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Lisa Milroy – Still Life

ART BLOG
Monday 5 February 2018

So far the weekly evening lectures at Falmouth School of Art have focussed on some interesting artists whose work is new to me. Lisa Milroy was the latest candidate to take the stage and fill in the gaps in my comprehension of modern art.

A practitioner of still life in the 1980s, her work doesn’t focus on the normal bowl of fruit, flowers, wine glasses or skulls seen in many Renaissance still life pieces.  Instead, her paintings feature ordinary objects such as shoes, lemons or doughnuts. Her stylistic renderings reflect her contemplation of duality, composition & placement, surface & object, presence & absence. Her shoes reflect on the concept of being part of a pair or being an individual.

Lisa enlightened the audience with her thought processes behind her paintings, explaining that the shoes are a device for expressing emotion. That the repetition of painting them gave her a sense of knowing, that she had truly experienced the object. She also confessed to a certain amount of loss when the artwork was complete and their study had ended. She likened this to an appetite, a need, a hunger to know the objects every detail and appreciate its every possibility.

Lisa Milroy was born in Vancouver but works mainly in London. She won First Prize in the John Moores Painting Prize in 1989and was an Artist Trustee of the Tate from 2013 -17. Her work is exhibited widely on the international and national stage and is held in many public and private collections.

France-Lise-McGurn – on Virginia Woolf

ART BLOG
Wednesday 31 January 2018

Another interesting evening lecture at Woodlane by ex-student Laura Smith and renowned artist France-Lise McGurn. Together they offered an interesting insight into the latest Virginia Woolf inspired exhibition on the verge of opening at the Tate St Ives.

The exhibition which is curated by Smith, explores feminist perspectives on landscape and domesticity. It includes contemporary artwork from over 80 artists, including Laura Knight, Winifred Nicholson and  Barbara Hepworth and runs until late April in Cornwall. In May it travels to Pallant House, Chichester and then on to The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge in October.

McGurn’s second piece at the Tate was a result of her recent residency and is on semi-permanent show in the stairwell of the newly reopened gallery. This site-specific wall painting called Collapsing New People,  spans the height of the building and features full-length figures, which are rare in McGurn’s work. Her domestic mural focusses on the function of gossip, anecdotes and the stories that circulate in an artists’ colony. Designed to be read vertically, the mural uses both spontaneous lines and repeated gestures to create loose associations about place, history and storytelling. McGurn is well known for her figurative paintings and often works directly onto walls and floors, so it was no surprise to learn that she also has an interest in the history of mural painting.

I will be visiting the exhibition towards the end of the month, so hope to enlighten you all more in a future blog.

 

Cypher Exhibition – Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens

ART BLOG

Like buses, private views seem to come all at the same time in Cornwall, so, unfortunately, I missed the opening night of the Cypher Exhibition. However, undeterred by yet another dull Sunday we ambled over to Mounts Bay to be greeted by some rare winter sunshine and bold colourful works of art.

Assembled from the work of the 2017 students on the year-long Professional Practice Course at the Newlyn School of Art, the ground floor exhibition at the Tremenheere Gallery showcases their finished artworks. Some take the form of installation art, others are drawings, paintings, photography and collaborative works.  However, the real treat can be found upstairs, where you are invited to flick through piles of sketchbooks and portfolios to admire all the contributory study which has produced such a variety of work.

An average of fifteen participants joins the Professional Practice mentoring course which runs twice a year. The unique programme aims to encourage artists to achieve a stronger sense of their own artistic voice and energise their artistic practice.

Tutored by some renowned artists within  Newlyn School of Art, students rub shoulders with professional artists who share their working practices and passion for art. Course Leaders Jesse Leroy Smith and Gareth Edwards, are amongst the staff who provide a high level of tutoring time to the students, which is reflected in their body of work.

The exhibition on runs until the 4th Feb, so catch it while you can if you are anywhere near the Penzance area.

 

Andrew Lanyon – Nature’s Laboratory: A Fantasy

ART BLOG

Once again Falmouth Art Gallery has played host to an engaging exhibition which asks you to question and open your minds.

Nature’s Laboratory: A Fantasy, which will run until mid-March 2018 offers the visitor the chance to ‘immerse ourselves in the tale of Nature’.  Andrew Lanyon’s own work features in this thought-provoking exhibition along with a collective of Cornish artists.

I was lucky enough to attend a short talk by Andrew as the exhibition was being hung in the next gallery. He enlighted us in the processes which help him invent. The use of senses to invent a narrative, in particular, sounds to inspire lyrics.

