Tuesday, 23 December 2008

By The Time You Are Real @ RGG

This seems to have slipped in between the floorboard of the City Life office, so here's the preview/review piece I wrote just before the opening of the, frankly lovely, Nicoletta Ceccoli exhibition at Richard Goodall Contemporary. 

It's dark, chilly and icy; The media is near hysterical with crisis and turmoil, it's all too tempting to utterly withdraw from the world. Put the heating on ( forget the cost, we're all going bankrupt anyway!), pull the duvet over your head and lose yourself in a fantasy world.

In these grim and grisly times, By The Time You Are Real - the new exhibition at Richard Goodall Contemporary - is a welcome break from reality.

Featuring seventeen paintings by the highly acclaimed Italian artist Nicoletta Ceccoli, the exhibition has already, still days before it's official opening, almost completely sold out.

This is Nicoletta's largest exhibition to date. As an artist she has established a loyal following through her book illustrations, and demand for her work is at an all time high. Preoccupied with illustration work, the artist had to snatch time between commissions to complete the paintings for this exhibition.

Richard Goodall explains, " We started talking about the show about a year ago. She's very busy with book illustrations - she does lots and lots of book illustrations - and she had to fit painting in between her book illustration assignments. "

"I eventually got the final one last week, which represents about six months work."

The images are rich and luscious, each one over flowing with careful detail. Doe-eyed, porcelain-skinned girls inhabit a supernatural world, shared symbiotically with equally captivating and perfectly rendered creatures. Traditional logic is thrown to the wind, as these images work to their own enchanted rules.

Although many people assume that these images are digitally produced, they are in-fact meticulously hand painted.

Why do these paintings draw such praise and attention from all quarters? Like the paintings themselves, the answer is more complex than it initially seems.

"I dunno," muses Richard Goodall, "it's a nostalgic thing maybe, people see bits of their youth in these. Then there's that edginess about each one. The is a little bit of an edge, some are a little bit dark, and some are very light-hearted. There is a lot of humour in them.”

These paintings may be in a childish idiom, they have a very thoughtful and adult sensibility.

The palette that she uses is so very delicate.” Richard continues, “Literally everyone who has seen them thinks they are wonderful.”

By The Time You Are Real, the paintings of Nicoletta Ceccoli runs at Richard Goodall Gallery from the 13th of December 2008 till the 31st of January 2009.

Richard Goodall Gallery - Contemporary Art, 103 High Street, Northern Quarter. Open Wednesday - Friday 11am - 5pm, Saturday 12 - 4pm

Image Hide and Seek by Nicoletta Ceccoli curtsey of RGG 

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Interspecies @ Cornerhouse

Time is passing at a terrifying rate! Just got the heads up about the next exhibition at Cornerhouse. Hopefully it'll be an improvement on the current one, The Intertwining Line.

Titled Interspecies, it previews at the Cornerhousem on the 23rd of January 2009 between 6 and 9pm. This touring exhibition of new commissions and existing works by artists collaborating with animals is organised by The Arts Catalyst

Artists taking part include: Beatriz da Costa, Antony Hall, Ruth Maclennan, Rachel Mayeri, Kira O'Reilly, Nicolas Primat

This exhibition, marks the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and brings together a group of artists who actively question the sovereignty of the human species over all other animal species.

Sounds rather interesting, and all the better for the possibility of monkey involvement. 

Exhibition runs:
Sat 24 January - Sun 22 March 2009
FREE Entry

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

It's off to work I go. 

With nothing else to comment on I'll leave you with some links. 

Jonathan Jones on the end of his ( art critics ) love affair with Damien Hirst. Spookily, the original article I read about this a week or so ago on the BBC website has disappeared. 

Does the powerful tentacles of Hirst have the power to silence the BBC? 

A survey once again reveals what we all already know, we lie about what books we read to impress people. Duh... 

As usual, when the papers writes anything about comics they are several years too late - see the Independents article on Manga

Speaking of comics, the lovely Paul Gravett sent me an email yesterday thanking me for my review of The Leather Nun & Other Incredibly Strange Comics, and telling me about a wonderful Comica event. Comica is a yearly comics festival in London, but one off events take place throughout the year under that name. 

Coming up next year is Adrian Tomine's first UK appearance. Despite being on so far away in London, it's still rather tempting. Details on Paul Gravett's website here

Anyway, I'm off to Oldham

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Pre-preview of 'By The Time You Are Real' @ RGG

With my City Life hat on I've just been for a nose round the Nicoletta Ceccoli exhibition at Richard Goodall Gallery. It may have still all been mostly on the floor, but was still pretty enchanting. Can't wait till Saturday to go and have a look at it once it's properly hung. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Internet Art @ The Tuttle Club

Manchester's Social Media Cafe, in it's second outing at the Northern last night, was a bit of a mixed experience. Although an absolute blast from the networking, drinking pear cider and comparing moo cards end, the organised part of the evening was a little indecisive. 

The key speaker was Heather Corcoran from FACT, the Foundation of Art and Creative Technologies, in Liverpool. Her talk about media arts and social media was a little mumbled and meandering, but she did highlight some potentially interesting projects and artists working on the internet. 

Disappointingly, I just wasn't quite sure what the destination was, and unsurprisingly it didn't shake up much discussion afterwards. It was like being at a not-very good university lecture, where the person speaking is obviously passionate and well informed about the subject, but doesn't seem to know where they are going with the talk.  

All this said, there are some interesting links to nose around on Heather's delicious page. 

Self confessedly I'm not a massive fan of most video or digital art. I did quite like things such as Umbrella Zombie Datamosh* or You're Not My Father, but other things seemed a little lost on me. Wikipedia may be telling me Olia Liane is seminal, but I have the feeling that in the warren like interior of the internet perhaps I am only stumbling upon the most dated of her work. 

So... Comme ci, comme ca.

* even if that damn Umbrella song in the bane of my existence. 

Monday, 8 December 2008


I have had a weekend typically free of any artistic thought. I rolled around Manchester, just missing out from doing anything interesting by a few minutes. It is only remarkable for the sheer amount I have slept, mucked about with bicycle punctures and politely refused to buy knock off DVDs. 

Not really connected to much, but tonight is the Manchester Social Media Cafe, which I shall be attending. Not absolutely certain what it's all about, but I'm sure if I turn up and observe though my large gollum like eyes everything will be revealed to me. 

Also, my mate Brian Gorman's recent small press comic, Borderliners, is Pick of the Month over at SmallZone.co.uk 

In Art? 

The Nicoletta Ceccoli exhibition opens at Richard Goodall Contemporary on the 13th of December. Watch this space for the inevitable Citylife.co.uk preview piece. 

P.S. Does anyone has a 54cm bicycle with horizontal dropouts going spare?

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

More Jonathan Jones

My fan-girl intellectual crush on Jonathan Jones continues. This interview with Mark Leckey, conducted shortly after getting the Turner Prize, cements my admiration for the chap. 

I know I'm being rather lazy and just reposting stuff by a better ( and proper ) journalist, but frankly don't want to leave my bed until someone brings me a fur coat... and a new bike... with chains on the wheels.

Almost slipped off mine twice yesterday in the ice. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Turner Prize... not really...

I gave up caring about the Turner Prize a long time ago. In fact, before I even gave that much of a crap about art. Back when I just liked pretty pictures, wanted to bathe myself in aura that went with artistic practise and hated - at the time, other - art students with a passion. 

I was too young to be swept along in the YBA explosion of the nineties, and my art consciousness emerged in the vacuum left afterwards. I just pootled  around, reading the set texts, wandered round art galleries and never aligned myself with any school of thought, apart from liking the power reception theory gave me.

Basically, the aim in completing various Art History qualifications was really to gather to tools to crush those pompous twats with fashionably teased hair, vacant eyes and perky little noses. 

Incidentally, learned I passed my MA, with a decent margin, last week... and before you ask have no intention of doing a PhD. )

I wanted to, and still want to a certain extent, crush them. I refuse to believe making crap gives artists any kind of magical, unobtainable, insight. 

Anyway, this whole line of thought was spurred on by reading Jonathan Jone's assessment of this years Turner Prize in his Guardian Blog

Out of the many professional art critics around, i think he is the one I can really get behind - Combining a certain popular, practical, audacious thinking about art with the theoretics to back it up, without getting bogged down in them. His writing is pleasantly unfashionable and free of bullshit. 

I wonder if he would be my friend? 

Follow me on Twitter

There is a spectre haunting Manchester...

.... It is the spectre of paid employment. 

This has spurred me on to master the latest, wildly popular, social networking tool. Probably indicates how marvellously uncool I am to talk about it in these terms. 

Like a toddler, I learn best through play. 

Want to know what I'm  upto day-to-day? Want to accidently turn up at the same events as me, so you can buy me large glasses of chilled white wine?

No - it's not facebook, follow me on Twitter. Linky to the righty. 

Monday, 1 December 2008

Reality Hack @ Urbis

Are you Christmas-ed out yet? The farcical queues in Paperchase and the Post Office making you want to tear your eyes out? 

I'm on the downward swing into Scrooge-osity, and however much I adore fairy lights, need a seasonal antidote.

Luckily, the new photography exhibition at Urbis looks like it could be just the boy for the job.

Opening tomorrow and called Reality Hack, the exhibition consists of a series of newly commissioned works from experimental photographer Andrew Paul Brooks, documenting his journeys behind the scenes of Manchester.

First glance seems to indicate that it'll be riffing of that contemporary surreal atmosphere which made me fall in love with the Jamie Baldridge exhibition at Richard Goodall. ( Incidentally, you still have a few more days to go see that, since it is finishing on the 7th.)

More images can be found on Andrew Brooks website, and a there is a more in depth feature over on BBC Manchester.