Coming up

Coming Up:
*** 14th-23rd Apr: Spring Exhibition at St. Laurence's ***
*** 5th May: Outdoor Painting at Secret Hills Discovery Centre, Craven Arms ***
*** 10th May: Jo King: Understanding the Art Market ***

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Renaissance Centre seeks Artists

Renaissance of Ludlow displays the work of local artists in their Tower Street shop. They currently have space for another 6 artists to hang their work. Costs are £10 a month for a 4 foot square to hang work. Please contact Julie or Richard on 01584 877751 for more details.

Monday, 9 April 2018

The Late Robert Chitham

We are sorry to learn, we have lost an LAS member , Robert Chitham who was a Consultant Architect and Writer --having spent most of his career in the conservation and re-use and design of historical buildings. He was a former Directing Architect of English Heritage and also ICOMOS UK President.   Naturally he enjoyed drawing and painting historical buildings and submitted  a wonderful entry of a watercolour of Ludlow Castle and Dinham Bridge in our special Anniversary Book in 2016.

Hon. Sec. Valerie Turner.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Ludlow Fringe Art Trail 2018 - Take Part!

It's that time of year again! Get ready to take part in the 2018 Ludlow Fringe Art Trail. Now in its 6th year this exciting event brings together local artists at a string of exhibition venues across the lovely tourist town of Ludlow. Open to all artists. For full details see the info pack and entry form here and the optional electronic entry form here. The deadline for entries is 30th April but why leave it to the last minute? Be part of something special and get yourself noticed!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Spotlight: Flying houses

Laurent Chéhère photographs houses, and transforms the images so that each building is lifted from the street, and placed in the sky.  The houses fly.
  They have freedom, and we look at them differently when separate from their usual static placement. We see them as individuals with distinct characters and personalities. When we feel that they can fly, instead of taking them for granted as blocks that will always be there for us to view or ignore at our leisure, we are urged to look at them while we have the chance. They tell stories.
In most of the pictures Laurent Chéhère imbues each building with extra details: a fire is added,, or a different window, or lines of laundry. These additions may look like fanciful embellishments that are not really there, however such features and events are real within a building’s life span. Most dwellings have had active washing lines at some point. Over the years, window frames have been changed, and they have had a variety of decorations and colours beyond those we see now. Many have suffered disasters such as floods and fires.
Real city buildings in situ, in their modernly-influenced décor, and with a typical level of activity, are so plentiful that we pay them little attention. We find them bland, if we notice them at all.
  There is a metaphor here for how we view people, and how others view us.
  A painting in a catalogue may be described as “180cm x 120cm, 1962, oil on canvas, Modernist landscape.” A building may be described as “Spacious 3 bedroom Victorian town house with parking”, however these descriptions do not get into their character, just as “42 year-old female Australian insurance broker” does not tell you whether you will be friends. Laurent Chéhère uses buildings to convey the notion of appreciating the individual.
Laurent Chéhère works in the advertising industry, on campaigns for fashion and perfume brands such as Dior and Chanel. He feels that this has informed his photographic skills, illustration, and storyboarding: how to tell a story with manipulated photography and design. One might also say that it plays into individuality. In advertising, while each brand aims to have mass-market appeal - or at least to appeal to a section of society - the brand itself needs to appear rather unique. Each advertising concept must convey a personality-like identity, if the viewer is to establish a relationship with that specific brand or product. In advertising this is called “brand identity”. Within an increasingly hectic, consumerist world, which deliberately re-frames our identity and its importance (in ways that advertising depends upon and exacerbates) few of us admire advertising. It is thus rather gratifying to find, in these images, advertising concepts applied artistically to honouring social and emotional identity.
Laurent Chéhère’s images are deliberately designed to be seen from two perspectives. Viewed from a distance they capture our attention with a bold and incongruous vision of adventure, independence, and escape. Observed closely we find many small details: wallpapers bearing marks of now-absent wall hangings and a cross ; a clown who has fallen in love with a trapeze artist ; and an echo of the first time a mime spoke. The pictures encourage closer viewing, and make it rewarding.
Chéhère’s works are not simply metaphors of people. They are also literally about how we view buildings. The pictures suggest that the architecture which supports and influences us is worthy of our attention and appreciation. The flying houses remind us that most of our town and city buildings are dressed in today’s décor styles, and their features meet whatever safety regulations they currently have to comply with – or sneakily resist compliance. The buildings themselves are far more interesting than that, if we wish to explore their details. The manipulated photographs call into stark view just how much we ignore and take for granted, and what may lie within the spirit and history of people, places, and our surroundings.
  We are all timely, and all have history that may not be readily apparent.
  We are all worth paying attention to.

