Author Archives: John

Artwave Lewes 2017 – 3 artists share location from 19 August

“Images capturing an evanescence which makes us all pause and wonder”. Ruthien’s evocative and lyrical paintings and screenprints share the space with drawings by John McKean and photographs by Laurie Melville. 

While John’s drawings attempt to hold life still, Laurie’s photographs suggest decisive moments layered in space rather than time.  

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Lewes mayor visits on the last day of my show

And all was then taken down, distributed (the line drawing of Phoebe and her reflection, in front of the mayor, has a purple dot and is today delivered to the purchaser), or packed away, some to travel on Saturday towards Italy.

 

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Pirouetting with Piero della Francesca : The Piero Gaze

My general talk on Piero della Francesca finally went off this week, and the compliments were encouraging.  Encouraging to have another go. And maybe, actually spend a complete, unrushed, fifty minutes pondering the Piero gaze – simply through these three extraordinary fragments:

The youths seeing each other directly, recognising their desire as if for the first time and its fragility – they are, after all in the presence of the first death; Adam’s dead body lies on the ground by them. Hands are held gently as a huge potential opens up. The pregnant moment.

The pregnant teenager, her gaze inwards, seeing herself and her offspring as if for the first time, as he moves under her hand. Her fate overcomes any terror – she is, after all, a virgin; she is not resigned but rather recognising the huge potential which awaits.

The bleary-eyed figure, on the cold Easter dawn, gazing directly out, at me but through me and at everything. His appearing, his appearance is as astonished as it is astonishing. It is the moment of recognition, when the sting of that first death is totally transformed by belief. In this gaze too, the world will not be the same again.

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The Lewes exhibition on the point of closing

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In a day’s time: Regarding the Human

 

Finally, all is more or less on the walls, and the private view must happen this evening.

My exhibition opens on tomorrow for a fortnight at The House of Friendship, 208 High Street, Lewes

Visit on Saturday and Sunday, 4th and 5th, and 11th and 12th March 2017 when we will be brewing tea or coffee and cake between 11.00am and 4.00pm.

All welcome!

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In 2 days time Regarding the Human

The last load of pictures in frames and wrapped in cardboard is off to Lewes today…

My exhibition of drawings (and a couple of paintings) opens on Saturday for a fortnight at The House of Friendship, 208 High Street, Lewes

Visit on Saturday and Sunday, 4th and 5th, and 11th and 12th March 2017when we will be brewing tea or coffee and cake between 11.00am and 4.00pm.

All welcome!

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In 3 days time – Regarding the Human

I like this floating lady, almost Chagall-like, but I don’t think she made the final cut for the exhibition which opens on Saturday at The House of Friendship, 208 High Streeet, Lewes.

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In 4 days time: REGARDING THE HUMAN

 

Sketching in the story 

The exhibition which opens on Saturday (4th March at 11.00) comes from a project I set myself fifteen months ago – to put one life drawing, every day through 2016, online (as a daily tweet, as Facebook post and a daily addition to the gallery on this website).  I managed to keep it up, and of course felt supported by ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ when they appeared – not always for the ones I felt were best. For a couple of hours each week, I draw from life. I usually bring back up to half a dozen drawings. A very few of the sketches in this show are many years old, but the vast bulk date from the past few years, right up to a couple of weeks ago. Some were done in seconds: 30 second concentrated looking and then 30 seconds quick sketch. Some, colour ones, had up to two hours. 

But every image here is done entirely with a model, in the studio (recently, that is usually in the convivial studio of Marilyn Panto) and none is developed afterwards, none worked on subsequently.  This is my definition of a ‘sketch.’

The discipline of looking, really looking with care, exploring ways of seeing, has been central to my life.

In 2015, I had a  photographic exhibition, also in the Lewes House of Friendship (as well as in Udine, Italy), entitled “On the impossibility of seeing what is in front of the eyes.”  I was exploring the way a camera can encourage us to see rather than  ‘knowing too much’ which encourages us to edit out what is actually in front of us. Often we don’t ‘see’ everything, and especially with double images, shadows or reflections we have learned to be half-blind. Here photographs can be revealing of another reality of form, pattern and image. 

 

 

 

 

As the exact opposite, with drawing one has to edit out, and often the key skill is in what is omitted, which therefore enlivens the viewer’s imagination. But one also has to look amazingly carefully to see what we presume we know.

What is close and what far are visually juxtaposed, and especially in extremely foreshortened perspectives, though our brain knows, of course, that the near hand is not bigger than the far foot, the observer must work as did Mantegna in the mid-15th Century to make the appearance convincing.

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At The House of Friendship, 208 High Street, Lewes on Saturday and Sunday, 4th and 5th, and 11th and 12th March 2017 when we will be brewing tea or coffee and cake between 11.00am and 4.00pm.                  All welcome!

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In 5 days time: Regarding The Human

 

Possible poster to stand outside The House of Friendship, 208 High Street, Lewes on Saturday and Sunday, 4th and 5th, and 11th and 12th March 2017

when we will be brewing tea or coffee and cake between 11.00am and 4.00pm.

All welcome!

 

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in 6 days time: Regarding the Human

 

Possible poster to stand outside The House of Friendship, 208 High Street, Lewes on Saturday and Sunday, 4th and 5th, and 11th and 12th March 2017

when we will be brewing tea or coffee and cake between 11.00am and 4.00pm.

All welcome!

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