Andrew Lanyon studied at the London School of Film Technique and spent several years as a freelance photographer. He ventured into book production to accompany his touring exhibitions, The Rooks of Trelawne and The Vanishing Cabinet.  

Andrew has also written highly acclaimed books on his father the painter Peter Lanyon, Alfred Wallis and other painters, sculptors, writers and poets.

Mythogeography – a guide to walking sideways

ART BLOG

It was an absolute delight to secure a place on the ‘Lunch Break Artists Special’ at Porthmeor studios with Phil Smith. And a delight to join his ‘Mis-Guided Wander in St. Ives’ in the afternoon.

Never heard of Mythogeography before?
Well, don’t feel embarrassed, neither had I until Phil’s talk on the subject.

Mythogeography describes a way of thinking about and visiting places where multiple meanings have been squeezed into a single and restricted meaning (for example, heritage, tourist or leisure sites tend to be presented as just that, when they may also have been homes, jam factories, battlegrounds, lovers’ lanes, farms, cemeteries and madhouses). 

Mythogeography emphasises the multiple nature of places and suggests multiple ways of celebrating, expressing and weaving those places and their multiple meanings.

According to Phil there is always more than one story to any place. There are a multiplicity of objects and environments around surrounding us which generally remain unnoticed unless you are prepared to look more closely. Paying extreme attention to everyday textures and their relationships highlights the creativity of nature in a landscape or urban environment and forms its own narrative. It’s walking with a whole different perspective. Letting your mind wander is essential and creating narratives from what you discover is imperative.

On our wet and windy walk around St Ives, we found many quirky, normally unnoticed objects.  We took our time to closely observe them taking great delight in discussing their relevance, beauty and raison d’être.

I don’t think a simple walk will ever be the same again!

Traveling to South Korea for the Olympic games?

TRAVEL BLOG

Are you one of the lucky ones heading to the Olympic games in South Korea next month? Well if you are there are a few import restrictions you need to be aware of.

Generally, the Korean customs are on the hunt for illegal foodstuffs and expensive luxury goods brought back by returning residents. However, there is a list of forbidden items which for some people are everyday necessities.

What is banned in South Korea?

Bringing any type of narcotics, some steroids, performance enhancers and growth hormones are prohibited. Even some of the everyday prescription drugs such as sleeping pills, appetite suppressants and ADHD treatments are banned in South Korea.

These include Concerta, Adderall, Vyvanse, dextroamphetamine and some inhalers with pseudoephedrine. Many of these are classed as stimulants and are illegal even in the original bottle, with a prescription or a note from your doctor.  So if they are a necessity in your life, notify the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety before you travel.

Don’t forget to double check your laptop too.  Anything deemed as potentially harmful to public security or South Korean customs is forbidden. So offensive downloads, especially sound recordings or films & videos, could cause a problem.

Other advice

If you use a weekly pill dispenser, to make your life easier. The general advice is NOT to load the compartments before you travel. All prescription drugs whether illegal or not must be carried in their original packaging. Parents and carers should also be aware that third parties should NOT carry prescription medications for another person.

If you are planning to continue your travels after the games. The three month supply limit is also something to take note of. Unfortunately, in most countries, ignorance is not a defence and violating local laws can serious repercussions. So make sure you know the restrictions of your country of destination. Oh and have a great time!

Donna Haraway – Story Telling For Earthly Survival

ART BLOG

Donna Haraway on a Thursday night, what a treat!

Organised by the MA Authorial Illustration course, and shown on the Woodlane Campus, Fabrizio Terranova’s portrait of Donna Haraway was enlightening and engaging.

Donna Haraway is renowned for her groundbreaking work in science, technology, gender and trans-species relationships. Her work spans four decades and resonates with a deep commitment to feminism and environmentalism.

Her work proposed many new ways of understanding our world that challenges normative structures and boundaries, refusing to distinguish between humans and animals and machines. As a result, her unique theories kicked off many debates in areas as diverse as primatology, philosophy, and developmental biology.

Donna Haraway’s most renowned work Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the 1980s, contributed greatly to feminist narratives of the twentieth century.

Fabrizio Terranova,  a filmmaker, activist and teacher in Brussels spent a few weeks filming Haraway in their Southern California home and the resulting film Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival is an appropriately eccentric response to a truly original thinker.

 

January flight sales – are you tempted?

TRAVEL BLOG

With the dreariest months of the English winter still to come, are you desperate for a sunny, hot getaway? I know I am!

