Newlight Art Prize @ Bankside, London


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27 June 2018 – 1 July 2018

Situated on the South Bank in central London and sitting next door to Tate Modern, it is just a bridge away from the City.

Open daily 11am to 6pm – Free Entry

Thames Riverside, 48 Hopton Street, London SE1


Radnorshire Open Art Exhibition


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Radnorshire Museum Open Art Exhibition
15th -30th June 2018. preview 14th June 4-7pm. All welcome

Radnor Museum: Temple St, Llandrindod Wells LD1 5DL


Wednesday 10am–4pm
Thursday 10am–4pm
Friday 10am–4pm
Saturday 10am–4pm
Sunday Closed
Monday Closed
Tuesday 10am–4pm


radnor poster

“Shortlist”: Saul Hay Gallery, Manchester


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A selection of work from artists featured in the New Light Art Prize 2017-18.

9th June – 22nd July 2018

Preview: Friday 8th June 6 – 8.30pm


RBSA: Prize Exhibition 2018


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Barcode: Profiling       oil on canvas    74x90cm

has been accepted for inclusion in the RBSA Prize Exhibition 2018

Exhibition on show at the RBSA Gallery, 4 Brook Street, St Paul’s, Birmingham, B3 1SA

Thursday 10 May – Saturday 23 June

Gallery open Monday to Friday 10.30am-5pm, Saturday 10.30am-5pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm. Closed on Bank Holidays.

Tel. 0121 236 4353    E-mail.       Website.

The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) is an artist-led charity which supports artists and promotes engagement with the visual arts. It owns the RBSA Gallery in the Jewellery Quarter. Visit us to find out how you can exhibit with us, take part in adult, family friendly or school workshops, watch free art demonstrations by practising artists, buy original pieces of art or craft and much more… Admission free, donations welcome.

New Light Art @Huddersfield Art Gallery


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A chance to see some of the North’s finest artists in one of the North’s finest galleries.
From the hyperreal to the purely abstract, from printmaking to sculpture, this high-profile open exhibition celebrates contemporary artists from all corners of the North of England.


Exhibition continues until 2 June 2018
Open Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 4pm
Princess Alexandra Walk, Huddersfield, HD1 2SU
Free Entrye

Click Here for Exhibition Catalogue


Orwell Symposium @ Goldsmiths


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target-against-the-wallThe Orwell Society are holding a symposium at Goldsmiths College, London on Wednesday 30th May 2018. Through their generosity, I have been invited to present the “Room 103” project. This will take the form of a half-hour slide show of work by participating artists, followed by a period of questions and observations from the floor. The Society are also kindly arranging space for a table-top presentation of examples of artists’ work, which will comprise original prints and books. The auditorium has a capacity of 250. In keeping with the ethos of the man under discussion, the event is free to members of the public and all are welcome. Further details to follow.

The Orwell Society blog is a wealth of essays on aspects of Orwell’s life and work.

and can be found on Facebook                  

Note to artists: If Orwell’s writings have influenced your work, now is the time to contribute something to this site, as the symposium will be a perfect opportunity to present your work to a knowledgeable audience who share your interest. See guidelines on front page of the “Room 103” blog.

Something for the Weekend..


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b“Design for Living”

It is a design classic. It’s simplicity of form perfectly matches its intimate function. often used; rarely perused… My aim here was to make something of an icon from a cheap, mundane, everyday essential.

The oblique references accompanying each drawing relate not only to the condom and its intended purpose, but also the drawing techniques employed. Their mis-registrations and mis-spellings create double meanings to represent those frequent breakdowns in communication between lovers. Although the titles of the work perhaps reflect a certain cynicism regarding the rituals of sexual courtship, I hope the pictures may elicit the same knowing smile which greets the emergence of a condom, fresh from its package…

All drawings  charcoal and fixative on watercolour paper    75 x 52cm

[This suite of drawings was first shown as “Little Friends” at Alternative Art Galleries, Chiltern St. London W1.     1-25th Feb. 1995]

Glenn Ibbitson cause and effect“Cause and Effect”


Glenn Ibbitson deception“Deception”


Glenn Ibbitson everyday users“Means to an End”


Glenn Ibbitson Intention“Motivation”


Glenn Ibbitson Passing fancy“Passing Fancy”

