Shaun Smyth, painter and Lee Harrison, photographer, have been documenting the Fiddlers Ferry Power Station. The concept is to show the complex machinery, building and the people of the power plant, provided the power that drove a 20th century industrial Britain.
Shaun Smyth, painter and Lee Harrison, photographer, have been documenting the Fiddlers Ferry Power Station. The concept is to show the complex machinery, building and the people of the power plant, provided the power that drove a 20th century industrial Britain.
The coal powered plant now in its last days of existence is on a scheduled close down by the end of March as the demolishers move in on the 31st. Fiddlers Ferry is one of the last five remaining coal fired power generation stations in the UK. It covers a huge amount of ground, and over the years it has seen an ironic nature spin off for the wildlife and water fowl, which have taken advantage of the ‘use’ of water the plant used for as a cooling agent and steam generator. Fiddlers famous Cooling towers can be seen across the North West of England with spectacular shows of steam rising to the heavens. One of the many images caught on camera, on video and in painted images by Smyth and Harrison.
The End Game is the demolition – which will be a visual spectacular, especially when the enormous towers come down. Yet there will be a touch of sadness about the whole closure. Despite the 21st century awareness that coal fired power generation needs to be stopped, for the good of the delicate balance of the environment as it is today, this power plant has been an iconic emblem of the North’s contribution to the wealth of the British Nation. It stand for a progressive, can do will do attitude, when it comes to independence and non-reliance on outside providers of essential energy requirements for a nation.
Smyth and Harrison and to a great extent with the inspiration, ideas and support of the [silent] third member of the project (Denis Taylor artist and editor of Tubes) will present a two part set of exhibitions. One of the first will be at the fabulous Pilkington Glass Museum in St Helens (November 2020), with further venues that will be offered the current completed works (paintings, photographs and video) for the show: “Fiddlers Ferry as it Stands” and a follow up show: “Fiddlers-Ferry as it Falls.” both shows acting as historic records – a complete record which one imagines will be permanently housed in an industrial dedicated Museum for future generations to view as an historic visual education.
painters TUBES are delighted to announce that as from February 2020 we shall be working closely as an associated company with World Art Exhibition Limited (and British Art Exhibitions)
World Art Exhibitions enable new and dynamic platforms for contemporary artists. British Art Exhibitions, is one of their premier platform brands. The2020-2021 exhibition program consists of mounting exhibitions in a host of venues throughout the UK, the USA, Europe and Asia.
painters TUBES magazines will be produce and design the catalogues for each exhibition under the TAG (Tubes Art Gallery) header – TAG will also occupy an exhibition stand showing painters Tubes selected artists work in each exhibition.
The TAG- TUBES editorial team along with the Tubes resident art critic (Spike) will write articles and summaries for each artist to be featured in the exhibition catalogues. Artist who are featured in the TAG -World Art Exhibition catalogue will enjoy full exposure on line and on Tubes Main website and painters TUBES new TAG-VR platforms.
There will also be opportunity for participating artists to expand their customer reach in the new TAG-3D VR exhibitions presented to a global audience within World Art Exhibitions and as a stand alone Group or Solo exhibition (from June 2020 onwards).
painters TUBES magazine selected Artist will be exhibited on the TAG stand at each and every World Art Exhibition and British Art Exhibition
Tubes Artists Gallery (TAG) will design and mount a physical space within each exhibition This space will consist of invited painters TUBES artists to exhibit and offer their work to collectors.
Tubes will also promote artists participating within each World Art Exhibition on all painters TUBES platforms.
