Saturday, 13 July 2019

Dance Diagonal at the Towner Art Gallery …




I went to hear the talk by Lothar Goetz, the artist-designer of the Dance Diagonal mural, on his artistic journey … where I felt slightly out of my depth (understatement) – but the brain ticks over and will continue to do so.


Lothar as the mural started off ..
c/o Eva Eastman Towner Gallery
Lothar took us on the path from his childhood artistic talent to his approach to the Towner’s commission.  How his Eastern European upbringing really frustrated his creative talent … which was classified as degenerative art …


Map of Iron Curtain area


… once the “Iron Curtain” came down he was able to explore artistic boundaries in western Europe, eventually settling in England.






Bauhaus emblem
… his interests spread across many disciplines … theatre /dance / architecture / interiors /gardens / different styles … he already had a special interest in the German art school: Bauhaus …




Stairway Scene 1932
by Oskar Schlemmer


He mentions in the article (interview link below) that he preferred abstract art but was deeply affected by the turbulent history of the Bauhaus …


… mentioning the influence of Oskar Schlemmer (1888 – 1943) – the German painter, sculptor, designer and choreographer … who had been hired as Master of Form at the Bauhaus theatre workshop …


Costumes from Schlemmer's
Triadic Ballet

… Schlemmer’s most famous work is the Triadic Ballet – which saw costumed actors transformed into geometrical representations of the human body in what Oskar described as a “part of form and colour”.



I started to learn so much as Lothar explained to us, that though he was an artist, he also needed to respond to ‘physical space’ – hence his interest in ‘wall painting’ … which enhanced his love of abstract art …


Towner before its transformation

Back to the Towner … they are celebrating ten years in the new purpose built gallery … so decided to take the bold step of commissioning a mural for its outside façade.  



They elected to recruit a mural company and separately appoint an artist … so the two creatives would need to work together, yet separately …


During its artistic progression
The Towner commission is the largest sculpture design Lothar has done … and he was delighted that they chose the more radical of his two entries … and we are too – it is so striking …




In his talk, with lots of slides, he had taken us through the reasons why he decided to concentrate on abstract rather than figurative work … he loves to draw, has always painted – but felt the need to respond to something …

Dance Diagonal



… the Towner’s architects (Rick Mather Associates) had been influenced by its setting … site, sea and waves, chalk cliffs, … hence the architect’s use of curves, balcony havens/niches, fenestration …







Lothar realised too that the optical effects of being near the sea, the Downs, with the English weather – blue skies, sometimes wispy or pluffy clouds, grey rainy days – would all influence the mural …


… it was important that his work complement the building’s design … 


Wrap around art at the reverse side of the Towner
... and the wrap-around artwork (3 sides including the nooks and crannies of its architecture) would need to be sympathetic … as the visually transformed pure (white painted) Gallery would change the energy of the building … and boy has it done so!



Isn’t it amazing how much the 'skin change' has affected the look of the building … from ‘pure white’ to Dance Diagonal’s specifically chosen colour palette …


The Birley Centre - a new building as part of
Eastbourne College ... opposite Dance Diagonal -
see other photos!

He was asked about his colour selections … and advised that he spent a lot of time considering the tones to be used … referencing the coastal light …






The NCS colour system is based on the
three pairs of elementary colours

… while by necessity being limited to the Weather Shield range of colours offered under the National Colour System through Brewers  Decorator Centres, who had sponsored the project.  (This selection has 1,933 colours.)



The top panel, which I call mulberry … reminding me of an English dessert: berried fool - summer fruits and cream … Lothar called purple – interesting isn’t it – how we all see colours differently.



Nooks, crannies and fenestration - along
with the mulberry curve
He doesn’t design using a computer – it’s all free drawn and hand coloured … he doesn’t fixate over a building with as many irregularities as the Towner has … the niches, balconies, the curve et al …



Back and side of the Towner

The Gallery had sent various drawings, images and plans of the exterior which would become the mural … 




... and every time Lothar looked – he saw another ‘anomaly’ to the building … particularly when he considered the back of the building facing the tennis courts …


Not the best ... but a view looking east along the
Grand Parade, past the turquoise tiled bandstand over to the
pier then beyond across to Pevensey Bay and Hastings

He talked to the space … to get its response – he spent quite a lot of time in the town checking it out, seeing the Gallery in its setting – near the Grand Parade, which runs along the sea-front.





Poster of Eastbourne seafront with Red Arrows
Once he’d been given the commission he was then able to concentrate on tying down the diagonals around the architecture to finalise the mural.




When the painting began he was there to supervise the actual design of each segment  … and then see some of the early decorating … 

Dancing Diagonals


... later he noted that as kids walked by the green, pink and yellow diagonals: they became animated jumping up and down – he said he was delighted to see their reaction …







So that is our Dance Diagonal mural at the Towner Art Gallery – it is a major talking point in the town and around … and I suspect will be one of Eastbourne’s best assets – it has certainly garnered a great deal of support …


Reflections in the
Birley Centre over the road
… Lothar talked about designing wall art works knowing that in a specific period of time they’ll be painted over – he says he accepts that fact … it’s only when the time frame is very limited he feels it more …


… we’re meant to have the mural for a year – but there’s already requests for that time frame to be extended … in my humble opinion ‘Dance Diagonal’ will be hard to beat …


I love it!!

A few links:  

… Studio International’s article about Lothar’s monumental mural for the Towner … they show his original sketch … more (professional) photos of the mural … and Lothar’s explanation as to his ‘raison d’être … so, so interesting …

Artnet News … Triadic Ballet Bauhaus …see the Surreal Costumes


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Meet Dez the Dalek, see more of Eastbourne, Tennis and that Mural …




Dez the Dalek is investigating whether Eastbourne is a good place for resting Daleks … 
Dez


... he needs his innards sorted (they’re lodging in Scorch Comic’s basement, pro-tem) …




c/o Scorch Comics

… yet I see he has plenty of reading material … and a pebbly beach nearby … I wonder if that was where he got his spots …




… Dez is good at introducing people … Geoff/Jeff came along and wanted to take a photo – so I suggested he went first … then of course we got chatting … no I didn’t have my photo taken with Dez …



Two sides of the wrap around mural

… Geoff/Jeff had just finished work and wanted to get some brain space before he went off back to the big city … so he wandered along to see the sea (I recommended he went past the mural, hope he did!) and I went to town.




My seat was high up in the south stand
It’s been a busy few weeks down here … I did get a ticket for Eastbourne centre court on the Friday and again on Saturday … which was wonderful …





One of the meet and greet areas ... Pimms bar
or craft beer, with stalls to tempt the pocket


… my cousin (she’s a line judge with the Lawn Tennis Association) was offered the tickets – of course I snapped them up … but it was HOT!  I met up/bumped into a few friends …




Eastbourne College playing MCC

… a couple were parking a large Jaguar car near the tennis and as I walked past said ‘you’re lucky’ to which they replied you’re so right … we’ve been going round and round in circles … I think all the parking tarmac was covered in cars!




The new score board facilities;
the tennis centre and Towner are beyond

On the Saturday I spotted Eastbourne College playing the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club – based at Lords: THE place for cricket – founded 1787 {about sixty years before Eastbourne’s development commenced!}) …


... and I just remembered something else that was on - Eastbourne College had their end of term celebrations, prize-giving, parents arriving ... for 620 pupils ... 




All Saints' Church and the new Church Hall
… there was a wedding – how anyone parked I’ve no idea – just glad I only had to walk about quarter of a mile via this church, where we have a lot of our U3A  group talks (University of the Third Age) to get home …




View over tennis centre and Towner (right) and on
over Pevensey Bay

Then after the summer sunshine we’ve been having – a view across the town over Pevensey Bay to Hastings in the far distance, then this was last night’s evening skyline from my flat …




Skyline July 5th 2019: block of flats, left, tiny dome of
Town Hall, and tree with Church tower, then the
College's central atrium

That’s it – yet of course … more blog post ideas have been generated … comics, the ‘how the Dance Diagonal mural was conceived’: I’m looking forward to the talk later on …




… enough wittering for one post: see you soon …

Scorch Comics website ... 

