Friday, September 27, 2019

No longer a mystery

Cartoon by the brilliant abstract artist Ad Reinhardt
This month... where to start and do I dare? The quick story is that I haven't made any art since the week before Art Walk Porty. I was worn out from getting ready for the brilliant two-day event and then, of course, I was worn out from all the excitement and talking about the project for two days straight. It was a good kind of tired, mixed with enthusiasm and hope for the future and my work. I wrote about my books, made videos about my books, and then I crashed. 

I also had to rather abruptly switch gears to focus on my next visa application and study for my "Life in the UK" test. After a bit of a snafu last Thursday attempting to take my test here in Edinburgh, I took my test and passed on Monday in Glasgow. Such a relief! So now I am going through the final steps to get my application sent off and to hope for the best in this important step towards citizenship. It is a fraught and detailed process and is all-consuming. Sometimes art can and must wait. I am almost ready to return to my studio and my work with several ideas brewing in the background. 

In other news, I entered the RSA Annual Exhibition. I have done so at least a few times in the five years I have lived here and not once have I had my work accepted. Entering these types of things (and being rejected) is par for the course in this world. And as we all know painting is dead (again), abstract painting is especially dead, and concepts are king or so I've heardNae bother, it's only money and time. I probably should have entered my books. 

We need to create a Salon des Refus├ęs! Perhaps just an online version first and then find a venue in the future. Automatic acceptance to all who are rejected from the RSA exhibition. Did you enter? Did you get in? Congratulations! Did you not? I am sorry but let's get together and show our work anyway! Online or in person, it deserves to be seen! Message me if you would like to have work as part of an online Salon. These are the two paintings I entered and had rejected. As Bill Murray says, "It just doesn't matter."

No longer a mystery
Acrylic on canvas,  £1,450
Megan Chapman 2019

The distance
Acrylic on canvas, £725
Megan Chapman 2019

In other, other news, My studio G23 will be open this Sunday the 29th of September from 12-5pm. Come see my books in person and a few of my new paintings at my studio at the Drill Hall. Besides the amazing Makers Marque on Sunday and Open Studios, there will be tours of the Drill Hall for Doors Open DayI am looking forward to seeing you there!

Makers Marque
Sunday 29th September
12pm - 5pm 
Entry: £2/£1 concession 

Makers Marque is more than just a market for local traders and designers. It is a chance for people to get involved, learn a new skill and see the processes that usually take place behind closed studio doors. The event is a mix of local craftspeople demonstrating their skills and selling their unique products, plus artist and makers workshops, demonstrations and repair stations.

Before, I let you go, just a reminder: You can find my work at the following galleries.

Portobello, Edinburgh


Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA

And of course around the internet on all your favourite channels!

And of course, at my studio G23, located at 36 Dalmeny Street Leith, Edinburgh EH6 8RG See you on Sunday from 12-5! 

Until next week, keep fighting! 

Walls too crowded, budget tight? You can still support my work. 



Friday, September 20, 2019

Strike! Our House is on Fire!

There will be no Friday Studio Blog this week as I will be striking and marching today in Edinburgh. #Fridaysforfuture #Climatestrike. Find a march or rally and join in!

I am proud of my union! The Scottish Artists Union members unanimously passed the following motion:

This Union notes that Greta Thunberg and leading youth strikers for climate action from across the world have called for all adults to join a global general strike on 20th September 2019.

This Union believes all artists should stand in solidarity with those already affected by climate change and with future generations and the young people who are walking out of our schools, striking and encouraging everyone to join them to ring the alarm for the climate emergency, because our governments have failed to take sufficient action to mitigate this unprecedented crisis.

This Union resolves to join the action and call on all fellow unions, organisations, and workers to join the strike to demand governments and corporations take immediate and decisive action to tackle the climate crisis.

Update: 4 MILLION people marched. Next time let's make it 8 Million! We must change the system of corporate greed and consumption. Take to the streets, vote with our money. Every day we make choices that have an impact, every day we can take action. Progress, not perfection- it's not always easy but it is possible.

Protect, Restore, Fund.

Until next week, keep fighting!

