Welcome to the blog of Spike Dennis; an artist and sometime curator. Trained in London Spike has exhibited widely, from London to Los Angeles, and has delivered projects from Cardiff to Stockholm, for organisations including the Illustration Research network and Cardiff Design Festival amongst Others.
With my being involved in two exhibitions at Milkwood Gallery back-to-back I thought I’d better re-visit the space whilst it was empty to get an idea of the size and shape of the space available.
They’re crude sketches but they’re functional and I’m happy now that the gallery will neither be too cluttered nor too bare.
The first exhibition, Project Cardiff, opens on Saturday 2 February and features a set of photographs taken by Lann Niziblian. The second exhibition will present the first time I’ve ever exhibited my own work at Milkwood Gallery as the Pack of Wolves take over the space for Once Upon again.
I was recently invited to write an article for Central station’s My Creative Scene feature on their website.
It took me a while to decide how to approach the article and whether or not I should tackle it from a personal perspective or by taking an overview of everything that takes place in the city. In the end I produced a whistle-stop account of all the events and goings on that I’m engaged with.
I’m sure I missed out a thing or two but it’s an honest account. You can read My Creative Scene in full on the Central Station website here.
There are also a number of other interesting other My Creative Scene articles from cities across the world including, Zagreb, Kathmandu, and Mexico City amongst others.
This is a little test I mocked up recently ahead of a commission. I was testing a couple of different types of gold thread. Due to the fine nature of the image that I need to complete I’m not able to use the DMC metallic floss that I would normally use. It tends to fray a little with the metallic finish being wrapped around a cotton thread.
Instead I’ve settled for Madeira metallised polyester fibres. The work is being completed on a black velvet which is particularly effective with this thread.
I’m excited to have some work on show as a part of the Stitch Fetish exhibition in Los Angeles.
2 – 2 March 2013
The Hive Gallery, Los Angeles
This is the latest show curated by Ellen Schinderman at The Hive Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition will explore the art of the stitch (a rite unto itself), revealing the fetishised secrets lurking in the minds of the artists. The show will present works of erotica and titillation; works of dark fantasy and longing; works of secrets never told, but long desired.
stitch (verb) 1a : to fasten, join, or close with or as if with stitches b : to make, mend, or decorate with or as if with stitches
fe·tish (noun) 1 a : an object believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner; broadly : a material object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence b : an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion : prepossession c : an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression 2: a rite or cult of fetish worshipers 3: fixation
The work will feature two images from my ‘Bound’ series of unicorn embroideries. These works bear reference to images of sexual bondage games which represent both the capture of the unicorn and the sexuality of the unicorn as a symbol of fecundity.
Bren Ahern | Mark Bieraugel | Jessica Charlton | Yu Cotton-Well | Spike Dennis | Jeff Flemming | Kathy Halper | Tod Hensley | Chawne Kimber | Katherine Lawrie | Robert Marbury | David & Vesna Miller | Neda Nahidi | Sarah Ockuly | Esther Oh | Mo Powers | Gus Riker | Erin M. Riley | Oscar Rodriguez | Brian Schetzsle | Ellen Schinderman | Amy Goldsmith Sheridan | Alaina Varron
The Project Cardiff exhibition consists of a portfolio of photographs of people who have been identified as making a positive contribution to the creative life and soul of the city.
The portfolio isn’t exhaustive, nor is it ‘Best Of‘ or ‘Top 50‘. The project seeks to capture a snapshot of the contemporary creative scene in Wales’s capital city at this time.
Whilst some of these people may have been nominated for Project Cardiff as a result of their involvement in one particular activity, many of them are engaged in numerous projects across the city. Project Cardiff represents the “do-ers” from the creative community whether these people are acting wholly under their own initiative or as a part of larger groups and organisations.
Participants, such as Marc Thomas, Editor of Plastik Magazine, pictured above, were photographed by Lann Niziblian.
A selection of images from the Project Cardiff portfolio were previously exhibited at The Senedd building in Cardiff bay. This coincided with Cardiff Design Festival and the Contemporary Cardiff initiative.
I’m particularly interested in Pita García’s embroidery relative to some of my unicorn studies. She has managed to produce very images with a delicate aesthetic which is in stark contrast to the images’ content. Producing work that is not too overbearing whilst containing graphic imagery is something I have been working with myself.
Pita is a Mexican artis. You can view alot more of Pita García’s embroidery on her website, www.pitagarcia.jimdo.com, along with other photographic and video works.
The Cube Gallery featured works of national and historical significance from the Embroiderer’s Guild National Collection. This included work by recognised practitioners from the mid-twentieth century such as Beryl Dean alongside more recent works by Alice Kettle.
The Middle Gallery featured work by local craftspeople from the MK Embroiderer’s Guild. Each year the Chair of the guild sets a challenge for it’s members. This year members were challenged to create a representation of Milton Keynes in 8 inches square. These panels were exhibited in the Middle Gallery alongside selected other works by members of the Milton Keynes Embroiderer’s Guild.
The work exhibited in the Long Gallery was selected by Jaime Chalmers. This included a large selection of contemporary work that pushes the boundaries of embroidery both in scale and content. One of my own unicorn porn embroideries, Circle of Life (Black), was exhibited alongside large tapestries by Erin Riley, Sarah Greaves’ embroidered bath tub and Erin Endicott’s Healing Sutras.