The Memory Play Ground

The Memory Play Ground has been one of the many successful research projects included in the 2015 Rose Bruford Symposium under the umbrella theme of 'On stage Off stage and Beyond'. It follows on from Placing Memories which was included in the Rose Bruford Symposium 2014. This collaborative artwork brings together three creative practitioners whose research practice and specialisms (light, sound and visual arts) share a concern for the experiential and immersive. The project has been devised and curated by Chrys Allen, Oliver Brennan and Ben Ratcliff and has enjoyed the involvement of students who have designed 'emotive' spaces; chambers of light, textures and sound where memories are taken to be revived and possibly redefined.

The installation facilitates an hour of exploring stories, senses and spaces. A memory triggered by a (bottled) scent is held dear and taken to different chambers to be taken 'beyond'. "It isn't just what happened in that memory, but what might have happened" ( anon, participant)

The Memory Play Ground has proven to be creative, insightful and touching; which is exactly what playgrounds are.

A big Thank you to Gaby Robertson, Mitch Andrews, Will Steggles, Oli Brennan, Lizzy Gunby, Coco Nies, Ryan Lawrence, Matt Bevan, Ben Ratcliff and Jason Monmaney. 

Rose Bruford  College of Theatre and Performance
Lamorbey Park , Sidcup,  Kent!programme/c80w

At my desk

Here at my desk I am musing over how 'The 'Sense of Walking ' series has taken me far beyond the 52 drawings I had intended; the rhythm and pace of their progress is in itself akin to walking. Ideas are constantly on the move. The square format and scale is challenging and engaging and I am reminded of the saying  "One's too many and a hundred is not enough". Maybe I need to get out more…

Listening to the ice

I have just returned from a trip to Koli. Walking in the forest and across the lake for many hours each day was awe inspiring. Even more memorable than the sight of lake Pielinen as a vast expanse of ice was the incredibly beautiful sound. To hear the distant (and near) groans of the ice as it wakes from its frozen state is a wonderful experience. The physical power of the ice is both beautiful and terrifying. It is something which I would have never fully understood or even imagined without actually being there. This phase of changing states (while the ice expands, contracts and shifts) is unpredictable thus making the experience all the more precious: It may not continue much longer, perhaps days, perhaps weeks. What is certain is that it could not be missed, and whatever happens next will also be beautiful.

An aesthetic sublime; and I quote...

When bringing together various extracts of text to be used for the (my) Saachi online gallery profile I came across a review I had filed away. On rereading it I felt that Dr Sue Morgan's insightful words should have been included on my new website; but here, as a blog/post, they are at least given a place and space to be appreciated. 

"If there is such a thing as the transcendental sublime, then it is clear from the work of Chrys Allen that there can also be savage layers of darkness intermeshed within it. The intricacy of her aesthetic engineering, coupled with a delicate violence of line, exquisite spatial composition and choice of palette, indicates that there is a sombre, as well as beautiful, edge to the work.

Whatever the intentional engine in Chrys' head may be, for others there is also a revelation, sometimes seeping out behind the redemptive beauty, of the shadow of infinite black, which may be out in the dust and brute matter of the earth, as well as in the neural tissue, the axis and point of origin of visual production.

The physicality of her work, interlaced with these factors, provokes an emotional response which could be described as the arctic sublime. But the grammar of language is in fact inadequate to describe her aesthetic - the best response is a natural one - to look, examine and be fascinated. And in still moments, you may catch a trace of eternity."

Dr Sue Morgan

Drop Me A Line

"Drop me a Line' will be an installation including 2015 drawings created by a vast community of artists, friends and creatives. Louise Baker and Michael Fairfax have brought together what promises to be a brilliant exhibition at Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton Devon (opening in March). Having worked with Michael in the past and seen Louise's work, I am in no doubt that it will involve wit and intrigue. Here is a preview of 4 of the drawings I have contributed. I look forward to seeing the other 2011. 


At the Science Museum

Walk in Progress, Bedrock will be shown at the Works on Paper Art Fair / Exhibition at the London Science Museum next weekend 5th-8th Feb. I will be showing with NOA as one of their selected artists/prizewinners. The 10 m scroll will be displayed on a 2m shelf, so which section of the scroll can be seen is yet to be revealed - it has been different for each of the NOA exhibitions.

Walk in Progress, Bedrock

Walk in Progress, Bedrock



Last day in Koli

This is the last day of drawing and walking here in Koli before heading back to UK. I hope the quiet calm of the winter forest will stay with me.

You Are Here

‘You are Here’ was installed summer 2014 in the metsagalleria as part of Koli’s Environmental Arts Festival. It was very much a summer event, but having now seen the work under snow and in the afternoon light of a clear cold January day I am wondering if winter might be a good time to celebrate the environment.

A new year, a new blog

By strange coincidence 2015 has started here in Koli with temperatures of minus 20 to minus 15. Beautiful clear (if cold) days are ideal for walking through the forest by day, drawing, and for watching northern lights by night. There were also shooting stars this evening but however much I might have wished, they did not slow down enough for me to take a photo.