Hauntings in Manchester

Hello Hollow by Julian HetzelHave you visited Manchester recently? If so, you may have encountered an unsettling figure or two. Made from black plastic bags, the Hello Hollow sculptures by artist Julian Hetzel descended on the city in March.

Shifting subtly in the wind and eerily anthropomorphic, the figures are designed to be “short-lived and changeable.”

Hetzel describes the sculptures as interference. “People get confused because they don’t know what they are seeing.”

Hello Hollow and Julian Hetzel

One of the Hello Hollow sculptures with artist Julian Hetzel

He comments that in Manchester, more than anywhere else he’s taken them, including locations in Austria, the Netherlands and Germany, the reaction they’ve provoked is fear. It’s a detail he attributes to the city’s high incidences of homelessness. With their fragile ephemeral qualities, they raise questions about vulnerability, threat, and the perceived value of human life.

The installation is part of SICK! Festival, which aims to challenge the physical, mental and social challenges of life through art.

Watch Julian Hetzel discussing Hello Hollow at Manchester Metropolitan.

Writing prompt – promises

Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram photo1 by Judy DarleyHave you ever been made a completely implausible promise? Did you end up disappointed or resigned when it failed to come to fruition, or did you have a moment of wonder when your promiser delivered?

Artist Luke Jerram is currently touring his Museum of the Moon, offering us the chance to promise to take someone to the moon, and actually mean it. Imagine if that really was the moon, however. What havoc could it cause the seas and oceans, our gravitational pull and the night sky?

Write a tale based on an unfeasible promise, and the chaos it causes when it actually comes true.

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to Judy(at)socket creative.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Art review – Drawn 2017

Ghost Nets of Hallsands (iii) by Frances Gynn, ink, crayon and charcoal_£2000

Ghost Nets of Hallsands (iii) by Frances Gynn, ink, crayon and charcoal

The Royal West of England Academy‘s biannual exhibition Drawn has returned, with a wealth of works that reveal the powerful possibilities offered by ink, pencil, paint and thread and more.

“Drawing is a means of communication and interpretation; it is a building block of creativity and a fundamental part of the creative process,” says  Gemma Brace, Head of Exhibitions.

Eighteen Occasions by Rebecca Swindell, pen on cork_£350

Eighteen Occasions by Rebecca Swindell, pen on cork

The variety of mediums was exceptional, including a selection of atmospheric etchings by invited artist Norman Ackroyd RA. My favourites among the others include Rebecca Swindell’s ink drawings on corks (shown above), titled Eighteen Occasions, Yurim Gough’s Shopaholic on ceramic, and Belinda Durrant’s corset titled Gilded Cage.

Terrain by Dail Behennah, paper and graphite_£3000

Terrain by Dail Behennah, paper and graphite

Dail Behennah’s elegant executed Terrain is a three-dimensional geometric landscape that drew me to my knees for an almost immersive view. In other cases, a few swipes with a stick of charcoal conjure an arresting portrait, while skilled artists such as Kevin Line capture scenes of uncanny realism with the same humble medium.

Bowed to the Wheel by Kevin Line

Bowed to the Wheel (cropped) by Kevin Line

In the adjoining gallery, dim-lighting and a sense of seclusion offers the backdrop to Lines in a Landscape: Drawings from the Royal Collection, a selection of works lent by Her Majesty The Queen.

Guercino, Detail from A Landscape with a three-arched bridge over a river, c.1625, Pen and ink (RCIN 902717), Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Guercino, Detail from A Landscape with a three-arched bridge over a river, c.1625, Pen and ink (RCIN 902717), Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Next door you’ll see examples plucked from the RWA’s own extensive collection for Beyond The Sketchpad, before emerging into the Drawing Lab with the option to create your own work.

In the speeches at the preview, Peter Randall-Page RA RWA swept us away with a reminder of all the ways in which the term drawn can be used: how we can draw curtains; draw people together; draw water from a well; draw swords; be drawn and quartered,  among others.

Even in language, it’s clear that drawing opens up a multitude of possibilities, but in this case it’s the paintings, etchings, sculptures and otherwise realised works that stopped me in my tracks.

The Hounds by Abigail Reed, Charcoal on paper_£950

The Hounds by Abigail Reed, charcoal on paper

Drawn and its accompanying exhibitions are on at the RWA until 4th June 2017.

To submit or suggest an art review, please send an email to Judy(at)socketcreative.com.

Call for fairytales inspired by Donkeyskin

Donkey cr Judy DarleyDo you know the French fairytale Donkeyskin? I hadn’t heard of it either, until Kate Wolford posted it as a theme for Enchanted Conversation’s May submissions slot.

It turns out to be a French fairytale by Charles Perrault published in 1695. In it, a grieving king is persuaded to remarry, but the only woman he’ll consider is his own daughter. Zut alors! After trying to save her skin by making impossible demands, the princess fled, disguising her beauty by dressing in a donkey skin.

Kate is accepting poems and short stories inspired by the original tale between 1st and 31st May 2017.

Stories should be no shorter than 700 words and no longer than 3,000. Poems may be of any length.

Payments will be issued in US dollars via PayPal at $30 per story and $10 per poem.

Find full guidelines and links to previous published work.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw my attention to? Send me an email at Judy(at)socket creative(dot)com