Hannah Peschar Sculpture Award
As sculpture students at Camberwell we were invited to take part in the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Award, and make work to be featured in their gardens throughout the summer. We were invited to respond to the Surrey Wildlife Trust’s ‘The Entangled Bank’ concept - taken from the final paragraph of Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ as the starting point:
“It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner,.... from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
We were first invited to make an expression of interest, with initial concept that responds to the theme with drawings. Below is what I submitted:
We received feedback on our proposals and selected candidates were invited to visit the sculpture garden, in order to make a 5-page proposal.
We then had an opportunity to present ideas to the team at Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden. They commended me for my ambition and scale, and previous feedback had been that I wouldn't need to secure the sculptures with concrete blocks, so we discussed how the work would be made secure to the ground, with extra safety measures we could put in place. We also discussed colour, and I expressed my interest in choosing materials that relate to organic matter in some way, with a focus on the greens and browns of plant matter and colour of skin and flesh to represent animals and humans. I will arrange these in combination so that they aren't too bright and that they emerge from the ground in some way, with a sense that they can continue to grow and evolve.
I started by bending one length of metal to follow the form of the drawings, and repeated this with the other two, using the vice to bend metal so that it's irregular but still has a natural flow to it. I then created the hoops by cutting and bending metal, and then welding the hoops closed. I then loosely attached the hoops to the frame using wire, making sure to leave excess to go in the ground, and I would then remove the wire and weld the hoops starting from one end to the other.
Next I'll be applying the fabric and treating it with yacht varnish to make it weatherproof. To be continued ...
This Art Exhibition, Espacio Gallery
In March 2022 32 students across the MA Camberwell Fine Art course took part in a group exhibition at Espacio Gallery. Jonathon had arranged to hire Espacio Gallery through a friend of his and came up with the title, and he got in touch with me to ask if I would help with some of the organisation. I visited the space and we agreed that we could fit 30-35 people comfortably. We asked people to submit images of the work they'd like to exhibit beforehand, and I came up with a rough floor plan so that when people arrived they had somewhere to place their work initially, and then we would go through the space collectively and decide what worked and didn't work. Despite a few changes due to people bringing different pieces, most people stuck to the floor plan and I think the show came together well, with an interesting mix of pieces and some interesting connections being made between the work. For example, Simone and Pandora's work explored the body through psychological explorations of the self, with Pandora displaying charcoal drawings on paper and Simone showing bronze reliefs and plaster casts. My only regret was that the exhibition wasn't well documented and I didn't get any decent images of my work.
I displayed the bronze sock I had recently cast, pinning a pair of black trousers to the top of a tall, thin plinth I had found at the gallery. The surface area of the plinth was almost exactly the same dimensions of the sock, and the black trousers covered a side of the plinth and fell crumpled to the floor. I had intended to display the sock with a pair of trousers, drawing attention to a foot's relationship to the leg, but also the juxtaposing materials of the heavy bronze and the comparatively lightweight black trousers. By having the sock pin down the trousers the weight of the sock is made apparent, and the metallic of the bronze stands off the black and white.
Aside from studying, I also run a gallery and studios in North Devon called Studio KIND. Myself and my co-director, Richard Gregory, set up the business as a not-for-profit community interest company in September 2020, and in June 2021 we were awarded Arts Council England funding for a 12-month pilot programme.
In March 2022 I submitted an Arts Council England project grant application for £46,000 to fund an 18-month programme, and in May 2022 I found out that we were successful in the bid. This funding will cover 22 exhibitions by practitioners across the UK, workshops and talks, and our outreach programme. The overall project I'll be managing is a £108,000 project, including match funding, in kind support and the £46,000 from ACE.
My role at Studio KIND. includes; curating and organising our programme of exhibitions, events, workshops and our outreach programme (which includes hosting free workshops for children in the school holidays and working with local secondary and primary schools to put on pop-up exhibitions by students); fundraising and all our finances; marketing, social media and running the website; writing all our policy documents; business planning; liaising with community groups who use our space; liaising with other organisations around the South West that we collaborate with (including national portfolio organisations across the South West); reporting; organising volunteers who help to invigilate our exhibitions; writing press releases.
I travel to North Devon once or twice a month to hang new exhibitions, and I have a mix of curated exhibitions - whereby we pay artists to have solo exhibitions - and the gallery is also available to hire for group exhibitions. All our exhibitions exist online as virtual exhibitions to accompany the physical and we have a YouTube channel featuring our curated artists talking about their exhibitions.
Running Studio KIND. has really enriched my experience as a practicing artist. I have meetings with lots of different art organisations, curators and producers, and I really love working with artists, developing their exhibitions and supporting them with their own professional development. I've supported other artists in getting funding and running their own projects, and helped artists obtain further opportunities, which I find really meaningful. I also love being in the gallery installing exhibitions, and we have exhibited all kinds of different work including video installations, political exhibitions, painting, photography, print, textiles and sculpture. It's been a real learning curve and I've had to learn a lot of things 'on the job', but I love talking to other artists about their practice and seeing the impact the gallery has made across Devon has been really rewarding.
The Burton Art Box
I have been asked to manage the Art Box project for The Burton art gallery in Bideford for the second year. The Burton is a national portfolio organisation based in Torridge, in Northern Devon, and their Art Box is a converted horse box, and is a chance for The Burton to take their outreach programme on the road, offering fun, free, family-friendly art workshops to remote locations across North Devon and Torridge. I work with artists and performers to put together a programme of 10 events in outdoor locations, often liaising with councils and collaborating with events to bring art to sometimes hard-to-reach communities.
Moving forward into Unit 3, I will be finishing my work for the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Award, which I will be installing later in June. I have been asked to take part in a group exhibition, 'Improv', at APT Gallery, curated by Gabriela Giroletti and Henry Tyrell in August, and I will also be exhibiting in a group exhibition, 'Unstable Ground' curated by Corinna Wagner, also in August. I am part of a small group of students at Camberwell who have been organising an exhibition called 'Undressed', which we hope to exhibit later in the year. I wrote an exhibition proposal for us, and we will be looking for venues in the autumn. I have also been invited to The Plough Arts Centre for a solo exhibition in early 2023, which I will be considering as I develop my work.