Wednesday, 17 July 2013

In the plan chests

Another visit to 54 today, and an opportunity to see what Ella has uncovered in her work cataloguing Dave's work. 

At the moment she is working her way through the plan chests on the top floor. There are six of these, and another three on the middle floor. Each has about 5 or 6 drawers (they vary a little), and at the moment she is going through a drawer that holds a lot of work from Dave's school and student years. So far there have been 200 drawings in this one drawer. Of course the quality varies massively, and some drawers have more work, most less - but all are particularly interesting to us as Margaret and I have never had the time to go through them systematically, so there are lots of discoveries to be made.

The drawing above of a farmyard is a very nice example, but not untypical, and probably done by Dave in the late 1950s. It's on ruled paper from a large notebook. 

Add up the numbers and it could be that the plan chests alone contain 5 (drawers) by 9 (plan chests) by 200 (drawings) = 9000 pieces just in these plan chest drawers. 

This coloured pencil drawing will be from his days at art school, and if it's not directly part of the work for the 'Astronauts' series it appears to relate to it - so probably done by Dave in about 1960.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Early work

I visited Dave's studio to day to catch up with Ella, who continues to patiently catalogue the work. We had expected to meet Greg McGee and Margaret Mytton to discuss plans for an exhibition at Greg's gallery in York. Unfortunately Greg has been taken sick overnight, so the planned meeting has been postponed. 

Instead Ella showed me some of Dave's school and early student work she is currently entering into the catalogue. Some of this early work is fascinating, such as this interior of his parent's home in London, where he would have been living at the time:

But inevitably, with someone like Dave who kept all of his output, not apparently censoring anything, there are many sketches, abandoned pieces and rejects. What to do with these? To put them all in the catalogue, or to start a censoring ourselves? Ella has chosen (with help from the Artlook software people) to create a fresh category within the programme - 'School and Student Work'.

This sketch of a baby is typical of the kind of work I'm referring to. Unfinished or not followed through pieces, probably of interest to anyone approaching Dave's work from a scholarly or research-based point of view, but unlikely to be saleable or of general interest. Putting these into their own section of the Catalogue seems to provide the answer.