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exhibition feature

Photograph below: Contemporary Artist, Denis Taylor in front of the installation at Crossley Gallery, Dean Clough, Halifax, UK 

Denis Taylor Artist and Writer. painters Tubes magazine

Denis Taylor with his work at Crossley Gallery, Dean Clough. Left: ‘Acid Trip’ (1985) Middle: ‘Life Began in Water’ (2018) Right: Cellular Abstraction (2014)

The exhibition “defining the elemental is an exhibition of painting in the UK. The ten artists participating are showing authentic work that covers contemporary landscape, portraits and new abstract painting. The extensive venue is the Crossley Gallery which is within the extremely large Dean Clough business  and culture complex in Halifax, West Yorkshire.

The exhibition began in October and ran through to 12th January 2019.
Many of the artists were renown throughout the North of England and beyond for their progressive, dynamic, semi-realist and abstract new work, such as, Denis Taylor, Ian Norris and Jeanette Barnes along with major project painters such as Shaun Smyth and original impasto styled (inspired by Kossoff/Auerbach) portraiture work  created by Richard Fitton and Barry De Moore.

reviews appeared in issue #10 of painters Tubes magazine.

painters Tubes

extract from the review in the magazine….

This is a show that has ten painters and writer who has created poems for the works on exhibition at the Crossley Gallery venue inside the expansive Dean Clough complex.

In the introduction David Traves points out the inspiation of British 20th century painters such as David Bomberg, Leon Kossof and Frank Auerbach, that some of the participating artists may have been inspired by, although that is referring to paint application, more than it is to the subjects.

The selected the group of artists was mostly chosen by Shaun Smyth.

The original concept and title for the exhibition. “Defining the Elemental” was his original idea and it conjures up a whole range of meanings behind it. Essentially the artwork to be shown is primarly based in nature subject matter, although one or two of the artists have expanded that to include the human figure and pure abstraction, work that perhaps have broader and more expansive meaning, as far as the human race is concerned. i.e. “initium aquam”  (Latin: Life began in Water) by Denis Taylor and “Rebuilding ground zero” by Jeanette Barnes. Richard Fitton, another fine painter, shows some new work, one in particular that is removed away from the impasto paintings he is known for, to a more delicate surface finish and his growing concern for the drawing content in his creative output (e.g: “Amy” mixed media- on loan from a private collector). Ian Norris exhibits his highly developed semi-abstract work with his accomplished and fabulous handling of paint, work that is always backed up by dedicated charcoal sketch works.

Spike talks about the art game..painters Tubes mag

The Art Game

painters TUBES favourite art critic and muse, known to all unsundry as Spike, returns to the latest issue with a pragmatic look at the back side of Art – business and selling. What follows is a extract from the full article that you can read free on the latest issue of painters Tubes magazine…

TUBES magazine art critic - SPIKE

Showing paintings on line, is now the main stream for the dissemination of an artists work. Even though real life exhibitions are still relevant for many artists, an on line presence is essential (if only for street cred). That “painting is a dead art” conversation has faded away as fast as padded shoulders did in the middle 1980’s. There has been a major change in attitude to painting in the last few years. In part, this may be entirely due to the need for the high street galleries to survive the financial crisis, the one that started in earnest in 2009 and is still having an effect now, not to mention adding to the problem with (thinking here about) Donald Trump and the European Union on the brink of collapse helped along by French Riots, and No Deal Brexit.

Today, more than ever, high street galleries need to sell ‘more-stuff’ and earn extra profit to pay those stupidly high ‘business rates’ in the major Cities – And lets be honest, paintings sell much quicker than sculpture or worse those ‘cool’ avant-garde installations of nonsense that rely on high brow art academics to authenticate the cultural importance of something that most people wouldn’t actually install in their homes (even if they don’t say so publicly). And usually there is a heavy price tag for that sort of contemporary bull-shit art. Consequently the contemporary ‘arty farty’ marketplace is tiny compared to the ‘popular paintings’ art market. Even though there are only so many landscapes that anyone can put in their homes. That market will also run dry soon unless some risk taking by galleries start, pretty damn quick.

The sheer size of the (art) market (because of the www) has outgrown all that ‘arty farty stuff’ by leaps and bounds – certainly as far as turnover is concerned. So the www has become the place to set up your stall. Major funded on-line art galleries and some not so well funded independent artists all have a go at selling direct to art collectors and art lovers. Even Tubes magazine are having a go (although they already know there is no money to be made so why bother trying – the space it is giving to artists is in keeping with the magazine policy – Art before Money at all cost).

