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Devon Open Studios 2020

September 4, 2020

In just over a week myself and around two hundred other artists will be opening their studios to the public, for this years Devon Open Studios event.

Obviously it’s been a difficult year for everyone, and it continues to be out of the ordinary and uncertain in many ways. It was not clear whether this event would be able to go ahead at all, but we had to continue working in the hope it would. It’s not been easy to be creative over the past six months, when the world seemed to be falling apart. I question what I do at the best of times, so this has been a real test of resolve to keep going, and find inspiration when for many weeks I could not even visit the places my work is based around.

Thankfully things opened up enough to allow me back to those places I wished to visit to find subjects for painting, drawing, filming and music creation. So, despite it all I have a body of work totalling around forty new visual pieces, hanging on my gallery wall, along with a short (nine minute) film, and a thirty minute album of music totalling eight tracks…

The focus for this exhibition is Exmoor, which is right on my doorstep and provides a wealth of varied, beautiful, and atmospheric landscapes to feed the creative juices. It’s also an exhibition of experimentation, exploring some new techniques and ways of handling paint, which is something I wish to take further once this show draws to a close…

Please come and support this event and the artists that have worked so hard to make it possible…. I am very fortunate in having a large, open gallery space, making distancing very easy. I will provide hand sanitiser at the door and would rather people wear a mask as long as they are able.

You can view or download a full PDF copy of this years guide from the link below… Plus, I will add full details of opening days/times, along with directions in another post shortly.

http://www.devonartistnetwork.co.uk

Thank you for your support and understanding… Mark.

February 24, 2020

I’ve started work on new film just recently, which will form part of my exhibition for this years Devon Open Studios (Saturday 12 – Sunday 27 September 2020)… Despite the main event for visitors being a collection of paintings and drawings, I like to complement that work with other artistic disciplines such as film and music. For me, these elements go hand in hand and help to keep a flow of inspiration that otherwise might dry up if I was only painting and drawing; it allows me to take a break from one medium and come back feeling refreshed and invigorated. The film will be a sequence of landscape shots filmed on Exmoor, attempting to capture the unique atmosphere of the place… the atmosphere from my perspective anyway, as we all have our own thoughts and feelings about certain locations and what they mean to us. I try and avoid the prettier side of things and look for the less obvious in terms of composition… the film will be largely shot as monochrome as well.

The film will be scored with a series of musical compositions, written and recorded for the project… The music I write often has a starting point from a visual reference, and tends to be inspired by a specific location, and the feelings that come from that place. I will sometimes take recordings from those locations and incorporate them into the work; these might take the form of: flowing water, wind through trees or grass, birdsong, rain, thunder etc. I will try to seek out objects in those places and create sounds from them – found sounds – and use these like samples in the studio. In this way I hope to create a piece that is very much ‘of place’ and has a direct reference to filmed elements.

Below are two stills, but you can view a one minute clip on my Instagram https://www.instagram.com/markabdey/?hl=en

On the Surface

November 29, 2019
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A detail section of a painting I’ve been finishing today, showing the surface marks and texture of this work in oil.  I’ve been working on this for about a month, on and off and the final ( if, indeed it is finished ) process has been glazing some transparent layers over knife-work [ I mostly work with Palette Knives in oil with brushes only used for some blending and glazes ]    I’m not that interested in the technical side of painting; it’s a means to an end, but I do love the textural build-up by working oil paint layer upon layer.

Surface Texture

In Progress

November 27, 2019
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Five small paintings in progress, drying in the studio. Having been working mostly in mixed media for the past few years I felt the need to re-connect with oil paint for my new project… I seem to be able to express light far better in this medium, and therefore it will form a large part of ‘Lightfall’….

The slow drying nature of oil paint often means working on several paintings at a time, rather than bringing one to completion before moving on to the next. It requires a different mind set and the ability to shift focus during the day as I move from one painting to another. Some happen quickly, being almost complete in one go, whereas others need more contemplation and a complex layering of paint, where surface texture and depth of colour become more important; these can end up taking many days, or even weeks to finish.

Lightfall paintings

Lightfall…

November 5, 2019

Having taken a break following the Devon Open Studios event, which was wonderfully successful for me, in both selling work and meeting people (thank you to all who came and supported this event)   I am now back in work mode and thinking ahead to my next project, which I am calling Lightfall… This new body of work will be focused entirely on Exmoor, which we are lucky enough to live on the edge very of, and capturing it in it’s stunning atmospheric glory…. and the light that pervades.  Many artists working in the visual arena are tackling the difficulty of using a medium that only reflects light, rather than emitting it: paint, ink, graphite, charcoal, photographic emulsion etc… The challenge for us is to create works that seem to exude light, using colour and contrast, to fool the eye and trick the brain.  I also want to use this project as a way to get to know the area where we live in an intimate way. Art is great way to develop a very personal relationship with your subject, whatever that may be, and learn far more about it than would occur in day-to-day life; you tune in to different forces and literally see things in a whole new light.