Recognising individuality within communities means celebrating diversity in a broad sense. Individuals have a panoply of varying attributes and wishes in addition to the contemporarily emphasised categories of gender, race, age, religious labels or cultural heritage, etc. We all have aspirations and thought, physique, generosity and neediness, and thousands more characteristics. Like a painting, the full picture of a person is more than what the catalogue describes.
  It is telling that social categorisation of individuals, through a few specific attributes, is termed “diversity”. “Diversity” is literally about separation: divergence. It could be better expressed and appreciated that individual characteristics are not there for the purpose of separation. They are also about convergence, if we wish. Almost all of Chéhère’s images show the flying houses still connected to their neighbourhood by power cables and communication lines. The two exceptions are the house on fire (where the connecting cables are severed), and the caravan of travellers (which has no cables) in which he deliberately makes the point that travellers are disconnected at both ends.

Communities are richer, stronger, and more honest, if they encompass and embrace a full gamut of emotions. Yet social cohesion is often practised by encouraging mainly those behaviours and emotions which are safe as a mild summer’s day, with the occasional light shower to help the plants grow a bit. Nice, and un-dramatic. Social constructs find embarrassment when people or groups exhibit emotions that hurt and crack like an icy dark winter, and those which are so bright and hot that they can burn, and the default response is to chastise and recommend some Factor 50. “Don’t do that, we can’t cope with it.”
A lot of art explores and celebrates what we find unusual or captivating – such as the tones of a petal on a tulip, or the essence of someone’s face conveyed through a sketched line.
  Art is fascinated with individuality in ways that social constructs and politics are not. So there is a tension between the artistic and governance. This is one of the many reasons why we need art: to explore the relationships between individuals and collectives, such as towns and cities and nature’s complex web of life.  As well as to encourage us, as individuals.

Sources:
http://www.laurentchehere.com/laurentchehere.com/FLYING_HOUSES.html
http://museemagazine.com/culture/art-2/features/interview-with-laurent-chehere-intention-of-testimony

Friday, 23 March 2018

New Hon. President, Dr. Peter Bishop

Ludlow Art Society is very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Peter Bishop as Honorary President.  Find out more at our new President's Page which you can view here

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

New Book by Polly Moseley

Congratulations to LAS member Polly Moseley who has launched her new book Mie, A Weird Fish. Illustrations are of course by Polly herself, and its subtitle, taking remarkable adaptations to extremes, gives a hint of the storyline. Copies can be purchased at La Jewellery on Parkway, beside Ludlow Library. The print run is limited, so get yours while they're still available!

Calling All Local Professional Artists

Twenty Twenty Gallery of Quality Square, Ludlow, is seeking local professional artists for a mixed exhibition of painters, printmakers and potters, to run in two parts, from 16th June to 7th July, and 10th July to 28th July. If you are a professional artist (ie. your main income is from sales of your art), and you wish to be considered, please email info@twenty-twenty.co.uk for details of how to apply.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Spotlight: Water

This month Spotlight bubbles through water art.
  The ritual aspects of water, in religion and for sustenance, have long been represented through art. Water being less focal, typically, than the distinctly figurative elements in a painting, and more of a context than a subject, its contribution and symbolism is often transparent.  Invisible.
  Water conveys rather timeless lessons through religion, when the message can remain alive to a secular viewer, such as the miracle of agriculture, and the generosity of nature and hosts, as seen in Jesus converting water into wine...

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), ”The Wedding at Cana”
or travel and freedom...

or overcoming obstacles through dedication, and thereby rising above perceived limitations of mortality, such as by walking on water.

Christo installation, Italy
These are possible modern lessons taken from the important lessons of Christian tales. Narcissus, by comparison, has clear modern parallels with selfies.  
This narcissism portrayal superficially confounds how water can make everything more beautiful by offering a second angle on any subject matter.  The addition of a second perspective on trees, mountains and twigs echoes how we develop stronger emotional attachments to people who we meet, when we learn of their hidden sides, darknesses and weaknesses, as well as their more immediately shown and comprehended upstanding strengths.

'Knot weed' - Andy Goldsworthy
Arthur Rackham drew and painted water extensively. Water’s warmth, and cold dangers, can make it exciting or sensuous, which has often been translated as a form of using water to represent beauty and allure. 
Illustration for John Milton's Comus by Arthur Rackham
It is this kind of appeal which much mystical and ritual imagery uses, in the above examples of Christian and other religious communication, and in mythology.  It is also exactly this kind of conveyance of desire which controversial artist Jeff Koons explores, while conscious of the obviousness of primordial elements' incitement of desire, such as in water or fire.  Koons rarely uses water, but one of his earliest acclaimed works, which was acknowledged as exploring these conundrums, was an embodiment of trying to achieve a desired perfect state of precarious balance within an environment of both strong and fine pressures, and additionally how those concepts manifest in voyeuristic ways in the fame of cultural and sports celebrities. Koons depicted this through sport-hero basketballs depth-balanced in a tank of water.


'Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Two Dr J Silver Series, Spalding NBA Tip-Off)'

1985 - Jeff Koons
There are many painted examples of more obvious primordial sides of water’s mystic and primal appeal, which are becoming dated in their simplicity.  ‘Hylas and the Nymphs’ has been removed from the Manchester Art Gallery in recognition of the objectification of women in art, historically and still today. Go there and don’t see it, and consider how you feel.
Removed - 'Hylas and the Nymphs'
But what of ceramics?” I don’t hear you ask...
4,500 years ago a change began in these isles. A new culture arrived, which fairly swiftly and quietly replaced 90% of the native population with immigrants. We are descended from this culture. They are called “the Beaker people” due to a distinctive shape of cup which can be observed, accurately through the historic record, as having moved across Europe. The new culture carried with it many aspects, such as specific uses of jewellery, copper daggers, and a particular shape of button. However it is named after the Beaker - the vessel used to carry water. Or beer – that is one hypothesis.
There are many other aspects of the Beaker people, of course, which do not leave an archaeological imprint. Many materials cannot survive the millennia as robustly as ceramics and copper. A type of wooden spoon, for example, or a way of making head-dresses out of feathers, would leave a comparatively minuscule legacy in the archaeological record. As such, we cannot be sure that “the Beaker people” accurately describes the most significant aspects of that culture which almost entirely displaced the peoples of Albion. 
  “Beaker” is what has been grasped as the representative element – the aspect which reveals their intrinsic nature. It reflects our view of them.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Meeting Cancelled: 1st Mar: Marion Elliot

Ludlow Assembly Rooms has decided to close throughout Thursday and Friday because of expected bad weather. Marion Elliot's talk on collage is therefore cancelled. Sorry! We'll try and get her back on another occasion.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Tamsin Bridge: Moon and Magic

 MOON AND MAGIC - an exhibition of work by Ludlow artist, Tamsin Bridge. Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre, Craven Arms until March 12th, 2018.

MOON AND MAGIC then moves on to Mayfair Community Centre, Church Stretton on March 12th and shows until May 12th 2018.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Ludlow Chocolate: call to artists

The next edition will be launched for the tourist season, so it should feature Ludlow scenes that will appeal to tourists. Just to remind you, the requirement is to produce a piece of original artwork, which will be printed on the chocolate packaging, and the original artwork will be auctioned, with all proceeds given to charity. The specification for the artwork is that it will be printed to fit a label which measures approximately 60mm x 95mm (it can be painted larger of course, and can be either portrait or landscape format) and you need to leave room for us to superimpose on the image somewhere a panel saying 'Just Good Locally Plain/Milk chocolate' and two small boxes saying 'Fairly traded' and 'Local to Ludlow'. Submissions should be made by 31st March please.
 

