Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Venice Biennale 2013

This year my beloved and I holidayed in the wonderful Italian beach resort Lido Di Jesolo, which allowed us to do two day trips to Venice. It quickly became obvious upon our approach that the Venice Biennale was taking place. Unfortunately, we didn't get chance to experience any of the events or exhibitions- it took us both days just to explore all of Venice on foot and by boat- but we did get glimpses of what was going on en route around the city.

The background on the Biennale is;

'for over a century (the Venice Biennale has) been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Ever since its foundation in 1895, it has been in the avant-garde, promoting new artistic trends and organising international events in contemporary arts. It is world-beating for the International Film Festival, for the International Art Exhibition and for the International Architecture Exhibition, and continues the great tradition of the Festival of Contemporary Music, the Theatre Festival, now flanked by the Festival of Contemporary Dance.'

The wonderful 'Alison Lapper Pregnant' sculpture by Marc Quinn was visible on the approach to Venice.

Some of the many exhibits taking place around the city (above).

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, such a shame we didn't have time to go in.

Random exhibition banner photographed from     the Grand Canal.

Over 38 countries exhibit at the Venice Biennale. The Mr found this sign, visible from the Grand Canal, particularly amusing!

I didn't photograph any of them but there were lots of posters for a Caro exhibition all over the city as well. Can't believe I went all that way and an artist I've seen so often at home was exhibiting in Venice! Small world.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Imminent Art Events

Hi art fans! I'm back! Apologies for my long silence but sadly this blogger has been ill recently. However, I'm on the mend now so its back to business. Well, pleasure really!

This is just a mini post to make you aware of some fantastic art events coming up in the North West (and Derbyshire), but I'll be working on some proper posts during this week and next.


HOST Weekend is this coming weekend, Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September, starting 11am and finishing at 5pm on both days.

It is an Open Studios Trail in Kirklees (West Yorkshire), 'which brings together a wonderful showcase of the district’s finest artists and blossoming new talent offering a great weekend of visits and workshops to the public and a chance for artists to share their work in their own unique settings and group venues.
It is an opportunity to step inside the work spaces of artists across Kirklees and learn about their practice, watch them in action, ask questions and put faces to the artists behind the huge variety of fantastic art being created here.'

Long time readers will remember me blogging about HOST last year, but sadly I will be unable to attend this time. I'd still highly recommend it though. There's nothing quite like hopping from venue to house to gallery and seeing artists at work or alongside their exhibitions, giving you the opportunity to question them on anything you want directly, gain real insight and perspective on their art work, inspirations and methods, pass on your compliments face to face, be inspired or try/ see something new. And its pretty much all free! In addition to the trail there are work shops and talks going on all this week throughout Kirklees, including, for example, Huddersfield's first ever Art Walk last night.

If you'd like more information on HOST or to plan your visit check out their website at They're also on Twitter and Facebook.

If you go please get in touch and let me know what you saw and your thoughts, I'd be happy to feature any pictures you take and your thoughts/ feelings/ findings on a blog post too (all credited to you of course), so do let me know if you go.

A taste of HOST is pictured below; art work from the participating artists being displayed in Huddersfield Train station right now. Take a look if you are passing through.

Saltaire Festival

Another fantastic art event in West Yorkshire starting this weekend. Again, regular readers will know I went to and loved this event last year, but sadly I may not be able to attend this either in 2013 (although, I will see what I can do :) ).

Running from Saturday 14th to Sunday 22nd of September there is literally tons going on to satisfy all tastes and interests. For more information take a look at and again, this event is on Twitter and Facebook. There's everything from live music and comedy, to a maker's fair, seminars, art exhibitions, children's events and a treasure hunt.

I was recently in Saltaire and caught site of some Fiona Clai Browns in window of one of the shops near the mill. There's always lots of beautiful art on display or available to buy around Saltaire. If it had been shop opening times I don't think I could have resisted popping in and buying something to go with my own Fiona Clai Brown Trojan horse, I simply adore her work.

