tapestry weaving

Dumfries 3 – Sound and Weave

The most important reason for me to visit Dumfries was to check out Gracefield Arts Centre and the space in which I would have work in an exhibition later in the year. The British Tapestry Group exhibition “Sound and Weave” is now on at the arts centre and runs there until 29th September.

Gracefield Arts Centre

My tapestry is experimentally interactive with light sensors embedded in the weave – the sensors trigger different field recordings layered over a looping background soundscape when they are cast into shadow by, for instance, the viewer’s hand or body.

“Experimental” is the key work here and it proved a challenge to calibrate the sensors to react at their optimum in a space with lighting quite different from my studio. In this instance I am happy for the interactivity of the tapestry to be sensitive to the changing ambient light as much as the gallery lighting and human intervention, but in future venues I will provide my own lighting with a view to a tighter control of the sensors.

The videos below show both my own tapestry “in action” and the other works in the exhibition. Thanks again to Dawn, the Arts Officer at Gracefield, and all the BTG people involved in setting up the exhibition. It will be my turn when it comes to Swansea in March 2019!

If the videos do not show below in your browser, please click the links below to view them on Vimeo.

INTERCONNECTION at Gracefield Arts Centre

https://vimeo.com/285860378

Sound and Weave at Gracefield Arts Centre

https://vimeo.com/286544845


rusty ring perspective

Iron Standings and Rusty Rings

Iron standings, rusty rings and other objects – these are from a short stretch of the Scottish shoreline which I was walking along last month and which includes two old, small harbour jetties.

iron standings

The colours and textures of rust are always attractive to me and in this location they also reflect the colours and textures of the surrounding rocks and lichens.

So far as I can tell these small ports are not used any more, althoughContinue reading

York Station

My Walk this Week – Skeletal Station Architecture

My walk this week is at the end of recent travels and depicts the skeletal architecture and structure of York railway station and more. The rib-like structures of the station design are fascinating and while all the photos were taken on my iPhone, perhaps that forced me to be more selective about the views and angles of the images I took.

skeletal station ribs

I found myself unexpectedly with time to spare due to a cancelled train, and so, apart from exploring the station, I also went to York Art Gallery for a lot at this year’s Aesthetica exhibition. It was very interesting but many of the exhibits were in video form and therefore less immediateContinue reading

twisting footbridge

My Walk this Week – A Day in Northampton

My walk this week is from a day trip we had to Northampton a few weeks ago. We were there for the opening of an exhibition in which my daughter (Hannah Duncan Creations) had be invited to take part – Enamel Today by the British Society of Enamellers. The exhibition is at 78 Derngate, the only Charles Rennie Mackintosh house in England.

Beckets Park

Apart from the obvious interest I have in my daughter’s work I also had an interest in the Northampton architecture, and not just the Rennie mackintosh house.Continue reading

Barbara Hepworth - Hieroglyph detail

Sculpture in Leeds

We didn’t have a lot of time to stay in Leeds on my walk this week but I still managed to take in some of the current sculpture exhibition at the Leeds Art Gallery. One of my favourites was this piece by Barbara Hepworth from 1953.

Barbara Hepworth - Hieroglyph

Barbara Hepworth – Hieroglyph

The title of the work, “Hieroglyph”, prompts towards an interpretation of the piece I suppose but not knowing the title at the time of initially viewing it, I didn’t think of it as being a hieroglyph. However, its language spoke to me in terms of surface texture and pattern, form and I guess, humanity and nature. The shapes of the hollowed out areas seem figure-like and looking through them to the other side had an essence of intimacy about it. I wanted to touch and caress its cool warmth! If such a contradiction in terms can be accepted, it is the only term I can find to express my perception of the piece while expecting the stone surface to be cool to the touch.

The Richard Long installation left me cool, if not cold. The impact of the work may come again from the contradiction (or should I say juxtaposition?) of the arrangement of the natural material and the space it is in, but for me it felt somewhat contrived.

The work that had the greatest impact on me, though I cannot say it was a particularly positive one, was the alabaster figure holding a bird to her shoulder by Woman and Bird by John Skeaping. The material had a strange effect on me and looking back at the VR shot I took of the room (see below), I think it may have been the sense that I was able to see inside the body at the same time as seeing its surface – I found it a bit disturbing. Again with this piece there was an element of contradiction – the apparent textures of the stone revealed through its changes in colour, pattern and internal structure was in contrast to its worked smoothness and  again there was the warmth of colour but the knowledge that if touched it the sensation would be of cold or coolness.

