From Arnolfini to Frome’s Cultural Quarter

I had a great day at the Arnolfini, Bristol recently with fellow SAW Abundance artists and SAW curator Zoe Li seeing new work on show and catching up.  Micheael Dean’s sculpture (see tongue piece below) and Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ performance ‘Maintenance Works’ were inspiring.  Ukeles’ work seeks to overlap activities of ordinary labours of life with artistic labour – a concept she originated in the ’60’s.  Amongst other projects in ‘Touch Sanitation’ she spent months following, talking, participating and shaking hands with New York sanmen – thanking them for their thankless work.  Dean’s textured concrete works are made to be handled, making them far more accessible.

At the Black Swan Art Centre, Frome, I visited Seamus Moran’s exhibition of beautiful, haunting sculptures cast from tree knots.  His work resonated with my own fascination and collection of found objects including tree knots, twigs and roots.

Frome seems to be gathering momentum in the arts.  I went to a meeting about their planned new ‘cultural quarter’ for the area around the Black Swan, Museum, Library, Cheese and Grain, cattle market and river – a potentially very exciting arts complex which will infuse the Mendips with even more creativity – in addition to the Hauser and Wirth Gallery opening in Bruton in 2014.

I’m currently exhibiting a piece in this ‘cultural quarter’ for Loop de Loop – newly converted mini exhibition cubicles, which used to be loos!  The spaces look great lit up at night and will hopefully be appreciated over the Christmas period, starting with the Frome Christmas lights opening by Jenson Button this Friday evening, Catherine Hill artisan market and Super Market on Sunday.

 

Winding down

Time to wind down and clear up my studio after a very full year of exhibitions, commissions, teaching and community projects.  Outcomes from these projects include a book being published soon as legacy of the Abundance Commission.  Looking forward to seeing it complete.  I’ve started in my new role as Somerset Art Works Rep for East Mendip and am hoping to develop a couple of exciting art ventures for Somerset…

I have a couple of commissions and several workshops lined up until Christmas, when I will be taking a long awaited break to Mombasa to see family and refresh!

Below is a pic of some bulrushes made from steel, wire and recycled materials by talented Yr 8 students at Oakfield Academy, Frome in a recent workshop I ran: