ART CONSULTANT ERIKA BAYLEY GETS THE GUIDED TOUR OF MACKENZIE THORPE'S BORO.
Following the Team Talk visit to Arthaus, in which this lively gang of ex-steelworkers from Teesside came to view an exhibition of Mackenzie Thorpe artwork inspired by his roots in Middlesbrough, I somehow agreed to be taken on a guided tour of the town and surroundings that are at the heart of Mackenzie's “industrial” work, by those who know it best.
And so I found myself, on a suitably grey winter's day, meeting Team member Brian for my first trip “Over The Border.”
First Stop: The Transporter Bridge
It was only natural that our first port of call was Middlesbrough's beloved “Tranny”, that iconic symbol that dominates the cityscape and features in so many of Mackenzie's images. Driving past the now-derelict (but still-infamous) Captain Cook pub, we met the men who work on the bridge, and rode across the river Tees with them as they recounted stories about transporting workers and watching for the seals that breakfast in the waters below every day. Industrial Middlesbrough sprawled on either side of the river; ships, factories, docks and work yards (some active, some not) lay in every direction.
We took the opportunity to photograph our own version of Mackenzie Thorpe's "Waiting For Me Dad"
The rest of the day was spent touring Middlesbrough, from Grove Hill to Linthorpe, Doggy Market to Town Centre, a circuit of places that have cropped up in Mackenzie’s artwork and stories. I could not have asked for a better tour guide than Brian – like the town itself he is full of distinctly northern character, stories, and humour! Brian had an anecdote or memory to share for every stop we made, bringing the town to life for this New Yorker’s first taste of the Boro. I'm looking forward to our next outing, which will reunite me with the rest of the Team Talk gang as we re-enact the Mackenzie Thorpe sculpture "The Apostles" - this group is about to take the modelling world by storm!
The October exhibition upstairs at Arthaus was themed “Made in Teesside” and showcased some of Mackenzie Thorpe’s most personal artwork, focusing on his Middlesbrough roots. The exhibition was full of iconic images of the Transporter Bridge, shipyards, mills, working men and of course the streets and people of Teesside.
One of the highlights of the show for me was a visit from Team Talk - a group of ex-steelworkers from Teesside. An appropriate audience, and what a great bunch of guys! Although quiet - and possibly unsure of what to expect - when they arrived at the gallery, as soon as they went upstairs it became a very different story! There was a heated debate on the specific location of the industrial setting of “Boro Brothers”, plus stories and memories stirred up by pictures like “That Side of the Track” and “Pay Day” – it was a rowdy, vibrant morning spent with a group who found so much of their own experience reflected in Mackenzie’s work.
Every artwork sparked a conversation or a tale, every figure was somehow recognisable, every setting was familiar. It showed once more how Mackenzie’s work speaks to the world beyond art galleries and collectors, to people and places rooted in real life. Mackenzie himself joined us via facetime and regaled everyone with an explanation of “The Apostles” that had jaws dropping. There were pasties and cups of tea and a lot of laughter, and by the end of it I had agreed to go on a road trip with Brian and the guys, and visit the Transporter Bridge and the rest of their stomping ground for myself! What have I let myself in for?!
Another idea born that day was to connect some of the team with our framer in Darlington, Malcolm Hepper, for a project that will see Mal donating off-cuts of wood from his shop and giving the guys a tutorial on frame construction. We love the idea of bringing people together and supporting Team Talk in their efforts to build opportunities for skill sharing and creative projects. Some of the team are already keen woodworkers so it will be interesting to see where this all leads! Something tells me this is another outing I will be joining; I wonder if they will let me try some frame-making myself?! I expect to return from my adventures having been both educated and entertained by this lively gang – watch this space for updates!
As a new Art Consultant here at Arthaus, I have had a busy (and educational!) couple of weeks so far. Remembering the daily to-do list, mastering the drive to the framer’s, and learning all about Mackenzie Thorpe and his work. Today I have been tasked with contributing to the Arthaus blog and to say a bit about “Gallery Life” from a new team member’s perspective.
One of my favourite things about working in the gallery is talking to the people who come through our door. I have already met such a wide range of people and I love hearing about how they discovered Mackenzie and how the artwork fits into their lives. A recurring theme in these conversations has been the accessibility of Mackenzie’s work. For every collector I have met that is a seasoned gallery-goer, I have met just as many who would never have described themselves as “art lovers” in the same way. People who always thought art wasn’t “for” them and would normally hesitate to go into a gallery like this one. One lady even asked if we charge entry!
If you have ever heard or read a Mackenzie Thorpe interview, you will know this is a topic close to his heart - the perceived elitism of the art world. What an absolute pleasure it is, then, to have spent these weeks talking to so many people who have found art that speaks to them, that reflects the world they know and love. Many of Mackenzie’s fans, like Mackenzie himself, are from industrial cities around the world, from Newcastle to Sydney to Chicago. They know these cities, know the people, and know the life. Although not originally from the north-east (I am a London/New York girl myself), I am a real fan of Mackenzie’s Middlesbrough artwork and love seeing pieces featuring his hometown and its people.
I love the fact that this work is being represented in the 2018 calendar. If I had to pick my favourite image from the calendar, it would definitely be “The Night Before”, an evocative portrayal of Middlesbrough workmen with the ever-present Transporter Bridge standing watch over them. This train of thought has led me to a fascination with all of Mackenzie’s artwork that feature the iconic Transporter Bridge – watch this space for more about this and some of my favourite pieces! What is your favourite Transporter Bridge image?
arthaus has recently welcomed three new art consultants; kelly RUTHERFORD, gemma GUPPY, and catherine DOWN. read on to find out more about our new starters!
Why not come into Arthaus Gallery and say hi to the team the next time you are in Richmond - we'd all love to meet you!
'tHE GOOD, THE BAD AND ME' by mackenzie thorpe
MACKENZIE CITES THIS FILM AS A ONE OF HIS FAVOURITES. The story of a civil war veteran embarking on a journey to save his neice from an indian tribe.
mackenzie see's western films as the bridge between childhood and adulthood, real men with lives of hardship, but exuding the freedom of a child.
The adventures of the masked hero and his Native American partner. this partnership showed collaboration between the traditionally rivalled cowboy & indian.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
MACKENZIE WAS STRONGLY INFLUENCED BY THE FILM 'LUST FOR LIFE' STARRING KIRK DOUGLAS AS VAN GOGH. MACKENZIE IDENTIFIED WITH THE PERSONA OF THE TORTURED SOUL THAT WAS VAN GOGH.
LUST FOR LIFE
ON A SIDE NOTE....
MACKENZIE ALWAYS CREATES HIS WORK TO MUSIC, FROM PATSY CLINE AND JOHNNY CASH TO ROXY MUSIC AND OTIS REDDING.
this version of 'why me lord?' by johnny cash resonates with mackenzie, and used the lyrics 'my soul is in your hands' as the title for a 'screaming head' piece he created.
ste- First blog post
sInce working at arthaus i've been blown away by mackenzie's change in style over time, and his continuing ability to come up with new ideas that connect with such a wide audience. I DECIDED TO TAKE A LOOK THROUGH SOME OF THE ARTIST PROOFS AND SAMPLE ARTWORKS FOUND IN OUR OFFICE. A LOT OF WHICH I HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE AND THEY REALLY ILLUSTRATED THE QUIRKINESS FOUND IN MACKENZIES WORK.
As an artistic individual, i am constantly wanting to learn about those who successfully convey what they feel, through any medium, so it was fascinating to see the different styles and techniques an established artist explores. I WAS SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT THE MANY FAR REACHING STORIES WHICH INSPIRE THESE ARTWORKS.
(Clockwise from top left) 'Pigeons', 'First light', 'The big match', 'untitled'
mackenzie has noted ls lowry as one of his main influences when it comes to his crowds of football fans, or portraits of working-class people going about their daily lives.
the below piece 'VICTOR SLEEPING' IS ABOUT a giraffe from marwell zoo in hampshire. after his partner 'dribbles' died, he collapsed to the floor, tearing a calf muscle and never attempting to return to his feet. Despite people from all over the world sending letters of support and portsmouth dockyard workers creating a sling to help him to his feet, nothing worked. The grief stricken leopard-camel passed away in the arms of his keeper.
Below are the ever evasive mackenzie thorpe 'screaming heads'. some of my favourite works of his are the ones showing the more personal emotions of the artist. i found this photograph in a filing cabinet in our office.
untitled screaming head - mackenzie thorpe
MACKENZIE IS VERY INFLUENCED BY THE WORK OF FRANCIS BACON, WHO'S INTERESTS IN VIOLENCE AND ISOLATION resulted in his emotionally charged and raw imagery.
THIS GENRE OF MACKENZIE'S ARTWORK is a complete discourse from the works he is known and loved for.
'I would like my pictures to look as if a human being had passed between them, like a snail leaving its trail of the human presence...' - fRANCIS BACON
Three Studies for Portrait of Lucian Freud - 1965 - francis bacon
I MET WITH ROB WILSON, THE WRITER OF 'THE D-DAY DODGERS' YESTERDAY FOR A QUICK CHAT SO YOU CAN GET TO KNOW A LITTLE ABOUT HIM! rhiannon
A QUICK INTRODUCTION ABOUT YOURSELF...
I WAS BORN IN GATESHEAD, SO I WAS EDUCATED ON TYNESIDE AND I WAS THE FIRST MEMBER OF MY FAMILY TO GO TO UNIVERSITY. I WENT TO MEDICAL SCHOOL IN NEWCASTLE AND TRAINED IN THE NORTHERN REGION AND I BECAME A SURGEON IN MIDDLESBROUGH WHERE I WAS FOR 25 YEARS... EVENTUALLY BECOMING MEDICAL DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE THERE.
FROM SURGERY TO PLAYWRITING... HOW?
I'VE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN THEATRE AND DRAMA AND PARTICULARLY MUSIC, AND WHEN I RETIRED FROM THE NHS I WAS PRIVILEGED TO BE ABLE TO SET UP MY OWN PORTFOLIO OF ROLES AND JOBS TO DO. I WANTED TO WRITE SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT. I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW THAT THAT WAS GOING TO BE PLAYS, TO BE HONEST, I THOUGHT IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN SONGWRITING BUT THAT DIDN'T COME TO ME VERY EASILY, ALTHOUGH I'M STILL TRYING! ALSO, I'VE BEEN INTERESTED IN MILITARY HISTORY, I THINK PROBABLY BECAUSE MY FATHER WAS A SOLDIER IN WORLD WAR TWO AND A COMBINATION OF ALL THESE THINGS IS HOW THIS PLAY STARTED.....!
WHY THIS TOPIC?
I KNEW SOMETHING ABOUT THE EIGHTH ARMY... THAT IT HAD MOVED FROM AFRICA TO ITALY AND TO FRANCE - ALTHOUGH NO ACTION TAKES PLACE IN FRANCE IN THE PLAY.
I WAS WATCHING A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT AN INDIVIDUAL- HE WAS A VERY TOUGH SOLDIER WHO HAD BEEN IN THE EIGHTH ARMY
HE TALKED TO SOMEBODY FOR ONLY A TINY BIT IN THE DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE EIGHTH ARMY AND THE SUBJECT WAS RAISED ABOUT THEM HAVING BEEN CALLED D-DAY DODGERS. THE INDIVIDUAL WAS ABLE TO TALK ABOUT ANYTHING WITHOUT LETTING ANYONE REALLY SEE HIS EMOTIONS BUT ON THAT SUBJECT HE WAS QUITE TEARFUL. I REALLY FELT QUITE MOVED BY THE INTERVIEW. THAT MADE ME MORE INTERESTED IN THE SUBJECT, AND THE MORE I READ ABOUT IT, THE MORE I FELT THERE WAS A VERY SIGNIFICANT INJUSTICE AND THAT WHAT HAD BEEN SAID WAS VERY UNFAIR. THEN I THOUGHT A PLAY WITH MUSIC, OR A MUSICAL REVIEW WOULD BE A GREAT VEHICLE FOR TRYING TO ADDRESS THAT.
HAVE YOU BASED ANY CHARACTERS AROUND THAT SOLDIER?
NO, NOT AT ALL ACTUALLY. I FELT THE OTHER CHARACTERS WOULD PLAY OFF EACH OTHER BETTER. IT WAS A GREAT OPENING FOR THE PROJECT AND SOMETHING THAT GAVE ME THE IMPETUS TO WRITE.
IF YOU WERE TO TAKE A SEAT IN THE ACTORS CHAIR, WHO WOULD YOU PLAY?
WELL, ONE OF THEM HAS A GEORDIE ACCENT, SO I CAN GET MY HEAD AROUND THAT QUITE EASILY. ALTHOUGH, I SUSPECT I'VE LOST A BIT OF THAT.. ALTHOUGH WHEN I GO BACK TO WHERE I CALL HOME, IT COMES BACK QUITE EASILY. SO I COULD DO THAT. ON THE OTHER HAND, I COULD PLAY THE OLDER OF THE TWO CHARACTERS. HE'S INTERESTED IN LEADERSHIP AND MUSIC SO I SORT OF IDENTIFY MYSELF WITH HIM A BIT.
DID YOU FIND YOURSELF BASING CHARACTERS ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
I USED ASPECTS OF PEOPLE I KNOW IN THE CHARACTERS, YES. BUT I COULDN'T SAY THAT THE CHARACTER REMINDS ME OF, OR IS REMINISCENT OF ANY INDIVIDUAL.
what's your FAVOURITE SONG IN THE PLAY?
I SUPPOSE MY FAVOURITE SONGS WERE ONE OF THE ONES MADE FAMOUS BY AL BOWLLY. EITHER 'LOVE IS THE SWEETEST THING' OR 'THE VERY THOUGHT OF YOU'. THE REASON BEING, ONE OF MY FAVOURITE MODERN SINGERS IS RICHARD THOMPSON. HE WRITES A SONG ABOUT A TRAMP HE MEETS IN THE PARK AND THE TRAMP HAD A DIFFICULT TIME IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR BUT HIS FAVOURITE SINGER WAS AL BOWLLY.
-AL BOWLLY WAS KILLED IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR HAVING PLAYED A GIG SOMEWHERE AND INSTEAD OF STAYING WHERE WAS TOLD TO STAY, HE WENT HOME TO HIS FLAT IN LONDON AND HE WAS KILLED IN AN AIR RAID. HE WAS THOUGHT OF AS THE WORLDS FIRST POP-STAR , SO YOU SEE ALBUMS OF HIS NOW SAYING 'THE WORLDS FIRST POP STAR', AL BOWLLY.
RICHARD THOMPSON HAS THIS SONG WITH A VERY LONG TITLE 'AL BOWLLY'S IN HEAVEN BUT I'M IN LIMBO NOW' WHICH IS THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE TRAMP. RICHARD TELLS A STORY BEFORE HE SINGS IT AND BECAUSE OF THAT I THOUGHT I'D INTRODUCE AL BOWLLY INTO THE PLAY.
A FINAL THOUGHT...
WHEN I THINK ABOUT WHAT IT'S REALLY ABOUT IN SUMMARY, OLD FASHIONED WORDS COME TO MIND. WORDS LIKE HONOUR AND FAIRNESS CAME UP. SOME PEOPLE SMILE OR LAUGH OR THEY THINK IF YOU SAY SOMETHING'S NOT FAIR IT'S JUVENILE OR IMMATURE BECAUSE 'LIFE ISN'T FAIR'. BUT THAT SHOULDN'T STOP YOU FROM POINTING OUT THAT SOMEONE OR THEIR MEMORY IS BEING UNFAIRLY TREATED LIKE IN THE CASE OF SOLDIERS REFERRED TO AS "D-DAY DODGERS".
THE SOLDIERS BELIEVED THAT LOTS OF ACTIONS WITH A DEADLINE WERE D-DAYS. EVERYONE ACCEPTS THAT THE EVENTS WE ALL THINK OF NOW AS THE D-DAY IN FRANCE WERE ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL BUT THERE WERE OTHER VERY SIGNIFICANT ACTIONS CARRIED OUT ELSEWHERE TOO OF COURSE. I THOUGHT IT VERY UNFAIR TO REFER TO THEM AS ANYTHING BUT HEROES AND THAT'S WHY I PUT THE STRAP-LINE, AN 'ATTEMPT TO RIGHT A WRONG', I THOUGHT IT AFFECTED A LOT OF PEOPLE BADLY WHO HAVE DONE A LOT OF VERY HONOURABLE THINGS FOR THEIR COUNTRIES BEARING IN MIND THAT BRITISH, CANADIAN, AMERICAN AND OTHER SOLDIERS WERE INVOLVED NOT TO MENTION MEMBERS OF THE ITALIAN RESISTANCE. MORE THAN A MILLION PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN ITALY ALONE SO IT'S REALLY VERY SIGNIFICANT.
SO I FEEL IT'S ABOUT HONOUR, DUTY AND VALUES. I VALUE HONESTY AND FAIRNESS AND THAT'S REALLY WHY I WROTE IT.
if you would like to join us in showcasing 'the d-day dodgers', click here!
That's right, you.
the arthaus players are showcasing a closet drama of the play 'the d-day dodgers' written by rob wilson and we want you to be the voices of the characters.
i (rhiannon) will follow you through the d-day dodgers journey from audition to show whilst producing and directing the closet drama. i don't bite, i promise. but first let me answer the question that i know is on everyone's lips...
"what's a closet drama?" i hear you cry! well... IT'S A PLAY THAT IS READ, RATHER THAN ACTED. SIMPLE.
'the d-day dodgers' tells the story of two men in the eighth army during world war two. they become close friends through mutual interests in music and singing. amidst all the fighting they enter a talent contest and... well, i can't tell you the rest or else i'll ruin the ending!! but i can tell you that it's full of songs*, music and laughter... reminiscent of 'it ain't half hot mum'. you with me?
