Stuart Griffiths//Colin Johnson
Wednesday I had a plan, the plan was to first see Stuart Griffiths work at Hastings College and then I was heading to St Mary In The Castle to see Colin Johnson's work. The name of this review may seem strange, but I please, hold tight, I hope to be able to explain myself.
Closer at South Coast College Hastings
Closer is Stuart Griffiths first solo show, the photographs of his career as part of the 3rd Parachute Regiment and beyond that. Based in Northern Ireland post Bloody Sunday. Griffiths aims to educate the viewer on not only being part of the armed forces, but life after, and he educates well. I am too young to have known of the violence in Ireland in the 1990's first hand, but his images give me a small insight, and it all looks so bleak.
Griffiths also displays images of those who were once serving members of the military, but ended up in hostels and homeless shelters bearing the scars of their previous life. Everything exhibited in Closer not only made me sad, but angry too. As someone who is privileged enough to only see war from the comfort of a tv screen, I feel special being allowed to view these lives, and I'm not going to forget these images in a hurry.
I didn't make the private view, where Stuart Griffiths read from his book Pigs Disco, and part of me is almost relieved, I'm sure I would have ended up crying all over the place, just reading the letters exhibited alongside the photographs makes tears prick in my eyes.
Closer is on at Sussex Coast College until 7th October 2014, I urge you to go see it.
After the heart-wrenching images of Closer I needed not only space to breath, but something to stop me feeling so sad about the world and the atrocities in it.
Lightmoves (In Clay) at St Mary In The Castle
Lightmoves, an exhibition of Colin Johnson's light and ceramic pieces gave me the space to free my mind a little bit, and for that I am so grateful. It was a delight to be able to discuss Johnson's work with him while investigating his pieces. All eloquence left me at the time, and I'm pretty sure Johnson was all most sick of my constant "Wow"'s.
Johnsons pieces are beautiful, in so many ways, there is a delicacy and a nod to natural forms, they are meditative to look at and I can only imagine that they might be to make. Do you ever see something and immediately think "Why didn't I do that?", because that is exactly how I felt about these works.
My images of his moving pieces are, in short, shit. They are most definitely something you need to see in the flesh to appreciate fully. I have a soft spot for artworks that involve light and display a type of movement. The works make me think of mandalas, of relaxation and how light shines in the darkest of moments. The Crypt of St Mary in The Castle was obviously the best place to show these works, and they sit in their surroundings so naturally.
Johnson's work was the perfect thing to view after Griffiths', reminding me that sometimes we can find light in the strangest of places.