A Portable, Pop-up Revolution

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case complete

After Delacroix:  “Liberty Leading the People”

The original painted as a celebration of the July revolution of 1830 in France, the essence of which was the replacement of hereditary right by the principle of popular sovereignty.

Liberty [lost]

In 1990, I had a solo show at the Black Bull Gallery, a large, well appointed space above a pub on the Fulham Road in Chelsea. This show comprised about 45 collages constructed of small torn fragments of paper which at viewing distance mixed optically in the manner of mosaics. One of the works was a small copy of Eugene Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People”. This work was subsequently lost and its whereabouts are now unknown.

I revisited Delacroix’s captivating work in 2007 with a version measuring 62x77cm

liberty2

 

There was something vaguely dissatisfying about this copy. The beauty of the original is the layering of the central figures in illusionistic space, from the dead revolutionary and soldier in the foreground, to the symbolic figure of Liberty above and behind her fellow comrades.

I decided upon a further version which would emphasise this layering, by isolating the main figures  in physical space in separate planes. These would be spaced in the manner of a pop-up book or theatre set mock-up. I wasn’t sure of the type of housing I would use for the piece  before I began..

My favoured material of choice for collage work is high quality, glossy full coloured printed matter to be found in lavish lifestyle magazines of which Elle, Cosmopolitan and Vanity Fair are examples.

I am not a subsciber to any of these; they do not fit my template for living. however, I have been supplied a steady stream of  such material from students and friends. The magazines were initially simply a material resource; now their content has become an important thematic component of the artworks.

This version was decidedly not merely a transcription of a favourite painting, but something of a call to arms [or rather, arts] against conspicuous consumption; an artistic toppling of the topmost pinnacles of western luxury capital. My aim was to recycle their always profligate and perennially bland imagery and convert it to some alternative and contrary view of the world.

There is something rather satisfying in deconstructing the cliched imagery of bland conspicuous consumption and turning its shallow message of surface attractiveness upon itself. Any project in which I can replace the background smoke of cordite and gunpowder with offerings from Faberge, Chanel #5 and Givenchy is enough to ignite my interest.

My protagonists trample across ruins formed of photoshoots located in Paris, Barcelona, Prague; places which resonate in the shared memory of our political conscience.Designer and antique furniture which once provided  background for fashion plates have been ripped out of context and affixed beside shattered mirrors from Versailles and jewellery by Cartier. The stonework and architectural details were piled up from a variety of country estates which have thus far evaded their fair share of capital gains taxes.

Liberty

Liberty is clothed by Burberry, Dior and Gucci; her tricolour is stitched together from studio backdrops and wedding extravaganzas.Her comrades are outfitted by Prada, YSL and Hugo Boss [ironically, the producers of that little black number, the Nazi SS uniform].

barricades

The corpses in the foreground comprise fragments from posturing supermodels; their preposterous vogueings brought to an end against the barricades.

street fighting

 

National Geographic offered up some glimpses of the real world. Images of street fighting in the Middle East were applied with little modification.

case closed

the suitcase itself is of late 1950’s vintage. Cheap and cheerful,it never witnessed a revolution; it commuted as far as several boarding houses in Bridlington and provided carriage on two trips to Oostende, before being phased out of active service to  accommodate my father’s accumulation of football programmes in the attic. Its unprepossessing appearance suggested a mental picture of a travelling salesman offering up revolution on the suburban doorstep, rather than the toilet brushes and kitchenware such a case might carry during the 1960’s…

case complete

The collage layers were hinged using book cloth and strung together to rise with the lifting of the suitcase lid. A portable, pop-up revolution…

The Portable Revolution can be viewed at:

“SMILE” Square Pegs exhibition                                                                                               the Cric Studio Gallery, Crickhowell                                                                                    4th-9th September 2017       10-5pm daily.     Admission free

 

 

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Artist Interrupted

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Ibbitson Glenn Artist Interrupted Rozanne Hawksley

Artist Interrupted; a Portrait of Rozanne Hawksley

I moved to West Wales from London in 2004. Like many incoming artists [and there are plenty of them here,] I expected a local tradition of landscape painting anchored to hillside and coast. These I found in abundance in numerous exhibitions and galleries. What I hadn’t expected was the impact made by two conceptual  assemblages comprising stitch-work, bone, paint and fabric. They expressed feelings of grief and loss; of conflict and compassion. Big, human themes. I sought out the artist, Rozanne Hawksley.

Beware meeting your idols. Yes, perhaps, but I have been very fortunate in my encounters. The great Bill Bowes of ‘Bodyline’ renown proved a gentle, dignified giant of a man; Sir Peter Blake was as affable as if we had known each other for years. Similarly, Rozanne Hawksley was everything I hoped she would be. Talented, articulate, witty and generous with her time and criticism. We developed a close rapport, to the point where I was eventually invited to her studio. Here was a store room of source materials; fabrics, animal bones, old nails, beads; organised in trays and boxes, all to serve her visual purposes. I asked then if I might be able to paint her portrait sometime in this environment.

I made several preliminary drawings over four sessions as she worked on her latest piece [based on Handel’s funding of the Chelsea foundlings hospital]. Because I didn’t want to impede her progress, I also made a video. The combination of sketch and film stills provided me with the foundation I required. I was able to interpret one particular frame, where one of my questions had struck a nerve; her dialogue with her work momentarily interrupted…

I framed her image on the canvas with four ‘still-lifes’ representing four preoccupations which creep through her art; conflict, catholicism and loss of belief, natural form, and gender bias based on craft skills.

