The Life of Riley Cafe has been buzzing this week with artists meeting artists hanging work, artists discussing the benefits of retrospectives and music producers swapping tales with artists over tea and biscuits. I have loved it and finally feel that one of the key ambitions for Gainsborough [art]works has finally started to take shape. But back to retrospectives. Our first exhibition of 2016 features David Perks‘ ‘Feedback Loop’ and bringing together old and new work to review and select is a major aspect to his showing a collection of works made over the last few years.
On the same day Tony Wild, an artist I met through teaching him digital photography, arrived poetry book in hand and read us ‘How to Paint a Picture of Nile Street’ by Arthur Berry. It was a wonderful moment he repeated before he left and on both occasions those of us going about our activities or conversations in the cafe, stopped and listened, entranced and entertained by the clever ideas and words of Stoke-on-Trent’s local artist hero. I then had the pleasure of looking through Tony’s medium format double exposed negatives that included abandoned horses and random objects and ,as usual, our conversation turned to ideas and the importance of substance and how layers of imagery can sometimes achieve unexpected relationships.
I have been thinking for some time that I need to take a fresh look at my own past practice before I can move forward in an orderly direction! The darkroom at Gainsborough [art]works is almost up to standard and after successfully processing a film and making a contact print, it seems the perfect time to let light into my negative files stored in random files to find a sense of who I am as an artist and identify which images make my heart beat just a little faster.
Watch out for my turn to reflect and invite feedback in the Life of Riley Cafe later this Spring. Meanwhile David’s exhibition continues until Saturday 20th February. You can hear David Perks’ own feedback on Thursday 18th February at our regular monthly [art] Cafe session.