Eastbourne College - it has rather a nice website ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 30 June 2019

We are the World Blogfest # 26: Artist’s Sculptures being Sunk to Protect the Sea …




A local fisherman’s dream to bring his stretch of Tuscan waters back to life, where commercial trawlers have been ravaging the seabed …


c/o Bowman Sculpture
see link at end - this is
'Stillness Born of History'
Bottom trawling involves dragging a large net (which cannot discriminate its catch),  across the sea floor snatching large amounts of bycatch … destroying the habitat (sea meadows), killing the unwanted fish and other marine creatures - all trapped in this method, used by commercial fishermen …


We’ve seen other structures being used in the seas to give shelter and thus life to species in decline … yet here are amazing works of art being placed along this stretch of coastline to reinvigorate the sea floor – they are already succeeding …

Grand Duchy of Tuscany (1569 - 1859)


Emily Young, the sculptress, has an interesting pedigree and thus links to artists, writers, conservationists, polar explorers … while her sculptures are completely inspiring …




She lives in London and Tuscany … but has travelled and continues to journey widely … her website highlights her work … I’d recommend you pop over and have a look at her sculptures – they are truly beautiful


… the titles outside Tate Modern, London inspire:
                           Face of Stillness
                                   Stillness Born of History

… there is one exhibited in Siena until 20th July 2019:
                                            Solar Disk III … just delightful …


Talamone - an important sea port in Etruscan
times, a central Italian Monarchy during the
Medici and Holy Roman Emperor times;
Nelson and Garibaldi both used the little
harbour as a re-victualing stop over.

There’s a very short video of one of her sculptures being lowered onto the sea floor, and then with the regrowth, as well as fish re-population with cuttlefish, sea bream, sea bass, squid, lobsters etc … the restaurants can again offer local seafood, rather than Asian frozen fish …




Paolo Fianciulli, a local fisherman, who started using concrete blocks to thwart the trawlermen, has been targeted by unscrupulous thugs …


Carrara Marble Quarry

… but now a team of sculptors, including Emily, are sinking their works of art to continue protecting this coastline …


Marble from the renowned Carrara (Tuscan) Quarry  has been donated to the sculptors … it is not of the finest white that Michelangelo once worked, yet exhibits the stone’s geological history …



… her other sculptures ask that the viewer broods across deep time, geography and cultures … in other words to think deeply about our world and its life – how it came into being, and how we are a microscopic part in Gaia’s existence …


Maremma Nature Reserve
So here we have artworks that have a higher purpose than being worth thousands of pounds (not dollars!) … 300 donated chunks of Carrara marble ready to be sculpted, lowered overboard, they need barges to take the ten-tonne statues out to their watery resting places …




A blogfest highlighting positive news
where people are helping the world
She maybe dumbfounding her agent, leaving her colleagues aghast, as the artist, who has been called Britain’s greatest living stone sculptor, lets her magnificent works of art disappear into the murky depths to protect a part of the Tuscan seas and coastline against unprincipled humans with no sense of responsibility …



We are the World … In Darkness, Be Light




By-catch ... fish left to die ...
This is my #WATWB – an artist who uses her talents knowing that they will mostly be sight unseen … a rock muse of the 1960s London – possibly ‘See Emily Play’ … to world renown sculptress looking to remind us … that all parts of our planet need our protection …


Her website is so well worth reading, while her sculptures are just staggeringly amazing … please, pretty please look!


Emily Young - see some of her recent sculptures, and about this project ... (as I've described above) please look to see why I was hooked!

