We had a brilliant weekend with many delightful visitors who I would like to thank for coming, buying our stuff, enjoying our café and looking hard and intelligently at our art. Thank you visitors. Heart heart. We love you the people.
Thank you Freddie Robins for your tremendous hard work organising and cleaning up the Lambros Café. It does become a bit like the Augean Stables over the winter.
A huge thank you to all our artists for bringing your wonderful work, for your patience, forbearance and good humour.
Thank you Julie Arkell for bringing all you lovely objects and bringing Douglas Bevans who cooked and cleaned to keep us all going, so thank you to Douglas too. And thank you for the loaf of bread, just finished!
Thank you Annabel Dover and Alex Pearl for bringing all you enchanting objects, and helping with and advising on the ‘gallery’ show, and the yummy madeleines.
Thank you Simon Emery for bringing a wonderful sparkle to the show in your work, bringing the twinkle in your eye, some fine cars to brighten up the place and bringing Amanda Emery. I’d like to thank her for her delicious baking and helping out in the café.
Thank you Sara Impey for stitching all year to bring us your profound serious work and invigilating in the gallery.
A massive thank you to Justin Knopp not only for showing great work but for operating the letterpress creche, the ever popular attraction giving the gift of type. Tyler Emery is a complete convert and probably your next intern. Justin Knopp helped Freddie with her prints and introduced us to the Big Steam Print project which set Freddie off in the fruitful and poignant printmaking direction.
Thank you Freddie Robins for so much hard work in preparing and operating the Open Studio. I know how much it takes out of you but your hard work is very much appreciated by all of us, artists and visitors alike.
Thank you Caroline Wright for showing your intelligent beautiful work and spending time with us all at such a trying and scary time in your life.
In the nick of time we tacked on Dervorgilla Elmes’ beautiful eerie mirror so thank you to her for bringing that along and Florence for helping in the Café. Thank you Sonia Coode-Adams for being our biggest supporter, for the sausage rolls and helping out in the café. Thank you Henri and Imogen Guest for your baking and helping. Thank you Nicol Wilson for all you hard work behind the scenes in keeping the Blackwater Polytechnic going.
Freddie Robins’ contribution to our Flat-out Lowlanders Open Studio is born from the boiler of a steam roller and yes it does involve bunnies. This coming weekend 1st & 2nd October 11am-5pm come and see what she has been up to. Freddie went from standing start to Usain Bolt in printmaking with the Big Steam Print project initiated by Ditching Museum of Arts and Crafts making a giant print in the process, squashing the love out of bunnies, monkeys, an elephant and assorted bears. But don’t worry that love is imprinted on paper that you can buy and take away. In going from 3D to 2D she is saving you space but the cuddles remain undiminished.
Suffolk artist Caroline Wright works often with performance but she also makes the most beautiful drawings. Tapping into the long and muscular tradition of British women surrealist artists, such as Leonora Carrington, Eileen Agar and Prunella Clough she combines disparate objects including the ubiquitous surrealist egg in potent totems.
Like Clough a good deal of her inspiration comes from the littoral zone, between shore and sea, the non-site where poetic juxtapositions can grow like delicate crystal crustaceans. And let’s face it her drawings are damn sexy. Ares’ ram’s horn and a hank of golden Venus hair? I mean please… Be caressed by her pencil.
Caroline has been short listed for the Derwent Art Prize.
We are very excited to announce our line-up for the Open Studios. As is usual, it being our Open Studio, Freddie Robins and Ben Coode-Adams will be the lynch-pins, the mainstays, the eye of the storm, the still centre, the big end. We will have a larger selection of old work for sale at bargain bucket prices than ever as well as the new stuff. I feel I am becoming better and better at painting, so the new ones are really worth owning:-)
We are delighted to announce that renowned international artist Julie Arkell will be showing her work with us. Julie has spent the last forty years developing a practice based around papier maché. She has that commitment to craft in her medium and fluidity in ‘thinking through doing’ that we value most highly. She interweaves folk traditions with popular culture to create a unique, striking, sometimes sinister, personal mythology. Her work might be described as comfort ‘toys’ for a demented age. Twisted childhood memories combine with a delightful, inventive use of materials. Like many women artists her work scares the shit out of the male dominated art world.
That mythology permeates her whole life, her home, and her clothes. She is having a good clean out and will be bringing forty years worth of studio bits and bobs for sale. This is a rare, if not unique event, and Julie’s first showing in Essex for many years. So get the look!
