Research on seeds that were used for the Ballast Seed Garden project in Bristol
Miranda Whall’s Passage is currently showing at the ICIA in Bath until Sunday 22 March.
Here’s our latest group selfie from last week’s meeting.
In response to the current Josephine Pryde exhibition at the Arnolfini, I decided to write a ‘reading list’ to collect together the literature it made me think about or that could be set in dialogue with it. This turned into more of a reflection piece. The bit about hands in art history is in the first gallery guide, and I turned the other two sections into audio guides as part of the Young Arnolfini Soundcloud clips.
Selected reading list for Josephine Pryde’s exhibition, ‘These are just things I say, they are not my opinions’
Photography and Technology
The Image Culture in which we live has been foreseen by many writers, including Guy Debord with his 1967 book, The Society of The Spectacle. Moholy Nagy also predicted the power of images over the whole of society in his essay and theory, The New Vision, 1989. He states, “The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as the pen”.
Can images undermine experience? – Susan Sontag in her book, On Photography, 1977, certainly thinks so. The 1970s horror movie, The Messiah of Evil, extends this idea in its culminating cinema scene with self-reflexive effects. However, Heather Phillipson’s film performance, A is to D what E is to H, 2011, asserts a way in which the contemporary body can perform and claim itself within its image-saturated world. This seems to offer similar “critical hooks” to those seen in Pryde’s exhibition at the Arnolfini: Both artists mediate the power of images over the body through the use of devices such as juxtaposition, sound and movement.
You know when you’re slapped in the face with what you actually sound like? Well yeah, that happened the first time I heard the final edits of our audio tours. But here they are, and the great thing about them being on SoundCloud is that if you did miss our Young Arnolfini gallery tour in person on December 6th you can head along to the gallery and listen to them anytime (there are also a few mp3s at the front desk so if you don’t have a smart phone you can still join in). There is no excuse not to have us guide you around the galleries now, so what are you waiting for?
A few weeks ago I had the delight of attending Eden 4’s Artist Lab Finishing Party, and thought I would share some of the exciting work created during their week-long residency at Centrespace gallery.
Rosie Dolton, Beckie Upton, Rachel Falber and Amy Higgins are four female artists from the south west who form the collective Eden 4.
Eden 4 aim to explore the darker symbolism behind fairy tales, myth and religion within their work, and it is evident in the work of Amy Higgins and Rachel Falber that they take inspiration from Greek mythology and Grimms’ fairy tales.
On the group’s website they write:
“We propose to make installations, drawings, sculpture and embroidery based on ideas which will challenge the viewers traditional ideas of ‘Happily ever after’.”
It is this variety of work, and the assortment of textures and materials used by the artists that create visual excitement within the space.
The work on paper is sometimes on scrap material or card, and sometimes on pristine watercolour paper. This is altered in Rosie Dolton’s textile work, which sometimes mimics a drawing, where the thread becomes the line of the pencil.
Eden 4 run projects and workshops, and in this exhibition were able to invite the public to have an exclusive look at the artists’ workspace, to see how the work is made and the processes behind its production.
It is in the opportunity to look at artists creating art that the boundaries are broken between the gallery space (and resolved work) and the artist’s studio. Creation is undoubtedly the most important part of the artwork, but is left out of the gallery space, with artist’s studios and gallery spaces being almost polar opposites.
In each of the works presented in the space composition is an important aspect of them all. Each artist has made careful aesthetic judgements ranging from colour to how the work is arranged in the space.
The references the female body, sometimes spliced with animal parts or bird skulls that become new mythological creatures, are prominent, and become the most noticeable subject in the collection of work. The spliced animal drawings of Amy Higgins create a female Minotaur, which subverts the Greek Myth of the male Minotaur unnatural offspring of a woman and a beast.
Sometimes exploring the female body in their work, Rosie Dolton and Beckie Upton Both use text and incorporate slogans, borrowing the aesthetic of fashion magazines, using phrases such as lecherous which confronts the viewer and forces them to question the male gaze and the sexualised imagery seen in the media.
There are strong feminist undertones in every artist of Eden 4, which become more powerful when brought together as a collective.
Or visit their website: eden4.org.uk
From the 15th to the 29th of October 2014 Young Arnolfini’s Wanderings was on at Be-in Bristol, and for those of you who want to know what that looked like click here…
…That’s a video link don’t you know, take a look, I love it! I did make it, but that’s not the point…
What do Spike Island’s volunteers do when they aren’t volunteering?
They create an exhibition of course.
So the other night, I headed up to Spike Island’s test space to check out the exhibition run by and created by some of Spike Island’s volunteers.
There was activity in the air as soon as I entered, and as I turned to walk into the Test Space, I was greeted by a wall of people. Wading through the unfamiliar and familiar faces, I began my experience at “Exchange”.
The exhibition aimed to “explore the exchange between volunteers, art institutions and the public” by demonstrating the “breadth and depth of talent and the variety of artistic interests that come together within the group”; and I feel it managed to do just that.
The work exhibited was varying and showcased a wide variety of talent. It included a range of pieces from photography to sculpture to performance artwork, and even more.
One of the best features of the exhibition had to be its interaction with its visitors. One of the ideas that the curators had was to create a physical “exchange” of ideas there. There was a corner dedicated to this idea where visitors were encouraged to create drawings and pin them to the wall, then to take another in exchange.
I feel this worked really well and you could see that the wall was busy with people pinning their own drawings up. By the end of the evening, the contents of the wall had completely changed from when it had started. I have to admit, once I got started, it was hard to stop. I can’t resist a bit of drawing!
What was remarkably simple worked incredibly well as it got people involved with the exhibition in a way that they normally wouldn’t consider.
I was able to interview Fiona Clabon – Young Arnolfini member who was also one of the artists there.
She told me how she was fascinated by textures and she was always “stopping every five minutes on a day trip for a photo”. When I asked her why she wanted to present these images, she told me how she wanted to capture the beautiful details of things that we normally miss.
These images certainly do capture that. Each one of them was incredibly interesting and different. I found myself studying them intently. Perhaps her best photo shows the miniscule ice crystals forming on a wooden post – a detail I would have never stopped to admire.
“Exchange” was a really enjoyable exhibition and it was great to meet the volunteers at spike and check out their work.
For my full review, including another interview, check out my post on the Bristol Art Collective website.
Thanks for reading!
“The title ‘Wanderings’ describes both the mental and physical movement of the imagination. The exhibition encapsulates a range of different themes including journeys, dwellings, and the shift between absence and presence. Presented through varying forms, Young Arnolfini have taken over the top floor of Be.In Bristol, creating space to allow the mind to wander.”
Why not wander down and experience a FREE night of fine art, photography, sculpture and drinks with us, Young Arnolfini.
Located at Be.In Bristol, this incredible venue will set the scene for the night and live music will set the tone as you wander on up to the exhibition space.
The summer might be over, but Young Arnolfini are kicking off autumn with a bang. It’s an exciting time to be a part of Young Arnolfini and we have so much more planned for the coming months.
Location: Be.In Bristol, 59-61 Whiteladies Road, Bristol, BS8 2LY
Although this is the second school year that I am spending in Bristol and I am fairly familiar with the hidden places and the little secrets of the city, I still feel like there is so much more under the surface, always another layer to be discovered. The Edwardian Cloakrooms are definitely among the mysterious treasures of Bristol. On the corner of Park Row and Woodland Road, the old cloakrooms are used sometimes as pop-up shops, sometimes for vintage fairs or for concerts, but this weekend they hosted Unveil’d, a collaborative photo show, which was accompanied by a photo book exhibition and a zine fair.
Thanks to the divided gallery space, visitors could go and see not only one, but two exhibitions. The first one in the ladies cloakroom, put together by Peachy ‘n’ Keen, was dealing with female identities, while the other in the gents room, organised under the supervision of Young Shot Press, was exploring the different portrayals of the male. I found this exciting not only because of the artists’ different approaches to the themes, but a huge plus was that the space itself had this gender-divide, and thus I felt that the exhibition could not have been more powerful anywhere else but in the Cloakrooms.
If I had to pick my favourite things about Unveil’d, the first would be that the curators used the space in an incredibly creative way. I was blown away by the photo zines hanging from above in the old toilet cubicles and the handmade decoration in the ladies cloakroom, which created an almost surreal atmosphere. The other thing I absolutely loved was of course the photos themselves. As the organisers did not give any restrictions to the submitting artists regarding the representation of the given female/male themes, the works on the walls covered an unbelievably wide spectrum. Next to the photos of innocent girls, I found the extremities of female sexuality. On the other side of the wall, the ideas about male identities were ranging from transsexuality to aging, from the sensitivity of a man to the depictions of his inherent strength.
Quite simply, Unveil’d had everything I needed on a rainy afternoon: photos, fantasy, and surprise. The show was on only for three days, so I seriously hope that Young Shot and Peachy ‘n’ Keen will return to Bristol soon…
Thanks for reading!