Looking incredulous in his multi coloured frock, turquoise tights, shiny orange platform shoes and with perfectly shaped eyebrows, make- up and hairstyle Grayson Perry is ‘Playing to the gallery’ and is absolutely fabulous in saying what we would all like to have the opportunity to say to the commercialised art world.
He is intellectual yet plain speaking and witty and this coming from a respected Turner prize winner allows those of us working at the coalface, the dedicated practitioners of art, to feel worthwhile and included.
The lecture exposed the utter pretentiousness of some of the language printed and spoken in (as we rustics up north call ‘em) ’the arty farty lot’ and demonstrated how inaccessible and meaningless it is.
I think Grayson’s purpose was to show us how to decide for ourselves what is good art. How do you tell if something is good? Well do you like it? Does it depend on who likes it? Does democracy have bad taste?
I am no nearer being able to work out whether I have the judgement to know something is good or to being able to put that into an intellectual argument, but I know when a piece of art has integrity. I know when the artist is serious, hard working and dedicated and I know that is not always enough. I am not looking for beauty I am looking for meaning, something ‘other’ which resonates. I await the next two lectures to see if Grayson Perry can further enlighten me and I fervently hope he can keep socking it to the Art Establishment and encourage them to be a little less narrow minded.
Having just had my first solo exhibition of abstract works at Red Brick Mill Art Academy I am acutely aware of all of the factors Grayson Perry touched upon. With no financial support from curators, galleries or the art market we worked hard as a team, in this wonderful space, to hang the display in a professional style more than worthy of any London Gallery just to get my work out there. The exhibition was successful over basically three days with close on ninety people through the door. Consequently we are encouraged by these numbers to show the group exhibition in a few weeks’ time. That London lot have no idea what they could be missing.
These pictures show last night’s work in life drawing done over two and a half hours solid quiet studied application and at the week-end there will be two days of life drawing and painting. So how do we relate what Grayson Perry was saying to the work we do here in the life drawing studio? Well for one thing we are inclusive, work is not connected to commercial value yet all the work produced here has a value and each artist is individually valued. I look at each piece of work, I know the artist, I see their struggles, their perseverance their individuality. I see progressions in uses of materials, styles, methods, and imagination and I thank God for this wonderful community of real artists here in Batley.
by Sandra Cowper
Paintings and drawings by Barry, Ian, Janet, John, Patrick, Roger, Sandra, Steven, Tony and featured artist Sue.