Emin and Locus

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Extract from the book I am writing where we discuss the relationship between Tracey Emin and Sarah Locus:

”The closeness of Emin and Locus peeked around the period of ‘The Shop’ which they ran in Shoreditch in the mid Nineties. They created ‘The Shop’ to market their artwork and although this was conducted to a limited budget and means of the two artist it plummeted their career immensely and is looked back on two decades later as greatly prominent in terms of British Art of the late twentieth Century. The shop was seen as the place to be and featured as the location for many late night drinking parties in an era when the bars used to shut at eleven at night in East London. Locus and Emin give reference to chain smoking through the six months when ‘The Shop’ was open. They made all the stock for the opening over the space of a few days, all of which sold on the opening night, meaning that more had to be made. The Last Night of the Shop was held on Emin’ thirtieth Birthday, in this both artist worked in collaboration to make a series of badges with a range of subject mater’s from comic tenancies to those themed around violence. Emin’ final act was to take any of the artwork which had not sold and cremate this, the ashes forming the last artwork entitled ‘The Shop’.

There are many similarities in the works of both artist before and after the period they worked together in ‘The Shop’. Although there are arguments from feminist leaders and the artist themselves there are clear feminist issues being raised through their artworks. Known as ‘The Bad Girls of British Art’ they can be considered as artistic leaders of the third Wave feminist movement. Locus refers to Emin’ work as ‘Cheap’ but she means this through the confessional nature of the work in relation to ‘Puerile Sex’. However in works such as ‘Au Natural’ Locus presents works of a sexual nature which suggests ‘Cheap’ through her use of the torn, stained mattress and the bucket which indicates female genitalia. In the fall of creativity Emin is characterised as being more confessional in nature and Locus tending more towards to subversion of gender stereo types.

The question of whether there was a sexual relationship between the two artists is often raised, in the many photographs of the period of ‘The Shop’ they are featured together. In one there is shown a particular closeness where they are dressed in similar apparel, bleached denim and shirts, both presenting the peace symbol. There could be some indication of a relationship of this nature through Locus Statement:

We were quite in love with each other at first – we bought a beach hut together – but it was quite difficult working out what to do with that love, so for about two months we didn’t talk to each other because it was too difficult.

However, in reality this seems to indicate little more than a close friendship. Linda Nochlin, a leading American Art Historian discusses work of this nature:

Work of female artists is historically deemed ‘the other’, considered by patriarchal institutions to have a distinctly feminine ‘domestic’ essence. Women artists who did not restrict themselves to this were dismissed as abnormal, deviant or masculine.

She addresses how the work of leading female artists where the focus is outside the realm of traditional female subject mater is interpreted as deviant, thus leading to questions to be raised over the sexuality of both artist. Is it simply a male response to bad sex aesthetics to question the sexuality of those brandishing sexual dissatisfaction?”

ARMA Proposal

Bunny forms at the bluecoat copy

A proposal I worked on last year for ARMA:

The intention is to run the workshop program around the theme of ‘Bunny Rabbits’. These are not intended to be soft and fluffy in nature, but more abstract. Each week the workshops are to take a new focus, allowing for participants to return to do a new exercise in the future. Initially looking at making Bunny forms from vinyl fabric, looking at printing the outlined image onto the fabric, the participants to create designs with fabric pens and sew or stick the bunny together. The intention if for the forms to be photographed by the items to be taken away with the participants. New workshops to take on themes related to bunnies: Hopping, Burrowing, Healthy eating through Carrots, Habitat, Fur, Storytelling (Comic strip production) and Puppetry. The concept of hopping looking to incorporate feet painting and hopping motions. The idea of burrowing to look towards tunnel arrangement and opportunities for the younger participants to climb through the structures created. Healthy eating and conservation of habit intended to introduce a wider issues to the workshop program than though directly linked to the Art world. Shorter exercises around origami and finger painting to be included with there are time constraints.

5 Minute Interview with Nathan Pendlebury

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I took the opportunity to interview Nathan Pendlebury at last years Buy Art Fair held at the Old Granada Studios in November of last year;

”One of the North West’ leading self representing painters, Nathan Pendlebury, showcased new work to the exhibition. ‘Fields of Green II’ based on the Tom Waits classic ‘Innocent when you Dream’ was freshly completed the week previous to the Buy Art Fair. Painting using totally abstract methods he has located his work to a studio in Waterloo, Liverpool. In moving closer to the coast he is looking to introduce an element of seascape to his painting, without returning to the use of representation in his creative practise. His latest artistic creation incorporates acrylic paints, aerosol and charcoal. The black marks are added as part of the final process:

‘Detail comes at the last stage’

was stated by Pendlebury when interviewed. Painting over unsuccessful earlier works is key to his creativity, constantly striving for even greater success as a painter.”