Friday, September 13, 2019

BOOKS: 1999/2019

BOOKS: Twenty Years Later 1999/2019  

My book series began in my last year of art school at the University of Oregon as I was my persuing my BFA in Painting and it became my terminal project exhibition for my graduation with honours. I already knew at this point that I was an abstract painter and that I had some hard feelings towards the “art establishment.” While I respected my peers in the program, I didn’t want to create the same large scale glossy paintings that they were doing at the time. I wanted to create something more intimate, meaningful, and honest from my work. I wanted to use common materials and somehow make art more accessible. I wanted the viewer to have an experience with the work.

I created my abstractions in found hardback books that I gathered one by one out of the free bin of a local bookstore. I selected the discarded and withdrawn books and their beautifully yellowed pages as they were now somehow without value. I sometimes tore them apart to showcase their skeletons and hidden features while I painted with oil bar, drew with colour pencils and graphite, and commandeered their stories making them into something new. I assumed personalities and told other people’s stories, while creating small abstractions within the taped, stitched, and bound pages. These books were rough, raw, and dirty though the concept and belief behind them were fully considered. These were meant to be read and handled like any other book. The story received was meant for the viewer alone and could be closed up and left for another. Each person handling the books became part of the story and the story became part of the viewer as they walked away. They had just touched modern art. They had just had it in the palm of their hands.

For my terminal exhibition at the University’s Laverne Krause Gallery, I set up a sofa, a woven rug, a coffee table, end tables, and chairs. Turning the gallery into a familiar setting, a place that invited you to sit and relax without having to say it. My books littered the coffee table overlapping, some open, some closed. No instructions, simply relying on human nature, curiosity, and comfort to encourage the viewer to experience the art, to turn the pages and be.

I have always had a problem with the exclusivity of art and sadly the idea by many that art requires specialist skills, knowledge or education to understand and appreciate it fully. For many, there is an imaginary barrier between themselves and art, especially when it comes to abstraction. All art requires is time and the willingness to see but before that can happen, it must be accessible. The guard of the viewer must be lowered, the defenses calmed and soothed to foster understanding. If I can put art into a format that is more easily understood and accessible then I can change people’s experience of art. If I can take something that might be seen as scary or intimidating on a gallery wall and put it in the hands of the viewer, they are now dominating the art, the art is no longer dominating them.

photo by Mairi Brown taken at Art Walk Porty

Most viewers will understand books even at their most basic level they will understand picture books. If I put modern art in books that they can touch and feel, smell, read, feel the weight of the work in the books, then I can get them to slow down and have an experience. The average time people spend looking at paintings on a wall in a museum or gallery is 17-27 seconds. That is not an experience. We have been trained that art is not to be touched. It is revered, fragile, valuable, untouchable. We view it with our hands jammed in our pockets, behind our back, behind a rope, behind a taped line, we do not gesticulate towards or talk loudly about it. The art becomes void. The art becomes detached from reality and it’s humanness. Some humans will also detach from it or never even attempt it. I find this thought deeply wounding.

Join me here again next week on my Friday Studio Blog for Part II of the written discussion of my books. Until then you can hear me speak about by books on this week's video visit. Thanks again to everyone who came to see my books art Art Walk Porty last weekend. It was a joy to meet you and share my passion for this work.

Thank you.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Art Walk Porty is Here! Join us!

Hello Dear Reader, 

I'll be making finishing touches on my books in the studio today for Art Walk Porty's Artists' Bookmarket this weekend at the Dalriada on the Portobello Promenade. I'll be there on Saturday from 12-6 and Sunday from 12-5. So please do come by and say hello, it's very important for me that you see this work in person.

Several of my small, framed paintings will also be on show in the current group exhibition at the brilliant The Velvet Easel Gallery (venue number 27) on the Portobello High Street. Art Walk Porty is a fantastic art festival by the sea, featuring many wonderful artists and their work. It is a unique and groundbreaking multi-faceted art festival not to be missed.

Here is a preview of some of my latest book works. There are currently 43 works in this 20th Anniversary series of books.

I plan to write a more formal statement about these book works and how they came about later today but you can watch the latest Tuesday Studio Video Visit for some more clarity- the past two Tuesday Studio Video Visits shine a pretty good light on their origins.

If you are local to Edinburgh or plan to pass through this weekend, I do hope I will see you at the book market and enjoying all Art Walk Porty has to offer. Until next week, keep fighting! The world needs you and your vision.