‘Community’ at London ULTRA 2019

From Thursday 31st October, Halloween/Brexit Eve as would have been, to Sunday 10th November my work ‘Community’ was on show at London ULTRA 2019. The exhibition was at the OXO Bargehouse, behind the iconic OXO building on the South Bank of the Thames midway between Tate Modern and the National Theatre.

The exhibition was organised by the Free Painters & Sculptors (FPS) and curated by Sally Buchanan. I was offered a fantastic spot in Room 1 of the exhibition. It was actually the only place in the building big enough to house ‘Community’, it being just under 5m tall. Even so, I had to trim 20cm from the height to make sure the frame fitted under the beams in the ceiling.

Once again the A-Team, Simon Blanchard, Steve Cripps, Bruce Sherring-Lucas, (with guest star Paul ‘Steady’ Fletcher standing in for Bruce at the installation), were there to help me with the transport, construction and de-rig. It took 2 days to put together but less than 2 hours to take down. Thanks to the team and Paul Stratford for help with transport.

There were 100 artists, with 350+ works of art, in the show. A big exhibition and a huge variety of work to see.

All together a fabulous exhibition. I met many of the artists and made lots of new friends.

As for ‘Community’ it attracted a good deal of attention.

Being in Room 1 was a great advantage as it was one of the first pieces visitors saw. I had many fantastic conversations and almost everybody had very positive things to say.

Community [2019] – installed at London ULTRA 2019 at the OXO Bargehouse

The lighting proved problematic at first. There were six large, white lights in the room. Antique lights, with variable levels of illumination. As can be seen from the picture above, they cast some fine shadows but washed out the coloured shadows from my own green and red lamps. Turning some of the lighting off improved things markedly.

In the end, the variety of coloured shadows was a notable addition to ‘Community’. Not as strongly coloured as in the dark, old church in High Wycombe for its’ first showing. The shadows were in several elliptical shapes and colours, from lime green to cian and violet. They produced a pattern reminiscent of an Orla Keily design.

The magnets within the spheres took up many different alignments. They were originally intended to all be straight and level. Movement in transport resulted in a range of random levels. This wasn’t a problem. The variation was not unattractive. A happily accidental feature.

‘Community’ [2019] – installation detail showing variation in alignment of magnets within spheres

The whole experience of taking part in a group exhibition with so many other contributors was brilliant. There was so much great work to see and a huge range of techniques and approaches. I learnt a lot from talking to other artists. Looking at work is one thing, speaking to the creators and finding out how they think is another. I have been selected to show in another group exhibition, ‘MK Calling’ at the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes next Spring. I hope that will be an equally beneficial event.