Beyond Limits at Chatsworth House

Slightly further south in Derbyshire, this superb annual event kicked off on Mon 9th September and runs all the way until 27th October- so no excuse not to fit in a trip. The website isn't very illuminating as to whether or not a single artist is featured again this year or if it is a mix of artist, as is usually the custom. But, either way, myself and the Mr will be going in the next couple of weeks to check it out. What could possibly beat walking in the beautiful gardens of Chatsworth House, looking at sculpture in the open air, during the wonderful season of autumn? Not much :) Truly one of the highlights of my annual art- event calendar.

The website you need for more information is, although as I said, its not very illuminating!

Wakefield Art Walk

Judging by this event's enthusiastic and regular tweets the Wakefield Art Walk is getting bigger and bigger every time. I loved this event when I got to attend and certainly want to get over to it again (another West Yorkshire gem). The next art walk is on Wednesday 25th September and takes place in the evening. Not to be missed if you can get along to Wakefield on a week night

Don't be put off if the weather is bad either- the venues are all pretty close together, so you won't be out in any rain or wind for too long, and all the hosts at the venues are so friendly and inviting its worth the effort, with most venues offering light complimentary refreshments to visitors. Good old Yorkshire hospitality :)

For a venue map and venue details head to the website Also, as is the modern way, this event is on Twitter and Facebook.

Can you help?

If you know of any art events that I haven't mentioned on my blog please get in touch and let me know of them, particularly any going on in Lancashire (where I actually live!). I'm always keen to try new things/ places/ events. I can be contacted in the following ways- @BekhaG on Twitter, I'm on Facebook or email me at Thank you!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Julian Stair at St Mary's, York

Back in May I posted about my first visit to St Mary's in York and mentioned that following the Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition there would be a display of pottery by Julian Stair.

I was lucky enough to be taken to York by my beloved for the first weekend in June, and while we were there we popped in to St Mary's to see the Julian Stair exhibition.

This pieces on display came about because;

'(Julian's) 2012 exhibition 'Quietus: The vessel, death and the human body' at (the) Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), resulted from a ten-year period of research into means of containment of the human body after death. He develops these ideas in his new installation at York St Mary's, incorporating historic and archaeological ceramics from York's collections.'

To be honest, it wasn't very clear which pieces were by the artist and which were actual archaeological pieces (the intro to the exhibition said it was a mix of both but nothing appeared to be labelled?), so sadly I couldn't judge how I felt about/ found the artist's work.

However, my favourite thing on display was the casket type item shown below-


The picture isn't very good really, but basically the outline of a human corpse was really distinct and clear/ detailed.

The Julian Stair exhibit has finished now and instead St Mary's is currently playing host to the work of Bruce Nauman.

'This exhibition brings together a selection of his art work spanning 30 years, exploring Nauman's constant experimentation and re-invention in his artistic practice.' You can catch it from now until 10.11.13. Bruce works with numerous media including photography and neon (got to love a bit of neon lighting!)

Posts to come soon= Venice Biennale 2013, Holmfirth Art Week, the latest at YSP.

For more information on the artists, venue and exhibitions mentioned refer to the following websites;

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A Gift for my friend Sarah's 30th Birthday

My oldest friend (as in, known the longest, since childhood) Sarah turned 30 in June and one of the presents I gave her was the painting below.

Its a small canvas which I painted in a lovely bright blue acrylic paint with birds made from maps glued on top.

The bird on the left is a map of the village we grew up in, Netherthong in the Holme Valley. The bird on the right is a map of the area she lives and hangs out in now- Thackley/ Idle/ Saltaire/ Shipley in Bradford.

I'm really pleased with how this piece turned out. I've got a bunch of old maps stored up now so thinking of doing some more pieces similar to this. Most importantly, Sarah seemed to like it!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Saltaire Art Trail 2013

Saltaire is a stunningly beautiful village near Bradford, West Yorkshire. It exists purely because of Titus Salt, who built the village as a place for his Mill workers to live, worship and relax. The original buildings of the village and the mill itself still exist today. Saltaire is a World Heritage Site and something of a tourist destination, with good reason- the park, church, hospital, town hall, shopping parade- they're all gorgeous examples of Victorian architecture. Even the old tram shed is still there and now houses a pub. I honestly can't recommend Saltaire enough as a day out, especially if you were to go when either the Saltaire Arts Trail (May) or Saltaire Festival (Sept) are on.

This year was my second visit to the Saltaire Arts Trail. 'The aim of the Saltaire Arts Trial is to support the visual arts in and around Saltaire, celebrating the village’s rich heritage, and offering opportunities to both emerging and established artists'. It consists of local residents opening their homes up as temporary gallery spaces, which the public are invited to enter and enjoy. There's also a full programme of workshops, kids events and a large Makers Fair in the town hall. The purposes of my post? I want to inspire you to go next time and share with you my highlights and favourites.

Tourist Information

Local scenes in the Tourist Office.
10 Edward Street

I love the old radio sets in 10 Edward Street. Pictured are the works of Ian Swales, which were beautiful. Not pictured are the paintings of Joy Godfrey, which were also very good- I particularly liked the ones Brimham Rocks.
6 Helen Street

The quirky exterior of 6 Helen Street. I really liked the photography of Nicola Taylor on display here, and the fairies of Samantha Bryan (below).
13 Fanny Street
Housed the work of local artist Claire Caulfield. Simply gorgeous. She paints a wonderful mix of local, regional and international scenes and landmarks.

19 Herbert Street
Here I particularly liked the landscape screen prints of James Bywood (below) and Francesa Robert's landscape paintings (second below).

I loved these so much- they reminded me of the tourist posters from the golden era of rail travel.

75 Albert Road
House envy! And the owner's art work isn't too bad either. Beautiful landscapes by David Starley.

 19 Ada Street
This property was exhibiting examples of the work of Salts Press. The picture above shows some of their work that was on display. Salts Press is a local firm whose work reflects Saltaire's stories and landmarks. I thought their exhibited works were fun and fresh.
Saltaire Bookshop
Housed within the bookshop were paintings by Claire West. They were my favourite works of the Trail. They were beautiful, colourful and joyful to look at. I also liked the mixed media work of Bonkers Clutterbucks (not pictured).

I popped into the 'hidden house' on the trail, 4 Myrtle Place for a look at the art work of Steve Simpson, before moving on to 6 Harold Place.

Here the stunning work of Paula Dunn was displayed in the garden, and the work of other artists were inside the house. What a wonderful setting for exhibiting art work. The Trail couldn't have been blessed with better weather this year.
I also dropped in to the pop up exhibits in the village, one of which featured the fantastic art work of local students. This really is a fantastic event. I visited many other properties that aren't featured in this blog. It really is an extraordinary thing to let strangers in to your home and open it up as an exhibition space. The propoerties that feature as open houses on the Trail also vary year to year, so you are offered a new and unique experience every year.
If you'd like more information about the Trail, or the upcoming Saltaire Festival, the websites you need are;
For more on the artists I've featured, please see;

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Mark Hearld at the Yorkshire Museum

Earlier this year I fell in love with the beautiful art work of Mark Hearld. I was lucky enough to see an exhibition of his work at YSP in February that was inspired by the park and the animals that live there (see separate, earlier blog post), before seeing some more of his work at the Yorkshire Museum in York in April.

The exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum has now finished, so sadly my post comes too late for anyone reading it to then go and see the exhibit, and for that I apologise. However, I hope you get as much pleasure from viewing the pictures I took of my favourite paintings from the exhibit as I did looking at them in person.

The exhibition featured Mark's illustrations from the book, A First Book of Nature. Mark Hearld lives in the beautiful city of York, but takes his inspiration from the ' flora and fauna of the British countryside'.

 A painting from the Spring section of the book.

 I think this one was from Autumn, judging by the colours and the pumpkin.

 Hmmm this could be Autumn or Winter, what do you think?

 As the painting says, Spring! I love this one.

 Another gorgeous Spring painting.

