Publishing Self was a 40 minute discussion around the nature and positioning of the portfolio as a tool and platform.
Creating a progression portfolio can be a mystifying experience. How do you create a compelling narrative about you? This talk brings together Gary Clough, Richard Nash and renowned graphic designer and publisher Tony Brook to discuss their individual practices and parallels between the progression portfolio and art & design publishing. This is an opportunity to join Gary, Richard and Tony in a conversation that draws on aspects of publishing, art direction, editorial design, curation and critical writing. Hear some of their ‘trade secrets’ and then interact with them to ask your own questions.
The Brooklyn Art Library is home to the world’s largest collection of artists sketchbooks. I completed one of the project sketchbooks earlier this year and have just sent it off to join the archive of over 30,000. It was a project I’d followed over the years and I am pleased to have now added my own sketchbook contribution.
I am very excited to have been invited to exhibit my work at Painters + Collection 2021, at Nakata Museum, Japan. 21 artists from Japan, Korea, Mexico and the UK are showing work alongside the museum’s collection of 19th and 20th-century paintings, curated by Yuko Kunichika.
Rather like the singular activity of drawing in sketchbooks, cross-stitch as activity and pastime has made even more sense during lockdown. The last few months have allowed me to review the Sampler series – a body of stitched works using variegated threads, initially shown in 2018. Lockdown has enabled me the opportunity to experiment with different colour palettes and investigate the potential for further work using cross-stitch and space-dyed thread as a tool for translating ideas around memory and and recoding.
As we start to see a potential return to international exchange, I have revisited key projects that hinge on international collaboration and dialogue. A model I hope to revisit is Trace Engines, a 5 year-long project bringing together both pedagogic and practice-based research working with universities and galleries in the UK and China. Initiated through a 10-week residency in Guangzhou, China, in partnership with Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art and Arts International Projects. This culminated in a body of work that fuelled a series of exhibitions, workshops, and lectures between 2015 and 2020. I think it is exciting that future projects like this will adapt and transform, incorporating blended approaches with more embedded online and digital forms alongside traditional residency formats.
I’ve continued drawing daily throughout all lockdowns, as I’m sure many other people have too. I’ve also made some changes to this site, with the menu system and content better reflecting my dual roles as artist and educator. It has been a particularly busy and productive time, even during the lockdowns and I will be adding more info on the exhibitions, lectures and workshops I’ve participated in over the last couple of years.
Port of Entry opened this week at the Sun Pier House Gallery in Chatham, the work on show is produced in response to travels and research around the nature of visual collecting and transcription from sketchbooks, from cultures and communities as diverse as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, London and Chatham. It looks at the nature of the language of man-made objects as symbols, both recognised and remembered or shared, in terms of agreed knowledge and narrative.
These initial observations and memories have been translated into a series of drawings which respond to the nature of visual motifs and metaphors commonly associated with home-spun shared knowledge embedded in the decorative nature of ceramics and textiles.
This has culminated in a series of commissioned cross stitch embroideries working with designer maker Linnet Hannan, transcribing the drawings in to a cotton, cross stitch language associated with both traditions of European samplers and rural embroideries from China.
The work will also be shown in October at the Eagle Gallery in Clerkenwell, London as part of Agency, an exhibition showcasing the work of artists who make up The Artists Agency.
I have a solo exhibition Port of Entry opening on the 9th August until 9th September at Sun Pier House, Chatham, Kent. Preview: Wednesday 8 August 6pm – 8pm
See the Press Release below for more information, written by Mark Segal at the Artists Agency of which I am a selected artist.
Port of Entry is a range of new drawings, prints and embroidery by Gary Clough exploring architectural space and geographical locations, while challenging notions of the imagined, the remembered and the known. In addition Clough is shaping an individual response to the different cultures engaged within his travels through China and the UK.
Shaped Narrative Lungs 2017 Gary Clough Ink on Paper
Shaped Narrative House 2017 30×30 Gary Clough Ink on Paper.
Shaped Narrative Disc* 2017 30×30 Gary Clough
The images emerge from the habitual practise of drawing that artists use to explore and process the world around them. These drawings, most often contained within the intimate and private spaces of the sketchbook, happen when no one is looking, a form of practice that keeps the muscles of the hand, eyes and imagination working together, constituting a speculative work of re-imagining.
The sketchbook is an intrinsic part of Gary’s practice, operating as both virtual and literal studio and collective cognitive landscape. The pages demonstrate how ideas are both generated and revisited in a constant process of analysis and reflection. It is driven by an innate playfulness and an ongoing discourse with the nature of the perceived, known and made.The sketchbooks innate mobility is clear in the pages as they document the artist’s journeys, stopping-off points and destinations through geographical, historical and disciplinary visitations and positioning. For the first time, Clough has made new works utilising cross stitch approaches, borrowing from its tradition as a homespun practice for documenting personalised interpretations of the world and mirroring his use of the sketch book as a starting point for assimilating the made environment. The work plays with the notion and challenges of the transformation into motif associated with this craft tradition, combined with the blue and white palette associated with rural Chinese embroideries.
The work in Port of Entry engages further with the notion of a shared entry or starting point in the development of a repository, or archive of a highly personal genus of objects arranged and presented as sets, families and suites of images. The genealogy and heritage of the images draw from influences as broad as the pages of the Argos catalogue and the shelves of B&Q and Pound Land, to the Song and Tang dynasty blue and white Chinese ceramics, to the cotton indigo embroideries of 18th century rural China. Clough has focused on developing contemporary notions of patterns and symbols as visual metaphor, intrinsic to global traditions of shared and/or remembered narrative histories within the creative industries and its cultural currency. The work attempts to investigate further contemporary notions of and relevance to the use of visual metaphors, motifs and symbols generated in the traditions of the decorative object essential to the sharing and evolving of shared visual language over generations through mnemonic and cultural exchange and interaction.
The work displayed in Chatham allow Clough to develop new drawings and new ways of working in the context of the architectural spaces and this geographical locations. The project’s location in Chatham is essential as it directly engages with its position as a key cultural gateway and interface historically, for the UK which draws from an existing community who share the cultural heritage of the images, mark making, pattern and colour of the work. Chatham’s historical positioning as a key military and commercial port and literary and narrative heritage is a conscious influence and reference for the artist’s 20 year association with the location and communities. The exhibition also enables the engagement with the broader community of Chatham through national and international connections through the Universities and Education sector, supported by an artist talk and lecture.