June Projects

June flew by for me with a host of projects on the go in tandem, allowing only snatched moments in our fantastic tropical weather – one of the best summers I’ve known in UK.

Art in the community

I spent 4 days with PRU teenagers in a short residency at Bridgwater and Taunton College as part of Somerset Art Works Young ProspectUs Project.  We created mutant creatures inspired by insects and sea creatures, experimenting with reclaimed and found materials including aluminium cans, bottle tops, copper pipe, wire, found plastic and metal objects. It was a unique experience, great fun working with the PRU staff and students and hugely rewarding to see the youngsters lose their inhibitions to master skills like soldering.  ‘…turning down a mountain biking trip to do a second session soldering metal was what this project is all about: creating great artefacts with a professional artist … within an environment they felt safe, providing an experience that strengthens their resilience as they move on from school to college’ (Lisa Robertson, Deputy Head of PRU Centre).  The work will go on display to Taunton Flower Show in August.

My last project with All Hallows students involved making headdresses for an exhibition ‘All the Fun’ at Silk Mill, Frome.  The theme was carnival and circus.  I worked with students in Years 4-8, making the sculptures from found, reclaimed and discarded materials, based on endangered wildlife, particularly sea creatures.  The project was inspired by the issue of waste, our plastic oceans, and the plight of creatures such as albatrosses and turtles who are suffering from the effects of our rubbish, ‘a stand against plastic pollution so we can see our sea creatures thrive once again’ (Tia West, Year 8). ‘Making my headdress was great fun!’ (Louis Roberts, Year 6).

I was involved in a recent Up Late event ‘Drawn to the Museum’ at the Holburne Museum (29/6) – a collaboration with Bath Spa University.  The event involved MA students, artists and speakers engaging with the public at the museum.   We set up pop up exhibitions of our work, focusing on drawing.  I attended an inspiring talk by Tania Kovats who makes drawings, casts trees, and explores water as her subject.  I also ran a life drawing session with a clothed model doing quick poses in the grounds, where members of the public and students joined in, it was fun!

I worked with The Rubbish Art Project and members of the Shepton Mallet community making a sheep out of reclaimed steel, chicken wire and various ‘trash’ materials as a community project for the town.

Plans are afoot for a Halloween Harvest Scrap Sculpture Community Project, based on harvest and the cycle of life.  I hope to created 3 large-scale metal sculptural works for a public event on Halloween, to be installed at Shepton Mallet market cross. The work may be filmed by a TV series Scrap Kings for Discovery.

Inspiring exhibitions

A couple of intense research trips to London were inspirational.  As part of my MA Degree course, a tour de force trip led by Andrea Medjesi-Jones (Bath Spa Uni MA course leader) introduced us to several new galleries including the smart spacious Marian Goodman Gallery.  An installation by Leonor Antunes (Portuguese) consisted of suspended ‘wormlike forms’ made of immaculately stitched leather, wrapped rope and brass tubing, interspersed with sculptural glass lights hung close to the ground.  The organic linear forms are repeated on both gallery levels, interrupted by reflective screens – all based on work by Anni Albers and Mary Martin.  Amongst others we visited Hauser & Wirth, Alison Jacques Gallery (Michelle Stuart: The Nature of Time), Herald Street Gallery and Maureen Paley (Oscar Tuazon: Fire).

I returned to London to see the results of the Tate Exchange project ‘Inventory of Behaviours’ at Tate Modern, a project in which I was invited to take part with a set of ‘instructions’.  While there, I visited Lee Bul’s, ‘Crashing’ at the Hayward – a mix of sculpture, installation, sound, film, and performances from the ‘80s.

Theatrical hybrids and fictional landscapes combining industrial and organic materials fill the spaces in a dramatic show.  Bul, from South Korea, confronts political persecution in her country, references disasters, questions cultural attitudes to the female body, and the pursuit of perfection through her re-appropriation of architecture and bodily forms.  She explores our ‘fear and fascination with… the uncanny’.   It was all fascinating, though I felt more affinity with her less glitzy other worldly soft sculptural monster works, especially ‘Monster Pink’, a reconstruction of a 1998 piece, and her stitched cocoons, made from various fabric.  In Scale of Tongue (2017-18) a hidden fan created a gentle motion in the fabric.

Sarah Sze’s ‘Image in Debris’ installation at Victoria Miro is extraordinary.  The darkened room is lit by a mesmerizing set of flickering moving images – luminescent blue satellite images of cities at night, reminiscent of bio-luminescent microorganisms, celestial imagery, a cheetah running in slow motion, the elements – layered on the wall and on small torn paper fragments supported by a delicate framework of thin rods.   Drips of dried paint catch the light. Everyday objects, particularly office supplies, are placed around the installation. This is all accompanied by sounds of clunks, gentle whirring, drips, clicks. The magnitude of our universe becomes a mad invention.