Glenn Ibbitson shape of desire“Intent”


Glenn Ibbitson The Real Thing“The Real Thing”


Glenn Ibbitson using a rubber“Using a Rubber”


Glenn Ibbitson Contradiction in terms“A Visual Oxymoron”  [drawing fixed through perforated zinc, then erased]


Self Portrait Screenprints: Jan 2018


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“Green to Blue” : seven layer serigraph on A2            ed.1/1

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“Green Self” : seven layer serigraph on A2            ed.1/1

Glenn Ibbitson 3

“Framed” : seven layer serigraph on A1            ed.1/1

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“Ozymandias” : seven layer serigraph on A1            ed.1/1

A Canterbury Tale: 1944.  Powell and Pressburger


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1 The world is divided into those who, when someone mentions ‘the Archers’, think of BBC Radio Four’s interminable ‘everyday story of inbred folk’, and those others who bring to mind the logo of the production company which propelled the cinematic genius of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger to the screen. My favourite P&P film is almost invariably the latest one I have revisited, though ‘A Canterbury Tale’ always hovers close to the top of the list.

Why? One example of its visual power. Put a group of cineastes in a room and sooner rather than later, they will refer to one of the most iconic transformation shots in cinema: Stanley Kubrick’s use of a shard of bone to journey forward from a pre-history of violent savagery to a space shuttle in mid- commute in 2001. It is possibly Kubrick’s most memorable piece of editing. Yet  in ‘A Canterbury Tale’, Powell presents a smoother, and far more poetic transformation shot. It catapults us from Chaucer’s Fourteenth Century,  forward to 1940’s wartime England, by transforming a hunting kestrel into a stooping Supermarine Spitfire.

The watching falconer becomes an army sentry.

The ‘Kubrickisti’ at this point look down at their shoes and shuffle self-consciously, realising their demigod has been caught with his fingers in the film splicer….

But there is so much more to ACT. [Followers of P&P tend to refer to their treasures by acronyms] This is perhaps the most genre defying piece of cinematic poetry ever made with the commercial cinema in mind. In written description it seems to be a mass of contradiction.

It’s plot driver is a petty criminal, but this is not a crime thriller.

It is very much a war film played out in a landscape populated with troops, but no shots are fired. [The only violent battle scene takes place between pre-teen children.]

9 It is based on a classic of English [world] literature, but only loosely.

There is not so much as a kiss, but an atmosphere of febrile sexuality pervades almost every frame.

It identifies human decency derived from a shared language, but the use of which is frequently divergent in meaning.

It is a timeless story story set in a specific location at a particular point in time. Four people and landscape, each bearing the indelible marks of their past record.

The film is, like life itself, fairly plotless; a capture of an episode in the lives of four people who pursued lives before this point and will continue them after we have left them.

The plot device is mundanity itself. Someone is going around pouring glue into the hair of young girls, under the cover of darkness. The ‘Glue Man’s’ crime is of a low priority [and somehow very English in its eccentricity], and in no way comparable with the crimes against humanity being perpetrated across the nearby Channel. The film will not develop into a manhunt feature; the culprit is revealed to the audience within the first twenty minutes or so. Not so much a ‘Whodunnit’ as a ‘Whydunnit’. It is the motivation for the glue assaults which is important. Here, subtext is everything.

The script was a response to the contemporary situation in wartime England. With the entry of the United States into the war, plans to liberate Europe depended on the use of England as a physical springboard. In preparation for a ground offensive, a massive influx of US armed forces personnel were by 1943, “over-paid, over-sexed and over here”.

Figures in authority at any time are suspicious of those younger and more virile than themselves and attribute moral irresponsibility to their condition. Wartime England, its population boosted by American servicemen had more hormonal youth than could be easily controlled from above. Worse, this young immigrant service force were affluent. They brought with them all things modern – dance music, consumer treats and perhaps also a more ‘sophisticated’ or permissive philosophy, with which to impress a young indigenous female population awakened to its own mortality by the  casualties of war around them. Any subsequent increase in the rate of pregnancies out of wedlock would create frictions between both the generations and the Old and New World allies and might sap the joint war effort.