MANCHESTER 2020 April – World Art Exhibitions and British Art Exhibitions have scheduled eight pop-upexhibitions starting in Manchester April 2020.Book your space by going tohttps://www.worldartexhibitions.co.uk/
World Art Exhibitions, TUBES and TAG company information
painters TUBES+TAG – Owned, designed and published by Studio 5 Sweden. -253 Ekerodsvägen266 95 Munbka Ljungby, Ängelholm, Skåne, Sweden. www.painterstubes.com. www.painterstubes.galley – www.tag-tubes.com – email: firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org Swedish Office mail: email@example.com
World Art Exhibitions Limited- work with renowned and prestigious clients around the globe, administering, operating, project managing or promoting, organisations, businesses and institutions such as; St Pauls Cathedral, The National Football Museum, The Crown Jewels (Tower of London), The IOC (International Olympic Committee) Museum (Switzerland), Richard the III Visitors Centre, Museum of London, York Minster, Wimbledon Museum, Chopin Museum (Warsaw Poland), Warwick Castle, The Giants Causeway, Ordsall Hall, Ferrari World (Abu Dhabi), Sydney Tower (Australia).
TUBES issue #5 An extensive article on landscape painting from the early Chinese artists to global contemporary painters. Featuring some of the most gifted landscape painters, both known and unknown. “fantastic issue full of great content and information all in a really good read.” one of the comments from readers about this issue. Link: http://online.mobissue.com/badm/hfli/
TUBES issue #6 The Year Review of the magazines with an excellent front page of one of the great North West English Street painters since L.S.Lowry, Dave Coulter. Plus a full review of the exhibitions that year and more. A great magazine issue. Link:
TUBES issue #7 In this issue… “the pleasure, the passion, the power and the panache of painting”… is well documented by four superb artists – Colin Halliday, Richard Fitton, Patrick Blower and Ian Norris. not to be missed .
TUBES issue #8 Shaun Smith is the main artist featured in this issue. He created a huge portfolio of paintings and drawing over three years documenting the construction of the Mersey Gateway Bridge. Designed and part Constructed by Samsung Construction (Korea) it is the largest infrastructure project carried out in the UK since the M25 motorway.
Fantastic painters TUBES back issues that feature abstract painters and figurative painters from Europe and the USA. Free online direct links to online magazines.
TUBES BACK ISSUES #1 to #4
We are delighted to provide direct links to the first four back issues of painters TUBES magazines – Click the link of each one to read free on line. They are now presented on Tubes new and fantastic Virtual Reality Platform. You can view the magazine on all devices and all operating systems, OSX , Android, Linux or Windows. Bookmark our website to come back whenever you like and from wherever you are.
TUBES issue #1 Tubes issue #1 featured an interview with Ian Norris in his studio in winter of 2015. Ian Norris a highly respected and renown Northern English artist. Tubes art magazine issue #1 Interview- in the studio with Ian Norris.Featured painter has an in depth discussion about his new paintings and the reasoning behind them. Plus- Review of the Exhibition The Northern School a reappraisal and the accompanying Book at Gateway Gallery, Hale, Cheshire. Exciting New move for the Contemporary Six Gallery in Central Manchester Art Education ”what about the kids” What age should Art be taught? Spike’ on Tretchikoff our resident culture critic tells the full story of this most amazing artist who has been ‘put-down’ by the art establishment in the UK but remains the best selling artist in the 20th century.Click here. link: http://online.mobissue.com/badm/fwvl/
TUBES issue #2 In this issue: “in the studio with John Smout,” A painter hidden from view Plus Dave Coulter and the exhibition of the man behind the most famous street in the world. Coronation Street of Granada Television Fame. Also “in the the studio with Chris Cyprus” A new private Gallery sweeps into Cheshire. Cheshire Art Gallery. Spike- the resident critic explains why “Weltgeist” may be important to a painter. Plus an amazing essay written by the late author and professor of Art at Lancaster University, Nigel Whiteley. The essay -Affirmative art in a Disafirmative Climate was written for the Heart 2 Art Exhibition mounted in Stockholm in 2002- Curated and designed by Denis Taylor Artist, Writer and Editor of painters TUBES magazine. Link: http://online.mobissue.com/badm/yovv/
TUBES issue #3 Brilliant issue including a great interview with legendary gallery owner Dave Gunning. The Galley owner who re-discovered the great English painter William. Ralph Turner. The full story is told in this issue and the Sunday Telegraph magazine article is also reproduced. Plus- Harry Rutherford. His legacy moving again? Saul Hay, a new gallery opens in the City of Manchester (UK) is it another commercial gallery? Paintings by Steve Capper exhibiting at Gateway Gallery Hale. Plus Hugh Winterbottom new work. Link: http://online.mobissue.com/badm/wucv/
TUBES issue #4 Abstract from alpha to omega. Academic brilliant article by Denis Taylor. Twentieth Century movements.Cubism to Futurism to Dada. Artists discussed: Braque, Matisse, Delauney, Mondrian,Derain, Gris, Metzinger, Balla, Malevich, Kandinsky, Duchamp. Late twentieth century movements, American Abstract Expressionism to Figurative Expressionism. Artists discussed. Mark Tobey, Mark Rothko, William De Kooning, Clifford Still, Nicholas de Stael, Arshille Gorky, Barnet Newman, Yves Klein, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg. 21st Century artists include: John Walker, Kayla Mohammadi, Denis Taylor, Lisa Kreuziger plus several more artists. Link: http://online.mobissue.com/badm/ytgv/
painters TUBES magazines are delighted to publish the new Tubes Artists Gallery, issue number 4. Featuring eleven excellent painters.