Hanging around… and a sound journey.

August 29, 2019

The juggling of hanging pictures continues as the Devon Open Studios looms ever closer… I was lucky enough to sell two large oils to someone looking to surprise his wife for her birthday, and it’s thanks to the Open Studios booklet that he found me [and fortunately she loved his choices]. Delighted though I was to sell these two pieces it did leave me with gaping holes in my hanging arrangement… a nice problem to have… so I have painted two replacements, one of which is a large canvas, which is actually too big for the gaps, so a bit of a re-jig is in order… I don’t have a hanging system, so there is lots of banging and pulling of picture hook nails.

Over these last few weeks before the show begins I have also been working on a sound/music project to add as part of the exhibition… It’s a sound journey following one of my favourite walks around Haddon Hill, which is a beautiful part of the Exmoor National Park, situated just over a couple of miles north of where I live and work. The idea is to follow a route taking time to stop and listen to the sonic ambience as you go… I’ve taken field recordings of these sounds, and also had some fun making my own by seeking out things in the landscape to make noise with, of which I was enthusiastically helped by my eight year old son Ruan… We found a rusting farm trailer, an old water trough and feeding pen to name a few, which he scraped and knocked into sonic life. He also mimicked stonechats, which I struggled to record due to wind noise, by tapping two stones together… the real birds were most impressed by his impersonation.

I’ve taken these sonic elements from the landscape and brought them back to my studio where I have used them as part of an improvised composition using various instruments I have gathered over the years, these include: guitars, flutes, whistles, singing bowls, synths and keyboards. The result is a distilled* fourteen minute piece, that has several movements that relate to different stages of the journey… *Doing the actual walk for yourself takes around an hour depending on how much you stop. I’ve also included a visual element with some drawings and a series of Polaroid (now Impossible Film) taken on an original Polaroid camera. The results are highly unpredictable, but that is the joy of it for me.  I’m compiling the work into a limited run booklet with a CD of the music bringing it all together, and it will be available during the DOS exhibition.

Below are some pics of the gallery, which was once a car repair workshop, which you can still see by the oil on the floor and smell by a slight whiff of engines 🙂

Devon Open Studio 2019

August 2, 2019

I’m opening my new studio and gallery space for the very first time in a few short weeks for the 2019 Devon Open Studios!!!… It’s been a difficult year for myself and my family, so this exhibition has been a challenge to put together to say the least and I’m currently in panic mode getting last minute works and a music project finished….. I’m sure it will be alright on the night, and in fact I’ve already hung most of the paintings and drawings and the space is starting to look good…. phew!

Below are a few examples of some of the visual work that will be on display…. I’ve been working on a series of drawings, mostly in charcoal, some mixed with graphite.  I’ve found it a very freeing way to work and love the look it gives when hung along with colourful painted works.

My studio and gallery space will be open 11am – 5pm from the 7th of Sept to the 22nd of Sept.  I will be closed for just one day during the two weeks of the event on the 14th of Sept.  I am happy to open at other times by appointment… please contact me on riddonridge@btinternet.com if you would like to drop in out of the Open Studio dates.

 

Finding the path ahead…

November 23, 2016

Recent work on ‘Ways’ footpaths, tracks, or other marks across the land. These can be man made, animal made, the path a badger or fox takes each day, or from weather, as water and other forces scour the land.

All works are mixed media on card or paper and are available for purchase.

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Impossible

May 6, 2016

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Impossible Project Polaroid film.

Winter into Spring… Otter Estuary.

Art For Life – Art on the Block

May 3, 2016

Please head over to the Art for Life website and look at the Art on the Block auction.

Art on the Block is a charity art auction raising funds to improve the environment at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton.  You can support this event by pre-bidding on line from 11th April until 9th May 2016 or you can attend the auction which takes place in the Beacon Centre, Musgrove Park Hospital on Tuesday 24th May 2016 at 6pm.

Renowned local and international artists have created works on A5 blocks, including painting, drawing, print, glass, collage and sculpture.

http://www.artforlife.nhs.uk/art-on-the-block-2016/

This my my entry for this years event… please make a bid on mine (Gallery 3) or any other works you like, to support a great cause…. Thank you.

52-Mark-Abdey