Archive for December, 2009

Joya. artists residence / no. 18 / Heather McReynolds / 07.2010

Heather-McReynolds-5My art practice is about play, discovery, and the fragility of existence. I work mostly with paint on a variety of surfaces, wood, paper, canvas and wall, scraping and sanding and overlaying until an image that is sufficiently perplexing emerges. Perplexity keeps me on my toes, and heightens visual awareness. I think a painting is more interesting if there is some kind of inherent contradiction or unexpected viewpoint. I am interested in unsystematic use of perspective, floating and flattening space, and the visual ambiguities that result. Over painting, erasing, and subtracting are as important to my process as adding. In 2007 I worked on a series of map constructions/alterations that addressed ecological fragility and disappearance. Since then, I have focused on painting and the content has become less literal, although still concerned with impermanence and evolving states.

heather portrait

During my residency at Cortijada Los Gázquez I think a response to the natural environment would be inevitable. I would like to explore incongruous viewpoints through contrasting detail (botanical) with the immensity present in the landscape. I would work directly from nature with drawing and water based media, and then translate and integrate these studies into a large scale painting upon my return to London.

You can see more of Heather McReynolds work here.



Joya. artists residence / no.17 / Peter Morrens 13/30.04.2010

008Peter Morrens is one who dedicates himself to a sort of Italian ‘combinazione’, a complex manoeuvre made of arrangements that serve facts, fiction and lies. The artist fuses ideas and reacts to all stimuli shapes a visual production that explodes in all directions. He uses a variety of techniques: drawing, printing, painting and photograph, and also writes and constructs installations, interfering with the space itself.

005He produces performances, or better, the settings in which the performance takes place. He edits sounds, his own voice and texts taking into account their modulation. He then crosses the visual procedures in such a way that they all clash, and in the end trouble the spectator. He rocks and overthrows the ordinary perception we have of an event.


He uses different names and labels (PM, Herman Smit, WAARnemer and Point Blank Press): these are not really heteronyms or pseudonyms, but in fact they represent different artistic techniques connected to certain worries that the artist dissects and then uses to produce a combined oeuvre. Since 1996 Peter Morrens has been the curator of the artist-run space Voorkamer in Lier, Belgium and since 2003 lectures in St Lucas Art School Gent.

You can see a little more here and his web site here and here.



Joya. artists residence / no.16 / University of the Arts, London. Camberwell. MA Fine Art. 23/30.03.2010

Camberwell-MA 2

The Joya residency is very pleased to announce the spring arrival of nine full and part time MA Fine Art  students from the University of the Arts, Camberwell, London.

They intend to pursue a collaborative piece of work whilst here, using resources that come to hand, working together through a process of experimentation and reflection, exploring the five senses. They will respond to the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and touch of the environment around Cortijada Los Gázquez in an attempt to build a sustainable model for artistic experience.

Oh, and don’t be confused by their student status. These people are all creative professionals in their own right before they commenced their MA. We look forward to their arrival.



If on a Winters Night…

LG 19.12.09

almohallas 19.12.09

crow flying

stubble in snow

oso 19.12.09



Cold Snaps

la muela 16.12.09

This was the view at 8.45 this morning having crossed the Sierra Larga through the crunching snow. I guess last night was around -8. Not too cold. We have a client coming from Canada who tells me Edmonton was -30 but then I have a cousin in Deluth, Minnesota who tells me -30 is more comfortable than 0 as there is no moisture in the air. Her husband did his national service in the south of England in the fifties and he says he was never so cold as he was at about 2 degrees.

arco iris 16.12.09

The return journey at 2.30 was a little different. A warm front passed by bringing heavy showers and some sun. We caught some wet vultures in this rainbow but they will be too small for you to see. Now, once more the sky is clear, the stars are out and a strong wind is pushing 30 amps from the wind turbine, gusting up to 50 or 60 putting on the brakes. A solar powered house needs winter wind. Days are short at about 7 hours (considering the sun has to get over the mountains) for photo voltaic panels alone. The house is running at about 50% in terms of it’s power consumption and the wind will keep us running comfortably through the night.



Happy Christmas from Cortijada Los Gázquez

christmas card 09



From T-Shirts to Snow Shirts in 24 Hrs…


The school run was aborted this morning. It’s not that we couldn’t get out it’s more about not guaranteeing to be able to go back and collect them. Hey, let’s go sledging instead….



Joya / bids farewell to Beata Kozlowska

Beata Kozlowska installationThe residency at Cortijada Los Gázquez has enabled me to change my perspective in terms of my practice and has given me a tremendous freedom to experiment without spatial limitation.

At the same time I felt very restricted in access to man made materials which led me to explore natural resources, found objects such as branches, dead almond tree trunks, stone and natural pigment etc… I consider these found ‘natural’, ready-made objects had huge potential to be integrated within both outdoor and indoor installation.

I purposely decided to deprive myself of the possibility to manipulate these objects through an ‘aggressive’ human approach like the convention of cutting and carving, for example. I wanted to access a kind of primordial way of conceiving the origin of nature, of being.

Cultivation of this overwhelming landscape, together with its semi-wilderness inspired me in a process of accumulation and construction possibly as part of a constant addition to a landscape pastiche. I found a dichotomy between the concepts of nature and culture I had not considered before and it has had an enormous impact on my work during the residency at JOYA.

Beata Kozlowska, like many of the JOYA artists, took to the hills climbing far and wide photographing and collecting, exploring the creative potential of this place. For some of the resident artists the Joya residency is the opportunity to continue a cycle of work without the interruption of everyday life. For others it is a new (and sometimes alien) environment that will put creative challenges and obstacles before you. Sometimes the whole notion of a residency on a creative retreat like Los Gázquez forces artists to confront issues that distractions at home allow you to avoid.

The results are strangely much the same, there are no absolutes just further avenues to explore. It has been a pleasure to host Beata and we hope she takes away with her a valuable creative experience.



Two Doors

500Less of a door, more of a doorway. It leads up to two of our guest rooms at Los Gázquez.

The design was copied from an older part of the house and used to distinguish between doorways which lead to staircases and doorways that lead to guest rooms on the ground floor.

The small painting on the left is by artist Kathryn Lynch from New York.

The wall mounted sculptures on the right are by Gordon Senior. They are part of a huge series of pieces called ‘Tools of un-known use’.

The floors are a mix of Portland cement and local white sand from the quarry in Vélez Blanco.

500This is another doorway. It too leads to two further guest rooms.

We installed underfloor heating in the house. It seemed a good way to combat the potential of damp in walls made from such ephemeral materials as limestone and clay. It’s also an efficient way to heat the house as the floors continue to radiate warmth up to twelve hours after the fires in the boilers have gone out.

The painting on the right was picked up in India and is actually by a young fourteen year old Bangladeshi boy. It’s of a child Budda sitting on the veranda of a house with a grass roof. I think it’s one of the best pieces of art we possess. If you ever come and see it don’t assume it is naive, it isn’t. This is not art born of artlessness this is self knowledge.



‘a strange and beautiful thing…’


8.30 am, the sun has not yet risen over the Sierra Larga. A light frost dusts the dry ground, my feet are cold but I’m wearing a t-shirt and I can feel a warm air against me. This warm air is compressing the nights cold air beneath it, hence the mist you can see in the photograph. This is called a capping inversion. This cap can be broken by greater convection as a result of the sun rising creating greater solar radiation. I turn to see this view…

dawn 10.12.09

…the view west to La Sagra in Granada province. The sun has reached these areas in advance of Los Gázquez and these ephemeral lakes dissolve before my eyes. The day ahead is another day of stillness. An hour on from taking these photos I am writing this blog, coffee on the mouse mat, the sun breaches the Peña Cassenova projecting light through the ascending mist. In fifteen days it will be Christmas but here the days are warm and dry.

Breakfast, tostada, tomate y jamon.



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