William Blake was one of the most extraordinary figures of his time, a visionary painter, engraver, illustrator, essayist and poet.
He made innovations in printmaking, and his radical political and religious writings contain searing condemnations of the poverty, hardship and hypocrisy he saw around him.
From childhood he had visions of angels and prophets, later creating a complex illustrated mythology, he rubbed shoulders with artists and revolutionaries, but was too complex and restless to ever fit neatly into any establishment or group, and died forgotten and in poverty.
To coincide with the year Tate Britain is commemorating the life and work of William Blake, ten leading artists based in and around the Midlands have been invited to produce work inspired by Blake’s life, art, ideas or writings.
The result – The William Blake Project – includes original paintings, drawings, print-making, sculpture, lettering and textiles and will be exhibited for the first time at the Manger Gallery near Melbourne during the winter.
The gallery at King’s Newton has been closed for the summer as its owner the artist Michael Cook has been the Artist in Residence at The Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield, Yorkshire, an Anglican Benedictine Monastery.
He is returning home to host this new project from November 30 and if past exhibitions by this diverse group of artists are anything to go by it is a must-see.
The group, which last year brought us The Angel Project and before that the Adam and Eve Project, are Maggie Cullen, paper and book sculpture; Elizabeth Forrest, lettering and handmade books; Michelle Holmes, stitched embroidery; Rebecca Mercer, oil paintings; Duncan Pass, hand-printed books; John Rattigan, acrylic paintings and drawings (see above); Sarah Sharpe, gouache and watercolour paintings; Anna Thomas oil paintings and charcoal drawings by Michael himself.
For updates on the exhibition go to http://www.hallowed-art.co.uk
The group are also looking for other venues to exhibit the show from 2020 onwards so if anyone has any suggestions let them know. If you are interested in hosting this exhibition please contact exhibition coordinator: John Rattigan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tate Britain’s Blake exhibition runs until February 2. With more than 300 original works, including watercolours, and prints, this is the largest show of his work for almost 20 years.
The Tate claims it will rediscover him as a visual artist for the 21st century. For tickets go to http://www.tate.org.uk