*songs include: whispering grass and don't sit under the apple tree (with anyone else but me)... cue singalong!
the play involves a few men 18+ and a narrator. so if you're a story teller or enjoy spoken word then we'd love to hear from you!
informal auditions are taking place in arthaus gallery mackenzie thorpe on the 21st january @ 3pm.
you don't need to prepare anything, and no acting experience necessary. performances will take place in march.
do you fancy it?
if so, you can let us know your attendance by filling in the form below. or catch us on any of the following
tel: 01748 826605 | email: Arthausgallery@gmail.com | WEB: WWW.MACKENZIETHORPE.NET
facebook: arthaus richmond | twitter: @mackenzieshop | instagram @arthausgallerymackenziethorpe
you can also find our event on facebook here
please don't hesitate to get in touch with any questions!
see you there,
#THEDDAYDODGERS #STORYTELLING #CLOSETDRAMA #ARTHAUSPLAYERS
2017 has welcomed me back to Arthaus Gallery Mackenzie Thorpe with open arms! And wow am I excited!
2016 gave us many gifts, I was given my beautiful second daughter Sophia-Rae, Arthaus welcomed 3 fantastic and dedicated new team members, Ste, who graduated with a 2:1 in Fine Arts from Manchester School of Art, Jane who works with us part time whilst currently studying Glass and Ceramics at Sunderland University. Dan, who previously worked as a medic (We know who to call if we hurt our pinky) And of course we still have the lovely Rhiannon who is becoming part of the furniture! Finally we have the refurb of the Gallery, and I will tell you it has never looked so good! (Visually and metaphorically!)
As I sit in the window of Arthaus Gallery, I sip my Espresso whilst looking out towards the cobbles of Finkle Street reflecting on the events that took place in 2016.
The year started perfectly with the continued sale of Mackenzie's “Where The Heart Is” thanks to all of you it was a huge “sell out” success raising funds for the brilliant MFC Foundation charity.
Then as fast as could be the Tour De Yorkshire cycled into Middlesbrough with a fever and excitement which spread across the UK! Mackenzie was honoured to have been asked by Middlesbrough council to represent them through out the event, and so Mackenzie's “Erimus” was born. He stands proud and tall on the side of the Library Building for all to see, watching over Middlesbrough with pride! The event was a winner… with the release of “Erimus” limited edition and the collaboration with Tru Fit Brewery to create “Erimus” IPA 5%, April/May could not have been more exciting for us all!
On the 10th of June Mackenzie proudly supported The Finlay Cooper Funds fourth Dragonfly Ball by donating a personalised “A Walk In The Past” sculpture. All funds from the event are raised to help disadvantaged children across Teesside and beyond. To be both asked to help such an amazing cause is an honour and Arthaus Gallery Mackenzie Thorpe will long continue to have an amazing relationship with this wonderful Middlesbrough based charity.
Arthaus temporarily closed throughout August for the refurb, with the re opening on the 30th of August. Local company Staley Stone Works headed the project and we must say the finish is really quiet special. If you have not already seen the “New look” Arthaus Mackenzie Thorpe Gallery then it is a must! We have beautiful artwork and coffee awaiting your visit, you can even make it your new years resolution? I promise it's worth the visit!
The beginning of November saw Arthaus receive Mackenzie's new and breath taking “Out Of The Shadows” collection. And it did not disappoint! The collection true to Mackenzie catered for all of his famous genres, Football, Duffle, Big Head and so much more. The reviews came in raving and so Mackenzie continues to deliver artwork for us all enjoy.
The Christmas season is always a wonderful experience here at Arthaus. Wendy, Rhiannon and Ste kicked off the festive celebrations at The MFC Foundation Charity Ball where the #1 personalised edition of “Where The Heart Is” was auctioned off to great success! I hear the evening was a hoot and I think Ste might still be recovering now?
Every year Wendy, Susan and Mackenzie kindly treat us to a wonderful Christmas meal at a local restaurant. For our 2016 meal we visited the beautiful Middleton Lodge coach house, and it certainly did not disappoint! With its rustic, earthy décor and scrumptious servings we had a fabulous time! Next time we will certainly be trying the espresso Martinis…. As we have heard they are the best in the area!
Our annual calendar release came about, and with Mackenzie's usual calendar he released an “Industrial Calendar” which has been a huge hit! Check our website out if you haven't already had a peek.
I could go on and on about what a wonderful year we have had, but with the new year rung in we are now getting excited to share with you what 2017 will bring, but for now that’s a secret… What we can tell you is that this year is going be even better than the last!
So from myself, Jade and the rest of the Arthaus Mackenzie Thorpe Team we would like to thank every one of you for helping us to make 2016 the amazing year it was, and we wish you all health and happiness in 2017.
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