Saturday, 24 January 2015

In Light of the Monochrome | Exhibition & Symposium

The Secret Life of Seams and Borders, oil on canvas, from the SHIBUSA series.  Copyright Pip Dickens

An exhibition exploring the genre of the monochrome in painting

curated by Heather Boxall  |  Bradford College

In Light of the Monochrome explores the many interpretations of the monochrome genre. The monochrome has the quality of being luminous, emitting or reflecting light through the painted surface.  Light can also be regarded as a condition of spiritual awareness, divine illumination, which references the ‘transcendental’ or ‘sublime’ often attributed to the monochrome. Artists are also exploring the monochrome through digital and photographic light techniques. This exhibition brings together some contemporary reflections on the genre.

Exhibiting artists include Jane Harris, David Batchelor, Pip Dickens, Estelle Thompson, Heather Boxall, Manya Donaque and Clare Booker.

Private View: 5th March 2015 from 4.30pm until 7.30pm

Exhibition runs from 6th March until 25th March 2015. 

Bradford College, The Dye House Gallery is open weekdays, from 11am until 4pm

More information: - includes downloadable PDF exhibition catalogue
Pip Dickens symposium paper : "Netherworlds and Greyness: Green-lipped Geishas and Old Sheep Dogs"

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Review of SCREEN Exhibition - Coventry Telegraph

Colour and precision from Orient in Warwickshire 

Julie Chamberlain explores a new exhibition influenced by cinematography and Japanese costume.

Artificial Intelligence, oil on canvas, copyright Pip Dickens
 Colourful paintings with the varied influences of Japanese kimono designs and cinematic films make up a new exhibition in Warwickshire.

Screen is the title of the exhibition at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum by Pip Dickens, using its several meanings, including film, and something used to obscure things, or mark off space.

There are a few paintings from her Shibusa series of works, which feature oil paints on a handy dyed and washed canvas.

Using what looks like a raking effect, similar to that used on Japanese gardens, works such as Composition #4 look like they could be kimonos. Composition #7 has blobs of paint as interlopers in the pattern.

There are also some amazingly detailed and precise Japanese Katagani stencils on show from Pip’s own collection, which are used to print fabric for kimonos in Japan, apparently made by highly-trained Living National Treasures as they are known for their expertise.

Kan no Uchi, (The Cold Time), is the largest in the Shibusa series, and is a lovely big abstract oil work featuring different colours and what could be snow storms over a landscape.

The Last Cells - Final Cut, oil on canvas, copyright Pip Dickens

Works that use more of the cinematic influences include The Last Cells, featuring rectangles of paint all over the canvas, like bits of clipped, edited film.

Split Screen features two sides of striped materials similar to the earlier kimono-fabric works, which look like they could close in on each other. Hikari To Kage (Light and Shadow) is my personal favourite, the top and bottom black swathes of colour, with the central panel from left to right a curtain of different reds and pinks, with what looks like sun from a window shining across it.  The impact is very cinematic, and dramatic.

Artificial Intelligence has a mix of influences, and features an intense blue apparently used in the “blue fairy” scene in the Spielberg film of the same name, and Superimposition-Opalesque features a subaquatic feel to it, with what looks like fronds of underwater plants growing up from the bottom.  When the Stars Fall is also quite dramatic and cinematic, with a lot of blackness and what looks like stars falling across a purple background.

It’s an exhibition featuring a number of abstract works showing interesting and well-thought out influences.

My website:

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Review for SCREEN exhibition by Michael Shaw on a-n online

You can read a lengthy review of my latest solo exhibition 'SCREEN' written by artist, writer and sometimes exhibition organiser, Michael Shaw at a-n (artist's newsletter) online.

About Michael Shaw

INF10, 2008, Inflated PVC, 240 x 110 x 110cm, copyright Michael Shaw

Michael Shaw studied his BA (Hons) Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University (1993-96) and completed his PhD in Sculpture at the University of Gloucestershire in 2005.

He has completed many commissions and public projects including a permanent sculpture for Gleeson Homes, Peak District and 'Neon Ice House' - a permanent sculpture for Burghley Sculpture Garden, Sheffield Council Winter Gardens and the V&A Museum.

Solo exhibitions include Leeds City Art Gallery: Palazzo Pretorio, Sala Espositiva, Sansepolcro, Italy: RBS Gallery, London – touring to: Stamford Arts Centre;
Otter Gallery, Chichester; Babylon Gallery, Ely; Hans Price Gallery, Weston-Super-Mare: Alternatives Gallery, Rome; Il Gianicolo, Perugia, Italy; Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton – touring to 20/21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe; MAC,Birmingham and ; Red Gallery, Hull; Clapham Picture House, London; The Study Gallery, Poole & South Hill Arts Centre, Bracknell; Schwartz Gallery, London and Gallery Oldham.

INF11, inflated pvc, 440 x 440 x220 cm, 2009.  Copyright Michael Shaw

You can find out more about artist Michael Shaw at his website :

Michael is currently developing a new giant breathing inflatable that will pass from room to room in the City Gallery, Peterborough in September 2013.

He is also pleased to reveal his participation in the Sculpture on the Beach festival in Aarhus Denmark in June 2013.

My website:

Saturday, 18 May 2013

PIP DICKENS: SCREEN exhibition Rugby Art Gallery & Museum (Jun-Aug 2013)


29 June - 31 August 2013  | Rugby Art Gallery & Museum

Private View:Friday 28 June 2013, 6.30pm – 8pm

SCREEN is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and is Part of the Rugby Festival of Culture.

Note: The opening ceremony for Rugby Festival Culture will take place in the Gallery at 5.30pm prior to the exhibition opening.

A further dedicated web page about this new series of works can also be found at:


'Superimposition–Opalesque'¸ 68 cm x 62.3 cm, oil on canvas, 2013.  Copyright Pip Dickens

SCREEN: Pip Dickens is a solo exhibition of new paintings opening at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum from 29 June 2013 that explores intriguing connections between Japanese kimono textile design techniques and ‘Glorious’ Technicolour cinema.  Dickens employs masking, cutting, wrapping, intense colour staining and double exposure through tint, grisaille and varnishing techniques.

Vignette/DreamScene,56 cm x 56 cm, oil on canvas, 2013. Copyright Pip Dickens

Still from dream/ballet sequence in 'Oklahoma!' (not the artist's image)

Titles such as ‘Flash-back’ and 'Méliès: Kingdom of the Fairies’ offer clues to her source material whilst other paintings such as 'Vignette/Dream Sequence’ are more cryptic but, she says, allude to a bygone age of cinema using photochemical technologies which resulted in a distinctly unique and identifiable colour palette experience. Films such as ‘Oklahoma!’ and ‘South Pacific’ are examples of films produced using Todd-AO technology for example.  These works herald the beginning of further in-depth research, and responses - through painting - of this specific colour experience - what she terms as 'The Lost Colour Palette of Technicolour'.  

Still from Meilies' 1903 film 'Kingdom of the Fairies'.  Melies achieved the sub-aquatic atmosphere by placing a tank of fish between the camera and action. (not the artist's image)

These references build on recent research published in her book ‘Shibusa – Extracting Beauty’  co-authored with Professor Monty Adkins through a Leverhulme Trust Award (2011-2012) which explored synergy between music, painting and Japanese aesthetics – the results of which were showcased at her solo exhibition at Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation London last year.  In SCREEN she re-introduces cinematic themes from previous series of works (ie, Film Forensic; Dr Zhivago and Femme Fatale series) which employed the use of colour translucency and cinematic’ ‘letterbox’ formats characteristic of the cinematic experience.  She says:

“Both of these references represent highly skilled technologies within their own genre – both, however, are dwindling.  In terms of Japanese kimonos, the market is mired in a slump and  few young artisans can dedicate the time (often 10 years) to apprentice themselves to a master craftsman.  Similarly, the film industry is poised at a threshold of transference from photochemical to digital technology.  A 2011 report on  the Hollywood film industry (The Telegraph) announced that, by the end of 2013, celluloid film would cease to be used, unless championed by those directors who can afford, and insist upon, using it for its innate qualities.  Whilst new technology offers plenty for us to be happy about, we are standing at a threshold where some highly flexible, inventive skills and technologies could be lost forever.

"These paintings hold a mirror up to these qualities but, also, attempt to highlight the inherent magic and illusionistic capabilities that reside in painting – an example, itself, of an ancient technology that is still evolving and pushing its own boundaries.”

Still from Speilberg's 2001 film A.I. Artificial Intelligence. David meets the Blue Fairy. (not the artist's image)

'Artificial Intelligence', 115.5 cm x 120.2 cm, oil on canvas, 2013.
Senior Exhibition Officer, Jess Morgan said: "We are very excited to be hosting this beautiful series of new works by Pip Dickens.  The pieces contain an inner luminosity that is not easy to judge in a printed or digital reproduction- these are paintings that as a viewer you need to stand in front of and immerse yourself in, just like a visit to the cinema."

An exhibition of celebration and loss, similarity and  difference, light and shadow, Pip Dickens’ SCREEN runs until 31 August 2013.

 'SCREEN: Pip Dickens' catalogue is available from the Gallery, or the artist's website as a downloadable PDF, and includes a commissioned essay by arts writer and critic, David Sweet.  ISBN 978-0-9550829-6-2.




Rugby Art Gallery and Museum is FREE to visit and is open Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 5pm and Saturday, 10am – 4pm.  Closed Sundays and Mondays except Bank Holiday Mondays, 12 – 4pm.
For further information, contact Rugby Art Gallery & Museum on (01788) 533 201 or Alternatively, visit


My website: