Several new posts of art related things are on the reviews page of my blog: www.lee-simmons.blog/reviews
Today and yesterday I added Yoko Ono and John Lennon retrospective at Museum of Liverpool, Francesca Woodman / Egon Schiele at Tate Liverpool, A House for Essex, Grayson Perry - Essex, and Dorothea Lange at Barbican. All of these are still showing at the time of writing (12th August '18)
My 'reviews' are often in note form and I don't particularly back up my responses as they are mainly a nod of appreciation to the artist and / or a log for my own future reference. My writing approach tends toward the social, psychological and practical; for similar reasons that the artwork I make is rarely to discuss art itself. When experiencing work and thinking of the economics (practicalities) behind it, I often consider creative output as political so prefer to view work in a wider landscape than that in which it is typically placed and played or contextualised. I like to think that for people in different areas of practice to my own this might add something; alongside art critics' well referenced reviews available in the press.
There are many pieces / shows / events I haven't got around to adding yet, though would like to, including Christo at the Serpentine Gallery and in the lake. If I did write about that you'd get something like this:
Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Christo’s sculpture really did change colour with the light. I walked all the way around it, taking my time so the sun could set. It was a surreal yet charming spectacle: people in their pedalos in front of the brightly coloured barrel structure. The accompanying show in the Serpentine Gallery was also pleasant and easy to digest. Background drawings and maquettes had a creative and playful feel to them. They did the job, though it is probably helpful Christo was self-funding the project.. unless he keeps a bunch of CAD drawings hidden away out of the public eye.
Then I would probably add some of the photos I'd taken, like this:
An event I intended to log but didn't was An Evening Of Meat immersive dinner at The Vaults, London Waterloo. This was apparently feminist showing how women are not only meat, but I'm not sure the message came across in the way it was intended to. I was reminded of boxing matches where people at the front might sit at tables eating and drinking, in close proximity to fighters damaging each other in the ring. When the performers on our tables really went for it I feared they were hurting themselves, I also found it unpleasant when people laughed at them.
The food was great, very tasty and well styled - it looked like blood and raw meat even though mine was vegetarian (lots of beetroot).
I could write a lot more about this and would like to re-visit Barthes in the process... however writing eats time. Even by adding this short post for no external reason there are many things I'm not doing that really should be, so it will have to do for now. You get the gist.
Above are some photos I took at Evening of Meat on my phone. It was one of those things that look like a mobile phone performance as much as anything else. So many phones!
The following day I made a pen and watercolour sketch (below) that served as my interim review.
When really short of time I write things like this:
Aktion: Conceptual art & photography (1960-1980)
Richard Saltoun Gallery 12 July- 25th August 2018
This was good but felt very commodified, when much of the work was political and there were so many artists in a small space so it was hard to get a sense of them individually.
Then add random snaps. Below are two pics from the gallery and one from my route there. Had to include it.
Unedited notes sometimes just have to do too -
Lunar Voyage, Tom Hammick, Flowers, London
16th March to 15th May 2018
Flowers surprised me, I went in looking at a father and son show ('Two Journeys' Bernard Cohen and Nathan Cohen) already a bit fed up with paintings that talk about painting - everywhere in Old Street that week seemed to have different painters with statements alongside their work that let you know they were interested in painting! It’s good I was on my own or I’d of ranted. Instead I crafted a delicate paragraph (ahem) about painting about painting:
Do dancers dance about dancing? Do they have to tell you they have taken on board what other dancers do? Do swimmers swim about swimming? Well yes, but they don’t need to tell you that they were referencing swimming when they swam. “Well, it was a hot day, felt great to be in the water. I dived down low staying underwater part of the time and enjoying the view when I came up for air, but I was also interested in swimming."
Luckily I wandered upstairs in Flowers and was pleasantly surprised to find lovely woodblock prints! These initially looked like paintings, it was fun to realise they weren’t. It turned out the artist was giving a talk that evening so I stayed on to hear the motivations - interesting, entertaining and authentic. Pics below.
The show downstairs wasn't bad at all, both painters had refined practices with consistency that would delight many a nervous collector. The painting / print / graphic novel hybrid aesthetic of Hammick's reduction woodcuts and conversation / Q&A session held my full attention though.
Above are a few pics to give you a sense of the Cohen exhibition. In the future I'll try keep in mind that gallery staff write the blurb and it's often a task passed down... so shouldn't really influence my take on the artwork. This two shows adjacent to each other thing too - I think I'll be careful not to compare them from now on and have a little break in-between. When eating sushi it's encouraged to cleanse the palate with fresh ginger between types and a painter needs to change or clean the brush between colours. Maybe there's a similar thing with seeing.
I'm looking forward to a new painting / installation / sociable sculpture in September!
It'll take place opposite The Reach climbing wall in Woolwich, SE London (and near my studio - handy). Everyone welcome. More info. soon.
Thames-Side Studios Gallery
L.A. Simmons, Our fingertips are made of stardust
Exhibition Dates: 8-23 September 2018
Preview: Saturday 8 September, 6.30-8.30pm, all welcome.
Thames-Side Studios-based L. A. Simmons’ art practice is rooted in painting, but crosses over with sculpture, live art, photography and writing. Through these primarily visual tools, subjects are explored, questions asked, and stories shared. For Our fingertips are made of stardust, Lee Simmons has invited Thames-Side Studios-based The Reach, South London’s largest climbing wall, and The Arch Climbing Wall, and their associated climbing instructors to create a performative installation within the gallery using climbing holds and paint pigment.
Simmons will then turn the rest of the gallery into an extension of her studio, with designated ‘zones’ concentrating on differing areas of her practice. This will include recent paintings influenced by her travels and trauma therapy work in the Lebanese Republic, and an area for book making and related materials for Polaris, her forthcoming book launch at Westminster Reference Library in early 2019. For the opening event The Yoga Space London will hold a free class with accompanying sounds.
L.A. Simmons thanks The Reach for their help in realising this exhibition, and to The Yoga Space London for supporting the opening event on 8 September.
About the artist:
L.A.Simmons has been working in varied contexts with paint, people and animals since graduating from a Bachelor of Arts degree from John Moore’s University in Liverpool (Fine Art), later studying Masters degrees at Chelsea College of Art and Design (Environment / Public Realm) and Goldsmiths University of London (Psychological / Social).
Simmons gives photographic images from installations and spectacles a similar function to postcards or family photographs: snapshots log and share that which would otherwise exist only through lived experience. This was her intention in some early works as an end in itself – the making of artworks created anchors to moments in time and space. Later pieces relate more directly to the sociopolitical context that they take place in or are motivated by.
Long term work with marginalised groups, and urban-rural fringe environments, has influenced psychological, social, and environmental considerations within Simmons’s projects, installation art and painting. Documentation of her artworks form a legacy, for exhibition and archival purposes; photographs are from live art and physical creations, the artwork is not made digitally.
Image courtesy L.A. Simmons, 2018
Thames-Side Studios Gallery
Harrington Way, Warspite Road
Royal Borough of Greenwich
London SE18 5NR.
Thames-Side Studios Gallery open Thursday-Sunday 12-5pm during exhibitions and by appointment.
For general Thames-Side Studios Gallery enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org
This post shares a collection of postcards I made in 2017, using photographs from my art practice.
These paintings and installations have existed and are not created digitally.
More of the concepts and processes behind projects are here: lee-simmons.blog/postcards
Book launch & birthday party, 14th December 2017, 6-8pm
Westminster Reference Library WC2H 7HP
‘Three by Three' will launch at Westminster Reference Library during Lee Simmons’s birthday party / installation on 14th December, 6-8pm. Documentation from her projects will be exhibited in the space from 9th December, 2017.
This will be the last event at the library before it closes for refurbishment on the weekend. BYO beer and snacks.
Tom Richards will be our party DJ.
‘This collection of postcards is an attempt to communicate and log some of the installation art and social sculptures I have made over the last 17 years. These have often consisted of ephemeral paintings and performances in the landscape, documented photographically.
How do you archive a practice that paints on living canvases and constructs usually fleeting lived experiences? Who owns the work? The photographer, land owner, the painters?
Varied communities have contributed to the paintings, from Surrey firemen to Ibizan goats, with passers by, friends and family. Which element is the artwork - the documentation, event, concept?’ Lee Simmons
The first share of this collection of images will take place at Westminster Reference Library with one copy being added to the library archive system and another distributed to the exhibition guests, who will be offered to purchase one postcard for £1. The artwork is authenticated using a DNA tag, which logs the exchange.
Further launches will be held on mountains and cliffs during the library closure. www.lee-simmons.com/birthdayprojects
Yesterday evening I had some quiet time in the studio, photographing paintings that will be included in NEW exhibition, some of them are below.
These from Rabee Kiwan. 1 - shoes - is 150x150 cm, 2 - Chair, 120x120cm, 3 and 4 - child are 50x50 cm, 5 - heads is 35x70 cm. Oil on canvas and some mixed media. These descriptions are not titles!
Below are two of Omar Ibrahim's, 1 - Horse and bird, is 20x20 cm ink on canvas, the woman and horse with bird is 50x70 cm, mixed media on canvas.
Two recent ones of my own follow, 1 - names, ink and acrylic paint on canvas, and 2 - mixing, is pigment and varnish on canvas. Both 30x30 cm.