My Colourful Pop-Up World

It's the last few days of My Colourful Pop-Up World at Tate Liverpool! We've been responding to the Mondrian and his Studios exhibition as we explore abstraction, colour and geometry in both 2D and 3D. 

Piet Mondrian was one of the first artists to experiment with abstraction when he moved from Holland to Paris in 1911, then London and New York. In each city he moved to he had a studio, which served as a kind of 3D realisation of his gridded, geometric canvases. Mondrian was inspired by architecture and the increasingly built-up landscapes that surrounded his city centre studios.

Taking this theme of abstraction in the real world, participants have been creating gridded viewfinders which can be overlaid onto the windows of Tate Liverpool's Art Dock studio to colour and re-frame the landscape.  Participants are also leaving their colourful strips to be added to an evolving installation in the Family Room. Furthermore, they can experiment with paper manipulation and the art of pop-up as their cuts and folds turn into geometric sculptures and architectural-like models.  Watch this (square!) space for more photos of the Family Room in progress...

 

But does it float?

As part of the first two weeks of the Mondrian Mohamedi summer workshops at Tate Liverpool, I have focused on the exquisite work of Indian abstract artist Nasreen Mohamedi. Lesser known in the UK, Mohamedi's work incorporates a number of mediums such as drawing, painting and photography through a journey from semi-abstract landscapes to painstakingly abstract, geometric pen and ink drawings. Nasreen Mohamedi was inspired by Islamic architecture, desert landscapes and seascapes encountered during her travels and these can be seen within beautiful examples of her black and white photographs. 

But does it float? was a series of workshops during the first part of August which encouraged children and participants of all ages to explore experimental, 'random' mark-making vs. careful, controlled, measured lines using different printing, frottage and drawing processes. Inspired by abstract art, architecture, binary patterns, geometry, and the local, Merseyside landscapes, participants worked into thin strips of card to create floating, 3D, architectural sculptures in black and white. 

Watch this space for my next blog post to see how we move from monochrome into an exploration of grids, primary colours, pop-ups and the world of Mondrian and his Studios.




Reflektor

It's reflection time! Here are some pictures from my July and August sessions in the Clore Art Studio. They show some crafty ways we've been working with small geometric-shaped mirrors in addition to the coloured paper shapes and plinths in the Clore!

Paper Trails

I've had a busy week running Artigami at The Hepworth Wakefield: a workshop inspired by Barbara Hepworth's curved, hollow forms and strings, The session is dedicated to constructing and deconstructing the possibilities of paper.

 

We've bean tearing, twisting, folding, punching, pleating, scrunching.... and I have to say I've been blown away by some of the work I've seen. We've had lots of positive comments too, so hopefully we got the balance right between structured activity and free-style paper play!

 

Artigami will run again on September 13th-14th (11am - 4pm) and I'll also be working on creating a new paper workshop which will run at The Hepworth Wakefield in October.

 

Tate: Mondrian Mohamedi Online Resource

I've just created a fun online resource for children and families to use together as a way to understand and interpret the abstract artworks of Piet Mondrian and Nasreen Mohamedi. The Mondrian / Mohamedi exhibition is on at Tate Liverpool until the 5th October. 

The activity pack is now available from the Tate website. To view and download a copy, click here

Reflective Forms

Mirror, mirror on the wall...

I've been following a bit of an abstracted, reflective theme over the past couple of months!

Here's a link to some Mini Art Club mirror-like fun at Manchester Art Gallery

Read about what we got up to here!

Abstraction Construction Reflection at Tate Liverpool

As the Mondrian and his Studios exhibition opens alongside artworks by Indian abstract artist Nasreen Mohamedi at Tate Liverpool, the theme of Abstraction into the Real World is explored throughout the building with a soon-to-be-opened interior viewing space created by architect Claude Parent.

In response to this focus on abstraction and architecture, I have created a colourful, tactile, constructive space, which brings together aesthetic and conceptual elements of Mondrian, Mohamedi and Parent in an interactive installation in the Art Dock Family Room at Tate Liverpool. Working with Learning Curators Katy McCall and Debbie Goldsmith, we have developed a space which invites visitors of all ages to play with colour, line and shape composition, exploring 2D, 3D, time and space. 

