Matthew Macaulay

Fun is sadly over but flamenco exhibition is still on show

I was going to suggest a visit to two small exhibitions, but after a wander past today I see one had closed two days earlier than expected.

Mask, in the Glass Box opposite Drapers, had been due to stay up until Monday, with works on show by a number of artists, and was meant to be a reference to masks used in ritual ceremonies, combining art with fun. It was curated by Matthew Macaulay and Gwennan Thomas and when I looked in today there were still leaflets there but no art – hopefully it wasn’t the worry of an EDL march passing close by that led to the early closure.

The other exhibition was opened on Wednesday, as part of the Flamenko Coventry 2016 festival (sic) at Coventry University, also not without problems, and is entitled the Iconography of Flamenco, Small Moons With Attitude, and was curated by artist Frieda Van de Poll. The works will be on show in the Alan Berry Atrium Gallery at Coventry University (opposite the Cathedral) for a couple of months.

Flamenco furniture

The interior of peña flamenca in Montellano, a village in the province of Seville, that features on one of the posters

The exhibition uses as its source the collection of Marcos, a flamenco artist and senior lecturer at Coventry University. Marcos has been collecting instruments, recordings, posters and other objects on a flamenco theme since the 1960s, and they are photographed and shown in themed posters here.

There’s flamenco furniture, such as the straight-backed, usually rush covered chair the musicians prefer. There’s Marcos’s big collection of capos, or cejillas, photographed.There are photographs of alcohol, and information about the flamenco musicans’ love of a drink, and the information that “flamenco people don’t eat, they only drink”.

There are seven inch single designs for iconic singers such as Paco de Lucia and Camarón, and an entertaining section about The Looks of a flamenco singer, and the importance of the way he enters a bar, checking to see if there are any rivals there.

Unfortunately the exhibition opening was not without hitches, as three posters had been disappeared during the day, apparently by workman carrying out jobs in the building; hopefully they will return before this small but fascinating and educational exhibition is over.


Artists Workhouse is setting for abstract painting exhibition

A new-ish gallery space is showing an exhibition entitled Windows, and it brings together two artists I’ve met running galleries in different places.

The Artists Workhouse in Studley is being developed by Dawn Harris, an artist currently studying for her MA in Fine Art at Gloucester University, and who previously was artist in residence at Ragley Hall where she also became Director of Ragley Gallery and Studios. There were several fun openings there, where visitors drove up to the stately home to enjoy drinks in the luxuriant setting, and then visit the exhibition in the atmospheric stable block.

This show is curated by Matthew Macaulay, a Coventry University art graduate who amongst other things set up the Pluspace Gallery in Coventry which made use of an empty space overlooking Broadgate and showed some good exhibitions, before he went on to work under the Pluspace banner for various other projects.

But good things at Ragley and Coventry city centre both came to an end, and Dawn has now moved on to establish The Artists Studio in Studley, which is being promoted as “an artist-led studio, gallery and project space benefiting from a collaborative environment”, with studios, workshops, events and exhibitions. And as Matthew put it, he was curated to curate the exhibition there.

window -3-

The show consists of 25 works by various artists from countries including the UK, Germany and Romania, and is over two floors at the venue.

The paintings are mostly abstracts, and include some by Matthew including the lagre and striking Southside (Lewis), a mostly-green abstract of his homeland.

Three works by Coventry University lecturer Graham Chorlton actually feature windows in the paintings; in one, bright blinds seem to stick out of a dull-coloured building, and another looks like it’s painted from within a building in another country, with wooden blinds and attractive architectural buildings visible through it.

window -5-

New works by another Coventry University graduate Mircea Teleaga, now studying at the Slade, both called Untitled (Night Clouds) are also different to previous ones I’ve seen, with dark blue/black swirls of what could be water or clouds. Damir Sobota’s criss-cross stripes of colour are a big contrast. Terry Greene’s ‘Water s very important for life but we need it to wash our hands’ has the longest title but is a smallish work with a U shape in blue, and Erin Lawlor’s small works seem to consist of several large brush strokes.

It’s an interesting exhibition in a good new space.



Thanks for the memories – the year in art in Coventry and Warwickshire

So, time to raise a Private View glass of probably-questionable wine to the last days of 2013, and look back at another year.
To those who complain about Coventry in particular being a cultural desert it’s worth pointing out again that I’ve filled 52 weeks’ worth of columns with reviews of art exhibitions, plus short bits about art-related activities, and longer pieces and interviews on this blog. Yes, not all the exhibitions may have been world class but there’s a lot going on around here and new quality artists keep emerging.
One of the best bits about doing the column is going to many of the private views, or opening nights, and also experiencing some other whacky one-offs.


Coventry visit inspires new work for abstract artist – called Coventry

An artist from Yorkshire who has recently been exhibiting in a group show in Coventry was so inspired by his visit to the opening that he returned home and created a new work – entitled Coventry.
Terry Greene was one of 13 artists whose work went on show in Without an Edge There is No Middle at the Pluspace Gallery in the Meter Room studios above Corporation Street in the city centre, which should have still been on but has unfortunately close early.
He came to the city for the exhibition opening at the start of August, and had a wander around, tweeting images during the day.


Matthew finds inspiration in Welsh seaside residency

Far away from the Midlands, Matthew Macaulay who is normally based in Coventry is currently on a residency in Aberystwyth.
Matthew, who is originally from Shetland, gained a BA Hons in Fine Art at Coventry University in 2010. He has worked in the city since, most recently from a fantastic studio at Pluspace Radio, overlooking Broadgate, where he is also the director of the Pluspace Gallery, which is taking a holiday.