Berlinde de Bruyckere’s sculpture ‘Quan’, 2010, in Bumped Bodies at the Whitechapel Gallery is a contorted, bruised human figure buried in a cushion, built up from several layers of wax over an iron structure.  It makes one feel uncomfortable, even repulsed, but I was in captivated by the wax skin tones and powerful form she has created.

Closer to home, at Hauser & Wirth Somerset ‘Alexander Calder: From the Stony River to the Sky’, is a beautifully curated exhibition.  His delicate balanced mobiles and stabiles and their shadows fully occupy the space. Conversations between artworks, recurring forms and his upcycled jewelry, some seen in UK for the first time, offer scope for new ideas.

Participation in Manifesta12

I am very excited to have been selected to take part in a 10 day workshop in Palermo soon as part of Manifesta12, supported by Bath Spa University Enterprise Showcase Fund. The project ‘Ingruttati Palermo Planetary Garden’ research and fabrication workshop will involve a group of international artists, geographers, urban landscape architects and students who will be exploring the extraordinary hidden underground networks of the qanat waterways.  Metaphorically similar to the mysterious powers of mycelium – also an underground system, which can stretch thousands of miles within one organism, the waterways reflect science’s recent discovery of vast reservoirs of water contained hundreds of miles beneath earth’s surface.   This will be a wonderful opportunity for me to take part in the prestigious international art event, and to develop the aspect of my practice involving collaborative art projects in the community on an international level.

My website will be undergoing some changes in the next couple of months – look out for the rebrand!

 

 

Get Creative!

I’ll be running free 20 min drop-in taster wire workshops in the Gallery at Black Swan Arts, Frome (2 Bridge St, Frome BA11 1BB) as part of BBC’s Get Creative Day tomorrow (Saturday, 2 April, 2-4pm). 3 other artisans will also be offering taster workshops in their studios at the centre.  Come along and get creative!

Get Creative poster

 

Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions 2016

I will be involved in the following exhibitions this year:

The Viking Cruises Garden, RHS Chelsea Flower Show , Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3 4SL; 24-28 May ’16.  I am creating a large woven canopy as a focal piece for Sarah Eberle’s garden, inspired by Cambodia’s floating gardens and artisanal fishing techniques in the Mekong River region

The Hidden Garden Art Show, Maureen Michaelson Gallery, Hampstead, London; 4 – 12 June.  On Sunday 12 June this Gallery is also hosting a day as part of Chelsea Fringe Festival, where I will be demonstrating my sculpting techniques from 11am – 5pm, with a talk at 3pm. www.maureenmichaelson.com or www.chelseafringe.com

1000 Postcards, Black Swan Arts Centre, Frome; 18-28 June (Preview Evening Fri 17 June, 6-8pm).  Sale of 1000 Postcards (original artworks), many by famous artists and celebrities at an affordable £30. Exhibited anonymously (signatures on back), with list of contributors displayed. Funds will refurbish the historic Round Tower

Secret Swans, Frome (trail as part of Black Swan’s 30th anniversary celebrations and Frome Festival); 1-10 July.  Trail of 30 related artworks in various media/scale displayed at indoor and outdoor public venues around Frome. Information sheets/list of artists/venues available at Black Swan.  Secret auction at each venue

Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail, Teignmouth seafront; 23 July – 4 Sept.  My new piece ‘Resurrection’ will be on show alongside a range of other artworks

step in stone‘, Salisbury Art Centre; 18 Aug-24 Sept, open Tues-Sat, 10am-3pm. Private View Fri 19 Aug 6-8pm.  The artscapes-in-quarries project I ran last year goes on tour.  This exhibition tells the story of a unique event held in the summer and autumn of 2015.  14 local/international artists created site-specific artworks in response to the nature of quarries and their place in the environmental, cultural and industrial heritage of the region

Somerset Open Studios 2016, Laundry Cottage, 13 Cooks Lane, West Cranmore, Somerset BA4 4RH; 17 Sept–2 Oct.  Showing with Nick Weaver.  I will be running a Taster Wire Workshop, Sun 25 Sept, 11.30-12.30.  £6 pp. To book contact: fionacampbell-art@sky.com
Quartz Festival 2016, ‘Outside In’, Queens College, Trull Road, Taunton TA1 4QS; 15-22 Dec.  Collection of work based on the natural world from over 40 artists and makers from South West UK

Reflections on 2013

This year has been one of contrasts for me, including plenty of achievements, interesting new directions and records set.  With over 20 exhibitions, it’s been a busy one.  I plan to focus on fewer but bigger shows next year.

