WOOFISM and beyond

Category: painting (Page 1 of 2)

Studio Diary M.A. : That’s all folks and a chapter on Moogee

Surprise of the week was news that Moogee had his own chapter in a new Loughborough/UAL/Teachers Columbia publication 🙂

TTDfront moogee


This is the final entry in the studio diary section as I will be assessed on my M.A. this Wednesday afternoon. To prepare for this I have created the pdf below and uploaded to Scribd detailing the progress made throughout the M.A. and the final outcomes at this point.

Where I go from here is a good question and not one I can answer easily.

There are three separate yet overlapping areas I have become deeply interested in.

1. Drawing research ; phenomenology of drawing and in particular an interest in sense of place and notions of ‘signature’ in terms of preparatory drawings especially in Gorky,  Miro up to Motherwell and Twombly all developing out of the surrealism and dada influence on mid-century American painting.

2. Early film/photography and magazine culture of the 18th Century/early 19th century and its relation to current developments in web. I have a paper to present in Paris on Charles Dickens magazine illustration end of March and I will be concentrating on that alone from now until then.

3. The continuation of this research into artistic research theory/philosophy of aesthetics and its dissemination through fine art pedagogy.

All three are possible PhD subject matter and how my institution views my future will probably have a major bearing on where I go.

My heart though probably in number one…..my head in number three and my teaching future at present tied up somewhere in number  two whether I like it or not…….

Interesting times ahead 🙂

Meanwhile I’d like to thank Deborah Harty for her very good supervision and for stopping me going off-track all the time or as they like to say in academia develop ‘focus’. Focused I am right now but come Thursday who knows:-)
please note the backgrounds have distorted in this display.


Studio Diary: 31st July: Ray Howard Jones

Above: Ray Howard Jones at shed in Wales opposite Skomer Island and drawings by SDB

Been a busy time since came back from Amsterdam hardly had chance to sit down in studio.

I have been preparing for a charity music gig which now out of the way ( Black Star Horses at the Maze) for Nottingham Hospitals Charity Prostate Cancer Appeal.

Also been asked for material from 1991 related to a female artist known as Ray Howard Jones who is subject of a retrospective at Tenby Museum with a catalogue written by poet Tony Curtis. I have provided photographs and sketches from a visit I made to Skomer to visit Ray with the Rocket Boys ( David and Jonathan) in August 1991.

The sketchbook can be seen here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/157187608/Skomer-Sketchbook-1991

Here a sample and a couple of pictures Ray herself (aged 89!) outside her tin shed studio..a one off if ever there was one and one of the few accredited female War Artists with works in the Imperial War Museum. A deserved retrospective. Rumour is she changed her name from Rosemary to Ray to avoid sexism in art world. She also spent twenty years living with the wonderful British landscape photographer Ray Moore.

Studio Photos May 2013

Old Paintings: Clearing the past


I have posted photographs below from my father’s shed and my mother’s garden  both of which became neglected as their illness progressed. Indeed they are a tacit reminder of how much their illnesses imobilised them both. In the process of clearing my family home for future sale I also had to confront another loss. The last time I had a viable painting space before gaining a new studio in 2011 in Nottingham (not counting a brief attempt to start again in 2005/6) was a garage at my parents last utilised in 1993. In it I left stored all my paintings from a ten year period in London (1979-89) and over the years at least half of the works had to be destroyed as eaten by mice (rolled canvases) and the rest on board stayed in garage. As the garage became dilapidated following my father’s death they too were affected. Finally in August this year I broke up the remaining large hardboard oils (some 8 feet by 4 feet)as a final act of closure….maybe on painting too. Here a sequence of photos showing their storage and final end. The white bycycle is my mother’s bike that I toured the downs on when completing a sequence of nearly 70 charcoal representational drawings on in 1991-2.

garden1 shed1

Studio Diary Day 2: Drawing or painting?

Spent the afternoon in a not too cold studio (it has basic radiators thankfully) as starting to come out of over two weeks of severe chest infection. After looking at the neo-primitives below I thought I’d try black acrylic paint straight to canvas and compare it with other methods. Pencil and chalk, paint this was because I forgot to take some Sharpie pens to the studio. So I could theoretically call this an experimental artefact led methodology although I can only gain ‘qualitative data’. I have posted on facebook so be interesting to see what reaction I get.

I was vaguely thnking of the kind of memory painting Arshile Gorky did (most of his major works refer however subliminally back to his Armenian childhood) but after I’d finished the last piece I realised that today’s news about Hurricane Sandy and the associated imagery had leaked into my sub-conscious. I therefore named the drawing ‘Sandy’.