The installation invites playful, geometric construction and composition with beautiful *hand-painted blocks of different sizes and forms. It also encourages exploration of light, shadow and reflection as coloured windows and mirrors reveal slightly alternative, distorted worlds of light, shape, movement and time. Families can enter a space which attempts to embody the ethos of Mondrian's studio and his neo-plastic world. Here, though, participants can playfully engage with the physical act of placing, sorting, constructing / de-constructing and imagining.

The space is in progress and may evolve throughout the next four months, so come and play!

Find out what's on for families at Tate Liverpool this summer. Come along and join me for a playful, hands-on summer of abstraction and architecture in my two workshops But does it float? and My Colourful Pop-Up World in the Art Dock Studio. 

*Thanks to Jim Medway for his help painting the blocks so artfully!

Off the Grid & Loop the Loop

I've just come out of the dark after running Baby Art Club with musician Najia Bagi today at Manchester Art Gallery. Our session took inspiration from a highly abstract, geometric artwork Rotterdam Relief by Toby Paterson.

As in all art club sessions, I invited babies and adults to come up to the gallery first, to see our starting point for ideas. We headed up to the Sculptural Forms exhibition and spent time looking and exploring straight and loopy lines through massage, movement and soft materials!

Then it was down for our linear inspired installation in the dark, with a bit of an urban, disco-twist! Artist Toby Paterson's work is inspired by cityscapes, architecture, uncluttered lines and moving from 2D to 3D. We wanted to reflect this through our choice of materials to explore touch, light, sound and music in a shiny, enclosed installation space!

Feedback showed that adults enjoyed the activity upstairs in the gallery as it gave them the confidence to find 'a way in' to understanding abstract artworks. They were also impressed by the range of objects, materials and spaces to explore within the installation as their babies focused on lights, textured lines, rustling materials, tingling triangles and all things shiny and noisy!  

Nature in the City

Here's the final episode of spending time developing 'nature spaces' in darkened cupboard-like rooms listening to recordings of birds twittering away in forests! 

Yesterday evening's Thursday Late: Nature in the City at Manchester Art Gallery was a celebration of all the hard work carried out on the Thomas Horsfall Project with two schools (see previous blog posts) to create an interpretation guide and film for the Art for All: Thomas Horsfall's Gift to Manchester exhibition. It was also the chance for visitors to participate in art activities inspired by nature and also find out more about the exhibition and gallery roof garden!

I was tucked away in a (usually hidden) room right within the main entrance of the gallery. I created an immersive Plant Space, which encouraged people to try out drawing challenges and dispel the myth that 'they couldn't draw'. The specially created environment transformed a rather corporate-looking meeting room into an intimate, comfortable nature-inspired space! I wanted to encourage people to spend time looking and observing details within plants and natural objects under spotlights, while relaxing to a soothing forest soundtrack in a cosy, atmospheric space. 

Thanks to Emma Carroll, Joanne Davies & Meg Parnell for all their support on the projects!

A Study of Nature and Beauty

At last, the children's work is up - as a mini exhibition in their school!

Using Andrew MacCallum's painting Oak Trees in Sherwood Forest (1877), as a starting point for key themes and inspiration, I spent four days working with two reception classes at Norris Bank Primary School. The project was organised by Manchester Art Gallery as part of a wider project responding to the current Art for All: Thomas Horsfall's Gift to Manchester exhibition. 

Working with both classes, we explored lines, shapes, silhouettes and details of plants and leaves and turned these into drawings and paper cuts which were brought together to make the 'forest come alive' in a storage cupboard in the school! We also created some beautiful mixed media artworks to explore colour, light, transparency, textures and mini worlds. 

The project explored a number of contrasts:

bringing the outdoors in vs. extending the classroom outdoors

light & dark

light, air, sky (above) vs. texture, surfaces, ground (below)

man-made vs. natural materials

Artist Patricia Mountford also worked with Year One pupils to explore and classify materials to make sculptures, responding to the artwork The Carline Thistle as part of a study of Surrey Wild Flowers by Elizabeth Redgrave.

I now just have one more space I need to convert into a 'forest' tomorrow for Manchester Art Gallery's Thursday Lates, Nature in the City