Archives for posts with tag: Oxford

jam factory2 jam factory3I could say that the fourth excursion was back to the Cézanne exhibition as I returned to enjoy his art with my three children where they became quite animated in their discussions. But that felt like cheating so this month I visited The Jam Factory in Oxford to take pot luck in what was being exhibited. There are so many layers of pleasure here from interesting art to quirky décor to the story behind the building as this was where Frank Cooper’s Oxford Marmalade was made until production moved away in 1967. It is now a café, a meeting place and an art venue. As I wandered around, a group of mums with young babies gathered for coffee looking very NCTish which sent me down my own nostalgic path. But on with the art…

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Wait ’til it settles by Sarah Craddock

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Wait ’til it settles by Sarah Craddock

There were three exhibitions being held and my favourite was ‘Inspired by the Canal’. It is an exhibition of children’s art, professional artists and art from the community using Oxford’s canal as their inspiration. Starting in Banbury, the canal to Oxford wanders through Wolvercote ending quietly at busy Hythe Bridge Street in Oxford and is a secret byway waiting to be explored. I enjoyed the children’s boats, the hilarious tea cosies, the excellent etchings and found the contemporary installation thought-provoking.

Sarah Craddock had bottled and ‘packaged’ canal water from different spots that had witnessed stories – a birth, a drowning, an attack, a draining. The labels on the water provide a tantalising hint to the history and stories that the canal could tell. If the containers were not in an art gallery they would look like rubbish but their situation makes you think deeper and harder about water and the canal. As the water in the containers settles the good rises to the top and yet the history and sediment is also there to be acknowledged. Allowing situations to settle helps you to see things clearer and to extract the good from a situation. Even our English language alludes to what water teaches, “Don’t muddy the waters”.

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Tea cosies inspired by canal boats

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Etchings by Caroline Maas

The Canal Exhibition is only on until the 27 April 2014 but there is always something interesting to see and do at The Jam Factory – ‘Anyone for scrabble?’jam factory4jam factory1

About this post: My 2014 resolution is to visit a creative place every month.
January – The Ashmolean: Malcolm Morley
February – Oxford School of Photography
March – The Ashmolean: Cézanne and the modern



A solitary Moore


Ashmolean interior with Morely in the background – no photography of his work allowed!

My resolution this year is to visit a creative place once a month. After procrastinating for about 3 months on visiting the Bacon and Moore exhibition at the Ashmolean, I thought that it would be a perfect January outing, only to discover it ended 4 days ago so I had to make do with a solitary Moore at the entrance. It was a rather lovely reclining figure although she looked like I sometimes feel on the beach.You start off feeling comfortable but your bones become awkward shapes and the sand is not as soft as you anticipated! I wandered inside and ended up seeing Malcolm Morley who has been painting for the last 50 years. He was one of the founders of hyper-realism which was a reaction to the pop-art of the 1960s. His style began to break up from realism and became more paintily and he became progressively loose in his style dripping paint in the fashion of Pollock. By the 2000s his style had become smooth and stylised and it reminded me of airbrushed art. The pictures look as if they were painted from photos, have flat surfaces and an intended kitschness. I don’t much like his work and preferred his very earliest style which was much more tactile. However it was interesting to study his progression over the years. I had to laugh at a comment I overheard, “A car crash – rather unpleasant subject matter for a painting.” Perhaps for that woman it was just as well it wasn’t Bacon! Note to self: DON’T miss Cezanne in March.

Morley paintings (from the catalogue)

Morley paintings (from the catalogue)

Oxford from Cafe Loco

Oxford from Cafe Loco