Emily Young Wikipedia

Bowman Sculpture - who represent Emily ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher 
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Towner Gallery Mural – more and some fun facts …




The tennis is in an enclave … a few years ago – we could wander in, particularly early in the week – now security is tight (understandable) and the place is full, full of pre-Wimbledon tennis players … singles and doubles …

Layout of Courts etc - the Towner Gallery is bottom left (south-west)


… I can’t work out the tv bits either – not to say I’ve really tried – but the Beeb is only able to broadcast some matches – maybe the British ones …


The cafe is under the mulberry colour that swirls around
at the top ... opposite here is the new part of Eastbourne
College (school) ... perhaps they'll paint their white walls!
… but when the tennis is only quarter of a mile away – it’d be good to have the choices … but in general the ‘earth stations/ terrestrial', I guess! that I watch via the licence fee are sufficient … so I’ll whinge but put up with things!


Here you can see the mulberry colour which is now above the
cafe area; the white triangle below - with pink, blue and orange
 - around it is where the #13 was written



Here’s a few more views … with some odd notations that happened …






Can you see the sludgy khaki ... it does look as though it's not
quite finished ... but the architectural lines of the building ...
make things a little challenging to tie images up - especially
when it is unfinished.

Painting by numbers – yes it happened … my lucky number (13) shows here … though turns out to be sludgy khaki colour – definitely not my favourite …






Though we could have had painting by socks …?  



Not the best - but you get the picture!
This VIP made a mistake of going into the Towner as I was walking down for a few more photos (I don’t usually carry my phone/camera around with me – so quite often need to go back to places to take a photo … not sure of the name for that sort of person?!) …




Man and pink socks - sight unseen
going in the front entrance
… anyway back to ‘my man’ with the pink socks! – he had an appointment with the Chair of the Gallery … and though he disappeared inside – a troupe came out to see the painting’s WIP … so I asked, to everyone’s bemusement, if I could take a photo of said feet – socks are good!




c/o Towner Website
(clever I see he has a pink shirt on!)


David Dimbleby has been the chairman, since the Towner became a Trust in 2013, and is one of our finest television broadcasters, writers and presenters … who has hosted, written and presented various cultural programmes for the BBC … and my pink-socked man re-appeared with the great and the good of the Gallery.  Poor chaps I hope they don’t read this!






They've revamped the tennis area for the
prestigious pre-Wimbledone tournament, so lots
of workmen, cherrypickers etc around ...
how unfortunate that the beautiful mural was damaged;
do you see the khaki parallelogram?  I'll be interested
to find out how they connect the various colours
in this magnificent mural ... 


On another visit I noticed that a workman had probably accidentally bashed the beautiful work … as there was a white patch … not small, but not large … so I kept returning – thinking I’d see one of the artists making reparations.





I did – it was the director of the London Mural Company … patching it up – he’d finished by the time I arrived – so was able to briefly chat.  His dungarees were well spattered …





Brewer's Paint
I emailed the marketing department of the paint company, who supplied the paint – they are an Eastbourne company, established 1904 – for some information about their sponsorship ... I got no reply:  I’ll be visiting them – I don’t give up!






Merchandise 'walk' at the back of the courts ... when
I went again - it was a lot full ... talk about clutter
- I hope the visitors can move around - it is certainly
choc-a-bloc with paraphernalia
That’s it for now … pink socks posted, dungarees with the paint spats, while the mural was once again intact … the only challenge now are the many seagulls that live with us.  How they’ll keep it clean in the year ahead – is perhaps another question I’ll ask.





Well our Mural has set my brain off listing other posts I could write up – so there’ll be more … and other things as I’ve been out and about locally …


Practicing last week

The next is about art … but under the #WAWTB banner – We are the World Blogfest … coming up at the weekend …


Side view looking towards
the sea ... 




It is now spattering rain again – but the tannoy system is working … I shall just hope the weather gods will be kind to the tournament … but if it’s this hot – we could get another storm … still some years it’s blowing a hoolie and is very cold …






Happy Summer days …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories