Tuesday, 28 December 2010

'Artists of the Resistance'

Dear Guardian letters

Len McCluskey calls for a "broad strike movement" to stop the coalition's  "explicitly ideological" programme of cuts. ('Unions Warn of Massive Wave of Strikes', Guardian 19 December 2010) This will happen. Government cuts are  decimating education, welfare, health, sports and the arts. We are told t; that they are as inevitable as the rain; that the only choice we have is between  music classes for our kids or care for our elderly.

We need both and do not  accept that jobs, services and the quality of life have to be jettisoned for  the greed of those who are asked to sacrifice nothing. Cutbacks in the arts  mean that access will be limited to those who have the money to pay while  many who work in the arts will lose their jobs.

 The closing of public  libraries is the most obvious example. They are where literature, art and culture are available to everyone without charge. Some authorities are already selling them off, others are offering them to the 'consumer' on the principle of 'if you want them buy them'.

Massive increases in education fees and the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance are part of the same philosophy. Everything that is not immediately of use to the  corporate agenda is to be placed on a 'pay as you go' principle. Meanwhile  funding for theatre, film, music, dance and other arts projects is to  return  to the Victorian notion of finding patrons, drawn from the people and  corporations who have their own agendas of how to define the arts.

 In the  face of those who choose to exercise their power to destroy, we need to  create. We urge all those who work in the arts to join us at 'Artists of  the  Resistance' in opposing the cuts.


> Iain Banks, writer


> Andy de la Tour, actor


> AL Kennedy, writer


> Roger Lloyd Pack, actor


> Miriam Margolyes, actor


> Susie Meszaros, musician


> Michael Rosen, author and poet


> Martin Rowson, cartoonist


> Janet Suzman, actor


> Timberlake Wertenbaker, playwright


> Shaun Askew, animator


> Shabina Aslam, theatre director


> Anne Aylor, writer & ballet teacher


> Jordan Baseman, video artist


> Elizabeth Beech, artistic director,The Phoenix Project


> Maria Birmingham, animator


> Cecily Bomberg, writer


> Sean Bonney, poet


> Phil Branston


> Stephen Carley, AV artist


> Florence Curtis


> Karl Benjamin Frankson, artist


> Jill Gibbon, artist


> Marilyn Halpin


> Joseph Hely, disability worker


> Simone Hodgson


> Camilla Howalt, artist


> Angela Jane Kennedy, artist


> Fin Kennedy, playwright


> Ol'ga Kretz, film-maker


> Lucy Lepchani, writer & poet


> Fiona MacDonald, opera singer


> Mel McCree


> Carol Mottershead, dancer


> Jane Park


> Romayne Phoenix, visual artist


> Konstantina Ritsou-Zavolia, author & director


> Dee Shaw


> Patricia Shrigley, video artist


> Patrick Simons, artist


> Patrick Snape


> Ron Stagg, Museum Association


> Rebecca Thorn, musician


> Geoff Tibbs


> Charlotte Turton, artist


> Elizia Volkmann, writer and artist


> Michael Walling, artistic director, Border Crossings


> Joanne Walker, CoR Tyne & Wear


> Debra Watson


> David Wilson, publisher


> Tom Wood


> Jan Woolf, writer



> Artists of the Resistance

> c/o Coalition of Resistance

> Housmans Bookshop

> 5 Caledonian Road

> City of London N1 9DX


> T: 07951 579 064

Sunday, 5 December 2010

FPS Winter Exhibition 2010: Review by Philip Worth

FPS Winter Exhibition 2010
 ‘Place’, South Kensington
 The selection by FPS of Campbells of London as the venue for their winter exhibition was an inspiration.  To begin with, its location is a plus.  The whole area within a substantial radius of South Kensington station has a terrific buzz.  It contains many of the world’s outstanding museums, there is the Royal Albert Hall with its summer music fest a bit further up the road, there are broad, elegant boulevards but also the unexpected, narrow side streets and alley ways in which central London specialises which seem to jump out at you and tempt you to explore and where you can discover the only shop in the UK which specialises in the sale of bagpipes (well, maybe I made that one up, but you get the gist!) – and, finally, mention could be made of some of the most mouth-watering eating places in the entire metropolis.

            At the hub of this exhilarating locale is Campbells Of London, an artist’s dream of an establishment.  Its basic business is framing, but it offers a whole range of ancillary services, all characterized by the top quality of which the firm boasts and which is visibly evident the moment you set foot on their premises.  But there is nothing precious about Campbells – it welcomes visitors in a delightfully informal, laid back way both in its publicity and in the warm greeting you get when you enter the shop (it even  offers to come and collect you if you are having difficulty finding it – catch Harrods doing that!)

            One of its many services to artists is, of course, its gallery space, and this our group made full use of  between 12th and 22nd November.  The space is not huge, consisting of a ground floor area at the rear, a basement area and a passageway connecting these.  But it is viewer friendly in a way that some West End galleries are not, with their subtle suggestion that unless you are a big spender your presence is merely tolerated.

            So now to the FPS exhibition.  Reviewing a group show is always difficult as there are, frequently, so many artists whose work is represented that comment on each and every one is impossible.  So selection is unavoidable – but how to select?  In the present case a random selection of half a dozen works has been made which together, hopefully,  will convey a flavour of the exhibition as a whole.

            Caught in the Palm of your Hand, a large canvas by Amy Lister, winner of the student art competition,  rests on an  easel in the front part of the shop and is the first thing you see as you enter.  It depicts the open palm of a hand on a massive scale and, appropriately, seems about to grab you and draw you in forcibly to the rest of the show.  To portray a relatively small object on a large scale is a daring approach reminiscent, perhaps, of Georgia O’Keefe’s treatment of flowers.  Of course, size in itself does not equate with artistic merit – we expect to see our mountains mountainous, our monuments monumental, and our elephants elephantine.  But hands?  Certainly we can speak of ‘large hands’ but we would hesitate to shake one measuring thirty inches across!  Amy’s purpose, presumably, is to present reality in a different way, and her technique is surprise; in this she has succeeded.

            Another work which seeks to avoid the obvious is Underground by Bruni Schling.  Bruni’s reference to her style as ‘reminiscent of German Expressionism’ is apt in terms of this painting.  This is no photographic representation of a train arriving at a tube station.  For me it conveys the tension induced by the thunder of its arrival, by the press of its passengers to board, by the hot, stuffy atmosphere and, in general, by the relentless, chaotic bustle of modern urban living, all emotions feelingly transferred by the artist to her canvas.

            Dade’s Valley  by Grace Kimble gives us a spacious landscape with mountain peaks in both the middle and far distance.  The influence of the Canadian ‘Group of Seven’ is clear, both in its concern with nature in its grander manifestation, but also with its hint of stylisation, not as decoration but as a process of stripping away superfluous, distracting detail.  Of course, Grace does not need to go to the Rockies for inspiration – she need travel no further than our Lake District!

            Rosina Flower has been a regular contributor to FPS shows for many years now, and her vibrant art has always enriched the group’s displays.  Her speciality has tended to be still life with the emphasis on flowers and her work in this genre has unfailingly shown a beguiling freshness and vitality.  It is therefore with considerable interest that we can see, in this show, an example of a more recent change of focus towards landscape.  Field Tracks  has been painted with the same freedom of brushwork as her still life, but also with the same concern for colour composition.

            I loved Loretta Windsor’s angle on Big Ben from street level looking up.  This is the best vantage point from which to view this awesome structure, towering above Westminster and, during the heyday of the British Empire, seeming to embody its might and boundless reach.  The artist has done full justice to Pugin’s masterpiece.  Beautifully drawn, the colour key is red, heightening the turbulence of the backdrop sky and echoed on the tower’s frontage.

            John MacKenzie’s sculpted head St Amarand is intriguing, both historically and aesthetically.  Historically it has been difficult to identify the subject, and a discussion I had with the artist revealed that he was as much in the dark as I was!  It seems that the name in itself attracted him and somehow guided his hands as he brought her features to life.  When I suggested that she might have been a martyr to the guillotine during the French Revolution, John readily fell in with the idea.  The features have a tranquil beauty often to be found, I understand, on the decapitated heads of some of the victims of the terror.  

            A work of great interest in our show was Poule Rouge, Giant Skink, a carefully executed oil showing two animals long since extinct (Poule Rouge being more familiarly know as the Dodo).  This work was by guest artist Julian Hume, who combines two skills to intriguing effect: as a palaeontologist he has been working in Mauritius, collecting and analysing the fossil remains of extinct life forms such as the Dodo; and as an accomplished professional artist he has been able to bring these strange creatures to vivid life, and Poule Rouge, Giant Skink is an example.

            It is with some diffidence that I offer comment on only seven works out of over forty items but limited space, as usual, is the enemy.  Suffice it to say that this has been an  exhibition in the best FPS tradition, distinguished by fascinating variety in both technique and subject matter, and of consistently high standard.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Passion for Freedom art Exhibition to be held in November 2010

Hi All,
This promises to be a controversial show by activists against violating women's rights in the name of Islam- 2 of my pieces in it, quite radical stuff-do come if you can, (the way I go is to travel to St Paul's tube and then walk towards the Tate Modern and the gallery is close to that) -anyway this is the invite:

'You are cordially invited to a Group Show presenting 'One Law for All' art competition’s winners

20 November - 27 November 2010 
24 Great Guildford Street
SE1 OFD London

Private View: Saturday 20 November 6.30-9.30pm

‘Little Bride’ by L. Dobrucki screening: 7pm.'

