Putting up Springlines at Glyndebourne

Yesterday was a long day – but thank goodness the rain more or less held off and so we could get the paintings (some of them are huge) and all the text panels into the Stalls Gallery without too much trouble.

Hanging the larger paintings proved quite a challenge for Steve, partly because he had to be careful not to use the drill while rehearsals were underway on stage!

Our sincere thanks to Ros for countless cups of tea and coffee, plus chocolate at critical moments.

Now all the work is up, and it’s satisfying and exciting to see new images and poems we’ve made on site at Glyndebourne displayed alongside pieces from other stages of the project.

The stalls gallery is an interesting space in which to exhibit – there’s no one point or angle from which you can see all or even most of the work on show, so there’s a sense of discovery as you walk about and around in circles (the lift shaft forms the centre of the gallery).

The Springlines show is on until 30 August. Glyndebourne grounds and shop and gallery are open from 3 pm Monday to Saturday and from 2 pm on Sunday (performance days only). Check the Glyndebourne website for more information.

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After...

After…

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Springlines exhibition at Glyndebourne from 8 July to 30 August

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Mary Anne and I are delighted to announce an exhibition in the Stalls Gallery at Glyndebourne from 8 July until the end of the season on 30 August.

We’re going to show work from all kinds of watery sites we’ve visited over the past year or two, and there’ll also be a specifically Glyndebourne focus. For this, we’ve been exploring the chain of lakes (most people only get to see the first one, the famous one, but there are three others too) and working on site in all weathers over recent weeks. It’s coming together now, and on Monday morning we were planning with Andy Elms how to mount the exhibition… it’s beginning to seem real.

More news soon! Oh, and here is the gorgeous cover of the Glyndebourne programme book with a reproduction of ‘Alte Elisabeth’ by Georg Baselitz, whose work will be showing at the White Cube pop-up gallery at Glyndebourne this season.

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Event at University of Brighton, 26 Feb 2015

University of Brighton, Arts & Humanities, invites you to a Writers in Residence Salon

Thursday 26th February 2015

Boardroom (M2), Grand Parade, BN2 0JY

All welcome: free entry, wine and canapés from 5.30 pm

discussion on CREATIVE COLLABORATION from 6.30 pm

 

How do artists from different disciplines approach creative collaboration?

How can they identify and overcome the challenges and pitfalls?

What are the lures and potential benefits?

 

Come and join the discussion with painter Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis

and writer Clare Best as they talk about working together on Springlines,

a project exploring hidden and mysterious bodies of water

across the South Country of England.

 

Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis is a painter whose main focus throughout her career has been landscape. She concentrates on specific pockets of landscape, building up paintings which closely examine the elements that make a place unique. Her process involves multiple re-drawings and re-workings to achieve impressions of glimpse and memory. Mary Anne studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford, the Royal College of Art and the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris. She is represented by Portland Gallery, London. www.maryanneaytounellis.com

Clare Best is a Writer in Residence at Brighton University, alongside Sara Clifford. Clare’s first collection of poetry, Treasure Ground, was rooted in a residency at Woodlands Organic Farm on the Lincolnshire Fens. Excisions was a runner-up for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize in 2012. Her prose memoir is currently on the shortlist for the Mslexia Memoir Competition. Clare has collaborated with visual artists on several projects. www.clarebest.co.uk

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Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis’s recent exhibition at Portland Gallery, London

Here’s the text of a review I wrote for Mary Anne’s latest exhibition at Portland Gallery, London, which included a good number of paintings made as part of the Springlines project:

Caballus by Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis.  Egg tempera & sepia ink on gessoed panel. 6'6" x 6'6"

Caballus by Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis.
Egg tempera & sepia ink on gessoed panel.
6’6″ x 6’6″

Tim Craven, Curator of Art at Southampton City Art Gallery, in his excellent essay at the front of the catalogue, places Aytoun-Ellis’ work firmly on the continuum of ‘the great British Romantic tradition of Turner and Constable’ and acknowledges her strong affinity with Paul Nash, whose ‘notion of Genius Loci, the pervading hidden spirit of a place, chimes with Aytoun-Ellis’ own love and knowledge of her many chosen corners of the Sussex downs’.

The artist’s deep affection for place and rural history is the antithesis of sentimental pastoral, as she seeks to understand all that is complex and valuable in our landscape heritage. Giving as much or more attention to the detail of a sycamore leaf as she does to a classic sweep of downs or a tempestuous sky, Aytoun-Ellis shows us how to look at landscape and nature with compassion, fairness and honesty. These are vital ways of thinking about our countryside as it continues to be threatened by creeping urbanisation. Her work avoids the predominant leanings of contemporary figurative painting; with her ‘fierce looking’ (Roger Deakin’s expression) and the total engagement with place that results, she succeeds in marrying the natural world and imagination in ways that are truthful to both.

For over two years Mary Anne and I have been researching and visiting water sites such as furnace ponds, dew ponds, old clay pits and ancient wells. Sometimes we work simultaneously on a subject, sometimes we start in the same place and spin off in different directions. Sometimes what Mary Anne has painted proves to be the inspiration for what I write, sometimes vice versa. We often feel that the web of our collaboration provides a holding space for each, in which we are free to experiment. Many of the paintings in this exhibition have sprung from our collaboration, and seeing them hung as part of this show, we both experienced them with fresh eyes – the exhibition itself giving us yet another perspective on working together.

