Showing posts from June, 2012

Changing Spaces - A Review

Changing Spaces - A Review
by Valerie Grove

Although I was closely involved in this project, my role in monitoring and documenting both the process and progress of Changing Spaces was defined by my collaboration with the artist, Jonathan O’Dea, and by my focus on editorial clarity in relation to the project’s online presence. As a consequence, I didn’t actually form an opinion of the work. However, now that the project brief has been fulfilled I can actually take a step back and approach the work, and the exhibition as a whole, from an analytical perspective rather than one of practicality.

This transition has been easier than anticipated for several reasons. Firstly, out of a total of 12 works I had only seen 3 in their finished state. The others I saw only in stages, either in the studio, or on-site in the case of the sculpture. It was only on completion of the hanging that I was able to see the totality of the project. So despite my familiarity with the sometimes literal nuts and bo…

Images of some of the final artwork

Here are some images of the final artwork from the project.

Review by Thomas Hardy

Walthamstow based artist Jonathan O’Dea opened his new exhibition this weekend at the Waterworks in the Lee Valley Park. I’ve known Jonathan for a few years now and we’ve spent the odd evening in the Rose and Crown talking, I am sure very wisely, about art and music, amongst other things. One subject we both keep returning to is Waltham Forest’s position on the edge of the city – and the way that this perhaps denies this part of London the identity and attitude of its East London neighbours, or the home counties security of adjoining Essex.

The first exhibition I saw of Jonathan’s work seemed to me to directly reflect these themes – a series of abstract landscapes on whose horizons shimmered objects which may have been trees, or could have been industrial buildings. Perhaps these were echoes of this part of the East End’s memories – of the factories and warehouses which were cleared from the Lee Valley when work began on the Olympic Park, or maybe they were natural feature…

Opening Day

Thanks to everyone who came to the opening. It was great to see so many people there. If you have any  photos or comments please send to me and I'll post them up on the blog.  See link below for local press coverage: New Sculptures unveiled at Nature Reserve

Notes from a a hanging

Q) Congratulations. It's all hung and ready to go. Apart from the sculpture how many works did you end up producing and are you happy with the way things look?

Thanks. I ended up with a total of eleven wall mounted works now hanging neatly in the Waterworks! Given the size constraints of my studio, it wasn't until the day of the hanging that I could actually see the eleven works together in a large enough space for them all to be visible. So I was really quite nervous about how things would work out and whether the individual pieces would cohere as a single conceptual show within the space.

So I am very happy and relieved at how smoothly the hanging went and how the show looks. It is great to finally be able to see it all together but I have to say a huge thanks to Neil Irons who helped me to hang the show.

There are a whole list of people I would like to thank actually so here goes.... 
Arts Council England for funding the project All the team from the Waterworks Nature Reser…

Turning on the Waterworks

The exhibition opens on Saturday and I was helping out with the hanging today so thought I would just give a quick profile of the Waterworks Nature Reserve especially in relation to art, artists and this exhibition in particular.

The Waterworks Nature Reserve opened ten years ago. Part of the huge Lee Valley National Park, the Waterworks has a team around it consisting of conservationists and experts in wildlife habitats,  woodlands and local history which includes the fascinating Middlesex Filter Beds. It also has a small but perfectly formed golf course and a lovely, quiet and comfy cafe!

Since 2010 the educational area of the centre has been opened up for artists providing a unique, local exhibition space in an area which has an almost complete lack of them. The person to thank for this is Angie Oliva who is manager at the Waterworks. I asked her about art, the Waterworks and Changing Spaces and this is what she said:
I thought we had a really nice building and that we could defi…


While working on-site creating this sculpture (which I have titled Intervention), I had at least two hundred passers-by stop and ask me what I was doing.

99% of the comments and feedback they gave me were very positive and people liked the concept behind the work. I did get one person who wasn't impressed with what I was up to but after a few minutes of lively discussion, even this person walked away having reconsidered.

Before I had started work on this piece I knew it had to be very different from the blandly typical sculptures that are usually made from trees. The fact that my tree had started to rot forced me even further along the trajectory of something new and different and I am delighted with how things evolved

However, I never expected that what I ended up with would capture the imagination of so many people. Many of those I spoke to in the course of making this work asked if I would be making more sculptures of this kind. This is not only a very hopeful sign of future po…