Press Release

Passion for Freedom art Exhibition to be held in November 2010
Private View: Saturday 20 November, 18.30 – 21.30 hours
Exhibition: 20 – 27 November 2010

Open: Monday – Wednesday 8.00 – 17.00 hours; Thursday – Friday 8.00 – 18.30 hours
Gallery: UNIT 24 Gallery, 24 Great Guildford Street, London SE1 0FD 

One Law for All is holding an art exhibition in London during 20-27 November 2010 in which a group of international artists address the controversial subject of religion and human rights. The exhibition includes pieces on the veil, female genital mutilation, child ‘marriage’ and women’s oppression.

A panel of judges author Polly Toynbee, singer Deeyah and secularist Terry Sanderson will select their favourite pieces for special mention at the private viewing.

The body of work varies in approach to the subject and mediums used.

The show’s highlights are:
Maja Wolna, an award winning graphic designer who is presenting three works from the series ‘Behind the Veil’ which won the Gold Medal in the Ideological Poster category at the 22nd Poster Biennale 2010 in Warsaw, Poland. In the striking simplicity of her designs she manages to encapsulate the difficulties that women face living under Islamic rule.
Sarah Rumi’s text-based work ‘Revelations’ focuses on themes of religious hysteria and the authority of literature. Using small sections from numerous sources of printed text she constructs new pieces from collected words.                           

Fiona Dent’s paintings confront us with the cruelty of female genital mutilation. In Britain alone, more than 21,000 girls a year are at risk of FGM.

Leszek Dobrucki’s film ‘Little Bride’ nominated at Cannes Film Festival tells a story of a Turkish girl sent to Germany and forced to marry at the age of 13.

Artists exhibiting are: Svitlana Grebenyuk, Lee-Anne Raymond, Oslo & Murch, Anna Sundt, Penelope MacEwen, Anna Adamkiewicz, Roberta Coni, Hynek Martinec, Carolina Khouri, Lorella Paleni, Leszek Dobrucki, Fiona Dent, Sarah Rumis, and Maja Wolna.

To RSVP for opening night, or for more information, contact

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Janet Scott: SUMMER in CYPRUS Exhibition 1-25 February 2011

Lemba Valley

Lemba Sheep

Janet Scott is a longstanding FPS member. In September she exhibited successfully, ("Albert  Bridge Under Repair"), in the Westminster Open Exhibition.

All FPS members are invited to the "Summer in Cyprus" Exhibition of her Cyprus works. The Private view is on 1st February 2011 6-9pm at the Friends Room of the Hellenic Institute,  16-18 Paddington St, London W1U 5AS  (Baker St tube).

The exhibition runs from 1st until 25 th February 2011. Contact 0207 487 5060 for opening times.

Contact Janet Scott 0207 834 4541

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


FPS Winter 2010 exhibition 'Place' Student Art Competition


The Free Painters and Sculptors were established in 1952, a break away group from the ICA.
Believing in freedom of expression, exhibitions have a theme but a range of styles is encouraged.

We are inviting submissions from art students who are not members of FPS.
The winner will get their work shown in the exhibition and will win £200.
Art students must be over 17 and studying on a formal art course.

The exhibition will be at Campbells of London in South Kensington:
Drop off Wednesday 10th November, 10-5pm
Private View: Friday 12th November 6-8pm
Exhibition close: Monday 22nd November 10-5pm

If you wish Campbells to frame your work, you will get a 15% discount on pale or black wood frames as an FPS member. You need to get work to them by 4th November. Contact Beth at the gallery on 020 7584 9268 to arrange if you wish.

Please fill in all the details for each work you are submitting. Please also send a JPG of each work labelled with your name and the work's name to

Please submit work by Nov 1st. You will hear on Nov 2nd whether your work is successful or not.

Many thanks

Friday, 2 July 2010



A letter was published today signed by 171 figures from the art world condemning BP's sponsorship of cultural institutions in the UK. The letter has been published on the day that Tate Britain is hosting a party to celebrate 20 years of BP's sponsorship. [1] A group of artists under the banner of 'The Good Crude Britannia' are planning on protesting outside the event, and will be handing out the "Licence to Spill' briefing to people attending the party. [2]

Arts/activist organisation Platform [3] has gathered 171 signatories from the international arts community, for a letter that says:

"As crude oil continues to devastate coastlines and communities in the Gulf of Mexico, BP executives will be enjoying a cocktail reception with curators and artists in the Tate Britain. These relationships enable big oil companies to mask the environmentally destructive nature of their activities with the social legitimacy
that is associated with such high profile cultural associations." [4]

Some of the signatories include:
*Hans Haacke, German-American conceptual artist whose work has featured on numerous occasions in Tate exhibitions
*John Keane, who was the official British war artist during the first Gulf War and who was a judge on the 2004 BP-sponsored portrait award at the National Portrait Gallery
*Sonia Boyce, MBE, whose works are held in the collection of the Tate Modern

Hans Haacke, one of the signatories said: "Since taxpayers (through their elected representatives) do not adequately fund cultural institutions, it has become routine for corporate sponsors with PR needs to fill the gap. This arrangement often creates conflicts between the public good and a sponsor's agenda. It is rare, however, that these conflicts are recognized and publicly debated, as it is now with BP and the Tate Gallery."

