Jessica Warboys at Tate St Ives

Jessica Warboy’s combined practice,  including created objects and their representations on film overlapping, becoming sculptures and then animated or still props, is intriguing and If I had more time in my adventure in film and installation, should present a path to pursue.  The Sea paintings, displayed in the big curved gallery at Tate St Ives were dramatic, layered and reflected beautifully in the glass.  I was unable to photograph them directly because of the very highly organised stewarding.  Instead, here are the postcards:


The canvas texture interacts with the paint to create surface.


I enjoyed the layering of images in the curved windows, where sea buildings and landscape merged and recreated like shimmering banners:



Phillip Eckart’s Utube review for Frieze (here) makes the link between the art object as ‘displayed’ and the art object as ‘performed’ in her work. Is there an element of performance I can include in one of the new films – hands in sand, the post, the fence.  There would be a difference between using a found object and using a made ‘art’ object. Possibly text on paper in the landscape, on water. Warbles showed a large sculpture in aluminium sheet increased in scale from a paper piece that had been filmed blowing across the water……

The border by the sea

A beautiful walk, light coming and going and a sense of discovery, trying to answer the question……Where does a border end? At the cliff edge? At the last post? The last pebble? The last picnic place, the last house or  in the gentle lap of the sea which erodes everything?


The last house in Scotland – a smuggler’s bothy with the light reflected close to the actual borderline as it enters the sea.


Incredible clear water – due to the distance between accessible points at the base of the cliff – the border has no human touch as it crosses into the sea


The last picnic place


The last post……..

‘things left behind’ – the sea in a box

Today I hand in my box to Judy Thomas to send to Japan.  I have perhaps wandered off task and created something unexhibitable.

At the bottom of the box – a mirror

The box contains something(s) collected from the beach, A memory – in the form of the poem below and an artwork – a series of printed transparencies, which might work together or might be separate items.  They record the presence on the beach of the items collected but also their existence as transparent, see through memories, already only leaving a trace.  They are not very aesthetic, don’t really relate beyond my act of collection, but can still be triggers for my memory, which through the words and images could be communicated to others or trigger memories in them.

The first transparent insert – abandoned trainers


things left on beaches

are warp and weft


time weaves people in fabrics and spaces


a pair of trainers

worn and punished


he swam out with the current and back with the wind



a half tennis ball

batted and dog torn


rain stopped play and tide took his wicket



frayed rope end

severed in a storm


boat lost the mooring and beached in the creek



hard plastic mesh

from a shattered creel


under the deck the eel lay dying


The layers together and held against the light.

Illuminating the Border – Critique

Yesterday we talked through the ‘illuminating the border’ installation as part of a group critique.

The first interesting note was how  people moved through the space. As we were a group of 10 or more, this put the installation under pressure.  Could people experience anything with so many interruptions.  It was great to see that people moved with relative ease and it created a thoughtful atmosphere.


The effect of shadow and reflection as backdrop and point of interest in its own right was interesting, The installation was added to by the interruption – this may be a really important point for development.  If I want the installation to be truly interactive, then it must ‘work’ better if people are in it.

There were those who were reluctant to enter. Noise was an issue – sound levels have to be right.  I thought of the idea of a warm whisper with louder interventions as a way of thinking about how the sound can attract people.



One colleague remarked the mirrors, he thought they worked much better with the installation, particularly in the interaction with the projection – where the stretched and distorted image broke across the mirror, which then reflected another part of the installation, really caught the eye. This, of course, was always changing, leading to viewers moving their heads to see themselves in the film landscapes, and seeing those landscapes change.


The smaller square mirrors, placed on the fabric and in direct line of the projection also changed the projection.  The square mirror helped, because it fitted the square nature of the projection, like a collaged image within the projection – this effect was emphasised when the projection against the muslin and gauze caused the images to repeat and overlap making a displaced image collage.



Installing with projection

The ‘first Draft’ installation can be seen on this video

Setting up an installation using two types of looped video.  One displayed on a flat screen, the other by projection.


1st set up –  the projector placed next to the flat screen so that the images were opposite each other – using an informal screen of muslin. The films are different in  nature so there are contrasts with the method of display.


The reverse view shows the projection through the porous screen of hung muslin.


This set up also allowed the projection to spill and stretch onto the side wall.


Double layer of muslin doubles, but weakens the images. the laptop screen and flat screen TV adding to the multiple image.


Finally, inserting a mirror into the installation – pinned onto the muslin, distorts and breaks the images further.


The  installation develops the theme of the Border project and incorporates some work completed earlier.

The ‘first Draft’ installation can be seen on this video

Border Stories video edit

The second film I have completed for the installation this week is a re – edit and an extension of some footage shot along the river Tyne at Bardon Mill. It includes varying sound, cutting in and out emphasising the moving water, when the sound drops, the river appears to slow. I have added extra footage recorded at strange stack of stones, the remains of the Roman bridge ramp at Corbridge – I photographed them before in the mist emerging from their past.  In all cases the camera is still and the images are fixed with movement created but cutting from view to view and with the movement of water or leaves against the stones.  There are two border songs read as poems chosen for their relevance to the idea of river and history as border, separation and barrier, written about here. The voice for Water of Tyne is Karen Sikora, my colleague at Northumbria and for Border Ballad the voice is my sister in law Susan Pym, a exiled Scot living in London.

Ovingham Cabins


I walked past the cabins at Ovingham, they are like little frontier cabins cut out of the forest and domesticated by neat borders, planted flowers, and sense of small plots of private property.

The soft focus of the hand held Ensign camera, this time using blue biased Fuji colour film, produced a nostalgic feeling. Time lost through colour inaccuracy – this was hand developed in the University dark room….


I also shot a black and white film of a single cabin just up a separate track away from the main group:

Complete with its own pizza oven in the woods



Water of Tyne


Waters of Tyne, is a folk song  I ‘collected’ from Hexham Library – recorded at the Sage Gateshead below – I found a wonderful leather-bound book called ‘Songs and Ballads of Northern England.  This is an original, old and widely owned song describes the separation of two lovers by the Tyne.  Border ballads are often about physical separation.  This Tyne as emotional division and barrier has  many various versions – Kate Rusby’s Bring me a boat – is the same theme but rendered differently.

Tynemouth Seawater Pool

The seawater pool at Tynemouth is a heroic ruin, built and opened in May 1925 at the end of long sands, opening just a year after the one at Fairy Bower on the other side of the world. There is a campaign to rescue and refurbish the pool by community subscription.


The tidal pool was filled in during the 1990’s and just a haunting pond with exposed rocks is left to reflect the sky.