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STUDIO VISITS

We make regular visits to meet with and engage with those artists and makers we are interested to work with, whether that be for our pop up events or featuring their work for sale on our online showroom.

JUNE 2019: MOLLY THOMSON, ARTIST BASED IN NORWICH

Having studied sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art and completing an MA at the Royal College in painting MOLLY THOMSON has taught at Falmouth College of Art, Swindon College and been a visiting lecturer at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio, USA. More recently she was a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Norwich University College of the Arts. Maintaining and developing her practice throughout this period has led to exhibitions across the eastern region as well as nationally and internationally. We visited Molly at the end of June to find out more about her work.

Painting is a process of construction, reconfiguration, application, observation and assessment for Molly Thomson. It is a process she repeats until the point is reached when each individual painting achieves a balance between its painted surface and object presence. That point of balance is as individual as each painting, although on the face of it these are monochromatic paintings. A single carefully chosen colour creates a lush colour field. However, there is a surgical precision at work here.

Thomson cuts away material at the edges of her wooden panels. She slices through the substrate, shifting their presence on the wall from squared off regularity, toward being a one-off star of the show. The act of each cut lends a quiet ruthlessness to her paintings, registering a sharpening of intent. Once the form of the panel has been arrived at, Thomson applies tape to its edge to form a temporary barrier that she fills with liquid paint so that when dry, the surface maintains a pristine finish. This process is repeated for as many times as is deemed necessary, until the tape is removed revealing the chromatic layering that has built up over time.

Her colour choices are particular. They seem steeped in memory, often triggering deep-set associations for the viewer of long forgotten favourite things like a leather jacket, a much loved car, a piece of Tupperware, a bar of soap or some kitchen cabinets. The shape of the panel underscores the direction that the memory travels.

Thomson works serially on many panels at the same time, often linking ones that work together to create a diptych or drilling a hole or series of holes in the surface for the liquid paint to drain away, allowing the layer of colour underneath to show through the most recently applied layer of paint on top. These are subtle changes, yet they have an impact. Thomson works within these quite strict limits that she sets for herself and then pushes against those rules to produce hard won moments of colourful, calming, collected joy.

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MARCH 2019: JONATHAN CLARKE, SCULPTOR FROM SUFFOLK

Jonathan Clarke was born in 1961 in Suffolk, UK, where he continues to work today. At the age of 16 he took up an apprenticeship with his father, the sculptor Geoffrey Clarke (RA), and he began exhibiting his own sculpture in the early 1980s. He works in sand-cast aluminium, initially carving his sculpture in polystyrene. The ‘lost polystyrene’ method adopted by Jonathan means that each cast is a unique, one-off sculpture. He slices through a block of polystyrene with a hot wire, carving individual components with which to assemble the finished piece. The polystyrene is then buried in special moulding sand before the pure, molten aluminium is poured in. The polystyrene mould is instantly vaporised, leaving the aluminium cast to solidify in the sand.

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JANUARY 2019: CHECKING IN WITH THE YARMOUTH FOUR!

Davina, Paul and I had the treat of visiting 4 of the ‘Yarmouth 5’ artists in their studios in the docklands of Great Yarmouth. We spent a day with these great practitioners on Tuesday 29 January 2019. Here are some images of their stunning work.

First thing brought us to the studio space shared between Katarzyna Coleman and John Kiki. In the most beautifully melancholic way, Katarzyna captures the sculptural presence of Yarmouth's industrial buildings and roads with great softness and subtlety. Her paintings, drawings and mono prints are all full of the emotions and behaviour of individuals who remain intriguingly missing from her works.

Entering into the studio of artist John Kiki... By the time he finished his studies in 1967 at the Royal Academy of Art John Kiki had developed a unique style, a fusion between figurative painting, abstraction and Pop Art. Kiki's long career has included shows at the Royal Academy, Hayward and Serpentine Galleries in London.

Brüer Tidman produces canvases that are 'big' on visual impact bold, semi-abstracted and textured imagery, with a provocative use of colour. His paintings are emotional outpourings with a very distinctive style. His work remains in huge demand.

Our last, but certainly not least, appointment of the day was with sculptor Bridget Heriz. A native of Suffolk, Bridget has lived in Yarmouth for many years and loves to show visitors the sweep of the waterway from her top room with the huge ships providing a fantastic backdrop to her studio and home. Bridget works in bronze casting and balsa wood using the human form as her starting point.

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KATARZYNA COLEMAN

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JOHN KIKI

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BRUER TIDMAN

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BRIDGET HERIZ

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OCTOBER 2018: KATE GILES – ARTIST

We visited Kate Giles at the end of 2018. She grew up in Norfolk and having completed a degree in English at New College Oxford she trained at Camberwell and Falmouth Schools of Art. She has exhibited regularly ever since, in London, East Anglia and internationally. Her work focuses on a keen and intimate vision of the landscape in her native East Anglia.

Exhibitions have arisen from a variety of commissions and residencies (e.g. at The National Theatre, The Whitechapel Bell Foundry and Kazan Cathedral, St Petersburgh.) From 2005 she lived and worked in Suffolk (Butley Mills Studios) and now divides her time between studios in London and Norfolk. Her work was hung alongside that of Constable, Turner, Creffield and Kossoff in an exhibition at the Salisbury Museum running from September 2016 to March 2017.

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