Thursday, 8 September 2011

RBS: Initial Ideas
Having done an initial site visit of the exhibition space at the RBS I have been looking over the photographs and brain storming ideas. At the moment I am drawn to the fireplace and feel that I would like to intervene with it in some way whilst considering ideas of regeneration and the speed at which existing city fabrics are systematically destroyed and removed in aspiration of a uniform space of consumption.

We constantly feel the need to tidy things up to the extent that the layers of history and reclamation by nature are obliterated. Dirt is not necessarily impure, buildings are made out of matter and earth is therefore part of their fabric. Through positioning moss in the uneven cracks which have formed between the beautiful and delicate tiles, the moss can be seen as invading the fireplace as nature reclaims its territory.

So now I need to develop ideas on what I may use for the moss, (make my own, use dried moss, fake moss) and I will need to develop a technique for attaching it that will not damage the original tiles. but these are my initial thoughts. It may also develop in a more abstract way using some form of green medium that can be representative of nature/moss taking over?

I am also interested in the markings that can be seen on the flooring where it dips in ever so slightly making beautiful little marks. I may also develop work to draw attention to these in the immediate area around the fireplace but again will need to develop this idea further in terms of materials used etc.

Office Party
The two girls who share the space next door to mine at Rogue Studios sent the following message out via email:

'We (Ahmed & Carpenter) are hosting an office party in our studio (the office space on the first floor). We’d like to invite you to produce work for this event. We are interested in displaying work which playfully explores the idea of an office and/or the idea of a party - an intervention into what’s already here perhaps, or maybe a performance. Pieces can be quick, fun, and ephemeral, there’s no pressure to produce slick high-art objects.'

Their space is different from everybody elses as they have occupied the small office that was once part of the textile factory before the first floor opened. It is very dated looking and quite cute. As my space is next door I submitted an idea for the show and was selected along with some other brilliant artists including Hilary Jack and Mike Chavez-Dawson.

I proposed working with an existing feature and I was drawn to the ceiling panels which are standard across most offices. Looking more closely at these custom made ceiling panels I was intrigued by the patterning of holes each one has. I do not know the reasoning for this patterning and wanted to draw attention to it so I pinned a gold bead into each and every pin hole that already existed.

The preview was really well attended, nice and relaxed and a lot of fun. Mike Chavez-Dawson treated us all to a rendition of 'The Locomotion' on the hour, every hour which became louder and more heart felt as the evening went on. It was great for me to get to know more Roguettes and it was a really nice show so well done to Annie and Taneesha. 

Unfortunately I forgot my camera and haven't been able to source many of the actual work but here are some general people shots from the night.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Hilary Jack: And Scent of Pine and the Woodthrush Singing

I went to Hilary Jack's tour of her first solo show held at Castlefield Gallery and found it truly inspirational.

I love her aesthetic, it was like she had brought a magical woodland into the gallery. Her delicate way of re-appropriating found objects really appeals to my aesthetic and my personal practice. t particularly reminds me of when I used to bring objects back into the studio which I had taken from the city streets. This is something I might like to think about doing again but in line with my current thinking.

There was also a wonderful correlation between the different works throughout the gallery.

Her talk was brilliant as she thoroughly explained the thinking behind the work and how one piece developed from another. It was clear to see that whilst she works intuitively with her found objects, all the reading and thinking that she must be doing at the same time clearly goes into what she is creating, even if this is subconscious.

This is something that I would like to try and achieve as I am still struggling to find a balance between my making and my thinking.

My conclusion is that I NEED TO MAKE MORE!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

RBS Site Visit
The Royal British Society of Sculptors contacted me to say that they would like me to make a site-specific piece for the exhibition in November. Although it seems a while off, they are already getting the brochure ready and wanted me to travel down to London asap to look at he space and start planning what I would like to make for them.

This is a little daunting as I will have to install a new piece of work over 3 days in November and therefore do not have the reassurance of already having work to install that you know is a success. So the pressure is on but ultimately this is the way I like to work and I am excited about the opportunity.

Here are some images of the space that I took to work from:

Manchester International Festival
I went to the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery to see the exhibitions they were showing as part of MIF.

I was looking forward to visiting the Whitworth as I knew that they were showing Projections: Works from The Artangel Collection, and as a big fan of Artangel it was exciting to have a show of their works in Manchester. In particular I was keen to see Francis Alys' Seven Walks as I have read much about this project but only seen some of the pieces in his solo show that I saw last year in London.

Another work I was excited to see after reading about it but never having seen it in real life was Tony Oursler's Time Machine which was held every evening between 8pm-11pm in the park next to the gallery. 

There was a real buzz the night that I attended, with lots of people milling around in the dark, all seeming quite excited. For me, I really enjoyed how engaging this work seemed to be for people and I know a lot of people who attended this but did not visit the gallery. As an artist who works outside in the public domain, it is this kind of reaction to art that excites me.