One of my more challenging projects was the SAW/NGS Abundance commission work, which engrossed me for months.  For my ‘Garden of Eden’ I created 3 new works including my largest to date – ‘Lichen’. Although the site-specific installations were only on exhibition to the public at Esotera for a fortnight, I moved some of the work on to my next show at Walcot Chapel Gallery, Bath for further airing.  A blog and catalogue about our Abundance work has been published to ensure some legacy for the project.

My involvement with Somerset Art Works has developed into a new role as Rep for East Mendip, which is leading to interesting new work relationships and projects with other artists.   Somerset has a lively creative community with some amazing talent and innovation going on.

A few other commissions, numerous workshops and teaching have also kept me hard at work.  I made a piece for an indoor architect-designed space, which was novel for me.  I was surprised at how comfortable my work sits in a more urban, glass-panelled interior setting.

Amongst other sales I sold my longstanding steel ‘Man’ piece this year.  He has been with me to many events, homes and shows over the years and nearly sold several times.   He now resides in a lovely NGS garden with a diversity of wildlife to keep him company.   Coincidentally, the real thing came along in my life around the same time.

Over the Christmas period I have a piece in one of Frome’s Loop de Loop spaces, by the Black Swan Art Centre, which you may like to visit.  They have an unusual history…

I’m looking forward to seeing family in Kenya for Christmas, where it will be deliciously hot!  Sketchbooks will be fully utilised.

Thanks for your interest and BEST WISHES FOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!


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.

 

Artist on a Plinth

Earlier this month I took part in the Widcombe Art Trail at the Paragon School venue in Bath.  In addition to showing my work I ran a taster wire workshop for children there to coincide.  Amongst other pieces, my giant Spider sat on the lawn, attracted plenty of attention and was featured in the Bath Chronicle.  I managed to squeeze in making a short film about my work with Somerset Film the same weekend – the results will be posted asap.

Last week I spent a few hectic days running back to back workshops at a couple of schools and this week my Artist on a Plinth exhibition starts at Black Swan Arts, (Frome BA11 1BB) running until 4th July – a small taster of my work and preview of more to come at the Frome Artists Open Studios at ‘The Limes’, 45 Keyford, Frome BA11 1LB, 6th – 14th July.

Now it’s half-term I’m in semi-work mode, which is just as well as my back needs a break!

Photography and Film-making

I’m becoming more and more aware of the importance of using film well to document work, explore ideas, present and attract a wider audience and even, perhaps, make a few extra bucks on the internet!  I try to take good photos of my work in diverse settings, but when I’ve used a professional photographer, the results are usually much better.  I realise we can’t do everything well.  I went to ’35mil’ in Frome recently to try out their expert eye/lenses/lighting on the start of some new work, in the hope that the images would be good enough for some new PR.  The results were great and I’ll definitely return for more, when my series of Vertical pieces is finished:

A photographer friend and co-member of Gallery4Art, Nic Wingate, recently photographed one of my Earth Worm pieces as a 360˚ image.  This has great potential for products which need to be seen from all angles.

V-J Ultra made a film of my work once, and I’ve since been meaning to make my own.   Whilst I was a member (and co-founder) of the Scraptors, S-J of Whitespace Productions kindly produced a wonderful film (gratis) of our Stourhead Sculpture Trail.  We used it to good end in our fund-raising appeal and it remains a lasting reminder of the trail’s success.  Recently, my teenage son and I have been to a couple of animation/film-making workshops via Somerset Film, as he’s interested in this media.  We took part in making a Bridgwater Carnival film and made simple animations.  It reminded me of doing animation as part of my Art Foundation course years ago, which I really enjoyed.

So now with a taste for it again, I plan to make some “how to make…” films, stick them on Youtube, get millions of hits and make big bucks.  That way I can carry on sculpting into ripe old age..!  Watch this space…

Black Swan Arts SMALL Exhibition

I’m very pleased that 3 of my small pieces have been selected for the forthcoming Black Swan Arts SMALL Exhibition, on from 1-24th December.  Each selected work in the exhibition fits into a 10cms square box – great for unusual Christmas presents!  Below is an invite to the show.

ANIMAL, MINERAL, VEGETABLE – Exhibition at La Strada Gallery, Frome

Rosehip   detail   54cms   wire

Red Mullet with Basil 710 x 920mm  oil on canvas

Work on show at La Strada

My work will be on show at La Strada Gallery (and Café), Cheap Street, Frome from 5th October to 1st November. Entitled ‘ANIMAL, MINERAL, VEGETABLE’, the show will consist of both 2-d and 3-d work in a range of media. Please come along!

La Strada Poster ’09

To visit the La Strada Gallery Exhibitions page, click the link below:

http://www.cafelastrada.co.uk/exhibitions