On Friday myself and Sharon Mossbeck hosted the open evening for UNITY – our open -call exhibition at Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield, that looks at the theme of Unity following Britain’s decision to leave the EU. We’re still amazed by the turnout, which was 132 people.
A reflection of our hard work? Well, maybe. But then we always put hard work into our exhibitions, and we’ve never had an opening quite like this. Perhaps UNITY offered more than simply an exhibition. It provided artists with a space to vent, to place their thoughts towards our divided nation onto a piece of work as a means of meditation, or reflection, or a means to comprehend or reinforce their position among the complexities leaving the EU represents. It instigated a process of healing, of re-building bridges and of finding connections between people and communities.
This was not only reflected in the work received but also in the visitors that attended. They too want to bear witness to how creative action can be a strong moral, social and political force. They too want to feel re-united following divisive political events, and understand that art has the capacity to do that.
In short, it’s an exhibition that people wanted and needed. It inspired those that don’t normally consider themselves artists to take action. It re-ignited passion and it provided people with the opportunity to express their thoughts with meaning and relevance directly applicable to current events.
It was certainly a meditative process for me personally. I feel – and I’m sure Sharon does too – that we have created a positive force for good.
Tonight sees the opening evening of The Beast Within – a group exhibition that invites artists from Exchange Place Studios to create work towards the theme of The Beast Within.
As expected, the broad and highly interpretive nature of the theme has led to a very diverse exhibition that highlights the innovative, intriguing and progressive nature of Exchange Place Artists, and showcases some beautiful, high quality pieces. My personal effort is a scented narrative that re-assigns knowledge as a biblical myth – a beast in it’s own right.
The exhibition yet again re-affirms Exchange Place Studios as an emerging and intriguing venue for exhibitions. As a young space still attempting to find its place within the wider Sheffield art scene, it is advisable that exhibitions at Exchange Place are attached to other events. Last year’s exhibition – FLUX – was attached to Castlegate Festival and Sharon Mossbeck is looking to stage a cabinet exhibition that takes advantage of this years’ Halloween festivities. The Beast Within is no different, as it seeks to utilise the crowd associated with OpenUp Sheffield – an event that sees studios around Sheffield opened to the public. This means that anyone attending Open Up Sheffield over the next two weekends at Exchange Place will also be treated to an exhibition that perfectly highlights the talents of those in the building.
The Beast Within opens tonight from 7-9pm. Many of the artists will be on hand to talk about their work, or to just chat to! There’ll also be a free bar. I hope you can make it!
Exchange Place Studios – the space where I share a studio with Sharon Mossbeck – is hosting an exhibition from 29th April – 10th in parallel with Open Up Sheffield. The exhibition brings together Exchange Place artists of varying styles and disciplines, all working towards one common theme – ‘The Beast Within’
This theme opens up various means of interpretation. As such, I intend to use it as a chance to show brand new work and to use a new creative medium – the humble scented candle. I intend to use scented candles in a contemporary way – using scent to describe a narrative that speculates upon the idea that knowledge is a beast which we feed to further human endeavour.
The narrative, which takes cues from Ancient Eygpt and religious ritual, suggests that if you offer the essences of your body and mind to the beast of Knowledge they will be sacrificed for the good of human endeavour. However, the narrative also advises caution against feeding knowledge, as a collective sense of truth may compromise your own place within the world.
The narrative provides insight and metaphor for how we navigate our way through our own reality, learn from our experiences and how we sit on the axis between the realities of the wider world and our own personal battles. If you want to see – and indeed smell – the creation, why not pop down to Exchange Place Studios? There will be a Private View of the exhibition between 7-9pm on the 29th April. Do come along if you can!
In May I’ll be involved in no less than 4 exhibitions and events. A busy time indeed, but one I am very much looking forward to getting stuck into!
May also marks the return of one strand of my creative endeavours – Speculative Studio Spaces – which sees me construct a fabricated studio space based on the exhibition piece of another artist. When a highly personal space such as an artists studio is opened to investigation and interpretation, what does that say about the artist, the outward perception of the artist and how we regard creative processes?
I will be staging a Speculative Studio Space as part of a group exhibition in Huddersfield Media Centre. The studio I will be fabricating is that of the artist Jim Geddes (1932-2009) who I’m told was a rather prolific artist in his time. The process of creating this space is a slight departure from previous Speculative Studio Spaces, as this time I haven’t personally chosen the artist. It will be interesting to see how relinquishing control of part of the process effects the overall space.
Three works of mine – all based on extracting poetry from video game coding then responding to the end result visually – will be on display at Unity Theatre, Liverpool, from tomorrow (13th January) until 14th February. Here’s a sneak peek at all three of them:
To see them in all their glory – alongside the work of 6 other artists all responding to the theme of ‘Patterns and Poetry’ – then pop down to Unity Theatre tomorrow, 13th January, from 5.30 – 7.30pm: We will be hosting an opening evening for the exhibition, where artists from the group will be on hand to chat to. Should be a fun and intriguing evening! You can find more information on our Facebook event page here.