Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A recent review of Best in Show, an exhibition of graduate art curated by Pearce & Ramsay in the John Jones Project Space, brought together work by 18 graduates from art colleges around the country. It sparked a heated review in a-n magazine that raises some big questions… We’re interested to hear a wider opinion.

Do today’s fine art graduates have too many opportunities? Should all graduate art be confined to Bloomberg New Contemporaries? Are fine art students ‘running high on ambition and dry on imagination’?

Matt Lippiatt thinks so. What’s your opinion?


Wednesday, 10 December 2008


Whether it’s painting, drawing, mixed media, photography, installation – Chiaroscuro, opening 11th December, has something for everyone.
Highlights include:
· Works by performance artists and spiritual healers Neil Seligman and Stephen Morallee, who engage together in spontaneous movement under cover of darkness in blacked-out studios. Their movements, traced by the paths of light emitting diodes which are attached to their fingertips, are captured on camera over sequential 3 second exposures, The resultant images range from the abstract to the startlingly rational: bewitchingly beautiful photographic prints.
· Ben Yates’ unique style of ‘photosculpture’ – an original image which he mounts on mixed media, which is subsequently chopped up into geometric forms and ‘sculpts’ according to his subject matter. Viewing his work becomes a multisensory experience: each work becomes almost an optical illusion or a 3D ‘magic eye’ painting.
· Work by Lizzie Gosling: an artist who adopts a left to right method of systematic drawing using self-built tools which allow her to manually emulate the processes of the print machine. Gosling uses this method to emulate a painting by Caravaggio, to breathtaking effect, with this contemporary twist on chiaroscuro.

This exhibition is the first show for Pharos Gallery, a grass roots movement that has its roots in the East End of London. Envisaged by the curator, Sophie Wilson, as a collaborative effort and inspired by Warhol’s Factory, the aim of Pharos is to decentralize the gallery system. Many of the artists who are being shown in the exhibition have contributed to putting the show together: open dialogue has been maintained throughout through the group’s facebook page and regular get togethers down in local boozers.

Wilson says: “It has undoubtedly been challenging to be inclusive of artists, whilst at the same time retaining the discerning eye of the Curator. I’m pretty confident, however, that the strength of the works will speak for themselves. This whole journey has been a bit of an adventure and I’m really pleased to have worked with such a talented group of people.”

Will it be a success or not? Watch this space.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Whitechapel Gallery Development

We had a tour today of the new Whitechapel Gallery – currently still under construction. The gallery has taken over its neighbour, the former Whitechapel Library (which has relocated to The Idea Store in Mile End). We saw the space a couple of years ago just after the library had moved out. It was a quite a sad and lonely place with a feeling of neglect (and an overwhelming musty smell). Not so today – the refurbishment is incredible, sympathetic to the original Victorian features and promises to be a light and airy space with generous wall space. The opening is scheduled for Spring next year.

During Frieze week the gallery was showing its new specially commissioned weather vane, designed by artist Rodney Graham. It’s amazing to think that this beautiful sculpture will perch on top of the new gallery, against all the elements, as a bronze icon on London’s ever growing East End skyline.


Friday, 28 November 2008

Artist surfaces working sketch by Andy Wicks - John Jones Artist Surfaces

Harry Cory Wright Made in England BBC1 PRSC : part 1 of 3

Harry Cory Wright Made in England BBC1 PRSC : part 2 of 3

Harry Cory Wright Made in England BBC1 PRSC : part 3 of 3

Harry Cory Wright
Journey through the British Isles won the Best British Book Award

Tim Blake - John Jones Consultant "Harry felt it was important to include the framing experience in this unique project; it is something which not only is exciting for him but ends his journey perfectly"

The latest addition to the John Jones Art Collection
Simon English Sugar Plum Fairy Etching with Chine Colle and Hand Colouring on 300 GSM Somerset Velvet
When dealing with all limited edition prints it is very important to provide a record and a tracking method that proves the provenance of the image. This is important for the collector and the artist as it increases the value of the artist work. Make sure when getting your image printed there is a certification of the edition, the date of print, which series it belongs to and the paper type.

Kate Jones - Director John Jones

November 2008

I was very honoured to join the panel for Salon08 along with artist Cath Ferguson and Andrea Tarsi who is Head of Exhibitions at Whitechapel. Organised by Matt Roberts Arts, Salon08 is in its second year and had over 1,000 applications.

The panel were each sent a selection of artists’ work to review, along with CVs and statements. It was impressive to see a strong variety of mediums in the submissions and I was particularly pleased to see installation works, including a festive display of bottled Christmas trees – most apt for the time of year. There were many weird and wonderful subject matters – from a mutated sea banshee to a Donny Darko bunny on a bike, it was all very enlightening. The panel met at VineSpace gallery on Vyner Street to discuss the works that we’d like to include in the show. Not an easy task. I know from the artists who I work with at John Jones how much work goes into submitting an application, not just in terms of time, but also mental focus and emotion.

After much deliberation – and not too many arguments – we settled on the final selection of artists. It was a challenging yet enjoyable experience and I look forward to seeing the work installed in the gallery space – the private view is 4 December.

More info on www.vinespace.net

Tips for submitting applications:

  • Photograph your work so the format and medium are clear. If necessary include a detail shot, but indicate this as a detail shot, so it doesn’t come across as part of the work.
  • Don’t send an over stylised installation shot – it may come across as though this image is the work, rather than an image of the work!

  • Where relevant, include an artist statement.

Kevin Smith - Photographer John Jones

  • Make sure that the work is square to the camera with even lighting.

  • Ensure that the lighting is at a 45 degree angle, this is subject to the nature of the work.
GSK Contemporary

Adrian Parkes - Artist Surfaces

A week a go I had to go to the GSK exhibition to look at the large Antony Micaleff which we had stretched and framed. It had become loose and was sagging on the stretcher after only a couple of weeks, it was not that it had been badly stretched but rather suffering the effects of the cold damp weather. The painting was on linen which is extremely susceptible to damp (hygroscopic), had it been able to dry out it would have become taught again but was in the hall opposite the door and subject to the cold damp air.

The painting was on a John Jones stretcher which is not a fixed frame rather one with tight fitting interlocking joints which can be tapped together with a mallet, the stretcher has slots for wooden wedges in the corners and crossbars slots for tensioning it. We tapped out the wedges in the corners and cross bars rotating the painting working our way round the canvas being careful to apply even force to all the wedges as it is possible to knock the stretcher out of square. Wedging the stretcher out expanded it taking up the slack, the painting looked flat and pristine again. Whilst it is impossible to stop linen behaving like this it does illustrate the importance of keeping art work in a stable controlled environment and having a proper stretcher which can be adjusted in such away