Jennifer Letchet Paintings

My work explores fundamental elements of painting, the relationship between colour and line. I intend my paintings to affect the viewer optically with the illusion of shapes moving and receding. Colour theory is very important to my work. I use specific hues to symbolise ideas or emotions. The contained shapes on canvases seem more like objects than lines. My recent work explores natural and man-made disasters and the impact this has on our environment. I want to record the changing landscape through simplified shapes and colours.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Review: Anthony McCall Exhibit at Ambika P3, University of Westminster 19/03/2011

I went to see McCall's display at Ambika P3 over the weekend.  I was intrigued as to what I would find.  All I knew was that McCall has been commissioned to create something for the olympics and down in the depths of Ambika I would see a little taste of what is to come.

McCall has created multiple solid light installations by casting beams of light through smoke.  This sounds impeccable simple, but the shafts of light created individual patterns, or shapes on the floor.  The shafts felt like walls, which even though you knew weren't solid, there was still a feeling of crossing an unknown boundary.

Ambika P3 has been transformed from a grotty basement space which feels too akin to a car park, into a seamless void.  In this impenetrable void, the light sculptures reach out to you.  They are technically and conceptually magnificent.  Sculptures appear out of thin air, not before has a sense of three-dimensionality been created out of nothingness.

However, when you look past the technical brilliance, you realise there is no substance to it.  The work is to be marvelled momentarily, like a firework or some other light display.  But, the work does not stay with you, it has no meaning or hold upon the viewer.

Anthony McCall 

Inside Ambika P3

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Tsunami Drawings

After seeing the aftermath and devastation of the Tsunami in Sendai, Japan, on 13th March 2011, on the national news over the weekend, I wanted to do some drawing about it.  Some may see this as in poor taste, or in it for the cash, but for me currently, it is a way of researching into the goings on.  I have been appalled by what has happened, how in the end nature can completely destroy our civilisation.  As human beings at the top of the food chain, natural disaster is our main enemy.  In recent years, whether you believe in Global Warming or the natural cycle of our Earth's climate, one thing is certain, the weather is evolving. There have been more extreme forms of weather and more natural disasters creating global crisis.

I have always been interested in geography with particular attention to weather: hurricanes and tornadoes.  I think it was after seeing Twister, and feeling terrified, yet compelled to watch.  Sometimes our worst fears, are the things that intrigue us the most.

Therefore, I have looking at images of Sendai on NASA's website and other news sites, and doing tracings.  I have been focusing on the flood damage and the change to our environment , i.e. the shift in shoreline.  This has prompted ideas about looking at other floods, natural disasters, and melting caps.  In recent years, the environment has become a hot topic as it threatens our way of life.  And so, I am interested in the recent horrors in Japan for its effect on our planet.  I am approaching the subject from a political environmental stance.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

David Batchelor Lecture on Colour at Byam Shaw School of Art 14/03/2011

David Batchelor recently created a temporary sculpture for Archway Tube Station.  The above mentioned lecture was organised to contextualise the work exhibited.

Big Rock Candy Fountain, by Batchelor measures 10 x 5 m and has been created using bent scaffolding and 3000 fairground lights.  The lights have been sequenced to appear as a cascade, and to run off one 3 pin plug.  The LED lights are low energy, and have been used on his most recent illuminate colour works.

Batchelor's work is concerned with urban/synthetic colour; as colour appears or has been manufactured in the city.   This kind of 'bruised colour' is from found objects, plastic readymades in the city.  He takes these found things and gives them new symblism; new meaning and forces the viewer to readdress a familiar entity.

Where do you find colour in the city?  Colour is not evenly distributed or universal like a watercolour, it is found in pockets.  Batchelor finds colour mostly in supermarkets: in cosmetics, cleaning aisles, fizzy drinks.  He gets most of his inspiration from finding something, and then appropriating that device.  This can be easily seen in his chandelier series; one of which he hangs 25 individually lit orange and green watering cans.

Once he has an idea, the next step is to challenge how big it can go until he feels he is sickened by the idea and it must be resolved.  The largest series was commissioned by Bloomberg and involved 500 bottles, 500 lights and 500 cables (amounting to an estimated 10 km of cables) with 500 plugs.  This epic installation was relocated to Edinburgh Palm House and suspended from a balcony.