The relative obscurity in which Roz currently operates prompts the question: just how many other artists of genuine merit remain undiscovered by the contemporary art scene? How many creative voices remain unheard by today’s influential critics and curators who are intellectually hamstrung by a belief that the provinces are a state of mind and not simply a geographical entity, and who are thereby incapable of looking at anything beyond either the M25 or our solipsistic art education system?

Do seek out Roz Hawksley’s artwork. It is individual, innovative and has something profound to say about the human condition. It is not flashy or ‘fast’; it doesn’t give you an immediate hit with no follow up. [add an example of critically supported art from the Brit-brat of your choice here.]  Rather, it repays repeat viewings, offering up that little bit more with each encounter. Visual art really doesn’t get much better than this…

Artist Interrupted can be viewed as part of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists‘ 2017 Portrait prize show until Saturday 19th of August

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Art Rooms.org: London 2018

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An online vote for inclusion in a show set within the elegance and glamour of the Meliá White House, ARTROOMS is an interactive showcase of today’s most thought-provoking artists.

Glenn Ibbitson Art Rooms

My submission details can be found by following the link below:

https://art-rooms.org/application/ibbitson/

“Artist Interrupted: a portrait of Rozanne Hawksley” @RBSA

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I am delighted to have been notified that my portrait of Rozanne Hawksley has been selected for The forthcoming RBSA Portrait Prize Exhibition 2017

Ibbitson Glenn Artist Interrupted Rozanne Hawksley

“Artist Interrupted; a portrait of Rozanne Hawksley”

oil on canvas  with copper wire, feathers and iron nails.          112x91cm

“Shortly after moving West Wales in the early 2000’s, I came across two assemblages by Rozanne Hawksley. My initial response was that here were the products of a first-rate intelligence. My second musing was why I had not seen her art back in London when I was living there. Why, in a lean period for British art -all seductive surface but gravitas-light, had her name not been regularly heralded in the [inter]national art press? Hers is a body of work which authoritatively identifies what it means to be human, through meditations on love and loss, bereavement and grief, who investigates the drive toward conflict and the desire for peace. This moral, principled and humane artist questions Christianity and its validity in the 21st Century by turning its own artillery of fetishism and ritual on itself. All this is achieved without sermonising, through powerful, memorable visual imagery comprising stitch-work, bone, paint and fabric. These elements are manipulated and transformed to serve a new purpose, akin to the evolutionary process of preadaptation in nature. Hawksley is undoubtedly an artist whose work will, in time, be elevated to its rightful level in the history of art. The relative obscurity in which she currently operates prompts the question: just how many other artists of genuine merit remain undiscovered by the contemporary art scene? How many creative voices remain unheard by today’s influential critics and curators who are intellectually hamstrung by a belief that the provinces are a state of mind and not simply a geographical entity, and who are thereby incapable of looking at anything beyond either the M25 or our solipsistic art education system?”

Glenn Ibbitson: ‘Consignment’

Nant Publishing      ISBN: 978-0-9563567-2-7

Exhibition 27 July — 19 August 2017. RBSA Gallery is open 7 days a week and is free entry. Group visits are welcome. If you would like to book a group visit or tour, please contact natalie@rbsa.org.uk.

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Heads: works in progress

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a Glenn ibbitsonb Glenn ibbitsonc Glenn ibbitsond Glenn ibbitsone Glenn ibbitsonf Glenn ibbitson
All works in progress:
Screenprint and freehand acrylic on canvas       All A1 size
The image derives from self-portraits drawn from a mirror, and then reworked  paintings onto acetate sheets. The acetates were transferred directly onto the silkscreen using a photo-sensitive emulsion. The acrylic colour backgrounds were applied through a worn, partially blocked screen producing a range of diagnostic marks and reflecting the weave of the cotton duck canvas. Details are picked out freehand with brushwork.
By using the familiarity of self-portraiture, I am free to concentrate here on a proliferation of surface mark-making achievable only with the medium of  serigraphy.

RBSA: Friends Exhibition 2017

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Delighted to have two paintings from the ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ series accepted for

Royal Birmingham Society of Artists
Friends Exhibition 2017

Glenn Ibbitson RBSA

‘Horus, the Magician’ and ‘the Emerald Archer’    both oil on canvas; each 122 x 92cm

RBSA29 June — 22 July 2017
RBSA Gallery
4 Brook Street
Birmingham
B3 1SA

Monday to Friday 10:30am – 5:30pm
Saturdays 10:30am – 5:00pm
Sundays 1pm – 5:00pm

Admission – Free

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Nant Studios: Ceredigion Art Trail 2017

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Nant Studios, showing the work of Glenn Ibbitson and Carole King are again opening to the public as part of the Ceredigion Art Trail 2017.

A wide range of work in a variety of media. Works will be for sale and prices for original artworks begin at £10

12th August  ~ 28th-August

For full details, follow the links below.

http://ceredigionarttrail.org.uk/2017-directory/carole-king

http://ceredigionarttrail.org.uk/2017-directory/glenn-ibbitson