Julia Lohmann “Laminarium” Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

April 22, 2010

I enjoy popping along to the Stanley Picker Gallery from time to time, when something catches my interest, and Julia Lohmann’s “Laminarium” proved to be a very inspiring exhibition. It was the exciting possibilies and potential of seaweed as a material which drew me along, and I was not disappointed. Julia investigates the various qualities of kelp and presented a variety of objects, including a prototype bench and an installation of 100 stretched seaweed blades which stand on fibreglass legs (my favourite part of the exhibition, I must say). I hope to come to one of the workshops being run and try out some kelp for myself!

I’m busy priming boards at the moment and stepping out with a little painting on a slightly bigger scale. Experimenting with colours generally and enjoying the freedom of not working so much with depicting recognisable objects. It’s a necessary phase, and enables me to increase my sensitivity to paint which is important. If I want a picture which looks like whatever, I can always work on a photographic image for a few hours. Though I inwardly stress a little about if I will loose my skill with drawing, (my sketchbook has more text and paint in it than drawing) I feel I have to go in this direction for a while…

The sad thing is, maybe, that this kind of painting I am embarking on may not be thought of as as clever as something which folk (who cannot draw) esteem? A person who cannot draw (I mean, duplicate and copy something exactly, not in the wider sense of drawing) will always be impressed by a painting which looks very close to the reality they see in their everyday life. And how common the mistake is, to see an artist’s work and think that because they have not chosen a strictly representational route, that they do not possess the skill to produce such an image? Yet for me, delighting in the beauty of the paint I see all around me, in the billions of possibilities, (by me,so far unexplored), wanting to discover, experiment, and create new images which don’t have to stick to external reality with superglue, but rather hover, at various distances in the area between the imagination and the natural world…does it seem right to bother about this? It is far more important for me to develop my skill with paint…craftsmanship…practical skill…knowledge, and establish a good foundation in working with the material I have chosen to concentrate on, than to bother about how accessible this might be to other people. Once I have allowed myself the freedom to explore, I can then return if I wish to using what I have learnt in a more familiar dialect

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