw our mindless, heartless, casual cruelty crystallised. Seeing the often-childlike daubs decorating or desecrating these innocent eggs - bringing to mind the brutality of babes, the mercilessness of minors - imposing human values (of art, of humour) in an inhuman manner on a non-human entity, I wept. “Eggs 11” is a show that asks more questions than it can ever answer. This show compels you to confront yourself, to emerge naked from your own conformist shell and examine your value system. Or are you chicken?
Text by Paul Hamilton
First Photo: Egg decorated by Arthur Davies Evitt Second Photo: Artist Lee Edwards holding an egg decorated by Buffy Cook
Third Photo (above): Egg decorated by James Lawson Fourth photo (below) Dinosaur egg by Mafruha Ahmed
Fourth photo: Egg decorated by Bronte Jones.
Fifth Photo: Egg decorated by Lee Edwards

Friday, 24 March 2017

Floral Anthology show at Westminster Reference Library (28/03/17)

Joanna McCormick has put together a show that features painting, poetry, flowers and cocktails. "The exhibition Floral Anthology is an exploration of ​the wonder and fascination of floral motifs in our history and a metaphorical description of the power of flowers to uplift and revive the spirit in times of adversity."
"Floral Anthology" at Westminster Reference Library, behind The National Gallery - 35 Saint Martins Street WC2H 7HP... It's this Tuesday March 28th, from 6 - 9pm. Jo will also be there during the day on Wednesday March 29th. At the opening on Tuesday, Jo will be doing a live performance and there will be poetry from Sooz Belnavis, and a special display by flower arranger Carol Campbell. Westminster Reference Library 35 St Martin's Street, WC2H 7 (Please note: The show is on for 4 days only. Closing at the end of the day on March 31st. Opening hours 10am - 8pm)
Above: "Garcon avec une Fleur le meme Couleur comme son Chapeau" (2016) by Harry Pye will be available on the night as 30cm X 40cm CMYK print.
Nineteen: Jo

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Pre-order "Bonjour" on I-tunes

Excellent news for music lovers...
Anyone who pre-orders "Bonjour" (the debut album by Francis Macdonald and Harry Pye) on I-tunes can now get the tracks "Isle of Capri" and "Sympathy for Jean Luc Godard" instantly. Please see the live link for this instant grat. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/bonjour/id1207019773 "Bonjour" is released now in Japan/Asia on Hostess Entertainment.
You can read an interview Francis gave about the project whilst in Tokyo here: http://mikiki.tokyo.jp/articles/-/13614

Friday, 17 February 2017

Q & A with Pete Mountford

Pete Mountford is an artist who has been practising for over 20 years. He has exhibited in both the UK and USA.
His work encompasses painting, drawing, digital imagery and other mixed media. Often underpinning this work is the appropriation of and relationship to existing systems; in the past this has including energy waves, the cycles of nature, maps and landscape. Rebel magazine came across Pete via Facebook and wanted to find out more about his "Seven into Six" exhibition currently on at The Well-being Art Centre 18 Western Road, Hove BN3 1AE until the 24th of April.
Q: The roots of your "7 into 6" show go back a decade. Can you tell me how it all started? "The title "7 into 6" is for this particular show, and it was a chance to reconfigure the works in a different way by laying them in rows of colours, which gives off the mass colour hit that the ethos of the Well being gallery and health centre are about. When the works were made and exhibited originally between 2002-2005 they were grouped in sets of six with 5 of one base colour and a white panel. My mantra in those days (and something that still creeps in to my work occasionally now) is underpinning my work with 'system and chance'. In this case I played with associating colours to particular numbers to create a system and used a kids spin machine- using the same colours - to create the bottom half and give me a kind of controlled chance. The bottles are actually appropriated from Aura Soma colour therapy bottles, which my wife was starting to study and practice in at the time, and each had a specific number, a pair of colours and a set of philosophies to be interpreted from them, plus from my perspective they looked simply gorgeous and seeing them on mass was almost like crossing the repetition of Warhol with the spirituality of Rothko. There's a lot more to it then that, but my interest was not really about the meaning behind these bottles as such (although I don't mind if the viewer chooses to approach them this way) but more working with the existing system, combining it with another one, and seeing where that took me. However it is nice to see them again displayed this way." Q: The venue for your "7 into 6" show is the Health & Well Being Centre in Brighton - are they nice people to do business with? Is it a gallery space that you'd recommend? "The Well being Gallery is part of the doctors practice and its a place I've been a registered patient for the past 2 years since we moved to Hove. I noticed they displayed interesting art in the waiting room, made enquiries and hooked up with Jude Hart who curates the space and is a professional artist in this area (and a damn fine one in my opinion), who curates the space ( as well as co-ordinates one of the trails for the open house festival in May). The practice is renowned through Brighton & Hove as being very open towards holistic approaches and the Gallery's main driving objective within that is to "communicate to patients through the arts that self reflection and understanding personal narrative are at the heart of well being and good health" which is a pretty fine thing in my book. So its of course a gallery I would recommend, obviously work exhibited has to fit this broad ethos and normally there is an interactive project that goes on for the patients and other visitors to participate in. In this instance we have created templates of perfume bottles to be coloured in based upon a persons particular feelings on any given day."
Q: What are you working on next and what are your dreams for 2017? "These have been borne out of photographs that I have taken all over the city from different places and subsequently have developed as collage/drawings/paintings that are based upon particular recognisable views but then equally distort, disrupt and adapt that view with the intention of playing with the perception of the viewer as to what is or isn't familiar. Within this there are two sub-series's ; The 'Sea Glimpses' which I also like to think of as slipping glimpses; showing the sort of transient flashes available as might occur on a ride on a bus along Western Rd (the main artery that connects Brighton to Hove). 'Not beside the seaside' is a growing group of works that find ways to portray Brighton in an equally quirky kind of approach in reaction to a lot of the ‘tourist art’ one sees around the city. In this case the amazing street patterns, hills and other vistas that are equally as iconic.I'm looking to start showing this body of work locally (and hopefully beyond) over the next year, and plan to display some of this at the Open House I am hosting for the first time this May as part of the Brighton festival. our venue will feature a variety of artists from Brighton, Sussex and guests from London. The other project for 2017 should happen in the last third of the year, I'm creating a series of works around on top of maps and related imagery of travel in a show provisionally called "Land, Sea and Air" and a new Art space in Bradford in Yorkshire in the tunnels at the new Sunbridge Wells development in the city centre." For more info on Pete visit: http://www.colourmount02.com/