These are from the Winter section. I think they're fantastic, I'd love to have some on my walls at home.

Mark doesn't appear to have an official website but if you google him he features on numerous websites, including the one below, which details when his studio is open for visitors (ooooh...)

You can also look on

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Yinka Shonibare and Gareth Evans at YSP

Oh my god, I can't believe I've missed my blog's birthday! It was 1 year old on 08.05.13. I seriously thought I'd set it up at the end of May 2012, not the beginning, doh!

Can't believe I've been doing this a year now, where has that gone eh?

One thing is for certain with my blog, your never long away from your next post about YSP! So here's my latest.

When I last popped to the wonderful YSP in April it was to see the Yinka Shonibare exhibit in the YSP Centre, Underground Gallery and Church and the work of Gareth Evans up at the Longside Gallery.

I've definitely seen some of Gareth's work before. I quite like his 'floor height' work.

Yinka Shonibare's work was like nothing I've ever seen before. It was colorful and bright, political and poignant. It spoke of global warming, the pointlessness of war, race and stereotypes.

The works displayed at YSP until 01.09.13 span a decade of his work and include films, photography, painting, collage and sculpture. This is truly an exhibition not to be missed.

None of his works feature human faces or human skin tones, so as to remove a racial or cultural context from the object. He also uses taxidermy and modern devices such as mobile phones alongside one of the oldest gadgets of control, guns.

Most of his creations or characters are made from, or wearing, batik fabrics. They look African and certainly make the viewer think of Africa, but they were in fact first massed produced in Holland, a juxtaposition that no doubt appealed to Yinka.

There is a particularly sad 'sculpture' of two 'men' shooting each other through a wall of eggs. Eventually they will shoot a hole through the eggs and kill each other. The shattered eggs, I presume, reflect the wasted lives due to wars fought between abstract political figures or leaders/ kings. There was something particularly sad and futile about this piece, it got its point across perfectly!

Actually, just checked the YSP website, and the piece is called 'Egg Fight' and actually represents conflict between Protestants and Catholics. Oh well, I was close!

There was also a beautiful film being shown in the Church. 'This visually seductive and moving piece features a singer in the guise of Lord Nelson’s estranged wife Frances Nisbet, performing Violetta’s poignant death aria of the same name from Giuseppe Verdi’s 19th century opera La Traviata'. Its really very beautiful- certainly worth a watch if you are visiting the rest of the exhibition.

I liked everything of Yinka's that was on display. I loved how different it was. The attention to detail was beautiful, as was the color patterned fabric used throughout. I like how he was tackling the common issues of the day (of any 'day' really)- political strife and upheaval, war, racism, global warming and food shortages, the rich being rich and wasteful etc but in such a unique and engaging way. His work seems whimsical, but also slightly unnerving. Its almost like the works are alive and watching you back with judging, aloof eyes. They are reflecting back at you the uncomfortable truths of human nature and society, but this is confusing- because they are colorful and bright and often look like children's play things.

There's also a sculpture of his in the gardens above the Underground gallery which is supposed to look transient and moved/ shaped by the wind. I think it captures that billowing, free flowing movement of fabric in wind very well, a wonderful large scale sculpture designed for the public domain.

 'Wind Sculpture' in the gardens above the Underground Gallery. Beautiful.

 I love how even the cannon balls are made from batik fabrics.

One of the human/ animal mix figures pointing a gun. These 'half-human, half-animal embodiments (are) of an insurrectionist spirit, waving replicas of Colonel Gaddafi’s golden gun'. I find them extremely powerful to look at and deceptive in their colorful garb.

Sorry there's not more pictures, the gallery attendants wouldn't let anyone take any photos- I had to be very covert to get these 2 (no restriction on photographing the outdoor sculpture though).

All in all, I highly recommend the Yinka Shonibare exhibition. It really is fascinating and there's plenty to see.

Also on at YSP now is new outdoor sculptures from Josephsohn, 'Seizure' by Roger Hiorns and work by Anna Collette Hunt. I can't wait to get back there and check out all 3.

For more information, you can visit the following websites-