Saturday 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween!

This is just one of the fabulous new pictures taken by Candee Photography in a spooky Halloween themed shoot with The Chantilly Belles last week! I am particularly impressed with the eerie blue lighting! We had real fun posing for this shoot and you can see a small selection from the day HERE.

The final collection will be online in the next few days, so I'll keep you posted, until then have a fun and spooky Halloween!

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Article in Sphere Magazine!

I have recently been included in an article for Sphere Magazine! The journalist Martin-Guttridge Hewitt picked his three favourite art works from last month's Buy Art Fair and my work was one of them!

'SPHERE took a trip to Cottonopolis for Manchester’s Buy Art Fair. With over 80 galleries and 350 artists exhibiting for three days it was some task to bring you the best from the alt-art set. We managed it, and got them down to our choice three… '

To read the rest of this feature click HERE!

Monday 19 October 2009

The Agony and the Ecstacy

Bitch! Paris, Ellen Von Unwerth 2007

I have a couple of things to share this week; Firstly Ellen Von Unwerth, who I featured in a post a few weeks back is now exhibiting in London with a show called 'Fraulein'. The model turned photographer has been creating provocative sexually charged images for 15 years and this show highlights some of her favourite pieces from over that time. I wish I could see the work while it's up!

Ellen Von Unwerth's 'Fraulein'

Michael Hoppen Gallery London
Until 28th November 2009

Secondly and somewhat bizzarely I noticed a strange mix of religious iconography and sensuality this morning; My studio is situated opposite Salford Cathedral where the relics of St Therese of Lisieux were recently displayed as part of their journey to religious sites around the world.

I've always meant to pop into the cathedral as it is very impressive from the outside and I like visiting old churches etc as I like the architecture and atmosphere. The Cathedral still has lots of images of St Therese including banners, one of which had this image and tagline printed on it:

I do not regret having surrendered myself to Love

It struck me that this was an interesting choice of words to put with a picture that showed a woman who looks like she could be;
A. in religious rapture
B. in sensual rapture

C. asleep

D. dead.

There are so many layers of meaning between the image and the text. It really made me think about how interpretations of spirituality and sensuality have been mixed together over time, almost as if they could be one and the same? (incidentally, she is dead in this photo! but I didn't know that until I looked it up)
Here are some other examples of classic sensual religious iconography:

The ecstasy of St Teresa by Bernini 1647 -52

'Ecstase', Pierre and Gilles 2002

For an interesting article about Pierre and Gilles click HERE.

Another way of exploring the link would be to see what happens when you place the words spoken by St Therese alongside other equally evocative images:

I do not regret having surrendered myself to Love

Which kind of brings me back to the image by Ellen Von Unwerth which you can see at the top of the post...

Friday 16 October 2009

Chiggy Wiggy!

I HAD to post this as soon as I saw it! For months now I've been hearing news about Kylie Minogue's input into new Bollywood film 'Blue' where she plays herself and sings. This morning I read a little bit about it in the Metro so looked it up as soon as I knew the name of the track, Cue Chiggy Wiggy! I LOVE IT!

Tuesday 13 October 2009

What's on in Manchester right now!...

Uptown, Leonard Pytlak 1939

Now that I have just about finished rushing around like a maniac putting shows up and doing art fairs I have some time to reflect on the world around me... and what better way than to take in some culture! So here are some of the current local exhibitions I have seen or plan to see in the near future!

The American Scene, prints from Hopper to Pollock

The Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester
19th September - 13th December 09

This show focuses on
American artists creating prints from the 1930's. Each image explores the American Scene, the urban environment and cityscapes. The big draw here for me is the evocative pull of the pre war era; being able to experience something of what America was like for the artists during what we now consider a vintage period. I also love the work of Edward Hopper, most famous for his paintings such as Night Hawks painted in 1942. I particularly like this image for its timeless feel, and the intense loneliness it exudes;

The Half, Photographs of actors by Simon Annand
The Lowry Salford Quays
19th September 09 - 3rd January 2010

I have a personal interest in this show as I helped to put it up! The work is a series of over 100 photos taken by the artist in the West End dressing rooms of some of the best known and well loved actors of the past 20 years. 'The Half' describes the 30 minutes before a stage show begins and Simon Annands pictures capture the actors as they transform from their everyday persona to the character they are about to portray. I really like the photos of Alex Kingston and Daniel Craig, and also the nation's favourite, Stephen Fry;

Image taken from

Angels of Anarchy, Women Artists and Surrealism
Manchester Art Gallery
26th September 09 - 10th January 2010

I'm not a big surrealist fan in truth; I like my art to invite the viewer in not confuse them, however, that isn't to say I don't appreciate surrealist art and understand it's massive importance in the scheme of things. This exhibition aims to 'explore the crucial role that women artists played in the surrealist art movement' and includes work by Freida Khalo amongst others. It is also divided down into different themes including landscapes, fantasy and self portaiture.

Claude Cahun, Self Portrait 1927

Other shows worth noting include:

Fantasies, Follies and Disasters: the Prints of Francisco de Goya
Manchester Art Gallery
Until 31 Jan 2010

All at Sea by Gemma Parker
Taurus Canal Street Manchester
Until 31st Oct (Catch it while you can!)
See my last post for details.

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2009
Until 25th Oct
I'm hoping to see this one next week...

Thursday 1 October 2009

Making a splash!

In Deep Water, watercolour on paper with customised frame 2009

Lots to tell you this week! firstly my collection of new work 'All at Sea' is now on show! I have been documenting the progress of this work for the past few months and it can now be seen in reality at Taurus in Manchester's famous Gay Village until the 31st Oct. Here is the write up:

In the midst of Manchester’s Gay Village a new exhibition of maritime themed art work can be found. But forget the naughty nauticals, this collection of work delivers an emotive set of tales with a splash of sauciness.

Manchester based fine artist Gemma Parker has been inspired by her love of maritime folklore and all things nautical to create her new set of work. Her fascination with vibrant sailor art has been a natural progression from her love of vintage pin up work and burlesque, both of which make an appearance in the selection of new art works.

Taking its cue from nautical slang and its everyday use, All At Sea is a collection of paintings illustrating well known phrases while influenced by traditional sailor tattoos styles and pin ups.

The work takes the viewer on a romantic and melancholic journey featuring lost loves, cruel sirens and shipwrecked sailors.

Using both acrylics and water colours the paintings bridge classic sailor tattoo style with a wistful and dreamy narrative inviting the viewer to embrace the call of the sea with all its beauty and perils.

All At Sea can be seen at Taurus on Canal Street from the 1st - 31st of October. For more information go to


Gemma Parker is a fine artist who specialises in the celebration of femininity and the theatrical.

She has exhibited across the UK including ‘Ooh La La’, Britain’s first burlesque inspired art show in Nottingham and been artist in residence for the Sunderland Council art project, ‘What do you think you’re looking at…The Sunniside of burlesque’. She also takes private commissions.

Gemma is also one half of the burlesque double act The Chantilly Belles who were short listed for the best new talent award at the Big Burlesque Bout last year in Birmingham :

Taurus Manchester's Award Winning Bar & Restaurant; 1 Canal Street, Manchester, M1 3HE Tel: 0161 236 4593. Opening hours; Mon - Thurs 12 noon - 11pm, Fri - Sat 12 noon to 1am, Sun 12 noon - 10.30pm

As mentioned in previous posts I have been collecting nautical paraphanalia to customise my frames with including; shells (some from my fab seaside holiday to Broadstairs) miniture anchors and ship wheels and also rope as can be seen on two of the works:

Rack and Ruin, acrylic on artist board with hemp rope 2009

The Devil to Pay, acrylic on artist board with hemp rope 2009

I've also added the real meanings behind each nautical phrase so when you see the show you will also get a bit of maritime history as well as the art work!

Other news:

Buy Art Fair went brilliantly! It was wonderful to have work on display as part of such a high prestige event. Artists such as Peter Blake and Damien Hirst also had work on show and the whole building looked amazing decked out in original art which was seen by over 5000 visitors during it's three day run!

My three works from my Bon Bons series can be seen along the left hand side of the stall

The Urbis Creatives stand was very impressive and I sold some work. One of my images was also used to represent the stand in the official catalogue. It was a good experience and a very exciting one too!

Show and Tell

Urbis Creatives also has a new exhibition running right NOW called Show and Tell. Members will be showcasing their work for the next three weeks at Urbis in the heart of Manchester. I am showing work from my 'My Baby's Got a Secret' series. Over the exhibition period members will be on hand to talk about their work as the title of the show suggests! Hope to see you there!