Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Art exhibitions Edinburgh

Last week I travelled down to Edinburgh to deliver two of my artists' books for the RSA Open Exhibition which were pre-selected. Tomorrow I'll hear whether they have made the final selection so fingers crossed! As I had a few hours spare before I was being picked up by Jaap for our bike/hike/camp weekend at Rannoch, I was able to visit two fantastic exhibitions.

The first was at City Art Centre: Plastic Beach by Robert Callender.

Born in 1932 and died in 2011, he was a much-loved teacher and a cherished member of the Scottish art community. He was driven by his interest in the craft of making and the environment, particularly the coast, the sea and those who worked on it. Painting, 3D works and printmaking is complimented by his writings; prose and poetry on maritime and environmental themes.

"Plastic Beach"
Info about Plastic Beach

He joined a tradition of papermaking more aligned to Japanese and Chinese constructive techniques where paper, card and mixed media could be engineered into powerful utilitarian structures. The process of recycling and contemporary thinking reveal the artist's commitment to environmental concerns (info from LateralLab).

"Grey Deck" (1989) made from paper, card and paint

Detail of "Grey Deck"

Two small boats on wall

Framework of boat made out of paper, card and paint

Detail of framework

Callender's artworks are huge!

"Cross Section of Artwork" (1980s)
card, wooden frame and paint

Detail of "Cross Section of Artwork"

Artists' book "Coastal View"

I was blown away by Callender's work. Not only because I'm always inspired by art with a coastal theme but also because of the process. To create such large pieces out of paper and make it so realistic is mindblowing!!

My next visit was at Edinburgh Printmakers where I actually did a course earlier this year. With much interest I had heard and read about Translating Travels by Imi Maufe and I was delighted I had the opportunity to actually see it.

Imi Maufe is a British Artist based in Bergen, Norway.  She has been turning journeys into books since 2002. Some long, some short. Others short, made long by getting lost. Modes of travel vary – ten days skiing from hut to hut, five weeks on board a Tall Ship, four months cycling with a small tent, or a short swim downstream. Her artist books are concise, conceptual documentations of the events that happened along the way. Text combined with signs and symbols is used in a minimal manner. Sometimes the text speaks for itself conjuring up a visual story in short sentences

Her books and other works attempt to show just a glimpse of her experiences through printed matter that rarely uses the photographic image. In this exhibition, she is showing work from the past fifteen years – a collection of such travels that have been developing into contained boxed pieces that can also involve collaboration with other artists (info from: Edinburgh Printmakers website).

Translating Travels by Imi Maufe

As part of the Shetland Arts Residency on board the Swan, Imi spent 5 weeks as part of the crew and documented the voyage with this Bunk Box. 

"LK243 Bunk Box", Mixed Media

Detail "LK243 Bunk Box"

"Voyage Map", screenprint

Two screenprints

Binocular screenprint

Binocular screenprint

Fifteen books are housed in a specially designed case. These books from 2002-2018 document getting lost, significant train rides, long and short bicycle rides, mountain ski tours and other wanderings.

"Translating Travels Suitcase" with various screenprinted artists' books

"Translating Travels Suitcase" with various screenprinted artists' books
Artists' book "Cycle Ride"

Screenorint "Greetings from Norway"

Artists' book "Discovering Shetland"

Poster "Translating Travels"

This bookshelf box was produced for the Visual Arts in Rural Communities residency. It was designed to travel on a Northumberland mobile library and to be taken out on loan by library users.

Part of "Living North of the North Tyne"

Another screenprinted artists' book

SwimWalk performances started during a Hospitalfield residency in Arbroath in 2016 after a mis-order of swimming hats and a love of cold water swimming. 

Installation "SwimWalk"

Detail of installation "SwimWalk"

The combination of outdoor activities, travel, environment (coastal theme again!), printmaking and artists' books really resonated with me. No doubt I will refer back to this experience when making new pieces for my own exhibition later this year!

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