Friday, 13 March 2020

20/20 New Beginnings

20/20 Collaboration #1  Mia Kukathasan & Rachelle Allen-Sherwood 2020
My goodness it has certainly been awhile since my last post! So many things have happened but the good news is I'm back and very happy to be here.  As this is also a new year, let me wish everyone a belated but happy and safe 2020.

To start the ball rolling, I've begun a new project, temtatively entitled "20/20". The aim is to complete and exhibit twenty collaborations by the end of this year while continuing to build up my studio work. Collab #1 was achieved late January at a lovely gallery called hARTslane. As part of their Italian residency exhibition, "Passaggiatina London"  I teamed up with sound artist Cleaver Boi (Mia Kukathasan) and we performed a piece depicting an improvisational dialogue between mark making and sound creation. (See finished result above) To view a short video of our performance, please click here. Our collaboration was brief but revelatory.. I now look forward to exploring more possibilities working with sound in the future.

Matthew working on collage at Tate Modern
 In February, I joined painter Matthew Randle at the Tate Modern to discuss Collab #2. As luck would have it, Tate was hosting a family activities event so we spontaneously joined in! We selected the collage activity as it was the least crowded and got busy creating work from cuttings, torn magazines and the myriad bits and pieces scattered around the room. The only downside was, we weren't allowed to paste anything down or take the work home! Everyone had to cut and lay out their compositions sans glue. A staff member would then come over, take a photograph and give a printed photo copy to the participant.....? Wha?? Whatever.

20/20 Non deliberation  M.Randle & R.Allen-Sherwood  Feb 2020
Matt and I spent most of the afternoon intensely absorbed, creating both individual and collaborative work. Here are two examples of the latter.The first collage was deliberately made with no plan, no intention and absolutely no attempt at composing. We tried but it was hard. What I learned in the end is that deliberately not composing is also a form of composition. We were being intentionally unintentional. It was an interesting exercise but we probably won't do that again. At least not together.
20/20 Then thoughtfully  M.Randle & R.Allen-Sherwood  Feb 2020
  The second collage was made 2 hours later but this time we did the opposite. We thought everything out carefully and discussed it beforehand. We laid pieces out and moved them about. In the end it all came together quickly despite the onerous process. All in all, it was a great, if exhausting experience. I learned a lot, as this was my first time to make collages. And Matt's a great collaborator. Shame about not being able to take work home but at least we have the photo evidence. And the memories.

See you next time!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Thoughts on Collaboration

Session 4        R & Z   Nov 2017
 I like doing things to challenge myself, which is probably why I enjoy doing collaborations with other artists. Not everyone feels the same. Some of my creative friends can't understand why I would willingly want to share my artistic journey with someone else. Unfathomable!

Session 1        R & Z  July 2017
Maybe one of the reasons is because - for me - collaboration is another way to engage in a deep and meaningful dialogue with another. A true creative connection can only be achieved if both parties are genuine and the relationship is honest. Trust, respect and clear boundaries are crucial for success.

Session 3       R & Z  Sept 2017

The images shown here are some of the results from a six month long collaborative project I did with a painter friend (who wishes to remain anonymous). Our project started around July 2017 and reached it's natural conclusion in early December. It was a good project in that I feel we both achieved our goal to stretch ourselves as artists and grow - a great way to end one year and start the next. I look forward to new and more exciting collaborative adventures in 2018. Happy New Year!

Session 1        R & Z  July 2017

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Interview with Rachelle Allen-Sherwood

The following excerpt is from a recent interview about my artistic process by Bridget Bekikg from the Kent MA Curators team at the University of Kent School of Arts. The interview will form part of a group project currently in the works. More will be revealed in a few weeks time. These accompanying images are from a live painting session I did last month in Margate with the talented b.supreme dancers from Brixton, London.

Bridget: The nature of your work is an ongoing process. What value does motion have in your work? And how does it relate to still pieces?

Rachelle: To me, without motion, there is no life; motion kind of equals living. So everything that is life moves, pretty much. But then if you think about it, even death is movement because when you die, you’re decomposing. That's active. There’s a constant movement going on. And then after that, when there is nothing, then all the invisible particles are moving around. So what I mean is... there’s no place without any movement so where is there stillness?

Actually, I think it’s an illusion. There is no stillness really. But stillness in our language means quietness or it means stopping. Stillness and motion are very fundamental to my work because I’m practising Japanese brushwork. It conveys present-ness through depicting space, there is something about that depth. When you look at Japanese calligraphy work, in traditional calligraphy you find a 3D depth that draws you in and keeps you calm. Or, it can also make you dance, so it has a very powerful aesthetic....

But it comes from a practice of stillness because on the basis of this lies the way the Japanese calligraphers learn their craft. They learn through practising meditation and doing certain repetitive movements over and over again. It’s the mental and spiritual training that keeps them still. And then, in that frame of mind, they move the brush....

It’s very important what motivates the work or what drives the work. But you know, I’m still working on how to clarify it all. So please ask me this question again 20 years later and I will tell you more then.

Bridget: How do you go about choosing a subject (for your work)?

Rachelle: Well, I think it’s more like the subject chooses me. It is like a subject chooses you and then it bites on to you and never lets go. I am interested in certain things and it just carries on; even now, 20 years later. Basically my main themes are still based on the idea of space.

I’m very interested in anything to do with a state of space, the philosophy of space. And you know space is limitless because when you go into space you’ve also got nothing. You can go into nothingness as well. I mean, I can be totally occupied for the rest of my life, it’s just something that I became passionate about and then I’ve stayed with it.

There is one more thing. Recently I’ve done some artworks that are not a regular thing for me as they’re more politically driven. The current world situation has got me so worried and my friends' anxieties also affect me. And so I decided to make some works to try to express those feelings.

Certain circumstances will affect my work, but generally I have certain themes, and I stay with them pretty consistently and as much as I can through the years.

*Interview with Artist Rachelle Allen-Sherwood 
by Bridget Bekikg   University of Kent MA Curators Team / 6 June 2017

*Note: All edits and corrections were made by Rachelle

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Time Waits For No Man

Looking at beautiful things is one of the ways I use to cope with what is happening in our world today. Because of my early years in Japan and my artistic interests I find it particularly satisfying to watch a skilled traditional calligraphy artist demonstating their craft. It is their sincerity, authenticity and skillfulness that inspires me.  

Japanese calligraphy artist Tomoko Kawao has all of these traits, plus she is beautiful to look at as well.. Her graceful mesmerising movements and consummate control of the unwieldy (and oftentimes heavy) ink brush, is a great pleasure to witness unfolding before our eyes. Somewhat akin to a many petaled lotus flower opening out in slow motion time-lapse. .

Additionally (an rather rarely in what is a mostly male dominated industry), her intermittent feminine aural outbursts of exertion adds an unmistakable dimension of sexuality into the already heady mix of 'delicate woman battles with massive ink brush on megasized paper" scenario..

The resultant phrase; "Time Waits for No Man" (or "Time Flies") comes to life at the very end for both the artist and the viewer, as we gently come out of a meditative trance and sit in the ensuing peacefulness together on the giant stage of life.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Dark Matter

"To Infinity & Beyond"         R.Allen-Sherwood  2017
This is not my usual style of art. Unusual work for unusual times. I have been making a series of small postcard sized collage/drawings as a way to cope with what's going on in the world. Maybe it could be called art therapy, I don't know. But it seems to help defuse some of this almighty rage I feel inside.

"How to be sure of Heaven"      R Allen-Sherwood 2017   
Rage is not my usual state of being. I don't like feeling helpless, hence the anger. Especially with the threat of a possible nuclear war looming over our heads. Perhaps this what now pushes me with a sense of urgency to " GET OUT THERE AND DO SOMETHING!"....even if it's a small something. And so I am making these art pieces from the depth of my soul. And I've recently created a new Facebook page Floodlights that I'd like to make into a collection of stories that inspire and give hope. These are some of the ways in which I am trying to tackle those dark clouds out there......

To all my friends be well, stay safe and don't be afraid. (As I run away screaming and pulling out my hair) See you next time.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Incantations, Tea & Biscuits

INORI (Prayer) from nobumichi asai on Vimeo.

Inori means prayer in Japanese. Produced and created by Nobumichi Asai, the concept behind this video is roughly about magical prayers overcoming the destructive nature of radioactive forces. The dancers showcasing this remarkable piece of high speed Face/Motion Mapping are the popular vogueing duo known as AYABAMBI. (You might have noticed them in Madonna's tour videos last year)

Face/Motion Mapping can be incredible to look at, but takes considerable effort to realise. It took three months to make this one minute and ten second second video clip. But oh, what a result.

With an increasingly unstable world around us, themes like these resonate with the viewer. Dark though the theme may be, it also offers us a way out of suffering ; incantations, incantations, incantations.

My personal magic potion is a strong cup of Earl Grey tea with biscuits. Works every time!


Thursday, 2 February 2017

VR Painting

The magic of virtual reality has many applications. Here is a nice one for immersive three dimensional drawings.. It's extremely interesting to think about how this could be applied to art exhibitions or interactive installations. And perhaps someday, with the continued improvement to 3D printing processes and holographic technology, we can probably expect some sort of combination which will give us real space 'print outs' of 3D drawings made in real time. 

American celebrity astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, says that our universe could be a simulation. Therefore we could all possibly be projected virtual beings to begin with, so this whole push into developing AR or AI etc could be due to our need to leave some kind of legacy behind? If that even has a chance of turning out to be true, then what is one to make of something like Donald Trump?

Stay safe and well. See you soon.