the Industrial Link

Fiddklers Ferry Project - painters TUBES magazineabove: The sleek designed Mersey Gateway Bridge stands in front of the Iconic Fiddlers Ferry Power Station. (photograph by ©Lee Harrison)

the Industrial Link   

written by Denis Taylor Artist and Editor for painters TUBES magazine

“…In the days where the art academies dictated what fine art painting was and what it wasn’t, it was only historical art that was regarded as the ‘defacto’ work to be taken ‘seriously’  all genres of art came in second, third and fourth in the order of importance.

The art game changed however with the onset and public popularity of the Barbizon painters, Corot, Alexander Cozens, Poussin, J.M.W. Turner and perhaps more powerfully for the UK, (albeit belatedly), John Constable. It was these painters that forced the institutions to reassess their bias as to what sort of work should be viewed as ‘serious art.’

In many way ways this highlights the art world of today, but in an absolute opposite standpoint . Today historical art is seen as dead and buried – no one is interested in recording an historical event as such – unless of course it’s a radical arts led concept to undermine the social political establishment. Of course that sort of Art is sometimes needed – if only to ensure our rulers are kept a close eye on, but this type of imagery in ‘visual art’ is ineffective as far as making an impact or an effect on society is concerned. Social media, Twitter in particular, has taken on that role gladly, ridiculing the powerful, as and when required. Which it does rather well with total freedom and a huge helping of negativity….”

So…a few years ago, I came across a fellow visual artist (Shaun Smyth) who was actually recording something of historical note as by way of a change, my interest was aroused. After a few conversations and more importantly, viewing the actual brilliant sketch works created in the artists studio…

Shaun Smyth -painters TUBES magazine…I encouraged the support of  painters TUBES magazine to back the artist and the exhibition whole heartedly. That exhibition was to be called “Constructing the Mersey Gateway Bridge.” The title given from an amazing governmental instigated [new] long needed infrastructure project, one which would create an actual gateway from the Mersey area to the rest of the North West of England.

It was a part of the ‘regeneration of the old industrial towns’ that have been ‘neglected’ for six or more decades – It was a significant structure in both intention and actual physical presence. The Mersey Gateway Bridge was completed and officially opened on the 4th June 2018 by Queen Elizabeth ll of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Three years prior to the bridge opening for traffic. Shaun Smyth had already been sketching and painting the beginnings of it from the onset of the bridge construction.  By 2018 Shaun had created dozens of examples of the bridge showing every stage of it’s construction. Luckily, the artist passed the structure every day on his way to his art teaching job at a local School.

Shaumn Smyth painting -with painters TUBES magazineShaun eventually produced a mass of work – Large, small and medium in his own style.  The actual paintings tended towards realism but with contemporary flashes of paint applied loosely with absolute skill and passion. As a local born and bred artist, Shaun added a non-apologetic large creative slice of regional pride.

Catalogue Brindley Exhibition - painters TUBES magazinepainters TUBES magazine created and funded the prodcution of the catalogue and the media push, ensuring this important serious art was exhibited in a way that both the work and the project deserved. In this aim the first sign of success came in the form of support from the Brindley Theatre, the Hatton Borough Council, [+painters TUBES magazine] and Bell Lamb and Joynson Solicitors, all of whom ensured that the show became a reality from the 18th February 2018 to 5th April 2019- (please click here to read the: Exhibition Catalogue on line).

During the course of preparation for Mersey Gateway Bridge exhibition it came to the attention of Shaun that an historical icon of the area was on the brink of being ‘de-commissioned’ – That iconic structure was an incredible landmark of the North West of England known as Fiddlers Ferry Power Station – One of five coal fired stations still operational in the UK. For me, it was obvious that these two subjects should be brought together. The new Mersey Gateway Bridge – And the past glory of Coal Fired Power stations. The Fiddlers Ferry still holds an enormous historical importance in the hearts and the minds of people of the North West of England. And unlike the bridge, it was an integral piece of fantastic technology that was born out of the industrial revolution, the revolution that physically put the word ‘Great’ as a prefix to ‘Britain.’

Despite the understandable decisions to change how power is generated for national consumption for the 21st century (to reduce carbon emissions), for the benefit of the environment, Fiddlers Ferry should be given the respect it so richly deserves. Especially for the generations of people it has served and to provide historical reference and a narrative for future generations. It was with this in mind that myself, Shaun Smyth and Lee Harrison came to the conclusion that it was an Art project very worthy of serious attention.

