Brockley Open Studios 2008 round-up

As promised, here's a round-up of the Brockley Open Studios 2008, kindly penned by BC regular Brockley Sarah...


Lets get the confessions out of the way first - this is in fact our third year attending the Open Studios, and we have kept notes on each year's entrants! Dedicated to the cause, hey?!

We were certainly not disappointed with the standard of art on show. Don't forget that not only do the featured artists pay to exhibit, they allow complete strangers to roam freely about their studios and on many occasions their own homes!

We can't give all the artists involved a mention, as we'd be here for sometime, but here are some highlights:

A Toni McGreachan piece

Our first stop was Toni McGreachan with her Subbuteo inspired canvasses and local Lido studies. Her work showed such skill and surely found many admirers over the course of the weekend.

Martin Davidson's work is quite unique, as he prints on his own exquisitely handmade paper. Some might see paper making as being a little staid, but Martin's bold imagery and clever compositions will soon win you over.

Open Studios wouldn't be right without the usual suspects, such as Biddy Bunzl's candy coloured canvases that adorn her incredibly inspiring home.

No 42 & 94 Manor Ave always put on a fantastic show, especially Jeff Soan's hugely tactile wooden creatures, and we would have gladly given one of Julia Darke's beautifully crafted wooden dogs a home! Mimi Soan also deserves a mention with her kooky Tim Burton-esque portraits and knitted characters.

Julia Darke's work      Mimi Soan's art

Nobuo Okawa's studio is a real treat, as we were given a full tour and instructions on how his painfully intricate work is produced.

Ruth de Monchaux is an absolute must. We are now proud owners of two of her prints and every time we've been there her studio is bursting with visitors. And we know it isn't just the great selection of drinks and nibbles on offer that tempt the crowds!

Jolyon Dupuy's work
Finally we most certainly have saved the best 'til last! What a thrill to enter Jolyon Dupuy's garden on such a stunning summer's evening. Every inch of his house is adorned with fabulous 'beings' that have been constructed from found objects. The success of his art is that all of his pieces work so beautifully together. The best way to describe our experience was as if we'd snuck behind the stage of an exciting new theatre production, with all the props and costumes ready for action.


For more information on all the artists mentioned and links to their own websites, go to the Open Studios website.

41 comments:

Tressillian James said...

I wonder how many of our homes are adorned by art picked up on a trip around the Open Studios? - I have a Ruth de Monchaux print of a thrush in a tree, and a Nobuo Okawa ketch in pencil of a nude. When I was renting here the Open Studios was another strong reason that made me want to buy.

Hugh said...

The swimmer is superb. Is that a photo or painting? If I were pretentious I'd mention Hockney.

Headhunter said...

What about Leo Stevenson? Love that big painting he has of the Docklands from Hilly Fields, reminiscent of some Dutch master. It was on sale last year as well, but it's £5000, a little more than I was willing to chuck at it. Last year he actually told me he didn't really want to sell it as it took so much work and he uses it as a demo piece.

I note though he still hadn't finished the huge painting of the Concorde/Red Arrows fly by from the Golden Jubilee - come on Leo! I expect it to be finished when I come over next year...

The Brockley Telegraph said...

I rather like the swimmer pic!

Danja said...

What's happened to the recent comments - is it just me, or have the google ads obliterated them?

max said...

I couldn't see them either on Firefox, switching to Safari it's all in place though.

max said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Headhunter said...

Yeah they've vanished..... Anyone out there?

Brockley Kate said...

Yes, Jon knows about the comments function being buggered (I believe that's the technical Web term ...)
Apparently it's something to do with source code. We've got to sacrifice one of our readers to the God of Technology. Anyone wanna volunteer?

The Brockley Telegraph said...

I was thinking the same. I have safari on my iPhone, still no recent comments *sigh*.

Ok, just to keep everyone awake. I received an email back from one of the telegraph hill clrs trying to sort out two things; 1. Getting a community noticeboard established somewhere in west brockley and 2, recognized area for west brockley.

Does anyone have any preferences to what we should 'officially' call west brockley? I.e st catherines, west brockley, centre of the universe etc..

Nick, if you're reading this maybe this would warrant a poll when I get some further information?

@hh, 1. Do you cycle in winter to work and 2. How do you keep your body warm, I.e is it recommended to wear some sort of thermals?

Danja said...

I can think of a volunteer.

Headhunter said...

Yes I cycle all year round. I don't find I need anything as extreme as thermals, just a zip up top and lycra or trackie bottoms. You soon warm up whilst cycling, even in the winter

The Brockley Telegraph said...

ok, thanks.

Moira said...

There's a community noticeboard on the west entrance to Brockley station, run by the BCAG. Contact them if you want anything put up.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

its in the wrong place. People arnt putting up notices there but instead putting them on trees further away from the station. There is no contact number on the board, so that could be the problem. In addition its full of official train information so doesn't look like a community board at all.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a perfect opportunity for you to take it on then.

Tressillian James said...

HH, Bea - Kyo wa shigoto no tame ni chotto murri mitai. Gomenasai -

Bea said...

OK - TJ, HH hokka no hi itkitai ka? Raishu no kayobi no hachiji doo?

lb said...

"I wonder how many of our homes are adorned by art picked up on a trip around the Open Studios"

Probably very few? My own flat is 'adorned' with cheap reproductions of stuff by Samuel Palmer, Paul Klee, Alfred Stieglitz, Eric Ravilious, Patrick Heron, etc.