The film presents two approaches to this problem. ‘The Glue Man’ proposes to counter this threat to the social fabric through the technique of aversion therapy. Any girl ‘stepping out’ with servicemen on a date is a target for a glue-pouring attack. His hope is to turn young minds away from carnal thoughts towards the more intellectually rewarding pursuit of historical study. This enthusiastic consumer of Ryman adhesive supplies happens to be a Justice of the Peace and a pillar of the local community.

P&P’s solution is to trust in common decency: social intercourse and mutual accommodation built on the foundation of a common language. As words on paper, this reads like an Anglo-American bridge-building propaganda exercise. What they present is actually a very acute series of social details which provide points of connection. A central scene here is when two characters from different nations, generations and occupations discover that they fall back on a shared pool of knowledge of wood types and woodworking techniques.

Such connections are counter-intuitively reinforced by the divergences the nations have occasionally made from the common pathway. The American officer discovers that the English speaking peoples have different words for currency and grocery stores. Different measurements for town and river size. Radically different police methods and telephone systems. Military stripes which follow opposite directions of travel symbolise the deviations from the common cause -but also represent the small scale of these differences within the broader scheme. By the end of the film, even 50% of the film’s American contingent have succumbed to the pleasure of tea-drinking!

Always give a film a viewing before referring to an online movie critique site. ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ presents some interesting and widely divergent views, which might, on balance, just usher a potential viewer away from this gem [though seen as a ‘small’ film, one must invest two hours in it]  towards more easily digestible commercial fare. However, guest reviewer there, “Brian R.” in his critique of February 2011 succinctly describes the film thus:

“By today’s standards it is slow-paced, almost meditative. Four disparate characters follow the Pilgrims’ Way to Canterbury Cathedral (symbolic of the spiritual journeys being made by the people of a country at war) and receive unexpected blessings.The Kent countryside is glorious and is allowed to speak for itself, but the most visually impressive thing is Art Director Alfred Junge’s recreation in the studio of the interior of Canterbury Cathedral. The acting from the four leads is brilliant, with real life American G.I. Sergeant John Sweet outstanding as Bob Johnson.”

I concur wholeheartedly with his assessment of John Sweet’s performance. Portman, Price and Sim are always going to be reliable and entertaining fellow travellers, but how adventurous the decision to cast a non-actor in the central male role. Powell had initially hoped to use Burgess Meredith, already an actor of note. Though a fine talent, he would have impregnated the role with a degree of off-screen personality and worldly wisdom. Thanks to US Army bureaucracy, Powell instead had to use an amateur he had seen in a Red Cross production and the result produces an anchor of realism for a soaring, almost mystical portrayal of a nation at the crossroads of history.  In his acting inexperience, Sweet imbues Sgt. Bob Johnson [from Oregon] with his own gaucheness and naivety, being himself a young man adrift in surroundings most unlike his native Minnesota. He knows nobody, he struggles with everyday objects [his battle with the telephone actually took him 23 takes to get it right], the ‘blackout’ rules and the Inn’s breakfast protocol.110

Frustration gradually develops into enchantment with this alien culture with roots which, he is reminded by station master Charles Hawtrey, travel deeper back through time well beyond Columbus’ ‘discovery’ of the New World. He experiences this epiphany largely because he makes an effort with the local people; Wheelwrights, children and his fellow ‘pilgrims’. He called upon his own experience to refine his performance, for example, “a scene sitting in a farm cart lamenting the lack of letters from my girl friend back home. Now it just so happens that I myself was in a no-mail-from-my-wife slump and when I talked about my loneliness it came out on the film quite real and life like. Where, said director, did you find this sudden       mastery ?…. despite the edge of sarcasm, I needed and welcomed the compliment.” 2                   Sweet’s wholesome good nature was not simply screen persona. He received $2,000 from the film company. US Army regulations ruled that any extra-curricular pay must be donated to a charity.  He elected to give the full sum to the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People. Coming from a native of Minnesota and enlisted in an army which had imposed a rigid colour bar within its own institutions, this was a profound gesture and fully vindicated Powell’s reading of human nature.3

At an upstate New York film festival, someone asked this humble man about the effect of the film on his career – was there a fan club? He said he received a total of three fan letters from three lonesome British servicewomen. 4

In return for his invaluable contribution to the film, the production and the corner of England which provided its location shoot rewarded ‘pilgrim’ Sweet his own blessing; ”The few months I spent making the film were the most profound and influential of my life”.5

My personal favourite moment? Everything here is a pleasure, but the sequence which moves me closer to tears with every viewing is when Alison returns to the caravan which she shared with her fiance on a prewar archeological excavation. he is now lost in action. This conduit for her memories of him is decaying before her eyes. Her revulsion at the flight of the clothes moths emerging from his coat and into the light, is moving beyond words.

