So back to the story . .... Networking, luck, and an ability to work without sleep for an extended period of time sums this up!
I thought I should try and return the favor of giving me a show by finding a venue in the UK to show Dave’s work and curating the show myself. The workspace/studio I occupied at the time wasn’t really up to gallery standard and I needed to find another venue.
As I worked at Goldsmiths’ College in London, I thought I’d try pitching it to them. The actual curator at the College's gallery Jill Sheridan was someone I vaguely knew and I thought I might need someone else with a bit of clout to pull this off. So I approached the Dean, John Thompson with my proposal and I managed to persuade him that it would be a worthwhile show to present at the college. So it was agreed that both Jill and l would jointly curate the show. A generous stipend was agreed and accommodation on campus would also be provided by the college.
Dave is a sculptor/magician who tends to build/assemble his work out of rubbish and found objects. So taking my roll as a first time curator seriously I had phoned him in Alaska to ask if there was anything that he might need that we could maybe start looking for and collecting.
So back comes a long list:
SIX 8x4 sheets of toughened glass,
8x4 sheets of steel
timber plus loads of other stuff.
WOW so we had our work cut out to beg, steal and borrow as much of THE LIST as we could. Amazingly we managed to come up with most of it.
So when Dave arrived at the gallery he had about 10 days to put the show together.
Things seemed to go really slowly in the gallery, not a lot seemed to be happening and Jill became really concerned that the show would ever be put together. All artists have different ways of working but I have learned over the years that taking it to The Wire is not uncommon.
It became obvious that the chaos of creation was tipping over into an unrecoverable mess. Jill had left on the Thursday night convinced that her reputation as a curator would be damaged. I roped in a couple of students in as an extra workforce to help out. So for 3 days and nights (we slept on the gallery floor) we built the show.
Dave created a large boat like construction that floated above the sheets of glass, which were standing on end in the middle of the gallery, how it all stayed up I’ll never know. Sheets of steel were fitted to the walls with other amazing constructions dotted around the gallery. Jill’s face on her arrival on Monday morning was something to behold.
So my first attempt at being a curator was I think a great success and being a hands on curator was something I have found a lot more engaging and interesting than just selecting a few pictures or pieces to plonk in a gallery. (I like to get physically involved, get my hands dirty.)
I have found some images of Dave and my work. It isn't the IGCA Gallery but gives you a flavour of what you can do with space and art.
THE GREAT CURATOR. How I started getting me and the paintings out of the studio.....First tip - you never know who you'll meet in the pub!
It was 1988, and I met a man (Dave Felker) in a pub one evening in Brighton who turned out to be an artist and a gallery owner in Anchorage Alaska.
He had been awarded a State award/grant and decided to use it to travel to Europe to look for artists. Making a long story short, I was one of the artists chosen and after successfully taking part in the first group show I was invited to Alaska to have a solo show at the gallery.
When I arrived in Anchorage and saw how Dave operated my eyes were opened to the idea of one not only having a studio but a gallery as well. Dave rented space in a large industrial building where he had several rooms, studio, workshop and a gallery that consisted 6 rooms. The Gallery was called the The International Gallery of Contemporary Art. (IGCA) He said he called it that because it was on International Airport Road but the name also gave it extra Gravitas. Over the years he had curated many shows with local artists and artists from the lower 48 (The rest of the US to Alaskans) So on my return to Brighton I thought that overtime this was something I could do myself.