Sunday, 1 February 2015


I now have a website with all my writing, curating a projects documented here.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

CJH - Extended

CJH. An Exhibition of Paintings by Christopher Joseph Holme has been extended until the 28th of November 2014, at PR1 Gallery, Preston.

Photography by Julie Anne Cochrane.

Friday, 10 October 2014


An exhibition of paintings by Christopher Joseph Holme, Artist, 1952 - 2010.

PR1 Gallery, Victoria Building, UCLan campus, Adelphi Street, Preston.

Exhibition: 3 - 14 November 2014

Preview: Thursday 6 November 6-9 pm
Curator tour with Q+A: Tuesday 11 November

Exhibition open 9am - 5pm Mon - Fri, or by appointment

Christopher Joseph Holme was a prolific painter; his artistic education began when he insisted on studying Art at O level, and his boys college in Preston offered no art classes. He attended the nearby girls school and continued on to pursue a Fine Art degree at Newcastle University under Professor Kenneth Rowntree. Holme then had to abandon his undergraduate degree in the second year, and continued to paint through serious bouts of illness throughout his life. His paintings, though not always comfortable to view as they often reflect the troubled worldview he was living with, display an extraordinary command of colour.

For this first retrospective exhibition of Holme's paintings, a small selection of works have been chosen that exemplify the fascinating iconography and sense of place that the artist developed and experimented with throughout his most prolific years, in the nineteen eighties and nineties. These paintings could be seen to communicate some aspects of the challenging mental states that Holme was experiencing intermittently during these years; whilst some of the chosen works incorporate challenging and disconcerting imagery others are playful, conveying a joyfulness within the same vocabulary of palette and gesture.


This exhibition has been made possible by the kind support and encouragement of Holme's family and PR1 Gallery, and is curated by Lauren Velvick.

Christopher Joseph Holme:

Christopher Joseph Holme was born in 1952 in Preston, Lancashire. He studied Fine Art under Professor Kenneth Rowntree at Newcastle University, and it was in his second year of study that Holme first became seriously ill, and was diagnosed with and treated for Schizophrenia, a disability that would go on to influence the course of the rest of his life.
In 1977 Holme moved back to his family home in Preston, during which time he was painting prolifically. Throughout Holme’s life family members and friends would purchase his work and commission paintings which supported his creative practice, and ensured that he could afford to continue. Many of Holme’s paintings are on corrugated cardboard, or other such cheap and readily available materials, even cupboard doors with the handles still attached can be found amongst his canvasses.
During the 1980’s Holme moved into a council flat in Ingol, Preston, where he continued to paint abundantly. It can be assumed that most of the pictures we have by Holme were painted during this time, or were at least stored there. The subjects of Holme’s paintings are wide and varied, with some showing experimentation with styles, whilst others play with symbolism and narrative, however there are particular motifs that appear again and again; the self portrait, the city or land-scape and interior spaces.

Lauren Velvick:

Lauren Velvick is a Writer, Curator, Editor and Arts Administrator based between Glossop, Manchester and Salford. She is currently Co-Director of the Exhibition Centre for the Life and Use of Books, an artist-led reading room based in Manchester and Salford that launched in May 2014. She is a contributor to various local and national arts and culture publications and has written several essays directly responding to the work of local artists and collectives. She is also currently Web Editor for Corridor8, a North West based arts journal covering the whole of the North of England. Lauren graduated from the University of Manchester in 2010 with a degree in History of Art and in the following four years has taken part in and investigated local contemporary art and publishing, curating the exhibitions Sunk Costs in 2011, and Hoist by Our Own Petard as part of Free for Arts Festival in 2012.

If you would like more information please contact:

A large selection of Holme's painting can also be viewed here:

Sunday, 7 September 2014

many things...

In my last post I briefly mentioned The Exhibition Centre for the Life and Use of Books (ECLUB) as a future project, and since then it has become one of my 'main things' with an intense six months of book launches, readings, screenings and exhibitions. We currently have an exhibition of material from the archive of Michael Butterworth (publisher of Corridor8 and all round fascinating character) and the publishing house Savoy that he founded with the reclusive David Britton on show at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

My working week currently consists of four days with The Buy Art Fair & The Manchester Contemporary as temporary Marketing Assistant, one day at Fred Aldous, and any other time split between The Exhibition Centre for the Life and Use of BooksCorridor8CJH and trying to keep up some sort of writing and art practice.

I'm now gearing up for the CJH exhibition at PR1 Gallery in Preston that'll take place between the 3rd and 14th of November. It's a really nice space with walls that each offer a different atmosphere and spatial context for the work, so I'm really looking forward to getting the pieces re-framed and finding out how they'll work finally hung. It will be great to organise a big party-preview for all of (rather large) Holme clan and to invite local curators to see the work and start thinking about where we can take it next.

This week a piece of writing and illustration that I've been working on for the Full Circle Arts 'Digi Commissions' project was launched, titled 'A Littoral Condition'. The brief was to write something of any length on the theme of metamorphosis, that could appeal to a wide audience and not just those with a background in art history and theory, so I've tried to introduce a number of different ideas that I find interesting to do with change, human nature and art using Barnacles as a metaphor for, well, everything. It was enjoyable to write, and I hope it is as enjoyable to read.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Over the last few months or so...