Lee Harrison Photographer- painters TUBES magazineabove: Fiddlers Ferry created a ‘wild life’ environment with the excess water the plant needed for it’s colling towers. ©Lee Harrison.

Lee, a well known, gifted photographer, had been photographing Fiddlers Ferry Power Station for a few years before our new project was born, even though it was from an interest in how the power station could be seen from afar in the North West of England from great distances. And Shaun had already made many sketches of Fiddlers as the station was so close to the Mersey Gateway Bridge that they were in an almost symbiotic visual relationship. My own interest was initiated way back in 1988/89, when I first documented the Agecroft Power Station [before it was decommissioned and then demolished in May 1994] with a painting known widely as ‘Acid Trip’ ©DenisTaylor1988/1989-  And of course I realises that this project was a terrific subject for articles for painters TUBES magazine, of which I act as an editor in chief.

So far, the new project has advanced quickly with Shaun, Lee and myself discussing the narrative and planning various concepts of presentation of the project in a public space. We discussed how various segments like video, photography, interviews of the staff could be shown along side oil paintings that are both realistic and some abstracted visions, all integrated into one visually powerful exhibition with a potentially huge public interest, especially in the North of England.

Shaun, Lee and Denis Taylor -painters TUBES Fiddlers Ferry Projectabove (from left): Shaun Smyth, Lee Harrison and Denis Taylor in front of the large painting in Fiddlers Ferry Power Station Sept 2019.

With the go ahead for access given for the project from Fiddler Ferry,  Shaun immediately launched into an ambitious painting of the ‘outside view’ of the station. This work will underpin future exhibitions and also give an immediate visual reference to the scale of the Fiddlers Ferry power plant. This oil on plywood painting, measuring 1200mm x 4800mm wide (4 ft x 16ft) is the first of a planned number of major works (to be created by Shaun)  that the project will exhibit – And hopefully in more than one location in the North West of England.

The project will continue until Fiddlers Ferry has totally vanished from the landscape (in 36 months) – inbetween time the project is looking to hold a number of smaller exhibitions in immediate the local areas where the public can follow the ambitious project during its journey – as it documents this architectural, technological and quite incredible icon of the 20th century.

Above: Shaun Smyth and Lee Harrison at the pre-opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge Exhibition at the Brindley. Photograph by DenisTaylor

Both the Mersey Gateway Bridge and Fiddlers Ferry Power Generating Station are equally important for the whole of society – one showing the path for the future – and the other respecting the achievement of the past – Both linked intrinsically with the people of the North West of England and far beyond the shores of the United Kingdom.

written Denis Taylor for painters TUBES magazine ©2019

Interested parties, sponsors,  venues or for more information please contact info@painterstubes.com – marking Fiddlers Ferry Project as the subject matter.

who is god? what is art?

yellow, blue, and red
my feet among you tread…

Those are questions asked by the artist in the illustrated poem – PALIA HORA – which is Greek for Old Capital City (or town). Palia Hora of Aegina island once was the home of the entire island. It was in the centre of the island and afforded (and still affords) magnificent views over the entire Saronic Gulf – which was it’s downfall, as the inhabitants turned to piracy – and the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire ordered his General (Barrabus) to destroy the town and kill all its people – as a matter of a lesson to all – The Greek people built the town over a thousand years – and each important family had their own Chapel to worship God (Greek Orthodox) . Barrabus – (who mother was Greek) however left 32 chapels standing in remembrance of his brother (who died at the early age of 32) and out of respect for his mother. Today the Chapels have been restored (respectfully) by the Greek Church and visitors can now see murals in the chapels from the 12th to the 15th century by master Greek painters whose names have faded with time.

Click here to go directly to the publication  (best viewed on a large screen device (phone ipad, slate, laptop or desk top computer – all operating systems)

painters TUBES magazine -Denis Taylor
an illustrated poem by Denis Taylor Artist and editor of painters TUBES magazine

Ian Mood – new work

“common ground.” will be exhibited in the art School’s fabulous building and exhibition space.

Featured in the upcoming issue #8 of painters Tubes magazine, will be Ian Mood, a painter who is creating a unique series of work based on his Grand fathers paintings of Stoke-on-Trent. It’s an idea that emerged slowly over time and Ian has now established a project studio in the Stoke City Centre, to make the idea a reality. During our Editor’s visit, Ian introduced him to the trustee’s of Burslem School of Art, http://www.burslemschoolofart.com/, that also have a fascinating story to tell.