How did Batchelor get into colour?  In the 1990s he was painting and creating very white neutral sculptures until he realised the art school trend for magnolia works was paramount.  He could not understand the aversion to colour.  He started by attaching colour panels to readymades to enhance the difference between front and back; facade and support.  He used transparent plastic over colour to imitate that glossiness and brilliance of colour when you first open an tin of emulsion.

The human eye can distinguish over 15 million different hues, yet most languages only have 11 crude terms for colour: black, white, grey, red, yellow, blue, green, purple, orange, pink, and brown.  He wanted to expose the limits of language.  Colour is seen to be lower than other workings of the mind.  Colour is seen to be feminine not masculine, oriental not western, primitive not civilised, infantile not adult, and kitsch rather than sophisticated.  Therefore, colour has been displaced from the central ground of culture.  

In addition, colour is seen as supplementary, cosmetic, and an after thought.  It is deemed as an enhancement which is deceptive and used as concealment.  It does not draw out the truth, it seduces.  Colour, like pain cannot be rendered into language, i.e if you are hit by a rock, is the pain in the rock?  This logic can be implied to a red tomato.  We know the colour is not in the tomato, just as we know the pain isn't in the rock.  This made colour all the more intriguing for Batchelor.

Batchelor started using recycled readymades, such as shop dollies and neon shop signs and filling them with colour horizontally and vertically.

He was drawn to rectangles as he found complex shapes detracted from colour.  His next step was to go bigger, he took his light boxes to the Saint Paolo Biennale.  He has always been influenced by South America, in particular Brazil and early 20th Century Abstract art.  He finds that illuminated colour spils out of the work - in reflections. He finds illuminated colour compelling, however, he feels he has done all he can do.  He now wants to do an 'unplugged' show using plastic objects.  For him plastic is brilliant: bright, and cheap.  Things don't have to be clever to have a complex effect.

David Batchelor looking up at Big Rock Candy Fountain, at Archway

Friday, 11 March 2011

Wimbledon MA Interim Show: Futura Bold/Futura Oblique Review

Futura Bold/Futura Oblique had its Private Views on 3rd/10th March at The Nunnery Gallery (part of Bow Arts), Bow, East London.  I exhibited in the first show: Futura Bold.  We had split arbitrarily into two groups, Bold was curated by Juan Bolivar and exhibited 30 artists.  The exhibition showed a ranged of work from sculpture, painting, drawing, and installation work.

I exhibited three new pieces, all measuring 57 x 60 cm and using egg tempera on a chalk ground.  The work (as seen below) appeared like a geometric coloured shape on an almost ceramic ground.  I wanted the contrast between the hard ceramic-ness of the chalk with the delicate sheen of the paint.  The shapes appear to hover, almost in an imagined sense.  The shapes make no sense, they reference a space, an architecture impossible to realise.  The are not regular shapes, they are not reality.  

I wanted to create arbitrary and random forms.  I have achieved this by using dice throws to collate random numbers to be used as co-ordinates.  Then using a defined set of rules, I plot my shape in a similar way to a dot-to-dot drawing.

I thought the show had been curated well, but it was not as successful as Oblique for many reasons.  The curator had not taken as many risks as had been hoped for, the show appeared almost too normal.  He had placed works well together and it had a professional gleam to it.  However, this has its advantages and disadvantages; it did not appear as a typical haphazard 'student' show, but it lacked the experimentation and vitality.  It appeared conventional, almost dull.  You could have found a show like this in any other gallery.  Ultimately, it was not unique and it most definitely was not bold.  I don't ever hope for a Futura Weak.

Scott Mason and Jordan Baseman
Critique with David Barrett, Jordan Baseman & Edwina Fitzpatrick 04/03/2011

Fiona Biddington chalk drawings on black paper

9 (Phthalo Blue Graphite), Egg Tempera on Chalk Ground, 57 x 60 cm by Jennifer Letchet

Alexandra March Installation

Kirsten Little Photograph Installation

9 (Phthalo Blue Graphite), Egg Tempera on Chalk Ground, 57 x 60 cm by Jennifer Letchet
4 (Emerald Graphite), Egg Tempera on Chalk Ground, 57 x 60 cm by Jennifer Letchet
9 (Blue Graphite), Egg Tempera on Chalk Ground, 57 x 60 cm by Jennifer Letchet
Ann-Marie James Drawing

Amelia Critchlow pieces

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Drawing in Code

These are my drawings and paintings from the last few months exploring the use of randomness.  I use the dice to control everything - especially how the form appears.  I do not let my work be guided my intuition or personal taste.