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Friday, 21 January 2011

Michael Brennand-Wood's and Matthew Harris's work at Colston Hall, Bristol

In the current issue of the Surface Design Journal there is an article - "A Dialogue between Music and Art" - about the site-specific work by Michael Brennand Wood and Matthew Harris at Colston Hall, Bristol.

Colston Hall is a very old and renown music venue in Bristol, which has in the last few years undertaken a complete redevelopment, and the two artists were commissioned to create art which would be structurally integrated into the building.  Bristol is less than an hour's drive away for me, and I have been in Colston Hall a couple of times - once to a concert, and once simply to visit the wonderful building.  I spent quite some time in front of Brennand-Wood's work, which is on a wall in the terrace bar.  I took some photos, at different distances, so one can see the overall design as well as close-up details.

"Celestial Music" by Michael Brennand-Wood
Medium distance view
Close up

What particularly fascinates me about this double commission is that both artists have trained in textiles and in fact they are mostly known for their textile work.  Although I would prefer to call Brennand-Wood a mixed-media artist, the only work I've ever seen by Matthew Harris is definitely textile - very tactile.  He has exhibited in different places in Somerset, among them Black Swan Arts in Frome.

I have not seen Matthew's work in Colston Hall, because as I understand it is inside one of the concert halls - there are two of them - and the one I've been to for a concert was not the right one!  Although I believe they do let you in to look at the work if there is no concert going on.  I have no pictures of the installation, but there are several in Matthew's website.  It is called "Scorched - A Graphic Score" and it consists of stitch-like marks made with a plasma cutter on thin wooden strips - using the tool as a pen to burn 'music' onto the surface. 

If you live near enough, or happen to be passing through Bristol, I thoroughly recommend a visit to Colston Hall.

Colston Hall interior

Thanks for visiting!  Next time I will continue talking about colour...



  1. Thanks for highlighting this wonderful display - I'll be sure to look at next time I'm in the area.

  2. You are welcome! I wanted to call attention to it because I haven't seen much about it in UK magazines - it's taken an American journal to give it coverage - but not many people would have read it, as you have to be a member of the Surface Design Association to get the journal.

  3. The Colston Hall has changed a bit since I saw Slade and Leo Sayer there in the early 70's! Interesting post, thank you; I especially liked your photo of the overall design..I can feel the synapses firing!

  4. It's become amazingly modern, but some of the old parts are preserved, in one of the concert halls, and some low-lying passages...