Spike talks about the art game..painters Tubes mag

The one man art galleries start-ups fail quickly- some have a sort of ‘in the third year we will make money fiscal plan’ and obtain a bank loans. Most, in reality, loose much more money than they bargained for and are wrapped up prematurely by their investors (or more commonly the Bank) the ones that backed the idea (with solid security that could be recouped) in the first place.

Today it’s not a case of chasing huge profits for many galleries, on the contrary, it’s survival we are talking about here. Many on-line outfits are simply losing too much money, year in and year out.
“..there is no money in Art..” a very wise man once said back in 1989.

He may have been right but for the wrong reason, as far as I am concerned. Should Art really be treated as a commodity? And be sold as such? – Stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap is not an effective strategy, not for original art, so when times get tough, (in Art) the tough bottle it.

Can artists write about other artists much better than non-artists?

Tubes magazine. Can artists write about other artists better than non-artists?

Giorgio Vasari

As the Editor of painters Tubes magazine and a full time artists for 30 years, I have found that writing about other artists (in my case painters) gives me a sort of insider knowledge of how artists process their work, from both intellectual and physical angles. When interviewing other artists this special understanding forms the basis of our conversation(s) and helps me to get to the ‘pip-of- the-poodle’, as they say in Sweden. Little time is wasted on talking about the contingencies of painting- say, the choice of paint, the type of base preferred (board, canvas etc). Nor do I waste interview-time making a list of their education background, academic or art competition gongs, or any other ‘list’ that are usually intended to impress prospective buyers or potential representation of galleries.

I find that four to five hours is required to fully examine and get to the bottom line of the artists real reasons for living life an artist. What it is that drives them and provides the impetus to continue with ‘needing’ to create something original and authentic – This is often more complex than most people realise. Total confusion on the ‘why’ to create at all, is always that empty space that manifests itself as the struggle felt, as is the overpowering ‘need’ to gain not only recognition of ones peers, but also from total strangers, art agents or art galleries who may wish to actually purchase or value the work. Separation of the conscious ego from the subconscious creative mind remains an issue, as it has always been.

My conversations with artists helps me to confront some ‘hidden-agendas’ head on. ‘How to survive as a full time time painter’, for example, is often talked about, or rather, how difficult that is to maintain in the 21st Century. “Too many artists, not enough space to exhibit”, frequently comes up in ‘chats’ as an irritation, as does the gallery bias for one type of art over another or the ‘lottery’ of being singled out on the www for acclaim. Social Media addiction is always a problem for artists, especially for those that post every single brush stroke they make for the world to admire, i.e. “here’s one I started this morning..” type of post- (unfinished ‘updates’ of art is one habit that I personally abhor). 
Some writers of art prefer to ramble on the aesthetics of this or that work of art, using words that simpler descriptions would suffice quite adequately. And whereas that ‘academic way’ is probably a very 20th century way of writing about Art, it is still utilised today to avoid discussing the real practical issues facing painters. Or indeed what their Art is really ‘all about.’

The other difference, I have found, as an artist interviewing another artist is, I am truly interested in how a work or series of work came about, not in any ‘journalistic’ way, but as a fellow artist who experienced similar ‘awakenings’ or insights. It is also not that difficult for an artist who interviews another artist to quickly spot an ‘image-maker’ from an artist who ‘works’ to develop their Art rather than simply live off it.
For me, as the Editor of an Art Magazine, one that is devoted to ‘paintings and painters’ it seems clear that I should be looking to encourage other Artists to start to write about other Artists. If I am lucky enough to achieve that aim – I honestly think Art in general will be the better for it.

Denis Taylor Artist and Editor of TUBES

Artist and editor of TUBES – Denis Taylor

Header image of Giorgio Vasari an Italian painter, architect, writer, and historian, most famous today for his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.

Denis Taylor Artist

Defining the Elemental

Defining the Elemental Exhibition”

Dean Clough. Halifax West Yorkshire

27th October through to 12th December 2019

Preview of the exhibition

This is a show that has ten painters and writer who has created poems for the works on exhibition at the Crossley Gallery venue inside the expansive Dean Clough complex.

In the introduction David Traves points out the inspiration of British 20th century painters such as David Bomberg, Leon Kossof and Frank Auerbach, that some of the participating artists may have been inspired by, although that is referring to paint application, more than it is to the subject.

The original concept and title for the exhibition. “Defining the Elemental” was his original idea and it conjures up a whole range of meanings behind it. Essentially the artwork to be shown in the main is based on nature, although one or two of the artists have expanded that to include the human figure and  one or two with pure abstraction work that perhaps have broader and more expansive connection with the title of the show,  i.e. “initium aquam” (Latin: Life began in Water) by Denis Taylor and “Rebuilding ground zero” by Jeanette Barnes. Richard Fitton, another fine painter, shows some new work, one in particular that is removed away from the ‘impasto paintings’ he is known for, to a more delicate surface finish and his growing concern for the drawing content in his creative output (e.g: “Amy” mixed media- on loan from a private collector). Ian Norris exhibits his highly developed semi-abstract work with his accomplished handling of paint, art works that are  always based on dedicated charcoal sketches.

Nicki Heenan and Miranda Richmond are to exhibit their delightful and unique landscape paintings along with ‘imagined’ landscape paintings of Richard Clare and the more definite subject based work of Stephen Stringer. Shaun Smyth shall be showing        a large panoramic painting of the Mersey Gateway Bridge, one of the many works that are to be shown at the Brindley Gallery, Merseyside with the exhibition ‘Constructing the Mersey Gateway Bridge’ (18th February 2018 to 5th April 2019). Shaun will also demonstrate his dedication as a skilled draughtsman by placing several charcoal sketch pieces next to his large painting. Barry De More, another painter whose work gives more than a nodding reference to Kossof and Frank Auerbach, will show works that range from the local environment of Keighley to Bradford (Yorkshire UK) to images of industrial workers on site.

All the painters and the work have a dedicated poem (prose) created by David Traves. His writing also extends to the brief introduction of the exhibition catalogue. David concentrates on his own reaction to each of the painters and their work and gives his own personal interpretation of the essence of each artist, words that are laid out in a classical manner, or style (i.e. short lines of words), but with deeper meaning behind them, meanings that perhaps encourages the reader to think more about the Art, and the artist(s) who created them.

All the work is available for acquisition by art institutions, public art galleries and the private art collector. Interested parties can contact, Crossley Gallery at Dean Clough (https://www.deanclough.com/) the artists directly or via the painters Tubes magazine contact form.

The exhibition runs from the 27th October 2018 through to the 12th January 2019 

Dean Clough, Crossley Galleries, Halifax HX3 5AX

Landscape – yesterday today

excellent article on Landscape Painting – Contemporary Artists who are painting landscapes today.

extract from article on landscape published in TUBES #5….

When it comes to visual art today, landscape is, and by a huge margin, the most popular subject with the general public, that is according to the many independent data analysis reports available on the web. Landscape paintings, it seems, are the most sought after by all social levels of people in modern society. They are the most exhibited in galleries world wide and the subject of them, nature, is one which almost every contemporary painter has, at some time or another, turned their attention to, but it wasn’t always that way.

Landscape on its own, as a autonomous work of Art, was once was frowned upon and was not taken seriously by those who controlled the output of Artists. It was viewed as a non-educated (non-intellectual) form of art. During the fifteenth century and some to extent the sixteenth century, the ‘mode’ of painting that was to be given a high status especially by the powerful art Academics, was historical referenced painting. Ancient Greek myths, Biblical stories or Viking legends etc. It was these subjects were seen as the only serious form of art that an artist should select as subject matter. Landscapes were only necessary to create the ‘stage’ or as ‘support’ for the human figures within them, figures that acted out their part and help to illustrate the story of the chosen subject. These background landscapes were painted in a specific way or with predetermined exacting tonal values that laid themselves back on the painting, always subservient to the human figure.

The reasoning behind this ‘rule’ was deliberate and ensured that only the ‘highly educated’ could pick out the subtle placement of symbolic object references, or have an in-depth knowledge of the story told within the work. Subtle references that could be discussed at length by a higher social class of citizen to demonstrate their intellectual prowess and greater learning. Thus meaning the artists who created these works needed a high level of educated instruction themselves. This ensured (usually) that artists came from mostly affluent families, or those artists who were seen as gifted and then were educated by the establishment, perhaps from an early age. (note: much the same attitude applied to ‘neo-conceptualism’ towards the early or latter part of the Twentieth Century)….continued back copy available soon..