At the Private View I kept hearing people say that Aytoun-Ellis’ work has never looked as good. I think this is true, and I think it is because she has taken enormous risks in order to let the work be fully what it wants and needs to be. The heaving waters of ‘Dewpond – Light Breeze over Water’ threaten to flood the room, but with a benign, almost beatific mood; the intense churn and change at the centre of ‘Two Trees’ draw the viewer into the precipitous gravity and power of falling water; ‘Flooded Coronal’ and ‘Furnace Pond’ evoke apocalyptic manifestations of water whilst maintaining a sense of this element’s mercurial moods in small patches of exquisite stillness or, in the case of ‘Flooded Coronal’, in mysterious absence; ‘Caballus’ – the larger-than-life-size horse, steps purposefully out of the shallows of a dark mere of creation towards the person standing in the gallery looking at him, head to head.

There is nothing safe or predictable about these works. Instead there is great maturity in the fine balance of emotion with craft, of precise observation with the serendipities of experimental technique. Each painting has the depth and confidence of a fully realised individual reality and yet there is a striking wholeness to the vision represented in the exhibition. Mary Anne feels that this has come through our shared work on Springlines. In her own words, ‘working collaboratively has allowed me to pursue ideas – and ways of developing them – that I might not otherwise have tried, which in turn has led to a sense of integration and fluidity in this group of paintings.’ As her collaborator, I find the same tendencies in my own writing for Springlines, and I am deeply grateful. As a writer and poet who is passionate about the value of collaboration between artists, I am obviously delighted that this project gives each of us so much. We must be doing something right.

(Below right a detail of Furnace Pond)

 

 

 

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Springlines quiz… the answers!

1. C
On average each of us uses 150 litres of water a day.

2. B
A floush-hole is a hole which receives waste water from a mill-pond.

3. B
It was the River Tillingham that provided water power to operate the bellows of an iron works used to make cannons for the Royal Navy between 1578 and 1770.

4. D
13,700 km of water mains fall within the area served by Southern Water. (Southern Water covers Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.)

5. B
The River Ouse rises at Lower Beeding.

6. D
The largest reservoir in Sussex is Bewl Water which can hold more than 31,000 million litres of water.

7. C
In the Southern Water region, 70% of water used is supplied from underground sources (i.e. aquifers) as compared with 23% from rivers and 7% from reservoirs.

8. A, C and D
Water companies in the southeast are looking at ways of ensuring we have dependable and sustainable water supplies over the next 25 years. Amongst other things, they are looking into: a desalination plant on the River Arun, pumping cleaned waste (sewage) water into the upper reaches of our rivers to boost flow for later extraction, and building new reservoirs.

9. A, B and C
The Environment Agency is concerned about underground supplies of water in the southeast of England because if ground water levels drop in severe droughts, sea water can more easily enter the aquifers and pollute fresh water supplies with salt water, because the demand for water is rising and underground storage is finite, and because as sea levels rise, salt water is more likely to enter the aquifers and pollute the fresh supplies.

10.
There are so many more watery names!

11. C
Water that comes out of taps in Lewes originates from Underground sources in the chalk at Southover.

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Quiz: how much do you know about water in Sussex?

1. On average, how much water do you think each of us uses every day?
A) 125 litres
B) 87 litres
C) 150 litres
D) 60 litres

2. What does the Sussex dialect word ‘floush-hole’ mean?
A) a hole in the ground, dug for use as a latrine
B) a hole which receives the waste water from a mill pond
C) a horizontal connection between one bore hole and another
D) a hole in the chalk through which a spring bubbles up

3. Which Sussex river provided water power to operate the bellows of an iron works used to make cannons for the Royal Navy between 1578 and 1770?
A) River Arun
B) River Tillingham
C) River Rother (E Sussex)
D) River Rother (W Sussex)

4. How many kilometres of water mains fall within the area served by Southern Water? (Southern Water covers Sussex, Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight)
A) 12,200 km
B) 5,400 km
C) 9,350 km
D) 13,700 km

5. Where does the River Ouse rise?
A) Hartfield
B) Lower Beeding
C) Rotherfield
D) Balcombe

6. The largest reservoir in Sussex is:
A) Arlington Reservoir
B) Weir Wood Reservoir
C) Darwell Reservoir
D) Bewl Water

7. In the Southern Water region, what percentage of water used is supplied from underground sources, ie aquifers, as compared with rivers and reservoirs?
A) 45% underground, 40% rivers, 15% reservoirs
B) 26% underground, 50% rivers, 24% reservoirs
C) 70% underground, 23% rivers, 7% reservoirs
D) 61% underground, 12% rivers, 27% reservoirs

8. Water companies in the southeast are looking at ways of ensuring we have dependable and sustainable water supplies over the next 25 years. Which of the following have recently been suggested (there could be more than one right answer):
A) a desalination plant on the River Arun
B) water rationing
C) pumping cleaned waste (sewage) water into the upper reaches of our rivers to boost flow for later extraction
D) building new reservoirs

9. Why is the Environment Agency concerned about underground supplies of water in the southeast of England? (there could be more than one right answer):
A) Because if ground water levels drop in severe droughts, sea water can more easily enter the aquifers and pollute fresh water supplies with salt water
B) Because the demand for water is rising, and underground storage is finite
C) Because as sea levels rise, salt water is more likely to enter the aquifers and pollute the fresh supplies
D) Because if too much water is extracted from the aquifers, the ground above might subside

10. Have you noticed how many place names tell of the importance of water? Can you think of others to add to this list:
Winterbourne Hollow (a winter bourne is a stream that runs in winter)
Springlands
Waterperry
The Gill
Wellhouse Farm
Millbrook Shaw
Founthill
Wellingham

11. Water that comes out of the taps in Lewes comes from:
A) Underground sources in the chalk around Brighton
B) Barcombe reservoir
C) Underground sources in the chalk at Southover
D) The River Ouse

We’ll post the correct answers after the Festival of Water in Lewes on 23 June!

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