Feature/Interview

BOTH AND: Geoff Winston and Calum Storrie at Burley Fisher Books (to 24 Nov; now extended to Christmas)

Geoff Winston is co-exhibitor with Calum Storrie at Burley Fisher Books in Dalston. The exhibition is called BOTH AND and runs until 24 November 2019 (now extended to Christmas). Sebastian Scotney asked him a few questions:

LondonJazz News: For people who don’t know you, tell us about your work, Geoff…

Geoff Winston: The art works I make, and are currently being shown in a two-person exhibition in Dalston, encompass editioned prints, three-dimensional assemblages and sculpture, and drawings. The three-dimensional work and prints are very much to do with what I call ‘the poetry of the quotidien’, finding form and delight in the everyday, often the discarded and rejected. They are informed by an underlying sculptural and painterly sensibility which goes back to formative years, when art, design and music turned up on my doorstep!

Some of the series of prints utilise and subtly transform photographic elements which are often visual representations of sculptural form. Restraint, in a minimalist sense, is the guiding spirit in these and in the three-dimensional pieces.

BOTH AND Gallery installation (Photo supplied)

LJF: You’ve been drawing at  gigs for years. What is the method and has it changed?

GW: For me, drawing is slightly different to the making of other art forms. It is fundamentally about looking, seeing and feeling, not about anything extraneous to the essential act of drawing. Hand, mind, eye co-ordination are channelled to make some form of record of a state of being, an occurrence or an event. The drawings I make at gigs came out of a way of drawing that I have developed in a remote area of the Lake District, where I concentrate on looking at the subject and, most of the time, not at the paper. Four of the most recent Lake District drawings are presented in the exhibition as editioned prints.

The first drawing I made at a gig was at Sunny Murray’s rather amazing 2008 gig at the Vortex. I remember being very nervous at testing out this drawing method that night. At a crucial moment I finally had the courage to make that small sketch. Since then I’ve developed an intuitive way of harnessing and refining this process. At gigs I am also simultaneously making notes which form the basis of reviews for London Jazz News – this all takes place so discreetly that nobody really notices or is distracted. (Unlike all those people who think it is acceptable to be engaged with their smart phones during a performance – there are few things that I find more irksome, as it is so distracting and shows that those audience members are not concentrating on the performance.) Who says we can’t multi-task?

LJN: And Calum’s is definitely an unfamiliar name.

GW: Calum Storrie, my co-exhibitor, is a friend and a designer who also makes art works. We had our first exhibition together in 2017. We have overlapping music and art-related interests (often in the left-field). Whereas I am a graphic designer, he is an exhibition designer. Both of our client bases are in the arts, so making art works is not unfamiliar territory – not that it is easy, but that imperative is always present.

Drawing has always been essential for us in our design work – we each go to pencil and paper in the early stages of projects. Calum also draws at gigs and wrote, in the catalogue to our previous exhibition, “In 2011, after toying in a half-hearted way with drawing at music performances, I took inspiration from Geoff Winston’s work.” The nice thing is, our drawing styles are very different.

LJN: ‘BOTH AND’… can you explain the title of the exhibition.

GW: We’re both designers and artists. And… quoting from the exhibition information sheet: “They share territory in the making of drawings of musicians, often done at Cafe Oto. This is where their conversation began, in a space for both listening and drawing.”

LJN: If people want to catch it where is it?

GW: Burley Fisher Books, 400 Kingsland Rd, Dalston, London E8 4AA, tel: 020 7249 2263. Until 24 November.

LJN: And what do you recommend about the venue?

GW: Nice people, great books, excellent flat whites (and delicious filled bagels), and a self-contained exhibition space which we’ve found is just right for the works we’re exhibiting. They know how to host an event – with a bar (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and we’ve just hosted the first of two improvised music performances – this one by Alan Wilkinson and Douglas Benford (brilliant!) and posted at Soundcloud: Part 1 Part 2

Alan Wilkinson (bass clarinet) and Douglas Benford (melodica) at BOTH AND. Drawing by Geoffrey Winston. © 2019. All Rights Reserved

The closing event will have another wonderful improvising duo, Steve Beresford and Mandhira de Saram, performing on Sunday 24 November at 3pm, to close the exhibition. Free tickets are available from Ticket Source, which might be worth booking as we are expecting a high turnout. Here’s the link.

LJN: What has been the reaction?

GW: We have had such positive feedback from so many people, many of whom are active in the arts, music and media, and we are humbled by serious artists taking the work seriously – they have committed to some of the more difficult works! It’s been most encouraging and has spurred us on to future projects.

Geoff Winston’s live reviews and drawings appear regularly on LondonJazz News.

LINKS: The Exhibition

The Bookshop

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