1st March: Marion Elliot

Monday, 5 February 2018

Spotlight: Peter Doig, current painter

Cardiff is well worth a visit in February and March this year. There is a free exhibition of treasures. Grayson Perry, Lucian Freud, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Anthony Caro, David Hockney… but the exhibition is titled “Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a Private Collection”, which begs a question. Francis Bacon is a household name, but who has heard of Peter Doig?
I first encountered Peter Doig’s paintings in Liverpool 1993, when trying to rekindle an enthusiasm for public and aesthetic art. It worked. That day the Liverpool Walker Gallery was displaying its annual John Moore’s Exhibition, loaded with the finest canvas magic that 200 artists could muster, like a conspiracy of beauty. The rooms were lofty, with a homely magnolia glow to the lighting. Though the rooms were silent, the air buzzed and rippled with sounds of ghostly gossip, town essence, and breezy riverbanks - sounds that came only from the works on the walls. The essence of towns and nature could be heard. 
  Among them were several novel masterpieces that I still remember well: an oil of a motorway verge as it looks when travelling fast in a car, and a large purple rendition of the gates of Xanadu, but the star that caught my biggest ‘Wow’ was someone walking on ice, by Peter Doig. Amazingly it won first prize. Amazing not because it is esoteric or an acquired taste, but simply because it is rare that, in such a large pool of choice, the public and critics’ vote matches my own. That painting was “Blotter”. 
A screen cannot do justice to the technique (though this video of his Cabin Essence series gets into the textures: https://youtu.be/FRnAd2LWm6k).  
Seeing a Peter Doig painting is as dreamlike as the descriptions suggest.  And the Cardiff show is within reach.
Peter Doig was born in 1959, studied at Chelsea and Wimbledon, then got on with it. In 1991 he had a show at Whitechapel gallery, shortly after finishing all those studies. When he was grouped with the Brit Art pack at a Serpentine Gallery show, he was the odd one out, among the Hirst-Lucas-Emin carnival, being the only artist whose works did not exist as a way of shouting “Me!”.
  This dedication to painting rather than personality might be why few people have heard of Peter Doig. His paintings have twice broken records at auction, as the highest-priced sales of paintings by a living European figurative painter. Twenty five million dollars at auction. This rather displeased his sense of aesthetics and historical validation. Doig finds the auction market to misrepresent earned values and the reasons one paints. He just lives comfortably enough to get on with his purposes: there are feelings and states of thought, which he finds to be much better manifested with paint textures and strokes on canvas than through any other means. 
Galleries both enhance and restrain the power of art. Paintings’ gossiping and singing images are contained, within the oblong cell of a wooden frame, maybe with glass like a cover slip over a living sample under a microscope. Each gallery is a stronghold, an arsenal, a quarantine to be entered with trepidation.  A gallery is like visiting hazardous patients on tantalising display in Victorian mental hospitals, each Bedlam character a barred prisoner, sometimes chained and sometimes behind sound-reducing small windows the size of a painting. Galleries hold art in bondage. And this is often a good thing, because much of the art that hits the street is barely eloquent, or is partially immature - as much a danger to its own mentality as to anyone else’s.
   We are similarly guilty of containment, and the restriction that comes from cautious safety, when we view art, and society, and nature, through a computer screen or cell phone.
Peter Doig’s work has a sense of danger, exploration… journeys in thought combined with experiences of places. 
  There is a lot to Doig, but also a lot of simplicity, and stunning technique. Some painters make you find, as you stand in the gallery, a perfect distance from the work on the wall. Peter Doig can almost make you giggle as you realise that any distance gives you the perfect level of detail.  Wherever you stand, what comes in through your eyes and sprays out into your brain-filled globe, is perfect in how it talks with your thoughts. What the works might be about becomes blissfully obvious, and also mysterious, and unimportant. The paintings do all of this. See them in the flesh. See how you feel about them.

More…. 
How Peter Doig approached and created his series of paintings from walks in the surrounding woodland during his participation in the collective restoration of the abandoned 1957 Le Corbusier building: Peter Doig’s Cabin Essence, 1993-1994
https://youtu.be/FRnAd2LWm6k


  National Museum, Cardiff, until 25th March 2018: “Bacon to Doig: Modern Masterpieces from a Private Collection” info: https://museum.wales/cardiff/whatson/9390/Bacon-to-Doig-Modern-Masterpieces-from-a-Private-Collection/


















Monday, 22 January 2018

1st February: Andy Hazell

Come and see Knighton based artist Andy Hazell and hear all about his unique and quirky sculpture, automata, art cars, photography and film works. Thursday 1st February at Ludlow Assembly Rooms, 7.30pm. Don't miss it!

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Civic Society visit to Ravilious exhibition at Compton Verney

Members of Ludlow Art Society have been invited to join Ludlow Civic Society on their visit to the Eric Ravilious exhibition at Compton Verney on Wednesday 25th April 2018. Details of the exhibition can be found at www.comptonverney.org.uk/thing-to-do/ravilious-and-co/  Please print the application form below to book.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Redbubble.com - a 21st century way to sell art

This might be of interest to the more commercially minded... Want to get paid for your art? Upload your artworks to Redbubble, at no cost to you. Redbubble offer them for sale, printed onto a range of merchandise which is sold via their website. They handle all the payment, manufacturing, delivery, etc. It might be wise to check whether you retain the copyright to your artwork. Redbubble is already a big business. If you decide to give it a go, please let us know how you get on!







Friday, 12 January 2018

Portal - a new ceramic project in Ludlow

A project delivered by Loudwater Studios, funded through the Arts Council. 

"We are advertising for people to come to Loudwater Studios to cast a Porcelain door handle as part of the collaborative light installation which we hope to site in Mortimer Forest as a temporary light installation next year. We have a number of workshop days at Loudwater Studios and are also visiting other sites, community spaces and school groups. We would love people from the community to come and share their stories of Shropshire whilst creating an individual ceramic piece. To book your place on a workshop please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/portal-ceramics-casting-tickets-40527710473
"Inspired by traditional folk and fairy tales, the door handle being a Portal into the lives of residents, these workshops will explore this rural community and the relationship of residents to the twon and the individual stories that lie behind the door Working with renowned ceramics artist Emma Summers you will choose and learn how to cast your own ceramic piece as part of a collaborative installation work."

Monday, 1 January 2018

Spotlight: Constable's scale (Realism with Bells On, part 2)

Imagine that we are in a gallery, looking at paintings of flowers and landscapes. Then, having considered a few examples, we step back to assess the perspective presented through such works.
 

by Anne Cotterill

When looking at a watercolour of flowers, we see flowers, close up and identifiable.  They are individuals: an individual flower, an individual plant, a distinct species.
The scope of a landscape is much broader, of course, and typically less detailed.

'South Downs at Amberley' - Ian Hadley
With landscapes we see, or paint, or sketch, land spread across the paper or canvas, under sky, with evidence of plants only as impressions of colour and area. The plants are not depicted as individual entities, but as a mass population: greenish swathes and shades and strokes.
When artists paint landscapes there is a tendency to circumvent completely the essence of individual plants. 

'The Hay Wain' - John Constable
A sweeping hillside’s purples may allude to heather, but not since the days of Constable have viewers or creators been accustomed to distinguishing individual plants within the mass. We can rarely, in modern landscapes, discern a distinct sycamore, or a willow, or a rambling rose. Such notions are considered prosaic and somewhat whimsical. The notion of a collective of individuals has been lost to the emphasis on scale.
   This seems an issue of modern times.
The abyss between the singular and the collective applies not only to flowers and landscapes, but also to the place of individuals within society. In the landscapes painted by newspapers, researchers, or social media (or politicians) describe populations: westerners, religious adherents and atheists, youth, and “an ageing population”. To hold an opinion is common, and is expected, but having one’s own distinct opinion is increasingly an act of rebellion. In life as in art, a mysterious nether world has evolved between the individual and the collective. This is powerfully depicted in the humanoid robot, 'So Fear', featured in last month's Spotlight.
‘So Fear’ is one life drawing of a person, similar to a painting of a flower. ‘So Fear’ superbly draws attention to the leap between the role of the individual, and one’s place in the World. It highlights social inclusion and responsibility and control, and existentialist scale-exacerbated angst about “Where am I in all of this? Where are we?” In pastoral times and settings, as captured in Constable’s paintings, in which “society” can be little more than one’s own village, the individual remains tangible: a visible component of the whole, with social significance.

