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!

 

 

Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions and Projects 2018

I am excited to be involved in the following exhibitions and projects this year:

MA Walcot Chapel Residency, Bath; 12-18 February

The Cotswold Sculpture Park, The Paddock, Somerford Keynes, Cirencester GL7 6FE;  1 April – 30thSeptember, 10.30am-5pm (closed Tues and Wed), admission £5.  http://www.elementalsculpturepark.com/

Sound Bites Talks on Beatrix Potter’s ‘Absidia’ drawing, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Bruton, 10 March  & 27 April, 2pm; part of ‘The Land We Live in – The Land We Left Behind’ exhibition.

Talk ‘Art from Scrap’ at The Ocean Matters, Bristol Aquarium, Bristol (organised by Bath Spa university); 4.30pm, 26 May.  Event: 26-27 May.  Exhibition will be extended for longer.  A1 mounted photographic prints of various artworks displayed to highlight the plight of our oceans. https://oceanmatters.weebly.com #oceanmatterstoartanddesign

‘ABC Bath’ (Art Breeds Conscience), Walcot St and surrounds, Bath; 11 – 31 May. Initiated by MA Curatorial Practice student Beatriz Nogueira, the project aims to bring environmentally friendly art onto the streets and parks of Bath, in the hope that it will encourage its audience to question current issues – waste, factory farming, pollution of our air, land and seas. Instagram – @abcbath; Twitter – @AbcBath; Website – bathabc.wordpress.com

Continuum, FAB Festival (Fringe Arts Bath), 6 New Bond Street Place, Bath; 25 May (opening night)- 10 June;11am – 6pm daily.  Artwork by MA students from Bath Spa University. Varied practices including sculpture, painting, installation and performance.  The exhibition addresses the issue of change.  I will be working on a piece, which will grow throughout the festival period.

WE ARE ALL … FOUR WORDS MEETS PARIS 1968, Media Wall, The Commons Building, Bath Spa University, Newton Park, Bath.  1-17 May.  500 submitted/selected slogans animated into a one-hour sequence with programmed screenings and talks  http://alandunn67.co.uk/weareall.html @MediaWallBSU

WE ARE ALL poster

The Rubbish Art Project, old HSBC Bank, Shepton Mallet, a new venture creating art with the community for the town using scrap materials.

SAW Residency working with PRU teenagers, Bridgwater and Taunton College; 19 – 27June, making artworks from reclaimed materials particularly metals.

Making headdresses with All Hallows Prep School pupils for an exhibition ‘All the Fun’, Silk Mill, Frome; 23 June

Summer Show, Atkinson Gallery, Millfield School, Street; 25 June – 3 Aug

Ingruttati Palermo’, Manifesta12 collateral event 5x5x5. 10 day workshop and exhibition as part of Manifesta Biennale (supported by Bath Spa University Enterprise Showcase Fund). The exhibition is in Crypt of Chiesa Parrocchiale SantaAgnese, Piazza Danisinni, 90134 Palermo, Sicily and runs throughout Manifesta12, 27 July – 4 November 2018 (by appointment)

Evolver Prize, ACE Arts, Somerton; 28 July – 25 August

Up Late, Holburne Museum – collaboration with Bath Spa University; Friday 31 August, 5-9pm

MA Show, Bath School of Art & Design, Sion Hill, Bath BA1 5SF; 22 – 26 Sept, 9am-5pm. Private View Fri 21 Sept, 6-9pm, all welcome!

Line and Point, Centrespace, Bristol; 25 Oct – 1 Nov

I hope you can attend some of these events.  The list will be regularly updated.

Hip Hawker Kiosk

Over the weekend I was kept busy at a collaborative artist workshop organised by Somerset Art Works, entitled Hip Hawker Kiosk.  International artists Lisa Cheung and Sammy Delgado Escobar worked alongside a few Somerset-based artists being creative with found and recycled materials.  The challenge was to design and build an inventive, mobile, expandable kiosk, Hip Hawker, to ingeniously exhibit the range of creations collectively produced during a collaborative art project, Café Konvertible, completed last year.

