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Norfolk Open Studios

Pictures of the exhibition     Overall review of my experience
Future Dreams I was one of 206 studios opening up as part of the Norfolk Open Studios scheme. As well as my own work, on show were prints by Sophie Fox, and stained glass by Helen Augarde.

On the Open Studios application form I was given 14 words to describe my work and this is what I came up with:

"Family history in animated film, loud acrylic painting, welded steel, photography - exploration and tomfoolery."
The animated film is the culmination of a journey that started with a First World War photograph and involved spending 8 years finding and visiting the relatives of all 46 of the men pictured. The film shows all of their family trees growing over the last 140 years, mixed in with photos of their families and historical time markers, with contemporary music, and with the cycles of the moon and the seasons. See further details at www.groupphoto.co.uk including a review of the event I held last year. A Group Photograph - Animated Film
Beaten By Indifference I also showed paintings in bright colours with papier-mâché and welded sheet steel sculptures, and a wide variety of photographs. A lot of my recent work is photographic - including portraits (particularly of children and events), local landscapes, and close-ups of architectural details and the natural world - often digitally manipulated to change the way we view them.

What I aimed for was that around every corner of the exhibition you would find a surprise - sublety and bricks, sadness and guffaws, beauty and beasts - things that hopefully made visitors think, smile, and open their eyes to different ways of seeing the world.

I first saw Sophie Fox's work at Christmas bazaar at the end of 2005. She was selling some small black & white prints of figures and parts of figures and I immediately liked the life that her expressive drawing style gives them, and you could see she had a keen eye and a sense of humour. It was Sophie who told me about the Open Studios and so when I applied to take part I decided to ask her to exhibit with me. It was then that I discovered that a lot of her work has actually been on a monumental scale. In fact she has added her images to billboards in London - specifically designing the figures to fit with images on the hoarding. In this way the viewer is drawn to contemplate the whole in a way that they wouldn't have looked at the individual parts. housewife (close-up)
Billbird #11 (mischief)
I love this picture - and we had some of Sophie's large scale work like this put up on the side of my house.

Helen Augarde is my cousin's wife and having seen her stained glass about the house, I decided to invite her to exhibit too. She has a strong sense of pattern and colour, integrating unusual shapes and flowing forms into pieces that really catch the eye - and there are subtleties in the texture of the glass and colours which mean that the pieces change as the quality of the light changes through the day. Stained glass

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Pictures of the Exhibition

We put up the exhibition in my garden - and here are pictures.
The entrance to the show - boards 2 & 1
Board 3
Next to Board 3
Board 4
Board 5
Board 6
View from the second marquee
Open Studios reception
Walkies in the Garden of Good and Evil
After the wind

Overall review of my experience

When we were putting up the exhibition during a beautiful week of mid-May sunshine, little did we know that as soon as Open Studios started, the weather would turn into dreary misery. The opening party went well despite freezing cold - at least there wasn't any rain - and it was lovely to hear Bob & Helen's band playing as we wandered around the exhibition and garden. My main memory of that evening will be of Evie doing her impression of the Monster from the Black Lagoon after falling in the pond (well, even a fence won't keep out a determined 8-year-old).

And then just as we were getting ready to open for the second weekend, the wind really got up and I took the decision to move the whole exhibition inside the house. This proved wise as in the afternoon the wind really picked up. I went outside with my Dad and just after I had said to him, "If we take the pegs out, isn't it going to take off?", it just took off anyway - doing a back flip over our heads and the picture is here for all to see.

Report to be finished soon...
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