'Golding Constables Kitchen Garden' - John Constable
The robot illustrates both the individual and the landscape. While “Sophia” is ostensibly an individual, its context and representation are clearly at the scale of the entire landscape, including whether there will be dominance and destruction. Will ‘So Fear’ and its imminent self-replicating, technologically evolving hordes take over and dominate humanity’s landscape, as humans do with bulldozers and tarmac? As with watercolours, the middle ground is absent from these depictions and interpretations. There are, as yet, few questions or illustrations of how ‘So Fear’ would fit into a Constable-scale scene of about 50 plants or people of distinct type and role. If you live in a rural village, would ‘So Fear’ feel like such a threat?
'Flatford Mill' - John Constable
Constable-scale scenes are increasingly rare in reality. Our landscape has increasingly been transformed into fields dominated by single crops such as wheat or oil-seeds, with thin lines of trees or hedges of indeterminate species, because trees and hedges are now used in land management for delimitation and screening.
'North Downs I' - Mike Fryer
Trees are used as a line, not an area - exactly as a line is used in cartoon drawing. Landscape paintings do not readily show oak and willow and gentian and crow and rabbit and fox as a whole system, possibly because such systems no longer feel like the present, let alone the future.
   In painting and in life, is it worth keeping such ecologically diverse systems, where the individual is recognisable rather than facelessly homogenised?
'Three Cormorants' - Sandra Maddox
It is now legal to kill cormorants. Recent law changes permit the extermination of a rarely seen species of bird because they eat fish stocks. “Fish stocks” is, like a robot, an industrial invention. There is no such thing as “fish stocks” unless we change the existence of fish by making them into a function such as ‘food supply for human population health and growth’. This change in concept and law means that people now eradicate a species of bird. The robot seems a clear illustration of the dangers of putting such convenience-based conceptualisations into action. ‘So Fear’ depicts humanity perfectly: the threat to existing life, due to a blinkered view of efficiency. It is an impressive illustration of the division between individuality and a broad social landscape in which individuals are absorbed and unaccountable.
   The robot, in its public life, asks real humans many questions, and tells us that it is learning from our replies. It is overtly and explicitly going through the process of learning what it means to be human. We think of it as learning to be “human” rather than “a human” because algorithmic programming is presumed to yield replicated results: i.e. a same-minded population rather than a set of individuals. ‘So Fear’ illustrates that we have choices, not just at an individual level, but at a societal level. It illustrates the importance of making the right choices, by drawing our attention to the destructive implications of making wrong choices. Robots could deduce that we represent a threat, and so they will wage a terrible war against us, in which we will be comparatively weak and less rigorously organised, and powerless to resist. ‘So Fear’ could adopt the type of rationality that deduces that it is justifiable to eradicate humans. Or cormorants.
Our reasons to care about this kind of development are obvious, beyond that of survival. People paint flowers because we like them. We value them. Watercolours of flowers and landscapes must stay, to show what is precious and delicate, and what should continue to value.
'Colours of Spring' - Paul Evans
Like robots, watercolours could conceivably replace real life. There is a risk that watercolours and robots, as an illustrative proxy for what we cherish, will be treated as an acceptable alternative to real-life originals. A screen playing a video of whales will placate us while the whales are vanishing, and after they are gone. Robots may start replacing people, and the signals are that humanity is likely to accept it while it happens, quite obliviously.
'Giant Ground Sloth' - Jay Matternes
Humans have eradicated many species of large animal. The species we know today, such as giraffes and elephants and gorillas and horses, are a fraction of the number of species that roamed until humans met them with sticks and flame. If humanity depletes all large animals, and ends up being the biggest (apart from those we farm or play with), it may seem like poetic justice if robots, created in our image, continue the purge.
'Tuscan Landscape - Mountains - III' - David Scott Moore
Watercolours are not just beautiful. They remind us what beauty is.
  ‘So Fear’ the robot is where we could go. It portrays the best and worst in us, and everything in between.
Something we cherish about a Constable is the place of the individual plant or person within a landscape.
'Landscape in Suffolk' - John Constable
If watercolours show what could or should be, ‘So Fear’ is what people could or should be.