Pippa Blake presents an exhibition that takes inspiration from a Chichester Festival Theatre production from May 2015. Blake first thought of making work based on a theatre production several years ago, excited at the prospect of exploring the visuals, atmosphere and psychology of a play. She was subsequently invited to set up a residency at Chichester Festival Theatre during Festival 2014 and chose to focus on Pitcairn, a world premiere by Richard Bean, which charts the aftermath of the infamous mutiny on The Bounty.
The subject matter resonated strongly with the artist who has twice sailed across the Pacific and spent time in French Polynesia. “I am fascinated by the idea of utopia: dystopia, of matters apocalyptic and how humans respond to each other in times of adversity,” she explained. “Although set in 1789 I felt the play was very much a reflection on our own society and issues happening in the world today.”
After attending rehearsals and gaining an insight into how the play was put together – “basically how a new world is created” – Blake began work on paintings in her studio leading to this body of work.
‘Utopia: Dystopia’ – New paintings stemming from a ‘residency’ on the play Pitcairn, a co-production by Chichester Festival Theatre, Out of Joint and Shakespeare’s Globe.
Embassy Tea Gallery, London
26–31 May, 11am–5pm (Private View, 26 May, 6pm–9pm)
The Auditorium, Edward James Studios, West Dean College PO18 0QZ
5–17 June, 11am–5pm (Private View, 4 June, 6pm–9pm)
Pitcairn was a co-production with Out of Joint and Shakespeare’s Globe, directed by Max Stafford-Clark. The world premiere was held at the Minerva Theatre from 22 August – 20 September 2014, followed by London dates and a UK tour.
Pippa Blake was born in Portsmouth and now lives and works in Emsworth on Chichester harbour, having travelled the world extensively. She graduated from Camberwell School of Art in 1976 with BA Hons Fine Art (First Class) and from West Dean College in 2005 with a Postgraduate Diploma (Distinction). In recent years her work has stemmed from the aftermath of war and terrorism. Blake frequently exhibits in the UK and New Zealand; in 2014 she showed work in Paris at the Galerie du Jour Agnès B and at the Phoenix Gallery, Brighton. Her work is included in private collections worldwide.
West Dean alumnus Thomas Cronenberg, now a weaver based in Berlin, is showing his tapestries as part of the group show ‘2+2’ at Koldinghus Castle, Denmark, together with his Danish and German colleagues Ken Denning, Isabelle Dyckerhoff and Gudrun Pagter. The exhibition runs until September 27.
Recent MFA graduate Eleanor Buffam was involved in the group exhibition ‘Dispatches from Under the Sea’ at the Gitoon Gallery in East London.