Electronic artist Matthew Herbert, also a signatory said: "The oily tentacles of both BP and Shell have wrapped themselves around our most prestigious cultural institutions and at a time when urgent action is required to slow consumption of fossil fuels. In trading our cultural legacies so nakedly for such tainted cash, some of Britain's most powerful stages for creative expression have knowingly undermined the very integrity of that expression."

Kevin Smith from Platform said: "This letter is testament to the extent of the discomfort felt in the arts by the Tate's ongoing relationship with BP. The ongoing ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico should be the game changer that finally ends the ability of the oil industry to legitimise itself through arts and cultural sponsorship."


For interviews and more information:

On Sunday 27 June, call 0207 700 7971
On Monday call Platform: 0207 403 3738 or 07790 430 620 /

Some of the signatories are available for comment

[1] News of the party was first leaked on Thursday. See the PR; 'Leaked invite reveals Tate's ill-timed plans to celebrate BP; sponsorship' at; reveals-tate's-ill-timed-plans-celebrate-bp-sponsorship
[2] The Good Crude Britannia is a national artists' campaign against BP sponsorship of Tate. We are calling all concerned artists to; either sign the petition and/or support the 'campaign' which is to be: launched on Monday 28th June 2010 at Tate Britain's Summer Party, 7-9pm.!/group.php?gid=126083700763469; 'Licence to Spill' is available at:
[3] Platform works across disciplines for social and ecological; justice. It combines the transformatory power of art with the; tangible goals of campaigning, the rigour of in-depth research with; the vision to promote alternative futures.
[4] The letter and full list of signatories:

Tonight, the Tate is holding a summer party in which it is also celebrating 20 years of BP sponsorship. As crude oil continues to devastate coastlines and communities in the Gulf of Mexico, BP executives will be enjoying a cocktail reception with curators and artists in the Tate Britain. These relationships enable big oil
> companies to mask the environmentally destructive nature of their activities with the social legitimacy that is associated with such high profile cultural associations.

We represent a cross section of people from the arts community that believe that the BP logo represents a stain on Tate's international reputation. Many artists are angry that Tate and other national cultural institutions continue to side step the issue of oil sponsorship. Little more than a decade ago, tobacco companies were seen as respectable partners for public institutions to gain support from - that is no longer the case. It is our hope that oil and gas will soon be seen in the same light. The public is rapidly coming to recognise that the sponsorship programmes of BP and Shell are means by which attention can be distracted from their impacts on human rights, the environment and the global climate.

