In memory of Bristol architect Colin Beales

Bristol architect Colin Beales

Bristol architect Colin Beales

This information is on display at The Beales Bequest exhibition at The Ken Stradling Collection.

The collage of photographs

The photographs within the collage displayed in The Beales Bequest exhibition at The Ken Stradling Collection include some of the buildings that Colin designed or worked on during his career as a successful Bristol architect. Derek Balmer took many of the professional photographs of the buildings and their interiors.

Collage wall at Colin's old flat

Collage wall at Colin’s old flat

The images have been arranged in a collage formation, which is reminiscent of Colin’s way of working on architectural projects. It is also similar to the collage wall in his old flat at 19 West Mall. A photograph of this collage is featured. It provides a wide range of inspirational images, from furniture, sculpture and food, to even a cat.

The Dickinson Robinson building

The Dickinson Robinson building

 

The Dickinson Robinson Building, or 1 Redcliffe Street

The Dickinson Robinson Building, or 1 Redcliffe Street, was the headquarters for Dickinson Robinson Group (DRG) in Bristol, designed by its own architecture department and completed in 1963. Modern buildings were accepted for DRG’s factories, so they were eventually persuaded that a modern building for their headquarters would be appropriate too.  Continue reading

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The opening of The Beales Bequest exhibition at The Ken Stradling Collection

The Beales Bequest PosterA version of this article is on The Ken Stradling Collection website

From tomorrow, Wednesday 14th January, the latest exhibition at The Ken Stradling Collection will be open to the public. I have co-curated this show, entitled The Beales Bequest, and wrote the gallery’s information texts. I also contribute to their blog, and will be writing a series of blog posts about individual objects featured in this exhibition.

The Beales Bequest revolves around the eclectic objects that a Bristol architect and founding trustee of The Ken Stradling Collection left with his artist wife to the Collection when they died last year.

Colin and Jennifer Beales were great friends with Ken Stradling. Colin often drove around Bristol with Ken, and they travelled together to parts of Europe, to view or purchase furniture, ceramics and art. He in particular had a long association with The Bristol Guild. Jennifer also made significant contributions, such as formulating the title of the Collection’s catalogue, “The Incidental Collector”, which Colin helped to write and edit.

On display in the exhibition there will be a great variety of ceramics by many important British makers from the 20th and 21st centuries. Think Dan Arbeid (who The Guardian has described as “one of the pioneers of unconventional vessel-based handbuilt forms”), Mick Casson, Stig Lindberg and Herbert Krenchel.

There will also be bold and often humorous pieces of glasswork and sculpture, as well photographs of Colin’s main architectural projects and some of the Beales’ own art – pottery, etchings and paintings – exhibited too.

The Beales Bequest will be open to view every Wednesday 10 – 4pm and by appointment until 11th March (the exhibition has been extended beyond the original date of the 4th February).

Pieces by Stig Lindberg, Erik Hoglund and Herbert Krenchel

Pieces by Stig Lindberg, Erik Hoglund and Herbert Krenchel

 

Beyond the Object: Dale Chihuly’s Glass Sculptures at the Halcyon Gallery

This article is published in Trebuchet Magazine

Claiming that he was always “interested in space”, American artist Dale Chihuly has enthusiastically adorned the entire interior of the Halcyon Gallery on New Bond Street with his large hand-blown glass sculptures. These works and installations are collectively titled Beyond The Object, which seems appropriate for Chihuly’s attention to space and architecture surrounding his artworks. From the street, the objects glint in enticingly strong colours, and once inside, they completely absorb you.

The vibrant glass sculptures cover – and at times seem to crawl over – the walls, floors and windows in fantastical displays of colour, energy and light. Each is reminiscent of sea creatures: limpets, shells, jellyfish, seaweed, or anemones. Yet they also take on abstract shapes, stimulating one’s imagination and engagement with form over detail.

The shadows cast by the three-dimensional objects are definitely important for each sculpture and they work in a number of ways. They extend the spaces of the sculpture, highlight and compliment the glass colours and magnify some of the details on the sculptures’ surfaces. The shadows also challenge assumptions that glass sculptures are inherently static objects, because, of course, the shadows change and move throughout the day.  Continue reading

Ruin Lust: Tate Britain

Published in Trebuchet Magazine

A short title for many art exhibitions these days and yet one that promises, or is suggestive of, so much. Notions of desire and aesthetic pleasure immediately come to mind, offering up an exploration into different types of desire in the themes and subjects of the work displayed. Perhaps less obviously, ‘Ruin Lust’ also directly references the book by Rose Macaulay called ‘Pleasure of Ruins’ from 1953, which looks at the nostalgic pleasures of monuments and ruins of civilisation across different periods and cultures.

Not having been to a Press View of an exhibition before, I was eager to see how the journalists would ‘make’ something out of ruins, how they physically go about constructing stories – and mapping histories – out the wreckage of a past presented in specific, and often political, contexts. This idea of creation out of destruction is, of course, one of the prominent themes of the exhibition itself. An important part of this aesthetic and potentially political idea is the notion that ruins can point towards futures, potentials, opportunities and constructions of the new, as well as to endings, such as the end of Empire (a particular trope for which ruins were used in the 18th and 19th centuries), failures and even degeneration. In this way, ‘Ruin Lust’ aims to include investigations of both obvious and more surprising ways in which ruins have been used from the 16th century onwards. It is both a serious and humorous project. This sense of duality is something the exhibition cultivates in terms of themes, artists and curatorial decisions of presentation.  Continue reading

The Press Photography of Red Vienna 1929 – 1938: An interview

Published on the UCL Art Museum BlogHelen Cobby interviews the researchers of the Red Vienna project, Eva Branscome and Catalina Mejia, before their Pop-Up Display and Lecture on 12th Nov.

Nazis handing out soup in front of Karl Marx Hof

Nazis handing out soup in front of Karl Marx Hof

This event is based round American press photographs depicting social housing estates during the turbulent inter-war years in Vienna. The photographs record three specific epochs within this time frame, from the building of the social houses to the take-over of Austria by the Nazis. The interview below includes Eva’s and Catalina’s thoughts about the development of their project, the active role of the photographs in the manipulation of historical events, as well as the importance of new photographic technologies emerging at the time and new relations between image and caption that this brings.

How would you summarise some of the fundamental debates posed by these press photographs? And what social constructions do you think the photographs specifically add to, or help create?

Eva: The first lot of photographs I have document the fantastic socialist housing projects that took place in Vienna at the end of the 1920s. The government realised it had a problem with overcrowding and people being homeless after the First World War. These housing projects addressed issues with families, and with children – such as not having a place to play, and being forced into crime. It was believed that by giving families decent homes, society could be changed and people could be made happier and more productive. These housing projects produced great excitement internationally by experimenting with Socialism through architecture and thinking about how it could change the world.  Continue reading