Updated website!

Screenshot of my website, http://www.mathewherring.net

I have recently finished revamping my website, www.matthewherring.net. There is a now a lot more of my work, particularly from the last four years, on it. I hope you will take a look! Let me know what you think, either by email or by the various social media links on the ‘contact’ page.

Sea journeys, island hopping and trans-oceanic concepts

My piece
My piece
My piece viewed from the entrance
My piece viewed from the entrance
Talk at the opening
Talk at the opening
My piece with Gunnar Jonsson's video at the end of the corridor
My piece with Gunnar Jonsson’s video at the end of the corridor
Ditty boxes, by John Cumming
Ditty boxes, by John Cumming
Device for disappearing (at sea), by Andrew Friend
Device for disappearing (at sea), by Andrew Friend
Adrift, by Simon le Ruez
Adrift, by Simon Le Ruez

Last month I was in Dortmund, Germany, installing my piece ‘Wake’ in the exhibition Voyage: Sea journeys, island hopping and trans-oceanic concepts at the Kuenstlerhaus. I’ve posted a few pics of my piece in the show and some of the rest of the show. It was a really great show – all of the pieces really spoke well to each other and each had just the right space. The curators, Imi Maufe and Rona Rangsch did a good job of putting together a coherent and interesting show.

One of the themes which surprisingly emerged from the show was that of death. My piece plays on three meanings of the word ‘wake’ (ship’s wake, waking up and a wake for the dead). Other pieces also picked up the theme of death: Sally Waterman’s video February recorded a journey by sea to the funeral of a friend, Jeff Talman’s sound piece, together in the same room as Aslak Ronsen’s small altered postcard showing a sinking ship, had an elegiac, haunting feel; and Gunnar Jonsson’s video of a circling fishing boat turned out to have unexpected connotations of death. (He conceived of it as a ship making a drawing in the sea, but was later told of a fisherman who fell overboard – his unmanned boat continued to circle round the spot where he fell in).

I pasted my short submission text below:

 

The piece ‘Wake’ takes the sea journey as a metaphor for the journey of life. It was inspired by the experience of being in the middle of the ocean at night, particularly a strong memory I have of an overnight ferry journey I took as a teenager, when I remember standing by the ship’s railings staring into the impenetrable blackness, while my fellow teenage travellers preferred the brightness of the on-board video game arcade. The profound darkness and absence of any signs of human presence, except for the lights of a distant ship, take on an existential dimension as they recall the existential loneliness and darkness of our journey through life.

‘Wake’ plays on the three meanings of the English word ‘wake’: as the wake of a ship, as a call to wake up and as a vigil for the dead. The wake of a ship is the ephemeral mark of its passing across the sea and could stand for art as the record of life. Waking up and a wake for the dead both point to the need for a spiritual awakening, or realisation of the nature of life as a journey with a destination (death). In the Christian tradition, which much of my work draws from, death also has the potential to lead to life.

York Open Studios – 3 days to go!!

3 Days to go to York Open Studios. I’m not nearly ready yet (but I have two full days of working time ahead of me so I’ll get there!).  Check out the YOS website to see details of my and the other artists’ venues. Opening 6pm on Friday and then all day on Saturday/Sunday. Then the same again the following weekend. I will be ready (but I have a lot of work to do).

The last two days I’ve been in Sheffield for work – at a ‘Collaboration Colloquium’ organised by the LIFE-SHARE project, on which I have been working until this week. It was held in the Endcliffe Village campus of the University of Sheffield, in the west end of Sheffield. I’ve been there before, and it’s a part I like walking round a lot. It’s a mostly a Victorian area, similar to parts of Glasgow where I was a student (I’m thinking of places like Dowanhill, Hyndland and parts of Pollockshields). Big Victorian villas and terrace houses set on a varied, hilly landscape. The Victorians did space really well, somehow. I think that maybe part of the heritage of modernism is that we tend now to make places open unless there is a real need for enclosure. New houses near where I live have odd bits of space in front of them, perhaps a couple of feet deep. The current answer is to throw down some mulch or gravel and plant a hebe and a couple of cotoneasters. The Victorians would build a little wall around it, to create an essentially useless but nevertheless ‘nice’ space. I like Victorian front gardens and the walls that enclose them. For a child, they would be nice spaces to hide in, like the odd little corners that Victorian houses always seem to have. They are essentially mysterious.

I went the wrong way last night trying to get to our hotel on Glossop Road and ended up outside the Botanical Gardens. No big deal but I had to cut across to where the hotel was and this involved ascending this delicious, leafy, shady,  mysterious street with big stone houses either side.  Mature trees, including a yew and a huge 20′ magnolia made the place feel enchanted. I like odd architectural details; crumbling stonework; the way a house sits on a corner which is also on a steep hill; large windows with high-ceilinged rooms glimpsed within.

The gerbils are out. We let them run about the living room floor and they are terrorizing us and the room. Little acrobats, they scale the back of the recliner and run up our trouser legs. They have a fascination with my feet and nibble furiously at my slippers and socks whenever they can, even actually biting me.  They play games with us, approaching to see that we chase them and then running away. Then they run up our legs and onto our laps, as if they’ve forgotten they were trying to escape from us.

York Open Studios 2011

Less than a month to go to York Open Studios 2011! I’m going to be showing new abstract paintings and landscapes, plus older stuff, too. I’ve got more space this time, as I’m at a different venue: 138 Beckfield Lane, Acomb. Put Open Studios in your diaries and come and see my work and the work of 118 other artists across the city of York. Two weekends: Friday April 1st 6-9pm; Saturday April 2nd 10am-6pm; Sunday April 3rd 11am-5pm; Friday April 8th 6-9pm; Saturday April 9th 10am-6pm; Sunday April 10th 11am-5pm.

Drop me a message if you would like me to send you a brochure, or download one from http://www.yorkopenstudios.co.uk.