Sunday, November 30, 2008

Moments from the Marmite

For the second Marmite Prize for Painting, held at Studio 1.1, each entrant had to submit a painting and a drawing, the rules stating that 'no judgements will be made as to what the words painting and drawing mean to you'. The shortlisted paintings became the show but ALL the drawings were included in the catalogue which is handy if you're interested in what several hundred artists are currently concerning themselves with. It's published by Susak Press and it's a fiver. Hours of fun, I promise.

I also took part in the first Marmite show at Residence in 2006 where all the work was hung upside down in tribute to Baselitz. This year the hang was up along the top of the walls, snug against the ceiling and the RSJ's- hence these are largely photographed from below. My landscape is at the top.

My favourite thing in the show was Richard Bateman's small landscape picture (above, second from bottom). Richard makes a weekly pilgrimage to London Zoo to draw the cages and pens, minus the animal inhabitants, returning to the studio to paint architectural spaces filled with after-images of captivity and confinement. "I’m thinking about the brutality of keeping an animal in a cage and, from there, the brutality of life generally." It's a cracking picture, and having seen it a few times in the last few days (in the gallery's storeroom, at the opening, on Saturday afternoon taking these photos) I have to say I have become mildly obsessed. Now I've even got photos of it to keep looking at too... but it IS a picture that creeps up on you. It has a stange power and far from being drowned out by the two large works it was sandwiched between was so punchy it rather seemed to suck out their strength. So there you have it. Richard was my winner, but not the official one. The prize returns in 2010.

The Marmite Prize 2008, Studio 1.1, ran 25-30 Nov
Oliver Kossack presented The Marmite Prize 2008 selected by Liz Neal, Michele Fletcher and Milly Thompson to runner up Eve Peasnall for her painting 'Sexy Weeper', runner up David Drey for his painting 'Logs and Axe', and the winner, Dai Roberts for his painting 'IAO'.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

"My Heartland, Heartland, Heartland"

This is 'My Heartland, Heartland, Heartland', painted for 'Awbopbopaloobop', Transition's show of new work informed by song lyrics.

I chose Heartland by the Sisters of Mercy. It's from about 1984 and the b-side to Temple of Love. It was one of my favourite songs as a teen and I used to listen to it on my walkman on the school bus travelling through this very landscape.

I've been playing a few old tunes while making these small personal pictures, but Heartland in particular has become something of a talisman. I think it's expansive doominess has bolstered my investigations or at least helped remind me of being a teenager in these big natural spaces. It's a sort of romantic goth lament, and when I listen to it I see leaden skies, twisting mud-tracks and distant hills. My mind travels over endless fields from above like a sweeping camera hurtling through the air, and I smell utterly un-London smells, like moss and mud, and all very definately on the edge of rain, as it often is near Wales.

A goth-rock b-side probably seem a strange soundtrack to be echoing through Housmans 'blue remembered hills' but not to me, to me it seems entirely appropriate. But then that's the surprise of working with personal memory, throwing up as it does 'a crowd of twisted things'.

Show coincides with a special rock'n'roll edition of Garageland.
15 Nov - 21 Dec 2008