As with my previous post, if you click the VR image below on an iPhone or Android phone with the Google Cardboard Camera app installed, you will be able to view the full 360º of the space in virtual reality. On the linked image on your phone select the “Save to app” button and then fit your phone to the Google Cardboard device.

Leeds-sculpture.vr

Victoria Square, Leeds

My Walk this Week – Art and Design in Leeds

My walk this week in Leeds is my vehicle for showcasing my daughter’s work as a jewellery artist – Hannah Duncan Creations. I say “artist” because the work she designs is her means of expression, but she is a great craftsperson as well. The collection she delivered recently to the Craft Centre and Design Gallery includes work based on the rocky coastlines of Britain and in some pieces the very sand from the beaches forms a part of the work.

Leeds Art Gallery

The image below is an example of Hannah’s work and if you would like to see more please visit her website at Hannah Duncan Creations.

Hannah Duncan Creations

Hannah Duncan Creations

Our recent travels to York (see last weeks walk posts) allowed us to help Hannah out and visit Leeds on our way home.  The day was beautifully sunny and our walk to the City Art Gallery and the Design Centre below it was brightContinue reading

Swansea urban scene

Urban Walk – Second Side of the Triangle

Looking at some of the patterns and features on my triangular urban walk this week, the second side of the triangle provided me with a number of everyday aspects of the city with, to me, points of visual interest. The angles and perspectives of architectural features, when looked at on their own and viewed without the context of the wider urban environment, become simply lines, shapes and patterns and can be seen as works of abstract art.

angled steps

Those lines and shapes are reflected in the design of murals on the walls of the Elysium artists’ studios but opposite this is an apparent anomaly – Continue reading

A lifetime of cars

My Walk this Week – Travelling in Time

My walk this week is a little bit abstract in walking terms. There was some actual walking involved but I will get to that later in the week. Today I want to walk back in time first of all to 1915 and then 1942 and 1963.

by Alastair Duncan 1942

by Alastair Duncan 1942

In York recently I added a few items to my growing archive of images of my family. My intention is to digitise them over time but there is a huge collection going back many years.

Below are two photos of my Grandfather (known as Tiger) – one from each end of his life. It can be seen that in 1915 he was a soldier and in 1963 he was an artist. The next photo is of my namesake, Alastair, who died of septicaemia in 1942 – from the art and design work he had done that year at school, it can be seen that there was the potential for him also to go into the arts.

An finally another reference to travelling in time – a list of all the cars my father has had from the first to the last.

Steel Perspective

But Is It Art?

On my walk this week I found myself in one of the upper floor rooms of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and enjoyed looking at works by well known artists of the past such as Ceri Richards, Paul Nash, Henry Moore and others. In this room I was also struck by the effect of the translucent screen hanging in front of the floor to ceiling window. It changed my perception of the building opposite and for a few moments I thought I was looking at another work of art – so I took some photos!

Looking Out

Directly below, on the ground floor, is the room used for talks, presentations, etc.,  In here I spotted a stack of seats in the corner and I was again persuaded to take some photos. The clean, bright patterns of stainless steel really appealed to me ….. but is it art?Continue reading

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

Art and History at The Glynn Vivian Gallery and Museum

On my walk this week around the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum in Swansea, I looked in a number of the rooms. In the main gallery I observed, listened to and contemplated the various abstract and video art works to be experienced in the current exhibition – “These Waters Have Stories To Tell”.

Art at the Glynn Vivian

This exhibition is part of the Ephemeral Coast series of touring exhibitions and includes six different artists. The first of the works I have shown below is one of the most deceptive – this (apparent) swimming float is in fact made of concrete and knowing this, my perception of it becomes confused. I am being deliberately deceived, and this brings to mind so many parallels in todays society that I have to start thinking more deeply about it in an effort to figure out my understanding of the themes of the exhibition and the connections the works have to us and the relationship we have with the/our environment.

On the top floor I enjoyed some of the older works in the museum – not just the works themselves but also the displays and the patterns of light and reflection created.