L.A.Simmons Painting Studio
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.