Aegina Island Greece

Time Travel is never easy

Denis Taylor Greek Studio work

Aegina island in the Saronic Gulf. Greece

…way back in 1986, I decided to become a full time artist (painter). At least painting full time when it was possible. My self imposed rule #1 – was “to live for Art, and not live off Art.” – which sort of boxed me in, as I still needed to earn a living. This I did by working in a variety of jobs, writing articles and catalogues and selling the occasional canvas to interested parties, or taking on commissions, but only when someone asked me.
Somehow, years later, I found myself ensconced on island called Aegina. The island is close to Piraeus (19 kilometers) and thus Athens, where I could buy (piecemeal) oil paint, when I had the money, for Art supplies that is. It was here that I confronted the age old enemy of creatives – Ego – And it was here that I defeated it, albeit with the help of an invisible helping hand, which many people call their God. Unlike my home in Northern Europe, the Greek belief system was strong, and it would be unnatural for any creative not to absorb the atmosphere that surrounds them. The outcome was work which, up to then, I had never envisaged painting. This was linked to an incident, one that is too long to explain here, but let me just say, a miracle occurred that saved my life.

Oil painting by Denis Taylor 1993

“Stoned” painting created on Aegina island. ©Denis Taylor. now in a private collection in Sweden.

Time passed and my collection of paintings grew. Eventually I met my future wife, on another island, where I had accepted a commission to paint ‘Walls’ for a Greek friend who was setting up a ‘Rock and Roll cafe on Anti-Paros, a very small island in the Cyclandic’s. This chance meeting led to a Gallery exhibition in Stockholm (1995) and another one in the same year, before I knew where I was I had several shows, created a ‘radical’ group of mixed media Artists and curated, designed and participated in three major exhibitions, one of which was a commissioned [non paying] job for the Swedish Government Estonia Trust Fund and the International  Support Group, that one took over four years to complete [sic: Heart 2 Art- Stockholm January 2002]. And all the time, keeping to my #1 artists rule, I was earning a living doing other things [in the UK] remotely or directly.
Almost twenty years later, and now an artist in the Grey hair sector, I and my wife could scrape together enough time and money to spend a month on Aegina [July 2018]. And, as luck would have it, we were able to take my ‘Greek-Niece’ up on her kind offer to stay at her family home – which just happens to be above my old studio from all those decades ago. Hence the ‘time travel’ headline of this post.

Denis Taylor English Artist, Writer and Exhibition Curator

Studio 4 – Aegina island Greece

The studio had not been lived in or attended to for some years (my niece no longer lives there) And nature had began to take the place over. I resolved to spend the cooler mornings and late evenings bringing the place into ship shape. Mainly because I couldn’t bare to see it in that condition, and I wanted to ‘feel’ what I felt when I was a much younger artist, how I’d grown and developed in comparison, which was insightful. I recalled every single canvas I had painted there, in that place, the struggles, the ecstasy of a breakthrough and the disappointment of failure. I remembered the people, those characters who became more than close friends, now most of them, passed to the other side. At the back of the house I found my white plastic chair, and another for visitors, who would sit with me to discuss the painting I would have been currently working on.
I was time travelling, inside my mind, as I doggedly swept and moped, and swept and moped again and fought the weeds that had embedded themselves in ever crack and cranny. My human form bled salty water from every pore in its body, to cool itself down, but my mind was far to busy ‘travelling back in time’ to take any heed or warning to rest up and drink water.
At the end of all this, my voyage ended with a realisation of what I had actually achieved in Art per se, despite my rule #1, or because of it – And a truly personal sadness, that I could not share with them, that their high expectations, ones they were convinced that I could achieve in Art, had been.
So, ‘Time Travel’ is not easy – for many reasons – but I am sure it’s a trip everyone takes at some point in their life, the good, the bad, the tears the happiness. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Denis taylor Artist and Writer - Aegina island.

“One evening the sky talked of the past.”

posted and written by Denis Taylor. Artist and Writer.

Myths and Psychology

Artist Pauline Rignall – latest figurative work…. read Free on line… click here
TUBES international art magazine

in response to readers requests…

… a number of readers have asked Tubes if they can view examples of our Editors Art.
After some ‘bullying’ we convinced him to ‘complete’ his own website, which he did only the other day.  So, for them that asked and for them that are curious about the Editors own paintings, here is the link: https://denistaylorartist.wixsite.com/painter 

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