Friday, 27 May 2011

Nearing completion

We communicate through static
© 2011 Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner
Mixed Media on Canvas, 30x24"

 …and so my last week in Fayetteville, Arkansas, rolls to a close. It has been a fun, challenging and exciting time, not to mention, when the grown-up weather rolled across us, really quite frightening. Megan Chapman and I spent a good deal of the week in the studio, putting the finishing touches to our collaborative series 'A question of chemistry' (as well as hiding from the storms!).

Yesterday, with the final piece of the series nearing completion, we took the opportunity to take a look at all of our paintings at once. We quickly realised that we were too close to the work to really take it all in and so recruited some help from Jennifer Libby Fay, another Fayetteville Underground artist, to give us an outside opinion. Happily Jennifer was impressed by the body of work and, after some discussion between the three of us, we concluded that only one piece looked to be in need of slight alteration.

Beneath the silence
© 2011 Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner
Mixed Media on Canvas, 30x24"
As ever when making art, an outside opinion is an incalculable aid to achieving perspective. Jennifer's voice allowed us to regain the vision we shared upon returning to the first piece after taking our initial break. We not only were able to once again see the depth and complexity of that painting, but also how we had gone on to translate it into the rest of the work. Needless to say, we were quite pleased!

Tomorrow we are going to have a sneak preview of the series in Megan's studio. It will almost certainly be the only time we will be together to show the work. We're looking forward to exciting afternoon and we hope that if you are in Fayetteville, you'll be able to drop by.

Friday, 20 May 2011

A question of chemistry

The collaborative series Megan Chapman and I have been working on really took off this week. Initially, our collaborative process was more tense than enjoyable and we had doubts about the project. Sensibly, we took a few days away from Megan's studio, during which time we talked over our painting process and agreed a more relaxed set of rules. We returned to the studio with some trepidation, yet were more than pleasantly surprised by what we found there: the first piece we had painted was revealed as being very nearly finished. It was so much better than we had hoped for, in fact quite a complex piece and, after making only slight additions to it, immediately hung it in the Vault Gallery at the Fayetteville Underground, where we sat and looked at it for a long time.

Fired up by the success, we began another painting and, over the week, completed three further pieces, with a one more piece in progress. The newer paintings are bolder than the first painting, reflecting the more confident and relaxed approach we have taken to them. Each one is a curious blend of our two hands, with hints towards both of our styles for those with sharp eyes.

This week has been some of the most enjoyable experiences I have had in a studio. It has truly been a collaborative process, where often four hands are moving over the canvas and, at times, two brains are acting as one.

We are planning to a further four or five pieces in this series, which we have named A question of chemistry. Come back next week and see how things progress!

We took the quiet roads
© 2011 Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner
Mixed Media on Canvas, 30x40"

A strange currency
© 2011 Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner
Mixed Media on Canvas, 40x30"

A fearless humming across the wires
© 2011 Megan Chapman and Stewart Bremner
Mixed Media on Canvas, 30x40"

Sunday, 15 May 2011

An unexpected update

I thought I would find you here, 60x48"

We returned to the studio today. As soon as we walked in and saw that first collaboration piece, it was obvious that it was very nearly finished. A little time later it was. We also started two more pieces. A full update will come on Friday…

Friday, 13 May 2011

Collaboration time

Megan takes a turn

Finally, after talking about it for quite some time, abstract artist Megan Chapman and I were able to start out first collaborative piece this week. This is the first time I have collaborated with another artist and I really had no idea how it would work.

We decided that we would take turns working on a large canvas that was in the back of Megan's studio, with approximately ten minutes per turn. I gessoed and started the piece, then we began taking our turns, whilst similarly alternating control of the music playing.

Seeing Megan work as she created textures using techniques I had only heard her describe was fascinating. The working process, however, was not as smooth as we had hoped it would be. The relinquishment of control over the whole painting, together with having someone else in your space as you work challenged both of us. We managed a few hours of work, during which time the piece changed dramatically several times over. At present it is unfinished and full of potential. More on this next week!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Mirror world

This week has been a pretty eventful one in art land. The biggest news was the opening of my and fellow photographer Craig Munro's joint exhibition iteration/span at the Fayetteville Underground in Arkansas, USA. This is not just my first exhibition of photography but also my first international show and it has been very exciting. We were invited to do the show by Megan Chapman, a studio artist at the Underground who is responsible for much of programming of their galleries' exhibitions. 

I also spent part of the week painting in Megan's studio and was able to complete nine new works on board. These pieces, collectively titled Mirror World, reflect on my first fortnight spent in a familiar and yet quite different culture.

Everything seems bigger

Familiar from afar

Gradual acclimitisation

Here comes the stride

I say tomato

I've heard this one before

They say it's the same

This land is your land

Up close the weave is different