The smaller image in the gallery of two ‘badges’ is from 1987 and were a couple of examples of laminated drawings that I sold in aid of Greenpeace at my show that year in Hornsey Library. Proving that nothing changes and I was doing Burgerman before he was knee high 🙂

Looking closer other influences which I can see in the drawings include Leger, Mariscal, and Miro all major influences on my late eighties work so it feels like I have somehow carried on from a point then of semi-abstraction before I went more figurative and lost some of my spontaneity. I picked up a book from my library at studio called ‘Arshille Gorky: The Breakthrough Years. Which I will examine along with my present reading. I was heavily influenced by a book I subsequently lost by Harry Rand called Arshile Gorky: the implications of symbols ( I have now found it as paperback on amazon although out of print). The Gorky fascination is not so much in his application of paint but far more the way he created ‘memory symbols’ analogous to Miro. These repetitive symbols came from his childhood. I repeat similar motifs from my past almost like an alphabet and maybe analysing where this came from would be productive. In fact at one point I did try to make a pictorial alphabet of simple symbols. I will try and find the examples I drew. We then stray into both semiotic and literary territory. I will leave the deeper examination of this to the research pages.



Freddie Brice

I cut and paste the press release information here as I came across this man’s work by chance. Immediately reminded me of Guston, Matisse and Alfred Wallis in use of foreshortening. It also reminded me of one of the main influences on the Suit of Nettles which people didn’t pick up on i.e. Southern States Folk and Outsider Art especially Bill Traylor

March 27 – May 1, 2010

KS Art is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Freddie Brice (1920-1998). This is the first solo exhibition in ten years of this recognized outsider artist who lived and worked in New York City. Freddie Brice’s plywood panels are painted in mainly black and white with an urban minimalism and immediacy. Depicting animals, interiors, clocks, watches and jewelry, they reduce complex forms and groupings to their graphic essence, interchanging black and white and positive and negative. As contemporary artists continue to look at outsider art for inspiration Brice’s raw painting style finds a renewed relevance in the work of painters such as Joe Bradley, Chris Martin and Donald Baechler.

Also included in the exhibition is a newly restored video of the artist at work, “Freddie Brice Paints Two Paintings”, made in 1990 by Les LeVeque & Kerry Schuss. In this video, Brice completes two paintings. While demonstrating his rhythmic painting style, he sings and speaks in a poetic verse about painting, hobbies and life.

“It’s in my way of drawin’. It’s in my conscious of drawin’. It’s in my mind. It became to be lovely to me. It became to be likely to me. Why, I like it more than I like anything else. I think it’s a hobby. You know, speaking about a hobby. A hobby is a true thing … When you begin to love something; when you begin to do something, a constructive, something that you like and love, it becomes a hobby. It becomes regular. It becomes continuously. It becomes outrageous. It becomes magnificent. It becomes to be something that you like to do for a hobby. And I like to do drawing for a hobby. I like to do drawing because I get understanding of what I’m doing. It gives me understanding of talking. It gives me understanding of books. It gives me understanding of drawing and hearing what I listen to. It gives me time, it gives me patience and it also gives me ability. Ability is when you gain what you’re doing, and when you get enough of it you begin to have rehability rehabiliteality of what you’re doing. It becomes a whole lot to you. Drawing is rehabiliteality to me. I began to do it often and I began to do it much. And it’s ability. It’s rehabiliteality of what I love. And it’s a hobby. –excerpt from video

Freddie Brice was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1920, and at age 9 moved to Harlem, where later he spent much of his time at the Apollo Theater, a fan of acts such as: Diana Washington, Chuck Webb and the Inkspots to name a few. Brice held numerous jobs including an elevator operator, a laundry worker and most importantly at the Brooklyn Navy Shipyard, where he painted ships. After a long history of incarceration and institutionalization he started making paintings in 1983 at an art workshop on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. In 1991 Brice’s work was featured in the exhibition “Art’s Mouth” at Artists Space curated by Connie Butler. Freddie Brice’s work is in the collections of: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Milwaukee Museum of Art and The Old Dominion University, Gordon Collection, Norfolk, Virginia. Additionally Brice’s work has been exhibited at The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, Williamsburg, VA and Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee WI. He died in New York in 1998

Abstract Comics?

I have started looking in more depth at the idea of ‘abstract comics’. There is an anthology assembled by Andrei Molotiu called ‘Abstract Comics’. He also has a very interesting blog at : http://abstractcomics.blogspot.co.uk/

This anthology includes work by Mark Staff Brandl.

It made me look again at the ‘Suit of Nettles’ work I produced for the Connect Course and exhibited at Lincoln. Although ostensibly a series of illustrations for a suite of songs the interesting thing was that as a non-linear series of unrelated images they could be hung together in any order.This leads in a strange way to some experimental work I have been doing in the studio with ‘abstract narratives’. This is why I was so interested in the series of drawings displayed on Guston’s studio wall…almost in a comic strip fashion.(see post below). I have played with a comic approach before as can be seen in these paintings (all sold or destroyed) from 2005. It is not a big stretch from these works to the paintings from September 2011 when I first had a painting studio again. https://shaunbelcher.com/canvas/?p=28

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