Saturday, November 24, 2007


"FERREIRA PROJECTS is proud to announce its inaugural exhibition titled PROGRESSION; where participating artists Marcela Alejandra, Helen Barff, Helen Elizabeth Cocker, Derek Curtis, Stephen Harwood, Katherine Lubar, Adaesi Ukairo and Lynn Wray, have focused on creating an illustrative journey, highlighting the development of their work, through progressive stages..."

Just back from Hong Kong and environs, of which more shortly, however before that I just wanted to blog 'Progression', a group show at Christian Ferreira's new gallery that I am taking part in.

It was an interesting exercise, deciding what to show for this one. I've never really been asked to stop and think about past efforts before, so I found myself dusting off boxes of ephemera (i've been going eighteen years next year!), pulling out dodgy canvases from the racks and thinking about how best to describe, or at least provide pointers to, how I got to 'Now', and what might be coming next.

As regards the past, if we're lucky we sell the good ones, and are left with the not-quite-made-it's (or if my current fallow period is anything to go by we don't seem to sell anyone buying any fucking paintings anymore?): so it's a difficult task to be able to describe a developmental process with work for sale from the studio.

We're all showing seven or eight pieces, and I think I managed to say something about the change between my East End involvements of the 1990's and the childhood paintings of the last few years (place segues into autobiography). But it's probably fair to say that the idea of Progression is more obvious in some of the participating artists than others.

Katherine Lubar paints the shadowplay of strong light on walls and surfaces. The story begins with a very well painted domestic environment from around ten-years ago, of light pouring into an attic room, with a suburban landscape visible through the window. The point of the picture is the light seems unnecessarily harsh and although the painting is skillfully made, the shadow cast by the light does not look as natural as the painted landscape outside the window. Initiating our idea of progression, this picture gives way to bold abstractions of light flowing into sometimes harsh man-made environments (factories, prisons, concrete staircases) through industrial windows. The shapes are then distilled into an exploration of pared-down shadow that leaves an impression on the minds eye.

Katherine Lubar's work is particularly successful in this show as there is very definately a beginning, a middle and a current concern, and Katherine is now working on a sequence of studies of domestic lamps in living rooms that, startlingly, have a very figurative feel to them. They look like portraits, and although made from the same stuff as the earlier work there's been a change of gear. They make you want to look out for the next show, and that surely is the point of 'Progression': to get the viewer interested in what an artist is going to be doing in the future, as well as what they have done in the past.

Progession is on until 2nd December.

Lower Ground Floor
23 Charlotte Road

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Lovely Party!"...

... as one of the Transylvanians remarks during 'Hot Patootie' in Rocky Horror.

We began at around 6.30 with a lethal gin for every arriving reveller and although our place is pretty big it soon filled up. Once everyone had arrived it was time to move up to the roof terrace and the fireworks started cracking away over in the park a bit late at around 8.00 due to a delayed start. As it's such a good vantage point we were also able to see dozens of other displays all over London. I especially enjoyed the reflections flickering away madly over tower block windows, like the East End was burning. We were joined on the roof by other parties from next door and downstairs which felt nice and neighbourly, including at one stage a group of people dressed as superheros. Spiderman, Wonder Woman and Superman amongst others who all appeared one after another out of a trap door! Their costumes were great.

The fireworks were amazing and after so much visual excitement and ooh's and ahh's and much use of cameraphones dinner was served back downstairs ("Careful of the ladder!"). Crazy G excelled himself with his rare roast beef and homemade coleslaw amongst other culinary treats. No credit due to me as I can't cook!

It was a great evening with old friends arriving unexpectedly. Pretty much the entire Retro Bar contingent in attendance as well as art-pals and my former neighbours from my Limehouse days Spencer and Sonia and daughter Maya. It was probably the booze but at one point, having a quick smoke on the roof, I looked down through the glass ceiling into the party and watched the little conversations going on, quips and witty banter and thought how lucky we are to have so many varied and wonderful friends. 'Multi-faceted' as Hayley would say. I felt moved, I really did, and happy in my milieu.

Anyway, sentimentalism soon gave way to serious hard boozing and as these interesting types do rather like a sherry or three I had a chance to expunge the drinks trolley of various exotic/dodgy spirits and wierd liquors collected over the years which seemed like a good idea at the time.
"Bit of this one? Yes? Good!"
"Bit of this too!? Excellent!"
"No Sorry! The tonic went an hour ago dear, just have another cube of ice ha ha ha !" etc etc. There were perfectly normal drinks available but 'a nice white' ain't half as much fun as industrial gin from Mahon or a luminous green grappa when the mood grips one!

The decks went down very well. It was a bit of a free for all with people playing whatever they wanted spotlit from below in blue neon lights up on the mezzanine (it IS a great flat for a party!). I couldn't get on those decks for love nor money but enthusiastically fetched my Throbbing Gristle cd's from the studio just in case (i.e. I was pissed). What I really wanted to hear was Fireworks by the Banshees but I forgot to ask someone to play it. We were joined by our neighbour Suzy at one stage who proved a hit at ballroom dancing as were her friends and things got increasingly hazy. I think G decided to call it a night when after various people had staggered out Toby and I were amongst the hardcore four or five left putting the world to rights at 4.00am. We were apoplectic with red wine and falling off our chairs. I very much disagreed with G's stance as ever ("One for the frog?") but given that poor Tobes walked into a lamp-post on the way home it probably was time to say goodnight!

The photo is one of Peter Robinson's, posted on Facebook.

"We are Fireworks - slowly, glowing
Bold and bright
We are Fireworks - burning shapes
Into the night... "
'Fireworks' Siouxsie and the Banshees