If you are, there are some amazing bargains in the January flight sales to tempt you. With Norwegian amongst the airlines offering transatlantic flights, at prices now comparable with those of European flights.

Who are they?

Norwegian were named the ‘World’s Best Low-Cost Long-Haul Airline’ for the third consecutive year in June 2017, at the Skytrax World Airline Awards. Voted for by the travelling public, Skytrax claims their industry awards are “the Oscars of the aviation industry”.

Now the largest airline in Scandinavia and the ninth-largest airline in Europe Norwegian offer a range of fare options. Their Premium fare receives the more favourable reviews.  At twice the price of the basic Low Fare, it isn’t economy class.

What do you get for your money?

Tripadvisor and Airline Quality reviews tell the true economy flight story. Comments on both the airline and the basic Low Fare are varied. Although cheap, Norwegian’s Low Fare is as basic as it comes. No food, no drinks, no blanket, pillow or headphones, no hold luggage and a restrictive 10k of hand luggage.

If you are aware of this ‘no frills’ fare, no problem, you can bring your own supplies. If being prepared isn’t your strong point, many of these elements can be purchased during the flight with a swipe of your credit card. Or better still, you can upgrade to the next level on the Norwegian airline fare scale, the Low Fare +.  Although this still doesn’t buy you any more than the standard 31 inches of legroom.

Budget airline vs the big players?

Norwegian’s basic Low Fare definitely undercuts the prices offered by the major league players. However, when comparing the more suitable Low Fare + to the equivalent, long-haul flights offered in the January sales by BA, Virgin Atlantic and even Air New Zealand, the price difference shrinks dramatically to less than £20.*

*Flight comparison Sat 17 Feb – Sat 3rd March 2018

Kernewek for businesses – why it makes sense

I attended this skills day out of curiosity, with an ambition to incorporate Kernewek, the Cornish language, into my work as a writer.

Heavily biased towards promoting the use of this unique language through marketing of existing products and businesses, the session was informative and engaging.

St Austell Brewery, represented by Chris Knight, was the perfect case study to highlight how this Southwestern Brittonic Celtic language can be put to good use. A prime example is one of the breweries best-selling beers Korev, which means ‘Beer’ in Cornish.

Our professional guide for the morning was Mark Trevethan, the Cornish Language Lead at Cornwall Council, who further enlightened us to the possibilities of using Kernewek. He showcased innovative uses of the language from road signs to prime time TV advertising.

Closer to home, Mark opened the door to integration by gently guiding us towards the various resources on offer. More importantly, he highlighted that incorporation of the Cornish language into the marketing strategy of Cornish businesses, will also hopefully benefit the wider Cornish Language agenda.

This well-organised event was delivered by Cornwall 365 at the well known creative hub, Krowji, in partnership with Cultivator and supported by the European Social Fund, Arts Council England and Cornwall Council.

Airport lounging

TRAVEL BLOG

I recently discovered a fantastic opportunity which for me has revolutionized long-haul travel. The airport Lounge!

The concept is not a new one, they have been the privilege of frequent flyers since the late 1930’s when American Airlines started the trend at New York’s LaGuardia airport. Originally a promotional tool to boost the airline’s bookings, the airport lounge has since become an expected perk by business class travellers.

However, economy class passengers can now have access to this little slice of luxury. Pay-per-use airport lounges are now affordable to all travellers. Although not as well appointed. These lounges offer a welcome sanctuary from the noisy bustle of over climatised departure lounges. A safe haven to relax in comfy chairs with access to cleaner bathrooms, the internet, and multiple charging points.

For long-haul travellers with an enforced stopover, like I had. Airport lounges offer a chance to regain a sense of routine after some severe body clock disruption. The regularity of mealtimes, a marker of normality in a day, is often thrown off balance when crossing multiple time zones. But this displacement can easily be addressed by attacking the abundant food buffets on offer in most pay-per-use lounges. Breakfast, lunch and evening meal options are always available and provide an added boost to the meagre in-flight meals. A hot shower,  massage or even a quick nap in a ‘sleep pod’ can help also help to regain a sense of well being in preparation for the second or third leg of a long journey.

Priority Pass, Holiday Extras, and gosimply are just a few of the online services offering independent pre-bookable access starting from as little as £13.50. They offer a range of packages to suit your budget ranging from the length of stay, spa facilities, food and beverage options

Diners Club InternationalAmerican Express, and HSBC offer lounge access free to their account holders. The HSBC Premier account priority pass membership provides invaluable access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. So it may be worth checking with your credit card before you fly to see if you are entitled to a free pass.