Studio Renovation

In the last few weeks I’ve been focused on a building program right here where I live and work. The space directly under my painting studio has been significantly renovated. The building is a sixteenth century timber framed town house and adjoining barn. The studio is the top floor of the barn; I was attracted to the project because of the potential of a fantastic history laden space to work, and yes its wonderful. But its been a long hard slog (cost more money, took more time etc) to get this far and its not finished!     The two photos show a kind of before and after; the before image was taken last year at a un-peeling point – when everything was removed and then it became possible to diagnose and move forward again. The image was taken from the ground floor looking up to the second – our cat loves the beams! The pink and gold were painted on the beams in the second world war when my studio was a cafe and night time cabaret for English and American pilots stationed here. Airplanes were painted red and gold on the inside, I like the thought of them bringing the paint home to my now studio for night time release. Lots more evidence about this later!

The after picture shows the same beams but now I’m waiting for the walls and roof to be plastered.

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2 thoughts on “Studio Renovation

  1. Land Grab – Birmingham
    Visit to exhibition 04/08/09
    It was a welcome break from all the hectic schedule of developing and showing an Art Project (Listening Posts) to see Sally’s work in Birmingham. I was thinking about whether I could afford to take the day off and go but it was the best thing I did. It just gives a perspective and a dialogue about other art professionals’ work and ideas as well as provides a breathing space between things which seem so jam packed tight.
    As soon as I got on the train I felt free and hungry to see the work.

    Finding the Architectural Practice was an adventure in itself. Situated in the jewellery quarter, the practice is down a small street. The Jewellery Quarter has some really interesting areas and I was surprised at how old some of the buildings were.
    And it was incredibly gusty and windy that day, but Birmingham always seems to be draughty.

    On entering the building I was told about where the work was sited but unfortunately I couldn’t access 3/4 paintings as they were in a meeting room which was being used.
    I started up on the first floor in this open plan office space. I was given a lovely introduction by a member of staff who had welcomed me downstairs.
    ‘Land Grab’ the work on the large noticeboard was probably the work that I spent the most time with and the piece which I found the most fascinating and interesting. I think it has something to do with the map and the translucent painted out names of places. I immediately looked for the Thames Estuary.
    I was unsure if I could cut a name from the list of jobs in the envelope and put it on the map as i rummaged around in the envelope for scissors but didn’t see any.But then I thought that added to the whole feeling of intervention and fixing of Broken Britain. The reason I couldn’t take part or thought I couldn’t participate became more interesting and a conundrum!
    I also thought it was a clever piece of work the way it was integrated into this corporate notice board and in the bigger environment, the corporate office.
    It was such a stark contrast to the big open white perfect space ( I noticed the coat rack- every coat was a black smart jacket). There seemed to be a huge gulf between a veneer of Britain and a media construct of Britain.
    I found the painting upstairs, The Sleeping, very moving. I have been wondering what was particularly moving about it to me and it is difficult to say specifically what but essentially I feel it is the surface and the subtle colours which are really seductive. I loved the way the figure in the top right hand corner seems to be leaving the scene and I kept thinking that they were moving from one landscape to another ( a desert to an abyss). I kept thinking of a WW1 soldier. I’ve no idea why I thought that but the figure seemed vulnerable like they had absorbed enough and there was no more room.
    I wondered if the darker green/brown panel was depicting an elevator between levels of life.

    Downstairs the grouping of the work had a real impact and the paintings worked well together whereas The Sleeping was best on it’s own.
    I found Democratic Grid was intriguing, the boxing ring alluding to a violent outcome whilst the figures seemed to be posing in some kind of performative way. The lonesome figure in the cage. The couple dancing, were they Victorian, seemed to be drifting out of the painting. Boxing is a form of dancing.

    Whilst I was sitting viewing the work downstairs, these business men came in and sat down waiting for a meeting. I wondered whether any art work in this kind of setting becomes an appendage and does it begin to take on a very different role to when it is in a gallery setting? These constructs of office life are set down for ‘appropriate’ behaviour. I noticed these 3 business guys were Important, Important,Important, Dynamic, Dynamic,Dynamic. They only spoke to each other, they didn’t acknowledge the work, the notes about the work or me and we were sat there for about 10 mins. They seemed to be uncomfortable with another person outside of their zone sitting there, as I was, with them.
    As I left the Architectural Practice, I passed a big glass window, all Grand Designs style (i’m sure Kevin McCloud was in there commenting on how the building suddenly really blossomed) which was the Meeting Room where the remaining paintings were hanging. I glanced in quickly. I wanted to stick a note to the window which said” You must be so bored, look around you!

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