the new Tubes artists gallery (TAG#4)
Featured artists from the the Tubes Artists Group. This is a special christmas edition on Abstract Art – Artists featured include: Liz Doyle, David Eastens, Shain De Heart, Riccardo Vitiello, Myfanwy Williams, Ian Fallace, Liz Cleaves, Paul McGloskey, Volker Mayr, Kelvin Harvey and Peter Murray. plus “Whats so Good about Abstract?” article by TUBES resident art critic ‘Spike’
written by Denis Taylor Artist and Editor for painters TUBES magazine
“…In the days where the art academies dictated what fine art painting was and what it wasn’t, it was only historical art that was regarded as the ‘defacto’ work to be taken ‘seriously’ all genres of art came in second, third and fourth in the order of importance.
The art game changed however with the onset and public popularity of the Barbizon painters, Corot, Alexander Cozens, Poussin, J.M.W. Turner and perhaps more powerfully for the UK, (albeit belatedly), John Constable. It was these painters that forced the institutions to reassess their bias as to what sort of work should be viewed as ‘serious art.’
In many way ways this highlights the art world of today, but in an absolute opposite standpoint . Today historical art is seen as dead and buried – no one is interested in recording an historical event as such – unless of course it’s a radical arts led concept to undermine the social political establishment. Of course that sort of Art is sometimes needed – if only to ensure our rulers are kept a close eye on, but this type of imagery in ‘visual art’ is ineffective as far as making an impact or an effect on society is concerned. Social media, Twitter in particular, has taken on that role gladly, ridiculing the powerful, as and when required. Which it does rather well with total freedom and a huge helping of negativity….”
So…a few years ago, I came across a fellow visual artist (Shaun Smyth) who was actually recording something of historical note as by way of a change, my interest was aroused. After a few conversations and more importantly, viewing the actual brilliant sketch works created in the artists studio…
…I encouraged the support ofpainters TUBES magazine to back the artist and the exhibition whole heartedly. That exhibition was to be called “Constructing the Mersey Gateway Bridge.” The title given from an amazing governmental instigated [new] long needed infrastructure project, one which would create an actual gateway from the Mersey area to the rest of the North West of England.
It was a part of the ‘regeneration of the old industrial towns’ that have been ‘neglected’ for six or more decades – It was a significant structure in both intention and actual physical presence. The Mersey Gateway Bridge was completed and officially opened on the 4th June 2018 by Queen Elizabeth ll of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Three years prior to the bridge opening for traffic. Shaun Smyth had already been sketching and painting the beginnings of it from the onset of the bridge construction. By 2018 Shaun had created dozens of examples of the bridge showing every stage of it’s construction. Luckily, the artist passed the structure every day on his way to his art teaching job at a local School.