Ian’s series of work – “common ground.” – will be exhibited in the art School’s fabulous building and exhibition space. Tubes issue #8 will be discussing the project and taking a general look at Ian’s work over the last years, which includes some unique semi-abstract (expressionist) paintings dealing with the human form and also his earlier landscape paintings…Tubes issue#8….not to be missed.

Painters Tubes in Stoke on Trent UK
Ian Mood in his new studio (Stoke-on-Trent, UK)

image©painterstubesmagazine/DenisTaylor 2018

Pauline Rignall.. Myths

painters Tubes Editor interviews Pauline Rignall at her studio for issue#8

Pauline is a painter who is exploring ‘human sensuality’ through the inspiration of myths and legends in her recent work.  She translates these often suppressed, or  hidden sexual feelings, into vibrant dynamic contemporary art. She is also a gifted landscape artist. Tubes editor, Denis Taylor, visited her recently in her home studio to discover more about her and her art. – You can read the full interview in issue #8 – back issue available soon

extract from essay.

“Myths are dramatised psychology, an expression of the inner life through the creative imagination. They are both universal and personal, being symbolic of the  patterns and energies operating in the cosmos in society and the individual.”    Pauline Rignall

….There was nothing mythical about my recent meeting with pauline Rignall in her cottage studio nestled among the very lovely and quintessential English Derbyshire hills. As I stepped off the train Pauline was waiting to greet me at the gate of the small country railway station. And in less than a few minutes we were sat at her dining table enjoying coffee and a piece of home made cake, talking Art and painting in general. Pauline is a gentle sensuous soul one that is reflected in many of her paintings, albeit not that obvious to the casual observer of her figurative paintings. However, her landscape painting  do reflect a serenity and an appreciation of the beauty of nature that surrounds her.

Pauline’s has a deceptive strength of character that is partially masked by a playfulness and genuine love of Art and literature. I first became aware of her as an artist when she contacted Tubes with a submission to be included in the ‘landscape’ feature of 2017  (issue # 5)…. read more soon..

CPH Art Space

it was a very cold Easter Saturday we visited the Copenhagen Art Space for an annual exhibition…

Denis Taylor Artist at CPH art spaceIt was a very cold Easter Saturday that both myself and Marianne (sub-editor of Tubes) visited the Copenhagen Art Space for an annual exhibition. The venue is situated in the developing Nordhavbn (North Harbour) part of the Danish Capital City. The venue known as ‘Docken’ is a space which is expansive and well appointed. Art Space 2018 is an Art and Culture event that is approaching ten years old. The show runs over three days which may bring to mind Art Fairs in the UK, however this exhibition has the feeling of    a Salon, rather than an Art Fair.

Denis Taylor Artist and Editor of painters Tubes magazine at Copenhagen Art SpaceThe warm laid back welcoming that you get when entering the show made up for the bitter cold wind outside and allowed you to really enjoy what’s on offer. It was a breath of fresh air to witness the space given to each artist who exhibited, of which their were Sixty, all showing high quality, original, authentic work that was diverse enough for everyone’s particular taste. I began thinking that the space and the way it was presented could be a guiding light for the UK and Artists  to organize themselves to mount this sort of exhibition in similar spaces in the UK of which there are plenty available.

For me it was an opportunity to catch up with an old artist friend, Preben Saxild, an artist I had exhibited with in Stockholm at the Heart 2 Art exhibition in 2002. And one who’s work I have been following since before 1998. Preben has developed as an artist from being a very talented abstract expressionist, through to creating his unique landscape phase, and now a new line of work which is montage based, but with his own unique ‘take’ on life, one tinged with ‘irony’ political comment and sheer luxurious image making.

CPH3
Preben Saxild (left) and Denis Taylor (Editor of Tubes) catching up on his new work

Besides some great paintings there were also fabulous ceramic and metal sculptures on show, again I wished that the UK artists and private art galleries could visit these type of exhibitions in Skandinavia and be inspired by the originality of the Art, which is far more adventurous, in style and subject matter, (in my opinion), than most of the UK visual art that I have viewed over the last four or five years (in commercial galleries).
Below are a selection of some photographs (©Tubes magazine) of the venue and the art.