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Paul's Art Blog

Paul Liptrot's thoughts and musings!

This is the place to find out what I'm working on or researching at the moment. The blog is split into my inspirations in art and science, and my work and my current thinking.

05-06-2018 by 
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Well after a period of being highly remiss in my blog postings it’s time to catch up with the developments since my show, Firmament, in 2017. A lot has happened and it feels like the show at Thirtyfive Gamble in Nottingham was the catalyst for a variety of changes in my practice, and my life.

The opportunity to see all my work together in a single place provided an interesting opportunity to take stock and consider where I ‘was’. That sounds quite nebulous however it’s been crucial in letting me get a sense of my journey and where I want to go in the future. In hindsight I’m really glad that I mixed the petri latex series with the works on paper, these are my two main bodies of work and I was pleased to see how they worked together. I also included some of my drawings, inspired by my sketchbook which I talked about in a previous post, Is a sketchbook essential? I always thought not

The key thing for me was the ability to take a step back and then say “You know what, I’ve achieved a lot, I’ve pushed myself and I’ve got some strong work to show for it”. The value of this simple act isn’t one to be underestimated. It was the first time since finishing my Creative Practice course at the Manchester School of Art that I’d given myself the space for reflection – yes it was primarily about showing my work to others but the key thing was that I’d got somewhere. I showed a range of work including some older stuff, and two works on paper that were my initial foray into going ‘big’. There is something exciting about having a solo show – especially if you forget all the stresses or planning, organising and doing!

Petri latex installation and work on paper in foreground

The best element for me was the ability to go big! I designed a piece for one of the large Victorian windows, something that I wouldn’t have done without the space and time to think about it, and then execute it. This simple act, for me a massive one, of going big seems to have been a catalyst for my work going forward. I’m usually really focussed on the small, especially in my work with petri dishes, they are by design small, something that reflects their use in labs across the world. While I like this ability to be really focussed, I also see the potential of using multiples to create a new larger entity. It gave me the chance to think about presentation.

Was I going to stick to a grid as I had done in the past? Was I going to use the individual dishes to ‘draw’ something? Or did I want to allude to something, to suggest a force or movement at play. In the end I went for the allusion and dipped back into my past, when first thinking about whether I wanted to ‘do’ art. I was always really inspired by Bridget Riley’s strong forms, so minimal in their composition but with often huge psychological impacts. So it was with ‘Fall’ in my mind that I created my large piece – 80 dishes in 10 colour ways. I won’t go into the fear that it wouldn’t fit, on the day it got in with a centimetre to spare but the finished piece really had presence. It changed depending on the environmental conditions which I knew however, it still felt revelatory, each change in the weather outside altering the colour and the way the individual elements worked together.

meeting with Holly Early Sound Artist

Another key step for me was meeting Holly Early, a sound artist, who came to the show with her friend, Ethan, a microbiologist. I had great chats with them both, which would ultimately lead to me working with Holly on a collaborative piece, Empyrean, for the Lady Bay Arts Festival in May 2018 – more of that in a later post.

The show set in motion a change in mindset, the confidence to take changes and opportunities when they arose. In the next few posts I’ll talk about my unexpected trip to Helsinki on the way to New Delhi and the task of co-curating All Hallows’ Church at the Lady Bay Arts Festival with my studio mate, Pip Crawforth!

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