Shaun eventually produced a mass of work – Large, small and medium in his own style.The actual paintings tended towards realism but with contemporary flashes of paint applied loosely with absolute skill and passion. As a local born and bred artist, Shaun added a non-apologetic large creative slice of regional pride.
painters TUBES magazine created and funded the prodcution of the catalogue and the media push, ensuring this important serious art was exhibited in a way that both the work and the project deserved. In this aim the first sign of success came in the form of support from the Brindley Theatre, the Hatton Borough Council, [+painters TUBES magazine] and Bell Lamb and Joynson Solicitors, all of whom ensured that the show became a reality from the 18th February 2018 to 5th April 2019- (please click here to read the: Exhibition Catalogue on line).
During the course of preparation for Mersey Gateway Bridge exhibition it came to the attention of Shaun that an historical icon of the area was on the brink of being ‘de-commissioned’ – That iconic structure was an incredible landmark of the North West of England known as Fiddlers Ferry Power Station – One of five coal fired stations still operational in the UK. For me, it was obvious that these two subjects should be brought together. The new Mersey Gateway Bridge – And the past glory of Coal Fired Power stations. The Fiddlers Ferry still holds an enormous historical importance in the hearts and the minds of people of the North West of England. And unlike the bridge, it was an integral piece of fantastic technology that was born out of the industrial revolution, the revolution that physically put the word ‘Great’ as a prefix to ‘Britain.’
Despite the understandable decisions to change how power is generated for national consumption for the 21st century (to reduce carbon emissions), for the benefit of the environment, Fiddlers Ferry should be given the respect it so richly deserves. Especially for the generations of people it has served and to provide historical reference and a narrative for future generations. It was with this in mind that myself, Shaun Smyth and Lee Harrison came to the conclusion that it was an Art project very worthy of serious attention.
So far, the new project has advanced quickly with Shaun, Lee and myself discussing the narrative and planning various concepts of presentation of the project in a public space. We discussed how various segments like video, photography, interviews of the staff could be shown along side oil paintings that are both realistic and some abstracted visions, all integrated into one visually powerful exhibition with a potentially huge public interest, especially in the North of England.
above (from left): Shaun Smyth, Lee Harrison and Denis Taylor of Tubes who has advised and guided the project from its onset. Behind Shaun and Lee is the large painting of Fiddlers Ferry Power Station created by Shaun.
With the go ahead for access given for the project from Fiddler Ferry, Shaun immediately launched into an ambitious painting of the ‘outside view’ of the station. This work will underpin future exhibitions and also give an immediate visual reference to the scale of the Fiddlers Ferry power plant. This oil on plywood painting, measuring 1200mm x 4800mm wide (4 ft x 16ft) is the first of a planned number of major works (to be created by Shaun)that the project will exhibit – And hopefully in more than one location in the North West of England.
The project will continue until Fiddlers Ferry has totally vanished from the landscape (in 36 months) – inbetween time the project is looking to hold a number of smaller exhibitions in immediate the local areas where the public can follow the ambitious project during its journey – as it documents this architectural, technological and quite incredible icon of the 20th century.
Above: Shaun Smyth and Lee Harrison at the pre-opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge Exhibition at the Brindley. Photograph by DenisTaylor
Both the Mersey Gateway Bridge and Fiddlers Ferry Power Generating Station are equally important for the whole of society – one showing the path for the future – and the other respecting the achievement of the past – Both linked intrinsically with the people of the North West of England and far beyond the shores of the United Kingdom.
Excellent Article on plein air painting – a brilliant essay by Gregory Evans – Taking risks. A review of the legendary Russell Howarth (master painter from the North of England by Marianne Arnberg) New contemporary paintings from the UK, Europe and the USA Plus a new TUBES section where artists get to talk about their own words the new section is called “in their own words” – This issue Mark David Lloyd gives a great overview of his practise.
In this issue: Excellent Article on plein air painting – a brilliant essay by Gregory Evans – Taking risks. A review of the legendary Russel Howarth (master painter from the North of England- photographed by Marianne Arnberg) New contemporary paintings from the UK, Europe and the USA Plus a new TUBES section where artists get to talk about their own words the new section is called “in their own words” – This issue Mark David Lloyd gives a great overview of his practise.
This is how Google explain what plein air painting is… “…en plein air is a French expression that means “in the open air.” It is used by artists to describe the art of outdoor painting, capturing landscapes and views in natural light. This kind of art has been a popular practice for centuries and requires specific skills and techniques.”
Do you agree with that definition? Technically it is correct, well the first part is, I mean it is French for in the open air, but what about the rest of the statement. Is it really used by artists to describe their work? Or is it used more by Art professionals, galleries, social media platforms to place this sort of art into a convenient ‘art’ box? – personally I think the later rather than the former is correct. Does it need a special skill ? Not really, painting is painting isn’t it? Not matter where or what you paint with or even on, inside or outside, it’s more complex than the skill – it’s more complicated than just having some sort of natural talent or a gift for transcription of an object or scene that is in front of you.” – intro written by the Editor of painters TUBES magazine
Contemporary Artists featured in this issue: Amanda Oilphant, Russel Howarth, Brian Cote, Gregory Evans, Helen Skidmore, Mark David Lloyd, Richard Suckling, Stephen Stringer, Niki Heenan, Barry De More – Edited by artist and writer Denis Taylor.
SUBSCRIBES LINKS : BUY ONE PRINTED MAGAZINE SUBSCRIBE FOR ONE YEAR – SIX PRINTED MAGAZINES.
an illusionary world of Artistic freedom. article written by the Artist Denis Taylor.
I strayed across an interesting old video on You Tube….
It was was on those that you find popping up on a feed after you have watched something similar, which is annoying. But, it got me thinking about the relationship between Artistic freedom and Modern Religious Art. This particular You Tube discussion, come lecture, come educational piece, was presented by a line up of tenured academics and young post graduate teachers.
The panel argued how Contemporary Art institutions reacted negatively to work that was based in some sort of religious subject.The discussion started after an initial lecture by one of the Academics, David Thyrell. So began two hours of surprising statements, amusing quotes, some fairly logical reasoning, heart felt speeches and many contradictions from an art academic viewpoint.
Thyrell reckoned that… “Only Art that is critical of (western) religion of faith is acceptable as Contemporary Art. And all other art that could be read as religious, is translated to one of a post minimalistic view.” (And)…”that all references to faith and religion is edited out at source”. (And)…”the contemporary Art world does not seek any debate on this form of art because they see it as non-progressive, as propagandistic and not supportive of an advancing culture or indeed, enlightening mankind for the new centuries ahead of us.”Thyrell spoke with passion and summed up his lecture by stating…”it seems, that religious work that is non-specific, for example, non-stated religious, ambiguous or totally abstracted with very loose associations, are acceptable as Contemporary Art. Providing the images are not from a Judeo Christian slant. However, the tribal, the Asiatic or the cultism subjects are OK.“
Judaeo-Christian made up the bulk of the audience (note: it was held at a Roman Catholic University) I guessed they must have been appalled by the status-quo of the implied bigotry against religious art levelled against the- ‘Artists of Faith’ – as they call themselves. For me personally, there is no need to be religious specific to appreciate (or create) Art that is good, even if that Art owns its very existence to institutions of any religion persuasion who sponsored it, or indeed created by an artist that holds a particular belief system or faith.
Good Art is what floats my boat, I don’t care who or why or for whom it was created for. As for the rest of the Art that floods the web and the mass media art reviews, much of that Art that personally I find sort of shallow, egoistically based, trendy or with intellectual invested admiration intentions, I simply pass quickly by, metaphorically speaking, without so much as a cursory thought. For me to be anguished by an Art as the above, only goes to validate it as important to human cultural advancement, which I think it is not.
Most artists, (those I do know personally), when looking at a work of art that could be deemed as ‘Religious’, tend to ignore the possible original intended propaganda or dogma of it, but rather they concentrate on the pure magic of the Art work in front of them. For example some the work of by Pontormo and El Grego, to mention only two (religious) painters of the far distant past, whose work I greatly admire and gain much from. After a while I began to feel that the lecture, come debate, was myopic, but Thyrell’s argument did instigate an examination of my own thoughts on the subject of Modern Art & Freedom of Creation and Modern Religious beliefs in our, so called, multi-sectarian developed Western societies.
If a contemporary artist can go beyond an intellectual subject matter and demonstrate a visual power conducted via an innermost and deeply held belief, then surely that is still a vital and sustainable contemporary Art, is it not? No matter what religion the creator of that art subscribes too, or not as the case maybe. After all, isn’t atheism a brand of religion by another name?
If we look closer to our own time, rather than the centuries when the Church and Monarchies of Rome and Spain dominated major art commissions, say from the early and middle centuries, we can find a new sort of religious art. Malevich, Kandinsky, Mondrian and the like studied theosophy and talked of a ‘spiritual’ art. Pollock, used the practises of the the Indian Sand Painters, which involved connection with ancestors souls or spirits. Rothko and the gang of colour field painters also spoke of mediative involvement and introspection. Are all those artworks a form of religion? If you have ever visited the Rothko ‘Chapel’ in Texas, you’ll know what I am talking about. And what of Chagall. Are his paintings nothing more than illustrated nostalgia based on childhood memories of stories taken from the Old Testament? Or let’s take Vincent Van Gough, was not his paintings a projection of the love of nature reinterpreted through his own deep seated belief in a universal God? How about Agnes Martin or Sam Francis, each with a Buddhist inclination for transcendentalism or meditation. Is that not religious Art ?
In the early 20th century the word nihilistic art was being brandished about to describe the work of the Futurist (Italy), whose dogma was Machines and War to cleanse society and shock it out of it’s perceived malaise [of the time]. The Dada movement used the same framework with banal poetry, non-sensical drama and outlandish visual presentations [to hide away from and in reaction to the horrors of World War One]. Again, the essence here is that the Dada movement believed in something – however abstract that was – rather than nothing. And this obtuse oddity of their belief carried on manifesting itself decades later as the impatience of post-modernist [young] artists and the ambitious driven post-post modernists, and the current belief that ‘selling art, means that it must be good ‘Art’ – And made by a succesful artist (rounds of applause by living painters, can be heard here on instagram and facebook) which where I guess we find ourselves in today’s visual art world.
Though, just maybe the web is changing the ground rules. I don’t know about you, but when I view art on the web, I find more and more of it has a growing and obvious ‘belief-structure’ of some kind behind it. And much of it is good Art, mostly created by ‘unknowns’. Sure, there is still that twee stuff and the obvious bash it out to sell it for financial gain ‘ hamburger art’, not forgetting the overly academic art whitterings of art professors and so called art intellectuals who try to convince the audiences in the cities of the world, that this piece of stuff or that offerings of purely conceptual ideas, is great progressive Art (and not just simply a novel or good idea). After all it does put a high monetary value sticker on it, provided it is accompanied by the obligatory academic recommendations, especially if the Art has the blessings of Art Directors of state run institutions.
So, do Artists have total freedom to create what Art they want? Maybe not entirely, if you agree with David Thyrell in the You Tube video I mentioned earlier. Is Religious Art (in all it’s manifestations) making a comeback? The Zeitgeist signs suggests it may well be, but not in the ‘normal’ sense of the word. In this world of the politics of infusing the inhabitants with psychological terror, global climate change fear, mega disaster predictions, the accelerating greed for money and power, irresponsible political leaders and not forgetting the inhumanity to humanity we witness daily, a world that we live in today (and perhaps always have). Maybe it’s not such a bad ambition for visual artists to ascend to a higher level and start to transmit messages of hope. And if you’ll pardon the religious, (come 1960’s hippy reference and of course the Artist known as John Lennon) visual art messages of Love and Peace, for all who reside on this tiny insignificant planet tucked away in the corner the limitless time and space of the universe.
As David Byrne once wrote,
“Heaven is a place, where Nothing ever happens.”
So, now I have to gather my courage and meander slowly to my studio, where another blank space awaits. I wonder what will appear? I guess I just have to have faith that something of real artistic value will show itself, maybe even holding the restorative creative power of the universe itself ?
One never knows, that’s one reason to be an Artist, isn’t it?