Tag Archives: art

Pankhurst Mosaic

'panky mosaic'

‘panky mosaic’

Just completed the central mosaic for the main square of Southern Housing’s latest development in the East of Brighton. Collaborating with Jane Fordham the mosaic is  3 metres in diameter and a black, white and grey abstract design. Surrounding the mosaic are 8 re-claimed Victorian Lampposts fitted with colour changing LED’s- the residents will be able to control the colours of the lights via an app downloadable to their smart phones. The changing lights will also illuminate the  mosaic and its neutral tones will be chromatically altered by the coloured lights.



Jane grouting


Angela The Curious Goat

Church Kneelers ready for 'Chain reaction', Sydney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury

Church Kneelers ready for ‘Chain reaction’, Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury

Just finished these four ‘Church Kneelers’ or prayer mats for a show at the Sidney Cooper Gallery in Canterbury. Actually they were made by my Mum and her friends (experts in Tapestries, thankyou so much !). The show is a culmination of nearly two years collaborating with the Bio science dept at Kent University. The exhibition is based around the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) machine developed 30 years ago.

PCR is a process of copying DNA, amplifying specific sequences of As, Cs, Gs and Ts – the chemical alphabet that makes up the genetic code ( the names on the church kneelers). It does so by making millions of identical copies of the original ‘template’ sequence. It allows the detection and analysis of vanishingly small quantities of DNA, and in combination with a vast array of add-on technologies it is a central part of biomedical research. Applications are endless – forensic detection, disease diagnosis, food safety testing, therapeutic protein production, biotechnology, to name only a few.

The title  ‘Angela The Curious Goat’ is a way students remember  the 4 Amino Acids that make up our DNA.

Researching into Laboratory practise in the Bioscience dept I came across many  rituals that scientists use in working with a PCR machine (they can be very temperamental).

As you can see from my previous post I spend a lot of time in Churches, restoring wall paintings and  I often look at the kneelers at lunch and tea breaks and think of the thought and time that goes into making, and using them. So I felt this was perhaps an interesting way to represent how both science and religion rely on rituals and habits in their daily activities. 

I have also made a series of paintings for the show which I will post up soon . I would like visitors to the show to use the kneelers to look at the paintings but I don’t think the Gallery is going to go for  it.. shame.

A question of expectation ?

'50 Blues' photo by  Kaarina Kaikkonen

’50 Blues’ photo by Kaarina Kaikkonen

Before  this disappears into the distant past I thought i would mention the ’50 Blues’ I made for my Fabrica residency – 50 blues painted out onto panels from Lapis Lazuli to a Bic Biro.

Were you disappointed with the intensity of blue from the most expensive blue? ……….I was. The ‘Fra Angelico’ Lapis Lazuli which is  nearly £200 for 10 g’s that I used, seemed less bright  than I was expecting. I was prepared for it being slightly less bright than I was imagining or have seen in paintings in the NG . I was prepared for this as I was painting it out onto a white ground, the Old Masters would have often underpainted with a stronger and brighter blue pigments such as  Smalt or  Azurite. I was not prepared for it to be as dark. I decided to  contact the pigment suppliers in Germany (Kremer) saying the above and this is their reply below:

‘I guess it is not a question of the raw material, but of expectation. Lapis lazuli never was and never will be as intense as a synthetic Ultramarine pigment. We do offer a quality of Lapis lazuli made from Lasurite crystals (10540). This is the most intense blue you can get from natural Lapis lazuli – but it is still paler than 10530 “fra angelico” blue.’

Lapis Panel in hand

Lapis Panel in hand

I have since been looking at the Lapis panel I painted out and the remaining pigment in its little jar and it has a  depth and subtly that all the other 49 panels do not have. Either we have lost the way to see pigments/colours  like this (are there any others?) and immediately go for the bright and garish (but surely the Old Masters would have killed for a bit of French Ultra) or is it me expecting more from 200 quids worth of blue pigment?

Blue buried



The roadside museum is burying 5 of my paintings, http://roadsidemuseum.blogspot.co.uk/ – a series of monochromes and text based paintings based on the code of ethics for conservators. The paintings will be buried for a year in acidic soil and then exhumed to be exhibited at the Museum after I have ‘restored’ them. I am interested in seeing the objective/ subjective dilemmas  restoring my own artworks, ( which hat do I wear? Conservator or Artist or both) hopefully  the code of ethics for conservators I have painted out will guide me, ( or what ‘s left of it !). I have chosen Ultramarine to paint with as it is particularly susceptible to acidity. Broken a few codes already I feel

code of ethics code of ethics