Belongings

During April and May we organised and delivered an 'Aspirations' activity for Kent based charity Porchlight.   The activity follows on from our Lost Room Project which explored the relationship people have to belongings.  Continuing with this theme we were delighted to bring artist Nicola Flower back on board to run creative workshops under the title of 'Belongings'.    

During the Friday morning activities at Involve, a charity working at the heart of the community in Maidstone, participants brought in their own personal belongings and were encouraged to share their memories and stories.  Nicola worked with the group to explore drawing, textiles, collage and illustration, culminating in each participant making their own individual puppet. 

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Photographs by Manu Palomeque

 

Art for the Elizabeth Line

On one of our regular trips to London we took some time out to visit The Whitechapel Gallery to see Art Capital: Art for the Elizabeth Line.  This exhibition revealed the artists' ideas for new public art due to be unveiled across London from December 2018, commissioned by the Crossrail Art Foundation. A bit like a bus man's holiday for us, but none the less fascinating to see sketches and maquettes by British and international artists.  

That afternoon we were due to meet Price & Myers to discuss the Light Artwork being developed by Esther Rolinson for Rochester Riverside so it was good to see their name on the drawings produced by Yoyoi Kusama for her installation at Liverpool Street.  Good to know we're in safe hands.

With the Rochester Riverside commissions on our mind we were drawn to the neon works inspired from 1960s Soho by Gordon Young and the bronze and aluminium boiler plated texts by Damon Almond.  We particularly like the drawings by Conrad Shawcross with the note: "Dear Mum, For your 60th birthday.  All my love to you and thank you for everything. Conrad"  Although mum obviously had to loan it back to the Whitechapel Gallery for the exhibition! On until 6th May, catch it if you can. 

                 

                      

               

The Painted Hall Ceiling Tour

 It is one of the biggest conservation projects in Europe and Britain's largest painted ceiling by British artist Sir James Thornhill, who undertook the work from 1707 - 1726.

We took the painted hall ceiling tour at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich to get up close to the work that is being undetaken by a team of conservators.

Architect Nicholas Hawksmoor designed the hall of the Royal building as a grand dining room for the Naval pensioners.  Little known artist Thornhill took on the work as his first major commission, negotiating a fee of £1 per square yard for the walls and £3 per square yard for the ceilings.  Athough this sounds like a good fee for the 17th Century, Thornhill would take 19 years to complete the work. (If only he had had a public art consultancy to negotiate his daily rate). Over this period he would have to rethink the design several times due to the changing political landscape. Thornhill appears in the painting, pointing to his work.    

Our guide Marilyn led the group up the scaffolding 60 feet from floor level to an observation platform, where we could see at first hand the work being undertaken to restore this magnificent painting.  The rich colour and vibrancy is evident from the restored areas that have been affected by smoke and dirt. It will take the conservationists over 2 years to clean with the project due to complete in 2019.  It is thought that it should not need any further intervention for the next 100 years. 

Here are a few highlights: 

Painted hall 10    the painted hall    Painted hall 3 

Painted hall 4    Painted hall 5    Painted hall 8

Painted hall 6   Painted hall 7    Painted hall 11    

The conservationists palatte                     Sir James Thornhill

Cathedral of Santa Maria de Palma

A trip to Mallorca last week (and avoiding the snow!) took in the Cathdral of Santa Maria de Palma. The gothic Cathedral is built on a cliff top and is one of the most distinctive and dominant features on Palma's skyline.  

The building is famous for its enormous interior space and intense light from a total of 61 stained glass windows, significantly five being rose windows.  The majority of the windows use  primary colours and stream brightly into the space.  But in the restored Chapel of the Holy Sacrament the windows and nave have been interpreted by contemporary Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo. 

Cracked terra-cotta covers the Chapel's walls with a relief of sculpted bread, fish, fruit and human skulls creating a cave like impression.  The stained glass windows are darkened and cracked to create a dramatic effect and create a theatrical and bold approach from the Mallorcan born artist. 

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cathedral

Street naming for Conningbrook Lakes

FrancisKnight and Lead Artist Kerry Lemon undertook a series of consultations to help inform the Public Art Strategy for Conningbrook Lakes.  Listening to the people that work and use the country park has helped shape the public art commissions.

During discussion and debate, particularly with The Kent Wildlife Trust, there was an early opportunity to influence influence of street naming for the residential development.  The abundance of flora and fauna at the country park has inspired a number of references.  Our favourite street names are: Leveret Lane, Teasel View and Ringlet Way.

Chartway Group Ltd and Latimer Developments Ltd have fully embraced the willingness to open up the conversation and see the value and potential for public art commissions for Conningbrook Lakes.

It's just the start of intergrating both the residential and the country park and we look forward to the artist commissions that follow.  

Illustrations by Lead Artist Kerry Lemon 

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