I wasn't able to say I ate their crisps, but what the hell, I spent hardly anything and at least I don't have to look at dreary sub-Cezanne / Rothko / Dufy hack-work on my walls.

By the way, if anyone wants to see some real art by a major British artist, the current NPG exhibition is an absolute killer.

jon s said...

Not supporting local art exactly, but easyart.co.uk do framed and unframed prints of the masters and more ecclectic stuff. I have a Monet and a Degas in matching frames.

The swimmer does look nice, I wouldn't mind a local artist doing monet inspired art on the skyline of the city of London.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

or my cats

Tressillian James said...

Yes LB some of it is amatuer, but not all. The British Museum has purchased some of Nobuo Okawa's work for its print collection, for example.

Not quite sure why you took issue with the word 'adorned'?

I don't look at sub-hack work on my walls either - the stuff I've picked up at Open Studios goes very well with the Foujita, D*Face, Aya Takano, Klee, Faile, Isherwood and other stuff I have.

Anyway I was kind of interested in which other local artists others at BC rated.

Bea said...

I have a couple of items on my walls from Open Studios both of which came in under £50. One a watercolour sketch of a nude by Mary Tambini and the other a woodblock print by someone else whose name I can’t remember. I think that’s a reasonable price to pay for a unique item that I enjoy looking at on a daily basis.

lb said...

I had no real issue with the word 'adorned', I was just drawing attention to what was on my walls.

I have to say I think based on what I've seen I'd agree Nobuo Okawa is one of the best, and most original, of the artists involved. I find a lot of the other stuff is undistinguished; it's not so much that it's amateur, it just doesn't say anything other artists haven't already said, more powerfully, before - this is what I meant by hack-work. It's pleasant, but no more than that. Fair enough if people want to shell out to buy it, but as I said I'd rather spend less and get something incredible, even if it is just an incredible reproduction.

Pete said...

All I have to say is that I want a wooden dog.

Brockley Kate said...

Yay, comments are fixed, thanks Jon!

Brockley Nick said...

I would like to speak up for the wobbly wooden chickens on Manor Ave. I would be very happy for my house to be adorned by one.

As one little boy on the tour said when he saw the wooden animal carvings:

"Now THIS is art."

Headhunter said...

Bea, TJ - Raishyuu no kayoubi, hachi-ji ni, daijoubu desu

lb said...

Anyone want to start commenting in Coptic? Ubykh? Judeo-Tat, perhaps?

Bea said...

LB – yea but art is subjective and what you may find incredible others may not and vice versa. It is my own personal, emotional response to a piece of art that makes me want to make space for it on my wall. You may find my taste mediocre but then I may react in the same way to your choices.

Tressillian James said...

I'll have a go at Aramaic

Headhunter said...

Is there even a typeface for Aramaic onyour computer?

Tressillina James said...

damn..I was just about to post the meaning of life..

Headhunter said...

Aramaic's great for discussing life, the universe and everything but computer says no...

Anonymous said...

art is only subjective if you choose not to try and understand anything about why 'art' is important or not, and indeed, educate your eye to appreciate something thats needs a bit of effort to 'understand' and perhaps enhance your subjectivity.

There is nothing that I have ever seen in the local open studios that would encourage (one) to look seriously at anything else.

Its just very average

Headhunter said...

We seem to be heading for a "what is art?" debate. Anon 17:37, why does art have to be all deep and meaningful and encourage you to go out and look more deeply at the world or "educate your eye". What's wrong with a pretty picture? I saw plenty of those during Open Studios.

Tressillian James said...

Anon - did you see Kaori Homma's stuff? or perhaps Paul de Monchaux? I'm not so sure you have the educated eye you think you have...

jon s said...

@Anon 17.37.

If you have to train yourself to "appreciate" art IMHO it isn't great. All great art is instantly recognisable as art (whether you like it or not) and has layers of hidden depths. Examples (not all of which I like) include Munch's the scream, Magrite's Son of Man, Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Mathew Bourne's Car Man...

Modern "conceptual" art is just lazy, chosing to ingore the need to be easily understood with hidden depths. You must educate yourself on its backgound to understand it, why?

Note: I'm being careful here not excluding anything from being art, merely classifying something as lazy.

Anonymous said...

you don't have to educate yourself to 'understand' art, far from it, but if you investigate in a methodical way, or even in an unmethodical way, you may find that there is far more to enjoy than first meets the eye, and you may gain a deeper knowledge of art that can lead to an appreciation of things that you had previously rejected.

Of course, if you're an educated philistine, you're going to enjoy Damien Hirst...

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't know much about art, but I am interested in bringing things I consider beautiful into my home.

I've got a Geoff Soan seal (freaked my cats out) from a few years back, and this year would have been very tempted by some of Mimi Soan's pictures if I hadn't already bought a huge Clarissa Porter painting, which I fell in love with at first sight.

I love the Open Studios. I don't find all of it inspiring by any means, but it's great to be able to visit the studios - I saw the pictures of swimmers first hand, and although they wouldn't belong on my walls, I'm glad to have had the opportunity to see them and meet the artist.

cath said...

Thanks for such a positive review of our garden with Jol's sculptures.
The link from Brockley Open Studios website doesn't work, so if anyone is interested our website is:-
www.jdsculpture.co.uk
many thanks

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