The cataloguing of my late Uncle Christopher Joseph Holme's paintings has been progressing well, and there's now an exhibition planned for the 3rd to 14th of November at PR1 Gallery in Preston. In anticipation of this I've been researching and writing a biography of Chris (Holme), which as he wasn't famous mostly takes the form of interviewing family members. The next step is to select the paintings that will be in the exhibition, around 20 - 50 depending on size, out of the approximately 200 that we have. I'm going to focus on the period of years from when we have the most work, approximately 1984 - 1990, and on the paintings that are most representative of his individual style and iconography. There's a short version of the CJH biography up on the tumblr blog now, take a look:

Exhibition Centre for the Life and use of Books
ECLuB is a project that I've been working on over the past few months with Robert Carter and Daniel Fogarty, that was recently granted ACE Funding (Hooray!). I can't say much as we're not quite ready to go public yet, but it will include a bi-monthly changing 'curated' library (ie: with books selected in line with a theme, or relating to a particular idea) and permanent reference library. An artist in residence will also work alongside the library, producing an exhibition towards the end of their residency, and there will be a programme of events and publications linked to the texts in the library.

Writing and Making
Last October I took part in The Manchester Print Fair sharing a stall with Elle Brotherhood, Liz Green and Chris Ridler, I hand-made some small books of photographs by Elle and constrained poetry by me - with interestingly textured paper and stamped words. I enjoyed making the books, even though it was frustrating at times and I was worried they wouldn't look finished enough, and I'd like to try more book-binding in the service of very small-scale publishing.

I haven't been doing much writing at all compared to this time last year, but have done a couple of reviews for The Double Negative, and pieces for The Skinny NW. Since taking on the role of Web Editor for Corridor 8 I've found myself spending much more time researching, planning and networking, and had a great time hosting a North West Writer's Meet & Greet with Creative Tourist in March. At the moment everything is building up to June, when hopefully I'll be able to gain a great deal more time to write properly again, and to see what I can do with some recurring ideas.

Last April I undertook a short residency at the Lionel Dobie Project, looking at working, motivation and self-imposed constraints and rules, which I failed to document at all. It was successful in some ways, and not in others - I ran a drawing workshop called a 'Chatch-Up' as part of the residency that went well, but I worked too slowly for the rest of the time. The outcome was a short publication entitled 'An Unsound Experiment' that was printed by and given out at the Lionel Dobie Project, featuring the results of the workshop, each paired with a 50 word paragraph relating the images to my research.

In other news, things have been going really well with the Islington Mill Art Academy, after our trip to Scarborough for the Art Party Conference in November. We recently took over the gallery space at Islington Mill for a week of 'active curating', whereby I.M.A.A members brought new or existing art works to the space, that were then moved around and rearranged as the week progressed. I had a go at some new work consisting of large (around 3x3x3cm) plaster beads in different colours, that were hung in different arrangements, used to mark the walls, and crushed - with these I wanted to create a discursive tool and to explore communication and social anxiety, and would like to take further if I get the chance! I need to re-read The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse as well.

Friday, 18 October 2013


With is an exhibition that has been honed from a long-term project, whereby methods of co-participation are utilised and tested, probing the limits of collaboration, often in ways particular to a technologically infused way of life. The six exhibiting artists - three collaborating pairs - each have an individual practice that deals in some way with history and knowledge, and in being brought together here, seem to exist on the outer layer of sediment, upon sediment, of memory and shared history; with the ways in which these are preserved and shared, or abandoned, being examined in the work on show.
Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, who introduced communities of practice in 1991, emphasise the social impulses and needs of humans. In line with these considerations, how social interactions are mediated by technology, and what this might change about them is explored by Sarah Sanders and Jacqueline Wylie, as the two artists co-participated at a physical remove. Wylie is currently undertaking research towards a PhD into how social media and other emergent technologies have affected artistic practice, and in previous work both Sanders and Wylie have expressed ideas and concepts by spatially and materially enacting them; here, making use of Skype to co-participate and converse.
The extent to which we are able to access, let go of, or get rid of our memories, and objects or images from our pasts, is almost reversed on-line, where it can be as difficult to destroy, as it is to preserve in the physical world. It is the destruction, or more gentle letting-go of objects and memories that concerns Julie Del Hopital and Nicola Dale. Referring to a scene in Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker (1979) where objects are shown sunk and abandoned underwater, Del Hopital and Dale are presenting footage of the two of them abandoning mementos to the River Mersey. Here, flowing water could be symbolic for time, and holds a deeper personal significance for the artists, as they both grew up close to rivers.
Waterways feature again in the collaboration between Annie Harrison and Jenny Steele, also taking the form of a film, and focussing on the Piccadilly Canal Basin that their studios overlook. Both artists are interested in the urban environment, with buildings and cities as influential receptacles of human memory, desire and fear. Within this collaboration, unlike the rivers Mersey and Mauldre, that are pivotal to Del Hopital and Dale's activity, another kind of water, this time man made, and much stiller, is the focus of a shared concern in the mapping of place and history.

 Growing out of a series of crits held during 2011 and 2012, a larger community of practice has been divided, cell-like, first into 6, then into pairs. The common interest around which that group initially formed has been clarified, or fermented by this process; of splitting and concentrating activity and belonging. What has emerged is a testing of communication, and a watery focus on what is important to the the participants day-to-day, and what has been influential in the past, reflecting the processes and principles outline by Lave and Wenger, in that the artists have revealed what they seek in common to understand.

Lauren Velvick - 10/2013