Last night Sara Oritz and I climbed the Lava Cube, along with a few people from The Reach Climbing Wall, which is opposite the gallery / project space. We then moved on to Seven by Seven... after some action painting we turned the UV back on and were able to see Ursa Major and Ursa Minor clearly pointing to Polaris (the North Star).
The daytime element I mainly worked on the background materials for Polaris book - arranging them on a large scroll that I can stand back from and see how the works link. Jon Fisher, photographer, visited and took some pictures of the installations by daylight and I demonstrated climbing / painting the cube. I'll add some of his photos here when he sends them across.
The previous weekend was more about music and tour giving - day and evening - ending with completion of some artists books I've had on the go from some time.
There is a painting I hope to complete in here today, the scroll / blueprint should be up on the wall by the end of the day and the paintings on canvas will go back to my studio; making room for another installation I've been developing theoretically for over a year. I'll do some tests in here as it is closely linked to the paintings, so I'd like it to sit where they are now and were in 2015 before I leave the space. More video and photographs will be added here soon as I work though the footage.
Some quick snaps in real time have been going on on instagram: www.instagram.com/l.a.simmons though I am wary of letting that reduce my motivation for getting the art photographs ready or making video footage accessible. There is also an atmospheric / experiential element to my installations, which mobile phones don't fit particularly well with. Though fun and helpful in a way, I like to think about how they are used and put some limitations in place for social media and phone waving. As of last week we have internet in the gallery, hence I am writing this post from the installation. It was quite nice without too though... making things with my hands.
The works in this show were titled 'Seven by Seven' - the large installation / climbing wall, 'Lava Cube' - the freestanding boulder wall, Salutation - the opening event of Justin Quirk's music with Yoga Space London's movements, 'Polaris' - my studio based paintings from the last seven years, and 'Stardust's Library' - a space for books and book making.
Whilst the gallery is quiet or closed, I've been re-visiting some of the books I've made of the years and writing based artworks, as part of planning the next one 'Polaris'. I'm going to make a project book of the paintings and background materials sharing methods and motivations in a direct way to archive something of the process.
When I started making books in 2002, I loved the craftsmanship involved in binding them by hand, the papers and book cloths captured my imagination and I was quite experimental in how I put the content together and sewed the pages in. Looking at the collection I'm glad I did pursue this side of my work: the tiny editions I made (1 to 12 per book) allowed them to be personal and lovely objects. There are a few incomplete ones that I will finish over the next few days - tying up loose ends.
With the accessibility of print on demand and cheap, reasonable quality book making now available, I have been wondering about going down that road. A friend suggested it years ago and I was surprised how he'd missed the point about hands on, small scale, slow-time. For the books I have waiting to be completed I'll enjoy the one off handmade style again, though I am thinking to re-present two early illustrated stories as print on demand. I'll also send Polaris off to take book form, after preparing it digitally. There is a lot of hand-making in the paintings - the book will be a method for sharing those usually behind the scenes processes, not an artwork itself.
It's been interesting going back over some of this work and noticing how ideas formed and evolved. Reading over text from 'Writing Piece' was illuminating. I set out in 2002 to make a book in a gallery / project space as a durational performance / exhibition. I went into 'Design Festa' gallery in Harajuku, Japan for three days and two nights.. the work became more about that process, then going to the Tap Gallery in Sydney, Australia the following year and to Acava's temporary project space in Hoxton, London exactly three years later. I'd become more interested in the interactions with people, how the work was influenced by the exchanges and the process of mark making in time and space... chasing the present moment in a tangible way. I hope to get that book made by Monday. In the London element I'd left cloth for the cover in the space, which people wrote their comments on - I still have it.
'Our fingertips are made of stardust' installation has been the ideal place to re-visit 'Writing Piece' and my book collection / plans. The space is really big so I can stand back from the work. Documentation from the recent opening / installations keeps arriving - geeing me on and the temperature and light at this time of year is just perfect. I've used this gallery as a project space twice before, it was bitterly cold with those shows: 'Swimming & Other Things' January 2015 and 'NEW' December 2015, close to three years ago.
'Our fingertips are made of stardust' launched on Saturday. Above is a photo of Lava Cube - with one of my fave climbing partners Lucy Groen using my newest sculpture with coloured dust on her hands... and Salutation - The Yoga Space London v No UFO's, candlelit yoga class, which was free to join and included several fantastic yogis whom hold local classes; to a responsive DJ set from Justin Quirk.
Two more Saturdays still to go! Books and book making are on the horizon and another piece is brewing.
Seven by Seven, climbing holds, emulsion paint, UV powder and a crash pad
Thames-Side Studios Gallery
L.A. Simmons Painting Studio *Our fingertips are made of stardust*
Exhibition Dates: 8-23 September 2018
Preview: Saturday 8 September, 6.30-8.30pm, all welcome.
A durational painting made by L.A.Simmons and rock climbers with pigment on their hands, is evolving throughout this installation. The Yoga Space London are holding a free class to a responsive DJ set from Justin Quirk for the opening event.
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 and related materials, with an area for book making Polaris - seven years painting.
L.A. Simmons thanks The Reach for their help with this exhibition, and The Yoga Space London for supporting the opening event on 8th September.
This exhibition is made almost entirely from recycled materials.
Thanks to Arch Climbing, Castle Climbing Centre and The Reach for donating disused holds
& Emafyl Robobond for their repurposed wood.