Mar 13 2012: Beyond The Suspension of Disbelief (Surface Gallery, Nottingham, March 2012)

Baldassare Castiglione, a diplomat at the Italian court of Urbino in the late 15th and early 16th century, began writing The Book of the Courtier around 1508, as a kind of aspirational lifestyle guide for those intent on making their fortunes and careers in the field he had succeeded in himself. When the book was published … Continue reading

Mar 10 2012: A View Of The Thames Looking Towards Tower Bridge Showing Bomb Sites (c.1940s)

There’s something hugely compelling about this undated photograph, which at first glance shows a very familiar view along the River Thames, looking towards Tower Bridge, but on slightly closer inspection reveals some very unfamiliar bomb-sites and gutted buildings in the foreground. The photographer is not identified, but it’s presumably an amateur snap taken from a … Continue reading

An Interview With Yelena Popova (Primary, 2013)

Yelena Popova is a Russian-born painter based in Nottingham, and the following interview took place at her studio at Primary in the winter of 2013. An abridged version appeared in LeftLion magazine in November 2013. This full transcript of the conversation is published here in advance of the opening of her exhibition After Image at … Continue reading

The Invisible Hand, Pupaphobia and the Puppet State (NVA 11, 2013)

“The puppet is what best represents the position of man in today’s manipulated world. The hand of a puppeteer is always the hand of one who ‘leads’, the hand of the Great Manipulator. The puppet’s immobile expression, its inability to mimic, does not allow it to communicate the subtle oscillations of the soul, but it … Continue reading

Feb 13 2012: Altered Rhoda Campbell Chase Illustrations from Told By The Sandman by Abbie Phillips Walker (Harper & Brothers, 1916)

All but two of the images in this gallery are the work of Rhoda Campbell Chase, an American illustrator whose pictures are visible online, and whose publications appear in many lists of books for sale, but whose details seem to be unavailable. At any rate, she seems to have been active in the early years … Continue reading

Photocanopy: Three Photographers in the National Forest (2014)

You might expect the boundary of a forest to be clearly visible, marked by the point where trees thin out into grass and open ground, but in the case of the National Forest, which occupies an area of around 200 square miles and spans the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire, you’d be mistaken. Of … Continue reading

Pop Life: Art in a Material World (NVA, 2012)

Can an exhibition in which around two thirds of the art on display is dated, shabby, and deliberately crass still be a show worth viewing? In the case of Tate Modern’s big winter display, curated by Jack Bankowsky, Alison M Gingeras and Catherine Wood, the answer is a tentative ‘yes’, partly because it asks some … Continue reading

Mark McGowan’s Where’s Daddy’s Pig? (Trade Gallery, 2013)

You could probably argue that there’s no real reason to visit Where’s Daddy’s Pig?, the Mark McGowan exhibition that’s been running at Trade Gallery since May, on the grounds that everything it contains is already part of his own ARTIST TAXI DRIVER YouTube channel, where McGowan regularly posts campaigning rants (and occasionally more subdued musings) … Continue reading

Enfants Terrible : How The First Wave of British Pop Art Got To Stick Around (NVA, 2012)

“Pop did not count ‘ephemeral’ as an insult. It was for the present, and even more for the future: it was not for the past, and saw nothing to regret in the changes which had come about in England since 1945…” [John Russell in Pop Art Redefined, Thames & Hudson, 1969] “Hockney’s range is maybe … Continue reading

An Interview with The Soundcarriers (Full Transcript, 2010)

I spoke to Paul Isherwood and Adam Cann outside the Cafe Bar at Nottingham Contemporary in September 2010, just after the second Soundcarriers LP, Celeste, had been released. An edited version of the conversation appeared in LeftLion in December that year. Since then, they’ve released two further full-length albums – The Other World Of The … Continue reading