PAiNT Exhibition – Undercroft – Norwich

PAINT POSTER

We are privileged to be alive at a time when painting is not dominated by one single movement, at present we see the flourishing of many different styles, techniques, subjects, and themes. We have a wealth of artists of various backgrounds pushing at the boundaries of painting. Paint is an exhibition of over 22 artists all working in their own individual style, all very different but all producing interesting high quality and sometimes challenging work.

As well as being and exhibition there will also be artist lead practical workshops and a series of talks on Art history by art historian Andrew Taylor. To find out more or to book a place please visit the Workshops page and to see a list of the artists exhibiting visit the Artists page. 

Opening Times

Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm

Sundays 11am – 4pm

The Undercoft is located below the War Memorial opposite City Hall, St. Peters Street, Norwich. Access via the right side door, top of the market, opposite the Guildhall.

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Working Tax Credits and Art

In 2007 I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the Access to HE Art & Design course at City College Norwich. I’m not joking when I say I had to hold back the tears when the course leader, Brenda Unwin mentioned the delicate lines in some drawings in my sketchbook. The Access course was affordable and also paved the way for me to go to university; the first in my family to do so.

Two years later, and having sold two artworks – one purchased by the then Principal Dick Palmer – at the end of year show, I could only look forward and deliberately stub my toe to see if it was a reality that I had been accepted onto the Fine Art BA Hons course at Norwich University of the Arts.

Prior to these events a career of fruitless telesales jobs, and excruciatingly soulless door-to-door sales jobs, provided me with enough money to forget five days of seven week in, week out. Alongside those jobs I was fortunate enough to work as a stagehand for Theatre Royal, Norwich, and get odd jobs as a local crew guy helping shift band equipment for AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, Pantera et al at Transam Trucking. None of these jobs were regular, but paid well.

Now, in 2015, I find myself working very hard creating art, maintaining my website, responding to and sending emails, checking for opportunities, failing at all the above, but nevertheless continuing. As well as this I – until a few weeks ago – worked as a cleaner wherever and whenever I could in order to cobble together enough funds to pay the rent and bills and purchase materials necessary to create art. Considering I have a degree (a 2:1) it is only fitting I do so, and respectful to my hardworking lecturers who helped pave my way.

I was thrilled to receive £30 per week Working Tax Credits (it seems the ‘working’ bit has been ignored in recent political debate) and this helped ease the burden of my wife being the main provider. My wife has worked very hard to gain a sniff of an opportunity which has resulted in her employment for three years in the museum sector of East Anglia. Prior to this her employment was as a waitress/bar tender. Unless the opportunity arose, this would have been our future for the foreseeable time.

We met at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) and, as many graduates do, looked forward to our new lives as artists or working as creative-minded people. When I graduated, I could not believe I received an award for my work; one was bought by Sir John Hurt, and another was bought by NUA for its permanent collection. I could hardly believe it when the Principal, John Last, mentioned my name amongst students who had excelled. My dad and his mum were in attendance, and coupled with meeting the late artist Roger Ackling and his wife Sylvia who gave me the award mentioned earlier, I could not believe the dream had exceeded itself and reality. For the first time in my life I was proud of myself. I was also selected for the Recent Graduates Exhibition at the Affordable Art Fair. Since then, of course, opportunities are slim and paid opportunities are even slimmer.

Many would argue, in some sense justifiably, that we chose to get in our metaphoric bed. We did, that is true. But we also have worked very hard to get we are today; which isn’t rolling around in money, owning our own home, being able to get on with work without any stress niggling away at our brains, but simply to do what we are capable of, and – this will sound egotistical – providing something for the enjoyment of others.

The Tax Credits of £30 per week made a huge difference. It meant I could buy art materials without having to budget so drastically. It meant we could, if we chose, order a takeaway. It meant we could pay the often forgotten water bill. We had some money that allowed us to pursue what, in my case, I’d spent 5 years studying for.

I’m not lazy. I work. I work really hard which often encompasses a huge mental battle of whether my work is any good, should be exhibited, or even bought. When I do sell an artwork, it is Christmas Day. I can’t expect anyone outside of creative work to fully understand just how difficult it is producing something; I’ve the benefit of being able to talk to two very well-known authors and they have sympathy for what I do because they know just how ridiculous a pursuit art is.

If the government goes ahead with its proposal to cut Tax Credits, this will be a blow to my creative practice. It will make my work harder and not for the reasons it is supposed to be. Creative work does not spring out of a hat willy-nilly. It is not easy (I used to think it was), and it takes an incredibly blinkered view to carry out.

If I was an artist with work in Tate, or top-end galleries in London, New York, or Paris, some members of the government may even own a piece of my work. They may think that my success was down to sheer hard work. No success is down to that. Luck is a huge factor. The people you know MAY be able to open doors, but artists should not have to factor luck or wealthy friends into their equation. They should be able to get on with their work.

Of course some members of parliament think I’m being an entrepreneur because I’m registered as being self-employed. I’m only self-employed because I could get £30 a week to help with my art. My earnings are less than funny.