‘May, Pixie, Stanley’ Julie Arkell
We are open 1st & 2nd October 2016 11am-6pm Feering Bury Farm Barn, Coggeshall Road, Feering, Colchester Essex CO5 9RB. You are welcome.
Freddie Robins and I are very excited to announce that we are having a joint exhibition at the Sentinel Gallery in Wivenhoe running from 30th April to 30th May so including both Bank Holidays for which the gallery will be open. We are showing new work and many unseen gems all at very special prices!
There is a regular train to Wivenhoe from London Liverpool Street. Wivenhoe itself is a charming town with delightful coastal walks and good pubs. It is well worth a visit. The Sentinel Gallery is a great space owned and built by Pru Green. We’d love to see you.
some rocks & a hard place
An exhibition of art by Ben Coode-Adams and Freddie Robins at the Sentinel Gallery
Chapel Road, Wivenhoe, Essex, CO7 9DX
30th April-30th May: Wednesday to Sunday, 10am – 5pm and Bank Holidays
01206 827490 www.thesentinelgallery.co.uk
some rocks & a hard place
Freddie Robins is a true artistic heavy weight, an authentic ‘badass’. She questions all your assumptions about wool, women, comfort and nurturing by undermining and exploding them in her art. But then the truth of our existence, as opposed to our rose-tinted hopes, is unmanageable, often unapproachable and always ominous. For Robins nestling up to truth is an artistic goal where art is the shadow of life.
Her new work involves the use of flints. These stones, geologically enigmatic, their formation a mystery, litter the farm where Robins lives. She collects the ones that look like witches’ gnarled fingers. The oscillation between cosy warm fluffy wool and flinty hard unyielding stone is surprising, uncomfortable and pregnant with secret power.
Robins lives in the area of Essex scourged by Mathew Hopkins the self-styled Witch-Finder General. He executed roughly 300 women for witchcraft in three short years . These severed witches’ fingers, cherty fragments of murdered women, retain their crystalline power multiplied by being restored to their hand sister form.
Dr. Catherine Dormor, who is an artist, Lecturer and Research Co-ordinator at Middlesex University, writes of Robins’ work:
Freddie Robins offers a challenge to the notion of knitting as a passive, benign activity.
Robins brings conformity to subversion, setting knitting not as an activity of safety and comfort-production, but rather as a series of actions and processes through which identity and subjectivity can be formed and expressed. Robins upsets notions of utilitarianism in favour of artistic expressionism, function, and form in favour of conceptual rigor. In so doing she rejects craft-art arguments as irrelevant and misplaced borderlines.
a hard place
Ben Coode-Adams is the hard man of watercolour. His paintings do not conform to the stereotype of old-fashioned amateurish en plein air landscapes. His paintings are rigorous and uncompromising even dangerous. Coode-Adams likes it when things are unexpected. The paints he uses are ground up gems stones that have unpredictable chemical reactions. On one level he is painting just to see what happens. His imagery bubbles up through the paint surface.
above: The ventriloquist and her shadow Watercolour on paper 2016
In Coode-Adams’ paintings small-time gods emerge from the warp and weft of a multidimensional universe. For him the act of painting is a spirit-journey where he blindly gropes towards a fully formed image that he can’t quite grasp. The image has to be painstakingly constructed of veils spun from the lower world.
George Ferrandi, Director of Wayfarers Gallery in Brooklyn New York writes of Coode-Adams’ work:
Ben Coode-Adams makes mystical watercolour paintings of spirit world / Sasquatch – like figures adorned with or comprised of tribal patterns that seep off of the characters and into the spaces around them. The figures are often defined by solid colours and patterns, but rarely by outline, leaving them ephemeral and weightless. It’s as if the landscape were passing through them while they were passing through it. They are edgeless – both with regards to the laws of physics and with regards to the limits of Ben’s inventive mark-making. These watery spirits co-exist with giant magical trees and small crying people – presenting boundless sorrow, but also unlimited joy. The resulting vibrant works on paper look beautiful. But they feel beautiful, too.
These painting come from a body of work made while Coode-Adams has been suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E). This disease meant he could not undertake any physical work but he has been able to paint. As his health has improved he has been bingeing on paint.
Freddie Robins studied at Middlesex Polytechnic and the Royal College. Ben Coode-Adams studied at Edinburgh University and Edinburgh College of Art. Both artists exhibit internationally. Ben is from Essex. They moved to the family farm eight years ago where they built their own house and studio. They both share a deep love of Essex, a maligned and under appreciated county; which can’t escape being between a rock and a hard place.