1.Hans Haacke, artist
2. John Keane, artist
3. Caryl Churchill, playwright
4. Matthew Herbert, electronic artist and composer
5. Suzi Gablik, art critic and writer
6. Gordon Roddick, art philanthopist
7. Rebecca Solnit, writer and art critic
8. Lucy R. Lippard, writer and curator
9. Davey Anderson, playwright
10. Adam Chodzko, artist
11. Beverly Naidus, artist and professor
12. Suzanne Lacy, artist
13. Chris Jordan, artist
14. Cat Phillipps, artist
15. Martin Rowson, cartoonist
16. Robert Newman, comedian and writer
17. Sonia Boyce, artist, MBE
18. Barbara Steveni, artist & initiator of Artist Placement Group
19. Peter Fend, artist
20. SaiMuRai (Simon Murray), writer, poet, artist
21. Ackroyd & Harvey, artists
22. Aidan Jolly, musician, community artist
23. Jon Sack, artist
24. Matthew Lee Knowles, composer
25. Theodore Price, artist
26. Scott Massey, artist
27. Ben Mellor, writer, performer, educator
28. The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home, artist collective
29. David Haley FRSA, ecological artist and Senior Research Fellow
30. Alana Jelinek, artist & curator
31. Rachel Anderson, creative producer
32. John Volynchook, photographer
33. Jackie Brookner, artist
34. Suzanne Lacy, artist
35. Neil Callaghan, artist
36. Jonathan Baxter, artist and arts organizer
37. Mark McGowan, artist
38. Catrin Evans, artistic director and theatre practitioner
39. James Stenhouse, artist
40. Charlie Fox, artist and producer
41. Roxanne Permar, artist
42. Jane Lawson, artist
43. John Jordan, artist and writer
44. Hemant Anant Jain, illustrator
45. The Space Hijackers, art interventionists
46. Clare Patey artist/curator
47. Matthias von Hartz, Director Hamburg International Festival
48. Lois Keidan, Live art Development Agency
49. Lucy Neal, artist and producer
50. Lise Autogena, artist
51. Marcelo Expósito, artist and critic
52. Steve Duncombe, cultural theorist/writer
53. Cameron Davis, artist and professor of art at Vermont University
54. Kim Stringfellow, artist/associate professor, SDSU
55. Ros Martin, poet and playwright
56. Amy Balkin, artist
57. John Hartley, artist
58. Amber Hickey, artist
59. Christian Nold, artist
60. Isabeau Doucet, painter
61. Jean Grant, creative director
62. Hayley Newman, artist
63. Christian de Sousa, artist and photographer
64. Immo Klink, artist
65. Susan Kelly, artist and art lecturer
66. Aviv Kruglanski, artist
67. Steve Stuffit, artist
68. Helen Spackman, artistic director and senior lecturer in performing arts
69. Lorena Rivero de Beer, artist
70. Janey Hunt, artist
71. Gregory Sholette, artist and writer
72. Mem Morrison, artistic director
73. Lars Kwakkenbos, artist and writer
74. Tom Besley, producer
75. PLATFORM, arts/activist organization
76. Fran Crowe, artist
77. Sharon Salazar, filmmaker/director
78. Leah Gordon, photographer, filmmaker and curator
79. Alke Schmidt, artist
80. Monika Vykoukal, curator
81. CJ Mitchell, deputy director of Live Art Development Agency
82. Julian Maynard Smith, director of Station House Opera
83. Sue Palmer, artist
84. Brett Bloom, artist
85. Kerry Burton, artist
86. The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, art/activist collective
87. Anna Francis, artist
88. Ana Betancour, artist and architect
89. Simone Paterson, new media artist and academic
90. Ian Teh, photographer
91. Alejandro Meitin, artist
92. Simone Kenyon, artist and producer
93. Milena Placentile, curator
94. Nick Turner, artist and designer
95. Fabio Sassi, artist
96. Ruth Ewan, artist
97. Raoul Martinez, artist
98. Robert McAdam, painter
99. Katy Fattuhi, arts marketer
100. John Holt, artist and writer
101. Katy Hallett, Director, Art Programme
102. Judy Price, artist
103. Stephanie Thieullent, photographer, artist
104. Felix Gonzales, filmmaker, artist
105. Rafael Santos, artist
106. Adrian Arbib, photographer
107. Ian Hunter, Director, Littoral
108. Ele Carpenter, curator
109. Helene Aylon, activist artist
110. Pamela Graham, artist
111. Louise Jones, director, Lemon Street Gallery
112. Ciel Bergman, artist/environmental activist
113. Glauco Bermudez, Cinematographer
114. Marianne Soisalo, artist
115. Mariana Bassani, photographer
116. Michele Petillo, artist
117. Siobhan Mckeown, artist
118. ZEV, tex/sound artist
119. Mira Schor, artist and writer
120. Judith Knight, Director, Artsadmin
121. Gill Lloyd, Director, Artsadmin
123. Danielle Frank, artist
124. Stuart Bracewell, artist.
125. Beverley Dale, Digital Artist
126. Vahida Ramujkic, Artist
127. Mark Vallen - painter, printmaker, writer
128. Toni Martinez-Solera, artist
129. Lucy Fairley, Artist
130. Noel Douglas artist, designer, activist
131. Gareth Evans, writer and curator
132. Stevphen Shukaitis, arts /media/cultural publisher
133. Kuljit Chuhan, Creative producer and digital media artist
134. Calum F. Kerr, artist
135. Lisa Wesley, artist
136. Jody Boehnert, designer, artist and writer
137. Heide Fasnacht, visual artist
138. Michelle Jaffé, artist
139. Jan Brooks, artist
140. Peter Harrison, propeller arts collective
141. Deanne Belinoff, artist
142. Michelle Waters, artist
143. Fern Shaffer, artist
144. Harmony Hammond, artist and art writer
145. Simon Whetham, sound artist
146. Mimi Poskitt, director
147. Micheala Crimmin, curator and critic
148. Wallace Heim, writer and academic
149. Ciel Bergman, painter
150. Ali Sparror - artist
151. Lucy Reeves - Film designer
152. The Vacuum Cleaner, art/activist,
153. Robby Herbst, artist
154. Anja Steidinger, visual artist
155. Claire Hildreth, photographer
156. Loraine Leeson, artist
157. Kayle Brandon, artist
158. Peter Offord, artist
159. Julie Green, painter
160. Murray Wason, artist
161. Christina Moore, production designer
162. Emma Byron, artist and performer
163. Miche Fabre Lewin, artist-cuisiuniere
164. Kate Rich, artist
165. Madeleine Hodge, artist and curator
166. Kirstin Forkert, artist
167. Martin Nakell, poet, fictionalist
168. Liam Hurley, writer, theatre director, story teller
169. Mike Perry, artist
170. Phil Maxwell & Hazuan Hashim, artists
171. Greg Pact, artist

NEW REPORT: 'Cashing in on Tar Sands' reveals RBS is UK bank most involved in financing loans to tar sands companies.;
SHAPING THE FUTURE: PLATFORM and The Stephen Lawrence Centre have teamed up to launch an exciting new programme of events and courses.
PLATFORM London ; 7 Horselydown Lane ; London SE1 2LN

> Tel: +44 (0)20 7403 3738
> Email:
> Web:
> Blog:
> PLATFORM is a company limited by guarantee no. 2658515 and a
> registered charity no 1044485.
> --
> Art Not Oil: for creativity, climate justice and an end to fossil fuel
> industry sponsorship of the arts.
> c/o 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES; 07709 545116
> - send us your art!
> See also
> as well as Climate Indymedia:

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Pictures from the Framers Gallery show: June 2010

Pictures by Penelope MacEwen

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Review of ‘Life’ FPS Show, Framers Gallery, June 2010 by Penelope MacEwen

The bright emerald green frontage of ‘The Framer’s Gallery’ invites the curious eye; even more so on a private View night! A buzz of people holding wine glasses drew my eye, before it settled on the work in the window by John McKenzie: ‘Head’. This sculpture, in timeless white alabaster, with its regal air, reminiscent of some ancient patriarch, struck me immediately. And to its right was hanging a drawing by an artist I was already familiar with: a former FPS prize winner; Mariusz Kaldowski. Mariusz’s unmistakeable fervent, almost abstract use of line, passionately describes the figure. Inside, another drawing by him ‘In Her Garden’ also drew the viewer into the dynamic, romantic and sensual world of the artist’s imagination.

But back to the window; next to Mariusz’s work hung two works by the sculptor Malcolm Franklin, also a previous FPS competition prize winner. These two mixed media pieces, with their Zen simplicity, contrasted circular black lines with sand. The colours worked perfectly, enhancing the strength and balance achieved by all three of these consummately talented artists.

On entering the gallery I was distracted from reaching towards the inevitable glass of wine by the feast of work on the walls. Each image had its own unique style of course, the hallmark of the society’s ethos of allowing freedom of expression. For instance Sylvana Desira’s classic style of ballet dancers, using a limited palette, with over layers of line and flesh tingling with light, as the figures engaged in Shiva-like movement, was in fact a highly traditional piece in the sense that it followed the figure tradition of Degas and Lautrec who both worked with pastel. Near her work were the mixed media pieces of Gerry Brookes and also of Sally Lywood, who gave a fascinating glimpse of fantasy worlds through layers of colour and collage. Further to the right along the wall on the left of the gallery were the expressive lines, full of movement of Bruni Schling’s watercolours, evoking the passionate, intense eyes of a cat! Cats also featured elsewhere in the gallery: Elizaabeth Sinclair’s image caught the effervescent movement and pliability of the feline species and made me smile....

Also bringing amusement were the quirky lino prints of Owen Legg, no less amusing in their depiction of cricketers on a cricket field with the catcher, standing impassively next to his flailing colleagues, on the village green outside their church. But prints of a different type, collagraphs in fact, by the artist Loretta Wilson, led the viewer to consider the miniature natural forms that lie mostly under our feet. Her layers of ink and embossed paper held a certain sensual fascination; you felt like reaching out to touch what you knew was actually paper behind glass.

An artist new to the society, Anna Coccia di Ferro, is also well worth a mention. Her inventive, surreal, Daliesque mixed media sculptural forms used some extraordinary materials: an ostrich shell; butterfly wing; a sea urchin; silk...truly a journey into dream land. Near her work, in a similar but two dimensional vein, was the mixed media work of Demeter Haralabaki, whose wonderful excursion into layers of colour, fabric, copper and thread was somehow nostalgic.

But in a much more traditional vein the classic oil paintings of a nude and a picture of lemons in black frames with dark grounds by Keith Stanfield were reminiscent of the artist Cranach, and led the viewer to catch an insight into an intimate domestic scene. I was relieved to see that FPS artists were not afraid of black, a colour I was prohibited from using when at art school, because when used properly, it can really create significant dramatic effect. Gabriel Parfit’s portrait of ‘Eddie’ for instance captured the drama of the figure using the palette knife; thick layers of ebony black and then contrasting flecks of orange, red and white captured the sitter’s profile. So too in a different way, Grace Kimble, Chair of FPS, worked with a dark ground to very effectively, with quick brush strokes, layer the stripes and landscape of a zebra in the African bush.

I had by this time finally got to the room where the wine was being served but was still too enthralled by the work on the walls to grab a glass! Philip Worth, President of FPS had submitted one abstract work in acrylic that held my attention. It was hung in the corner and made me feel very calm, with its formal lines and combination of sienna, coffee colour, orange, black and white. In a more critical vein it could be argued that people visiting the gallery might have felt a little overwhelmed by the choice of genres and subject matters, but then again there are no societies I know of that encourage such refreshing plurality.

And to sum up the exhibition? How about the work of Andy Insh? His large work in oil called ‘The Book of Life’ with its complementary palette of purples and yellows depicted pointillist figures fleetingly captured in a street, somehow mirroring the situation we found ourselves in that evening, looking out at London’s night life, there in the gallery. The picture showed the people we pass by every day, anonymous, mysterious, hovering; those precious moments captured in a picture that gave dignity to the everyday miracle of life itself.

By Penelope MacEwen (-review of FPS private view 16.6.10-exhibtion ends 26th June.)

Sunday, 16 May 2010


Dear Tate
Happy Birthday. We wish we could celebrate with you. But we can’t.

As we write, your corporate sponsor BP is creating the largest oil painting in the world, inspired by profit margins and a culture that puts money in front of life, its shadowy stain shimmers across the Gulf of Mexico. A toxic tide that turns thriving ecosystems into deserts and deprives cultures of their way of life, it is one of the world’s greatest works of corporate art, a work that reeks of death and speaks of our society’s failure of imagination.

Every day Tate scrubs clean BP’s public image with the detergent of cool progressive culture. But there is nothing innovative or cutting edge about a company that knowingly feeds our addiction to fossil fuels despite a climate crisis, a company whose greed has killed twenty-one employees in just over a year, a company that continues to invest in the cancer-causing climate crimes of tar sands in Alberta, Canada.

By placing the words BP and Art together, the destructive and obsolete nature of the fossil fuel industry is masked, and crimes against the future are given a slick and stainless sheen.

Every time we step inside the museum Tate makes us complicit with these acts, acts that will one day seem as archaic as the slave trade, as anachronistic as public executions Every time Nicholas Serota is asked how a museum that prides itself on dealing with climate change can be funded by an oil company he responds that there are no plans to abandon BP sponsorship (anything to do with having an ex-CEO of BP chair Tate’s board of trustees?).

When art activist group The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (Labofii) were invited to run a workshop on art and civil disobedience, they were told by curators that they could not take any action against Tate and its sponsors and the workshop was policed by the curators to make sure the artists produced work “commensurate with the Tate’s mission". In March 2010, Tate Modern ran an eco symposium, “Rising to the Climate Change Challenge: Artists and Scientists Imagine Tomorrow’s World”, on the same day that Tate Britain was celebrating twenty years of BP sponsorship with one of its ‘BP Saturdays’ Incensed by this censorship and hypocrisy, participants in the symposium called for a vote: 80% of the audience agreed that BP sponsorship should be dropped by 2012.

So today we offer you a birthday present, a gift to liberate Tate from its old-fashioned fossil fuel addiction – a gift for the future. Beginning during your 10th anniversary party and continuing until you drop the sponsorship deal, we will be commissioning a series of art interventions in Tate buildings across the country. Already commissioned are Art Action collective, with a birthday surprise at this weekend’s No Soul For Sale event, and The Invisible Committee, who will infiltrate every corner of Tate across the country in the coming months.

We invite artists to join us and act to liberate Tate. Free art from oil.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

FPS show The Framer's Gallery 12th- 26th June submission details

Dear all, 

Here are the details of our forthcoming exhibition.

Date: 12th- 26th June

Theme: Life

Venue: The Framer's Gallery
26 Windmill Street

This gallery has space for approx 40 2D works. 

Submission Process: 
1. Fill in the online form for each work:
It will ask you to state your name, the title, medium, length, width of work and price including 15% commission. We suggest prices ranging from £200-£1000 for this gallery.

2. Send an image, named with your name and the works title, to by MAY 9TH for the committee to select work

3. You will hear by May 16th if you have been accepted. 

4. If you have been accepted you will be asked to pay £20 per work by May 30th, in order to secure your place in the exhibition. 

5. If you do not pay by May 30th, unfortunately we will have to offer your place to someone else. 

We hope you will be able to submit work for this and look forward to receiving images. There are limited spaces for sculptors- if you wish to show 3D work please get in touch. 

If you have any comments and questions please do not hesitate to contact me. 

Grace Kimble

On behalf of FPS committee

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Drawings by Mariusz Kaldowski: Fridays and Saturdays at POSK

Drawings by Mariusz Kaldowski on show Fridays and Saturdays at POSK, 238-246 King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 0RF until after Easter.