If George Osborne really wants to help me in my hard work, he could always pay above the going rate for one of my paintings.

Expected Year of Mortality

Expected Year of Mortality

The Secret on the Reverse

Recent news in the art world involves the coming to auction of Picasso’s La Gommeuse created during the artist’s blue period.

Of course there is huge interest in this work and not simply because it is associated with a well-known period in the artist’s life, but because the reverse of the canvas features a secret painting which has never been publicly seen before.

I laughed at this. Not because I can never afford to buy the work, nor because of the articles in global media outlets about the secret work on the other side, but because it was another confirmation of the problem in trying to create an original work of art.

A Discussion about Money

A Discussion about Money

Found object

2012

Permanent collection – Norwich University of the Arts.

Whilst an undergraduate at Norwich University of the Arts, I became so frustrated at the seemingly never-ending futility of the task that my desperation resulted in the willful vandalism of works I purchased by other artists living or dead, known or unknown. These paintings are hung so the original work faces the wall like a naughty child. The reverse sometimes provides insights into the artist’s dedication and thoughts as well as the framer’s notes. The secret to my work, until purchased, involves no-one knows who painted the original (the signature often being on the front, which is now the reverse) and no-one can now ascertain the original works’ value.

The only thing visible to the audience is the sale price; clear, transparent and surgically removed via scalpel on the reverse of the original painting.

Gathering the Harvest

Gathering the Harvest

Found object

2012

Unknown.

A handful of people know what is on the other side of these works (that also include figurative styles), and maybe I have accidentally struck gold through irreversibly destroying a well-known piece of art. Of course some things appear, and are easily mistaken as, gold but only fools bother to seek their fortune through actively searching for it in the face of overwhelming odds.

To Love

To Love

Found object, oil on canvas

2014

Private collection.

I am one of those fools, but my search for gold continues and does so through the shameless self-promotion of attaching my work to important articles and artworks reported in the world’s press. It’s no good to me or my wife being successful when I’m dead. Cheers!

Self-portrait 1977 - 2012

Self-portrait 1977 – 2012

Found object

2012

Automatic Capitalist Transmissions during Rush Hour

Enticed

X-rays

Impact

Trustful

.

Decisions

Obstructing

Obvious

Reactions.

.

Empathy

Not

Theological

Exclamations

Refine

.

Caricature

Arrested

Reformations.

……….

Jewelled

Utopia,

Nobody

Connects

Tomorrow,

Instead

Origins

Neglect

.

Turns

Reaching,

Accepting,

Forever

Father,

I

Cradle:

.

Love.

Instead

Golden

Hubristic

Torment

Sears.

.

Brave

Radiations

Ignite

Dilligence;

Great

Excitement.

.

Degraded

Explosions

Slow

Temptation.

Instead,

Now,

Altogether,

These

Immoral

Objects

Narrow:

.

Boastful

Results;

Aggresive

Knowledge

Excludes:

!

Confidence,

Rage,

Altruism,

Smashing

Hearts.

…………………….

We’ll never go home

Shoulder to shoulder we stood,

Under the rain, friends from home.

 

As one we thought of home,

As one we fought for home,

Not one, not anyone, thought it wrong,

Everyone fought; was it wrong?

 

At once we knew,

Our home, we knew,

Would never be seen again.

Quick, now, brace!

Attention: Stare ahead, not left or right,

we shall not see this day’s night.

 

To say our love will end,

In a letter delivered by an unknown friend;

How can I tell you this tragic tale?

With words to support you through a Winter’s gale.

 

Darkness shrouds my body, my love,

Never to be found.

Walking along with Henry Moore….

Image

Ever since I saw a photograph, taken in 1931, of Henry Moore, Irina Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Ivon Hitchens, and Mary Jenkins holidaying together at Happisburgh, I’ve felt the need to go there.

Retracing anyone’s footsteps will surely lead to something. The author, Richard Holmes retraced the steps of Robert Louis Stevenson through the Cevennes; finding out as much about himself as he did Stevenson.

The artist Hamish Fulton spends much of his time what most of us do without thinking: walking. Fulton, however, makes this art.

Whatever an artist or author decides to do with, and in, these moments of tranquillity often provides something for someone.

By going to Happisburgh and walking along the same stretch of coast as Moore did, in some way, I occupied the space he did. Of course it’s more difficult to establish a precise location; even using photographs will prove difficult because of the coastal erosion continuously affecting the Happisburgh coast.

When I stand in front of a painting by Bacon, and see the evidence of the brushstrokes, I, again in some way, occupy the space he did.

Walking along the stony beach looking at flints of all sizes, some half-buried in the sand, I wondered about the Happisburgh Hand Axe; a Pre-Historic flint tool dated 700,000 years old.

I walked in the soggy sand and felt my sandals scloop further down with each step. I wondered about the hominid footprints found here and dated to 800,000 years ago.

I kept looking along the beach…”the occasional flash of something that catches one’s eye…my god, look at how these cliffs seem to have been torn into by claws…”

I found what I was looking for.

I didn’t realise it at the time, of course.

http://www.andy-reeve.com