At Manchester Art Gallery they were showing '11 Rooms'. Each of the 11 rooms had some form of performance art piece or 'live art' show happening within it. Although I am extremely shy of anything where I may be asked to join in, I found that my confidence built as we walked around and it was a completely unique experience that I think will stay with me in away that perhaps more traditional modes of art may not.
Ruppert Griffiths: Borderlands
I was interested to visit this exhibition at CUBE gallery as the themes and ideas behind the exhibition link strongly with the ideas surrounding my practice. Griffiths examines the tensions at play between the over-determined places in the city and under-determined areas that go under the radar. As with my work, he is therefore interested in the tension that exists between the new purpose built areas of the city and those forgotten and abandoned places that mark the physical infrastructure of our past.

Whilst I appreciated the exhibition and the ideas behind it, I found on a personal level that I was not drawn in and found it difficult to engage with. I think the problem for me was that he utilised materials and processes that are typically used to re-brand failed spaces undergoing re-development as a means to highlight the cyclical nature of regeneration but because it is the decay that I am drawn to, the aesthetic no longer appealed to me.
Royal British Society of Sculptors Bursary!

I recieved the following letter through the post:

I was so suprised, largely because I have only recently started to think of my work as a form of sculpture and had already decided that I didn't stand a chance as they would probably be after more traditional scupltors who have been trained in the discipline. This is therefore a great confidence boost and it will be fantastic to be a member of this prestigious society which will hopefully open up new opportunities and raise my artist profile. It will also be exciting to exhibit with them in a prime location in London come November.
LOOK 11, Liverpool International Photography Festival
I caught some of this at the Bluecoat in Liverpool, but looking at the website for it I wish I had seen more.

At the Bluecoat the photography exhibition was called 'Confined' and there were some really intriguing photographs on show. I was especially drawn to Juergen Chill's birds-eye view of German prison cells. From this perspective you could see how different inmates had adapted and arranged their cells, achieving a personal touch even with such limited resources to work with.

I also liked David Moore's exploration of a high security police station where terror suspects are held under the Counter Terrorism Act. As a place you are not normally allowed access to, it almost felt like you shouldn't be seeing the images which in turn made them strangely exciting but also quite ominous when you think of the fear that must exist in such a place.

Other work I liked was John Darwell's, 'Dogs in Cages' which highlighted the nature and mechanics of captivity and also Ben Graville's penetrating and provocative portraits which captured prisones being to and from the Old Bailey
Pairings Conference, MMU

I attended one day of the two day conference at MMU called 'Pairings: Conversations, Collaborations, Materials'. This two-day conference sought to make a significant contribution to expanding knowledge on collaborative practice in craft, design and art environments.

The conference stemmed from a project called 'The Pairings Project' at MMU which was set up to explore the potential of collaborative creative practice. It was initiated not only to make new work, but also to engage in conversation and establish links with other makers and institutions. The participants came from a variety of backgrounds in the craft, design and art spectrum, engaging with materials ranging from clay, glass, textiles, metal, wood or paper to new technologies such as digital and film media. They were all lecturers (some part time) at a number of educational institutions in the UK.

Paired up across both disciplines and institutions, there was no brief only the deadline of a booked exhibition space in the Special Collections Gallery, where it was hoped processes could be shown, even if there was no finished work produced.

I wanted to attend the conference as I am interested in the idea of collaboration. I think it can be a great way to get you out of your comfort zone and exploring fresh ideas. The artists involved exchanged works with the intention of developing the other person’s art by adding to it in some way. In doing this they were exposing themselves to unfamiliar working practices which in turn lead to exciting explorations and experimentation.

They then had to put their collaborative work within a context; an integral step in all practice, although importantly for me, they talked about this contextualisation not having to take the form of words, but instead suggested it could exist as pictures or objects etc that support the final work. I picked up on this in particular as I often find myself too immersed in books and theories, to the point that the visual research that I used to really enjoy gets forgotten. This is something I would like to try and address in future work.

A blog was set up for the participants to communicate via with the intention being that it would be a good tool to record the progress and development of the collaborations. It was however underused and discussion was had on why this might have been. People spoke of not wanting to put their personal thoughts online in the public domain, especially whilst they are still developing. I think this is a problem I have. Rather than a flow of consciousness as I make work and think about it, it always feels like more of a chore. I am also very selective about what I put on here, and it is nearly always about stuff that has already happened, rather than ideas I want to take forward. For me then, the blog is more of a formal diary of key things I have done. Perhaps my notebook of sketchy ideas would be more interesting but I would not feel comfortable exposing all.

In the afternoon I attended a talk called 'The Making' which is a strategy that has been set up to try and re-address the gap between the way art is taught in schools and the way professionals approach art and crafts. They want to help train teachers and give them more confidence by putting them in contact with arts professionals, galleries, craft workers etc and encourage issue based work. I think that this is a very interesting project and something I would like to keep my eye on and possibly access in the future.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

WORKHOUSE (The Exhibition)
Naomi Lethbridge curated the exhibition WORKHOUSE: Work On A Theme of Intensive Labour, which she invited me to take part in. It took place at HIVE, 47-51 Lever Street, Manchester.

