Saturday 6 July 2019

The Stranger Atom

The Stranger Atom,  at Warwickshire Open Studios, 2019 - 6

This was by far the most thrilling, interesting, all-encompassing experience of Open Studios this year. The private residence of a conceptual artist was turned into a huge installation space that included ceramics, collage, drawing, mixed media, painting, printmaking, sculpture, all around the theme of The Stranger Atom: which means that when metals are mixed together to make alloys, they become stronger.  The house was so packed with objects and it was impossible to tell what was installation and what was part of the everyday life of the house. From the moment go, we entered an enchanted space.

This work is based on extensive, two-year research the artist undertook on massacres

as are the paintings on this wall.

The sitting room

by the door as we entered the artist's studio

the studio

the hallway leading to the breakfast room and kitchen

the breakfast room

Memory, work for sale

We then proceeded to the garden

we turned a corner

and came upon The Tower

a permanent feature of the garden

and nothing like I had ever seen before

the product of years of hard work

we had a look at the pond

before proceeding inside The Tower, which is an elaborate tree house with three rooms

lots of art work inside,

including these tiny ceramic sculptures

which I found fascinating

The whole place is quite Gaudiesque

We left The Tower and took one of the many winding paths

had a look at the back of The Tower

and arrived at the green house

which was also full of art

another winding path leads

to the chickens

and more views of The Tower

back the way we came,

and down the cellar

where a whole room was taken over by Catching Spirits, an installation inspired by a childhood memory of a trip to Jaipur, and a tour of Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors): a dark room, the lights from candles reflected in tiny pieces of mirrors. A highly appropriate way to end the visit to this amazing place.


  1. Mary is the most amazing woman. She once did an exhibition in the Pump Room Gardens. A gaggle of boys in BMX bikes were causing a nuisance in the park every evening so Mary took down huge number of bags of flour. She rounded up the boys and asked them if they would help her with her art work. She spread the flour out on the edge of the grass. Their task was to ride through the flour and out across the park, weaving about and making patterns on the grass. They spent hours apparently and at the end photographed them and their patterns which became the final exhibition.
    So glad you fitted in her amazing house into your tour. A xx

    1. She is an amazing woman, indeed, Avril. We also found out that Ken knew her husband. It's a small world.