Mariusz Kałdowski

Tel: 01959 562 501
Mob: 07940 972 351

Blind Witness
Face of wisdom
What Next
Heart Transplant

Friday, 29 January 2010

“Wild Thing” (Jacob Epstein et al.) Sackler Wing, Royal Academy


Ezra Pound in 1913 likened the young French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska to “a well made young wolf or some soft moving, bright eyed wild thing.” At the Academie Julian, Paris, Jacob Epstein was referred to by his teacher as “ce sauvage Americain”. Eric Gill’s clergyman father introduced him to the cultures of non European civilization at an early age ( the Calvinist Methodist had been a Missionary in the South Seas). But the image of the Eye of God, in the breakfast room for the thirteen children had the inscription “Thou God seest me” and had a strong influence on the eldect son, Eric. Both Epstein and Gill had to come to terms with sexual drives in conflict with orthodox Judaism. This would be a fertile pre-condition for artistic expression. Sophie Brzeska agreed to live with her friend on the condition that their relationship was platonic, which might also produce those fertile conditions. The men met in London bringing ideas and influences from Paris. Paris was at this time concerned about Cubism and several artists, sculptors and painters, were working towards “Structurism”, producing a manifesto which was rather similar to that written by Gaudier-Brzeska in “Blast”, Middleton-Murry’s magazine, the Vorticist Manifesto. The economic and political conditions also favoured change. The first machine age and the accompanying labour problems, the armaments production leading up to the Great War and the philosophy prevalent among the London intelligentsia gave impetus to new directions in sculpture in Britain.

Jacob Epstein

He was born in 1880 to Polish Jewish immigrants in New York. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1902 later forming friendships with contemporary sculptors including Brancusi, Modigliani and painters involved in Cubism. In 1905 he went to live with his Scottish wife in London. He was interested in Greek and Cycladic, Egyptian and Spanish sculpture and influenced by Rodin particularly and Donatello. He collected African, Archaic and Polynesian work. In 1902 his sketch “We Two Boys Clinging” revealed what may have been homo-erotic yearnings as a result of a monumental carving exercise in New Jersey with an artist friend Bernard Gussow.

This exhibition explores the symbiotic relationships and sculptural exploration of Epstein and hid two sculptor friends Gaudier and Gill in the decade before the turning point in the Great War.

Henri Gaudier Brzeska

He was born near Orleans to a French cabinet maker. After training at Orleans School he won scholarships to London in 1906 and 1908. He lived and worked in Paris but came to London in 1911 with his Polish companion Sophie Brzeska. Visiting Epstein’s studio in 1912 he asked if he also carved directly. Epstein replied affirmatively and two weeks later, when Jacob Epstein came to Putney he found many newly carved sculptures. The method of building up by modelling softer materials such as clay then passing the work to a workman copying by carving in Carrara marble or bronze casting was declared to be lacking control over the finished work – quite unlike the guild craftsmen.

Gaudier’s friendships with Epstein, Ezra Pound, Roger Fry and others in Bloomsbury gave him a springboard to bring abstract sculpture into the British Sculpture movement which influenced sculpture and painting through Vorticist ideas.

Eric Gill

He was born in Brighton in 1882. After some time at Chichester School he enrolled as an evening student at the new Central School in London studying with Edward Johnstone, the Arts and Crafts Calligrapher, and spending less time as a trainee in an architect’s Office, though he remained very much influenced by sculptural aspects of architecture.

In London the bass-reliefs of Epstein had been destroyed on the BMA façade in the Strand, but Gill was not only influenced by them but was commissioned to carve reliefs on the façade of the British Broadcasting Corporation building. His Stations of the Cross respected the architecture of the new Westminster Cathedral. Unlike Gaudier he was unable to swiftly change his style.

“Mother and Child” (Half length) 1913

This was commissioned by Geoffrey Keynes and has a poignancy since Eric Gill’s wife Ethel (daughter of the sacristan of Chichester Cathedral) was unable to have more children after the birth of their first child (as a result of a miscarriage in 1911). The work in Bath stone was carved in his Ditchling studio. The inscription “He has filled the hungry with good things and the rich he has sent empty away: (IMPLEVIT = “filled” DIMISIT = “sent”) echoes his defiant sense of solidarity with the poor. There is a truth in his naturalistic carving only the sensitive sculptor could achieve, evident in the mother’s pose as the child is sucking.
He went on to carve the Stations of the Cross for Westminster Cathedral, making his sculpture accessible in his natural style.

Jacob Epstein “Rock Drill” (1913-15)

Gaudier turned on Ezra Pound when he made critical remarks about this sculpture at his Lamb’s Conduit Street Studio in 1913: “shut up, you understand nothing!” The plaster (cast) of this robot man contrasted with the ready made black metal of the drill (American). At the show of the London Group in 1915 there was a shocked reaction to the controversial work. It was much later that David Bomberg realized that it was “a prophetic symbol of impending war”. This was when it made attitudes to the machine age change as the Great War revealed the indomitable machine was destroying life and the battle was lost.

Henri Gaudier Brzeska “Birds Erect” (1914)

This is a tall limestone carving like a group of birds thrusting out of the nest, striving to receive food. It has an uneven sloping surface at its base – an instability which seems to force the abstract bird forms to cling to each other for support. The work has deep undercuts into the central vertical and Vorticist diagonals exposing triangular planes to light. The rhythm of the structure on moving round it and following the eye through spiralling planes seems to produce the sensation of growth upwards.

The abstraction from the human figure and primitive sources is original and this may be the most defiant and extreme European sculpture before 1914.