It was so good to work with others on a joint project, sparking off ideas together, sharing and exploring other skills with mixed media and making something a bit different for Taunton library visitors – on show 11-29 December. I was very pleased that we managed to utilise a couple of old, broken umbrellas I took in.  The work illustrates just how creative one can be with ordinary, everyday objects. See full Hip Hawker album and images below:

SAW ’12

This year’s Somerset Art Weeks Open Studios event was an interesting one.  Naturally, the recession has hit peoples’ pockets a plenty, so visitor attendance and sales were clearly down on previous years, in my experience.  However, although a bit remote from the main hub of venues, I was pleased that my venue at no. 10 attracted some lovely, appreciative people and a whole range of positive feedback – all of which help make it worthwhile.  I do feel that we artists will need to work even harder to gain public recognition and earn a crust in times ahead… A blog by Nancy Farmer articulates many thoughts from this year’s SAW artists.  Somerset Art Works is a great organisation for artists in Somerset and let’s hope it continues to move from strength to strength despite the arts cuts.

Sometimes it’s hard to verbalise what my work is about – often working in an instinctive way – so it’s helpful receiving other people’s responses.  Here are some of my visitors’ comments from SAW ’12, to end the 2 weeks and 3 weekends on a positive note (and to entice you to come and view my work in forthcoming exhibitions):

“Beautifully close to nature…delicate and strong at the same time”  “..fascinating and clever”  “absolutely intriguing”  “inspirational”  “your sculptures work very well in the garden”  “we love your stuff – you have a wonderful eye for the incredible”  “wonderful texture and form”  “individual”  “unique”  “amazing work”  “inventive use of materials”  “jack of all trades – master of all!”  “so versatile”  “ethereal”  “I very much admire your work”  “so organic”  “I love your work – it’s so intricate, clever and witty”  🙂

 

 

An exciting day at Bristol’s harbour

It’s been great getting to know Bristol’s harbour – I feel quite at home there now.  Over the past couple of months, I’ve been finding my way around the harbourside as a Green Capital Artist in Residence, working occasionally at the Create Centre on a series of work for the Big Green Week (9-17th June), scouring the surrounds for retrieved bits and pieces for my sculptures, exploring new areas with my son and walking my dog there in between it all.  Saturday (9th June) was the culmination of months of preparation.  The final tweaking of my floating Diatoms in the harbour by the Arnolfini, Family Mash Up drop-in workshop at the Arnolfini, launch of our Artists in Residence Exhibition at the Create Centre, Cumberland Basin and Green Week party later in the evening, also at the harbourside.  Huge thanks to the Green Week, Create Centre, Arnolfini and Harbour teams for all their support.

Even parking was bliss!  I was allowed to park in the Harbour car park opposite the Arnolfini, normally restricted to Harbour officials, in order to unload and meet the little boat skippered by Miles from the Harbour team.  We needed to sort out 3 of my floating Diatoms – installed a few days earlier, but which had got tangled, turned uspside down or gone astray in the recent high winds.  It was the first day of Green Week and it was glorious sunshine at last!  With my son and Miles on board, we managed fairly swiftly to secure the Diatoms into position and have a little boat ride before I had to get to the Mash Up workshop I was running in the Arnolfini’s Light Room.  

I was amazed at the turnout for the workshop – a constant buzz of people actively engrossed in creating their own floating sculptures sparked off by some of my resources, various reclaimed materials I had compiled and their imagination.  There were loads of children – even some toddlers – making pieces.  Some families brought their own recycled stuff to use.  I had lovely helpers via the Arnolfini, who gave up their time voluntarily that sunny afternoon.  Looking out of the Light Room Window, we could view the Diatoms below in the harbour and relate it to the workshop theme of organic structures (and a bit of sci fi thrown in).  The results were wonderful!  (See article in Ecojam).

Across from the Light Room is the Reading Room, where my sketchbooks are currently on display, so I took a peak at them in their new special setting.

From there, all packed up, it was a neat dash to the Create Centre upstream to celebrate the opening of our Green Capital Artists in Residence Exhibition.   The overall Exhibition looks great, I think – a good mix of work by 8 artists working in very different media –  linked to eco ideas in some way.  With a couple of hours to kill before the evening doo, I wondered back down to the Arnolfini harbourside.  It was brimming with people out in the late sunshine, ballons flying above; boats and Diatoms floating in the water.  Bristol looked vibrant.   Later, we (Green Week Artists) met up at the Secret Green Pass Party at Jack’s Pavilion, Harbourside for the official Big Green Week launch.  Milo Newman, one of the Green Week Artists, was awarded a prize for his beautiful seed encrusted photographs.  I was very pleased that my work was highly commended.