Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The opening night of the Secret Members' Show.

After seven exciting, exhausting, expectant months in the planning, The Secret Members' Show opened on Saturday 24th September to what we must humbly describe as a enraptured full house. We leave the reporting, though to Ed Garland, not only in attendance on the night but a long-standing member of the Factoryroad/Inkymole support team.The photographs were taken by the terribly observant Michelle Campbell.

Illustrated by Cloud Commission, sported by Ed.

(We know people have been asking to see detailed photographs of the individual pieces; fret not, these will be posted shortly.)

Wall-to-wall filth! Hinckley smut invasion! Local house festooned with pork swords! Suspicious outsiders seen coming and going all night! Dozens emerge to express horror! Community ravaged by well-mannered phallophiles!

It wasn't like that at all. The diversity and quality of work on offer was one of the main talking points. There were a few things that were somewhat confrontational (Inkymole's "marriage stick" we were encouraged to play with, her split-screen montage of webcammed-naked male genitalia being bwap-bwap-bwapped from side to side, Beth Robinson's sculpture of a cockerel in a sharp suit with bollocks instead of a body and a penis instead of legs) but the majority of the things on display were things you wouldn't mind having on display.
The ale helped. It was called Goat's Milk and brewed down the road up the hill and round the corner at the Church End brewery. Many of the people who drank it could be heard saying things like "that's all right that is".

The Wordsearch was popular with the early-arrivers. Anne Coleman had cross-stitched an arrangement of synonyms for penis, and there were paper copies of this for you to fill in. The synonyms reflected the many ways of perceiving and referring to the downstairs man-snout. There were a lot of them. It was a busy wordsearch. Enjoy your own copy here.

Next to the wordsearch was Lily Blythe's work concerning noted typographer and little-known wang-enthusiast Eric Gill. In addition to creating popular fonts, Gill was also an innovator in the field of sexual deviancy. Using quotes from his diary entries and a variation on his most famous typeface, she had created three sort of bold and delicate things that you look at and go "that's nice" and then read and go "that's odd but I suppose charmingly honest" and then "I think I'm going to be sick". But in a good way.

One of the locals, Lisa Hayes, had sculpted a three-foot long stream of sperm vertically racing towards a small baby. It was visually arresting and a lot more hypnotic than real sperm ever is. A number of replicas were commissioned on the night.

A few people brought bottles of wine. This was a fine idea. There was also sloe gin, vodka and fruit juice. Also, Kama brought home-made savoury biscuity nibble-strips (that were not penis-shaped but did have seeds in them).

U.S. poet Andrea Gibson had a poem by the front door. It was called "Leprechaun" and you could listen to it on headphones or read it in green ink on the walls. Or both. Andrea has a habit of telling you your unvoiced hunches. She can't seem to help it. Luckily that's how she makes a living. You might say it's a bit intimate. But it's addictive. No one else has ever really spoken to you like that. Also bringing the intimate was Brighton resident Caroline Allen, who had chosen to display some emotional statistics. Pie charts, bar graphs and lists, some labelled with words and some with just numbers, detailed a lifetime of todger-based interactions. Some explicit, some ambiguous, with the penis providing the bridge between maths and art. I think. It all added up to a startlingly comprehensive collection of honesties.

Photographer Rebecca Lupton had displayed three large digital photographs of plates of food. They all looked like male genitalia. I don't know if the idea was "imagine this in your mouth" or not but I imagined them in my mouth a lot. They were good to look at.

Next to them was a confectionary text-bomb from April Ball, stating the simple truth that "you can't say happiness without saying penis". Saying it in sugar-colours and bold letters and classy printing like it was a swanky catalogue for people who like phallic treats.
Another local, Drew Jerrison, had a chapbook on a hook, featuring two slightly disturbing genitalialicious tales of betrayal and gender identity. They were quick tense stories and made you feel a bit like you'd peered into someone's thoughts and they were thinking something you'd never think of but you kept on peering anyway, you freak. Next to them was Inkymole's 'Wanging', a black box with a hole in it and some headphones and you put on the headphones and peered through the hole which contained a screen showing the aforementioned anonymous bwap-bwap-bwapping cocks in an abrasively-edited four-way montage. Looped to infinity. Look at it for as long as you like then tell someone else to look at it. It caused laughter and disgust and delight.

Scottish designer Shirley Gibson had displayed six watercolours of various pale penises on the wall next to this. They were arranged in two rows of three or three columns of two and depicted the genitals of men aged from adolescence to 44. It was soothing and humorous somehow, maybe because of the variety and how casual they all seemed. And I guess you usually only see one at once. But here they all were in a non-competetive sextet.

Parisian artist EMA had produced an ink drawing of some sense-making surrealism wrapped up in bold curves that depicted a small bird being embraced by a woman. Or a large bird being embraced by a small woman. But I'm pretty sure it was the other way round. And the bird was stood on a hairy rock. French euphemisms for sex-giblets, I think. You know how we sometimes call Speedos "budgie smugglers".

The keg ran out after thirty six pints.

In the front window was illustrator Jacquie O'Neill's piece: a small framed picture of three women looking at and enjoying what's in front of them, which is what's in front of you, as in between you and them, which is a clump of crystal that resembles a penis. One of them is laughing.

We finished the savoury biscuits.

There was a classy-looking lushly-constructed display by Mel Tomlinson. She'd re-configured sex toys to represent more gentle sexual symbols. Figs and asparagus and the like. Animals too. Shiny and intricate.

The most abstract of the works was by Tracy Walker. In representing the "life-force" and associated energies of the flesh-sock she had produced an eye-slapping square of ragged spermy intrigue. I think. Although you can read into it what you like.

Jill Calder had a large bedazzler called "You Know What They Say". You know what they say: Big shoes, big something else, etc. It was a picture of a room full of things that supposedly mean other things. Some of them obvious and some of them less obvious. Which goes for the whole show. The hackneyed dirge above this sentence is just a tiny taste of what's on offer. Just the head, really. Not the whole shaft. I haven't even approached the balls. For example: I failed to mention Kelly Merrell's intricate charming precise repetitions. I didn't elaborate upon the marriage stick. I didn't visit the girl asleep on the ball-sack. There's much more to talk about but I have a deadline. And really the effect of seeing all these things in one place can't be imparted through word-tripe. You're best off having it all, right in your face.

Incidentally, the tea towel that keeps popping up in the pictures is designed exclusively by Cloud Commission, printed by Campus Screen Printing in Factory Road, Hinckley and is available from Factoryroad's shop. They are a limited edition of 50.

Prints only available to show-goers.

 Ed and Michelle take a well earned rest after a long night.

Factoryroad Gallery are pleased to announce that our next show is going to have the colourful delights of Richard Hogg on the walls, literally!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Announcing 'The Secret Members' Show'

Humbled by the response to our last two shows, we're most excited to finally pull the silk sheet off the next one: The Secret Members' Show.

Featuring specially-commissioned new work by one male and 17 female international artists and craftspeople, this is the first group created by Factoryroad, and will showcase work in a bewildering array of media by:

Andrea Gibson, Boulder, Colorado
Anne Coleman, Hinckley
April Ball, London
Beth Robinson’s Strange Dolls, Vermont
Caroline Allen, Brighton
Drew Jerrison, Leicester
Florence EMA Blanchard, Paris
Inkymole, Factoryroad Gallery
Jacquie O'Neill, Cornwall
Jill Calder, Kingdom of Fife
Kelly Merrell, Leicester
Lily Blythe, Stoke on Trent
Lisa Hayes, Hinckley
Melanie Tomlinson, Birmingham
Rebecca Lewis, Reading
Rebecca Lupton, Manchester
Shirley Gibson, Glasgow
Tracy Walker, Hinckley

Guests and contributors are invited to the opening night on:

Saturday 24th September, 5pm till 11pm
Factoryroad Gallery
t: 07545 599801

The exhibits will remain on show until Friday 11th October. If you'd like to come during the week, just let us know, mail us at

Since this is a living/working space as well as a gallery, attendance is strictly by RSVP to
Once you email we'll send the full address!
And if you need accommodation or help with travel plans, do email, we have information ready.

Please note that although youngsters are usually welcomed to our shows, this one contains adult themes and is:

We cannot wait!