Monday, 6 February 2017

David Hockney at Tate Britain / Q & A with Martin Gayford

Last night I was lucky to get to see the new David Hockney show at Tate Britain. The exhibition is a survey of almost 60 years of Britain's most popular artist. I thought it was brilliant. I've always been a fan of the work he made in the 1960s when he was a student at the Royal College of Art. It was also good to revisit all his iconic swimming pool paintings, The double portraits and the collages of Polaroids still delight. There were of course dozens of great works I'd never seen before including two vibrant paintings of his garden in LA made in much more recent times. As you'd expect the Tate catalogue of the exhibition is well worth getting. Younger Hockney fans will love Rose Blake's "Meet The Artist" and a few rich people will rush out and buy the limited edition Taschen SUMO sized monograph.
However, of all the books on Hockney available I personally get the most out of reading Hockney's conversations with Martin Gayford. "Sparky, illuminating and entertaining – a decade’s worth of conversations between David Hockney and art critic Martin Gayford that explore via anecdote, reflection, passion and humour the very nature of creativity."
A few years back I swapped some emails with Mr Gayford about working with Hockney. Hope you enjoy the following funsize interview.
Me: Have you always been an admirer of Hockney's work, has there ever been a time when you couldn't connect with his art or get enthusiastic about his passions? Martin: "I suppose I experienced a slow process of getting to know his work and ideas better as I got to know him, starting in the early 1990s" Me: "How much control did he give you over the book? Did he insist on many changes and cuts?" Martin: "In a way, he gave total control. Naturally, I sent it to him when I'd finished. He said "I'll read it very carefully". At that point he could have asked to change this or that, but in the event he was happy with everything." Me: Have you ever had a heated conversation with him? If you thought his arguments on, (for example) smoking were full of holes would you confront him? Martin: "We've never had a sharp disagreement, though he thinks I'm a bit eccentric I think in certain respects - travelling by train, not smoking. We tend to agree, at least about art and we're both a bit bohemian and libertarian." Me: Hockney has very strong links to great artists of the past such as Picasso. Various critics often say they feel that men of the moment such as Grayson Perry or Jeremy Deller aren't really artists. Would you agree that Hockney is the real deal whereas most Turner Prize winners will be forgotten about in a few years? Martin: "I think Hockney (and Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff and several other contemporary artists) are definitely the real deal. I find it hard generalise about Turner Prize winners. Several of them -Antony Gormley, for example, and Chris Ofili - I have a lot of time for, others much less." Me: "Of all your conversations with Hockney over the years which exchange, claim or observation took you by surprise?" Martin: "Hmm, perhaps when he told me about reading Proust for the first time, and having to look up asparagus. He'd never heard of it, they didn't have it in Bradford."
I can't claim to have had a chat with Hockney but when I bumped into him at the main entrance he was kind enough to write a good luck message to my friend Francis Macdonald (see above.) I told Hockney that Francis had composed a piece of music about him on his previous album and that he had a new album coming out very soon. Hockney said almost nothing but he seemed very happy to oblige and smiled a lot. The Hockney show runs at Tate Britain (near Pimlico tube) from 9th Feb to the 29th May. Martin's book "A Bigger Message" is published by Thames & Hudson. "Triet for David Hockney" appears on "Music For String Quartet, Piano And Celeste" More info - www.francismacdonald.com

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

"Isle of Capri" by Francis Macdonald & Harry Pye (taken from their debut album "Bonjour")

"Isle Of Capri" is a song from "Bonjour" - a new album by Francis Macdonald and Harry Pye. Francis Macdonald is a musician, producer and composer. (www.francismacdonald.com) Harry Pye is an artist, writer and director of The Mainstream Gallery. (www.harrypye.com) The album "Bonjour" will be released in Japan/Asia via Hostess - www.hostess.co.jp The album will then be released in the rest of the world by Shoeshine records. To whet your appetite, go on You Tube and search for "Francis Macdonald and Harry Pye Isle of Capri."
Both photos of Francis & Harry were taken by Gordon Beswick. The album sleeve was designed by Tom Scott.