15And then…. her blessing is awarded and in an unexpected form…                           watch and be delighted.





A Pilgrim’s Return by Nick Burton and Eddie McMillan. This documentary is featured in the Criterion Collection DVD



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Earlier this year, as an exhibitor at the PAGES book and book-art weekend at the Tetley in Leeds, I attended a presentation by graphic designer Frazer Muggeridge about the implementation of retro technologies as drivers of contemporary design. He referred in passing to an obscure but striking lettering system from the inter-war period. I e-mailed him later for further information and he kindly directed me to the “Wrico Lettering Guide”; patented in 1926 and widely marketed by 1950’s by THE WOOD-REGAN INSTRUMENT CO. INC. of NEW YORK.

I trawled the internet, contemplating a purchase, but incomplete boxes from USA cost upward of £60 as they are now considered collectable. Besides, I wanted flexibility of scale  so that I could apply a system to my larger scale paintings. A set of rules and templates to transfer shapes on to A4 sheets would be of little use to me.

My idea was to create my own variation based on the shapes of the negative spaces to create characters by inference. The importance of ‘negative space’ -the shapes of the gaps or voids created between two or more corporeal elements, is one of the fundamental [and more interesting] principles of abstract art and design. Emphasis on these empty spaces would produce latent characters; hidden in clear sight, a notion close to any illusionist’s heart.

American Typewriter bold

I wanted to create a font using  American typewriter bold as a foundation. Why choose this? I am of an age when my educational theses, my mailed letters and later the scripts and running schedules I worked to professionally, were all typed; either by manual or electronic mechanical typewriters. It is still, to me, the most beautiful and evocative of fonts; even though in its current derivation, it is no longer a slab serif.*

anatomy of typography

Enclosed voids or closed counters provide specific identities for the following lower case letters:        a e g o

Open counters could indicate the presence of:     c h k m n s u v w y    Some of these gave a particularly striking arrowhead pointing in different directions.

However, to separate b d p and q from each other, I would need to provide further information; some element of ‘positivity’. Terminals, or finials [font nomenclature varies depending on source] are a visually satisfying characteristic of American Typewriter, those comma-like flourishes at the ends of some letters.  These I decided to incorporate. to differentiate ascenders and descenders. They also gave me r with its finial, referred to endearingly as an ‘ear’. If terminals could be applied, I could combine a dot to identify j and this could also give me i and a full stop.  An exclamation mark? Add a positive ‘cap’, fading out from the top line. This could also identify l.

If I introduced such a fade-out I could see a way of identifying t and x. Fading effects pose a difficulty on a font. They run counter to the central concept of legibility through contrast and solidity. But this is a ‘code’ designed by an artist, a painter whose trade specialises in blending, grazing across and nuancing surfaces. My application would be through means transmitted by pen, pencil and brush. My motivation is to add another element to my visual armoury. Consequently, I decided to use the negative space around the point where the t crossbar cuts across the stem. This created four right-angled triangles pointing to a central point on the mean line and fading out to the edges of a square.

x is created in the same way, but  rotated 45 degrees on the character line.

z could be created in the same way [though not having yet used this letter, I am tempted to use a simple solid diagonal stroke simply on the grounds that it is so visually powerful].

The first example was posted online on December 9th 2017, using Facebook as a sounding board.

Happy Birthday

After a day eliciting no responses, I was pleased that viewers began to engage with this visual puzzle…


The font will be applied to a forthcoming suite of drawings and paintings with a working title: “Landscapes of Betrayal”

*a slab serif (also called mechanistic, square serif, antique or Egyptian) typeface is a type of serif typeface characterized by thick, block-like serifs                                               Typewriter slab serif typefaces are named for their use in strike-on typewriting. These faces originated in monospaced format with fixed-width, meaning that every character takes up exactly the same amount of horizontal space. This feature is necessitated by the nature of the typewriter apparatus.