The preview was on 14/04/11 and the show continues untill 21/04/11 (10.00-16.00)

Artists Include: Stephen Ashdown, Frances Blythe, Antony Clarkson, Jenny Core, Sian Green, Mary Griffiths, Hannah Leighton-Boyce, Naomi Lethbridge, Sarah Redfern and Hannah Wiles

Detail Match by Jenny Core and Detail Pilgrimage by Antony Clarkson

Composition: Movimentum by Hannah Leighton-Boyce

Detail Composition: Movimentum by Hannah Leighton-Boyce

Constellation by Mary Griffiths

24 New Covent Garden Soup Cartons by Naomi Lethbridge

Untitled by Sarah Redfern

Mary's Table by Antony Clarkson

Untitled by Sian Green

Untitled by Hannah Wiles
I was invited by Naomi Lethhbridge to take part in an exhibition that she was curating around the theme of intensive labour. For this, I wanted to make a sited piece around the location of the gallery. After observing and documenting the area I became very drawn to a section of moss that could be seen whilst standing in the gallery. Due to the moisture as a result of poor drainage, this rich green moss had begun to draw itself, creating a beautiful pattern across the red brick of the wall behind.

I wanted to add to and continue this organic drawing by adding my own marks to the wall. A subtle intervention that draws attention to the themes I have been looking at more recently with regard to nature versus the urban environment.

In Certain Places: The Monument and the Changing City Symposium
I attended a symposium at University of Central Lancashire. It was designed to examine the impact, purpose and aesthetic merit of public commemorative and memorial works from across the world, and the role of public memory within the changing city. The speakers included: Paul Gough, Lubaina Himid, Alan Rice, Jonathan Vickery, Charles Quick and Chris Meigh-Andrews.

    Flash at Hebburn by Charles Quick

Having been to a brilliant symposium run by In Certain Places last year, I was keen to attend this one. In previous work I have looked at the importance of derelict buildings and their ability to encapsulate the past in a way that heritage sites can not. I wrote an essay referring to the work of Pierre Nora with regard to lieux de mémoire and how dominant sites of memory, such as memorials, do not evoke the same sense of remembering as grass-root sites.

With this in mind I was hoping there would be more discussion on temporary grass-root intervention that can act as an alternative to monuments. Although this was briefly touched on in a discussion session before lunch, there was not enough time to push these ideas further. 

I felt that Paul Gough was the most relevant speaker for me and I intend to look up his writings at He also mentioned the artist Toni Morrison who may be of interest to me.

You can watch all the speakers at  and they are definitely worth a look. 

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

BlankPages, Issue 31
I was approached by Blank Media Collective and asked if I would be their 'Spotlight' artist in their monthly publication BlankPages.

Here is my spotlight article:

You can read the entire publication online here:
I was selected to take part in BlankExpression 2011 at BlankSpace.

BlankExpression 2011 is an ambitious and exciting showcase of works by twenty-seven emerging practitioners from London to Victoria, Barnsley to Tel Aviv and anywhere in between. Taken from an open submission call, works will engage, stimulate and challenge each and every viewer. With a wide variety of works spanning over a range of disciplines, BlankExpression 2011 there’s something for everyone. BlankExpression 2011 promises to be the start of something very special happening at the iconic 43 Hulme Street building.


Alexander Ashton /Andrew Broadey /Andy Nash /Andy Nizinskyj /Ben Sloat /Claudia Borgna /Daniel/Fogarty /Hadas Tapouchi /Hannah Brown /Hannah Wiles /Jane Lawson /Jen Ross /Jez Dolan /Jude Macpherson /Karl Kolley /Katrina Vivian /Lucy Ridges /Lyndsey Searle /Matthew Stanners /Michael Thorp /Rachael Gittins /Rebecca Wild /Rose Barraclough /Ruth O’Brien /Scott Kershaw /Shreepad Jonglekar /Stephen White

EXHIBITION CONTINUES: Friday 28 January - Sunday 13 February 2011

Images of the work I made for the show can be seen in the blog-post below. Here are some images from the preview night:

Photograph Credit: Gareth Hacking

Instrument by Rose Barraclough. Photograph Credit: Damien Hayward

Spinario by aniel Fogarty. Photograph Credit: Gareth Hacking

Tape Series by Karl Kolley. Photograph Credit: Gareth Hacking

Carousel by Andy Broadey. Photograph Credit: Gareth Hacking

Magic Carpet by Jude Macpherson. Photograph Credit: Jude Macpherson

There is detailed information on all the artists that exhibited, along with images of their work, and an opportunity to buy the exhibition catalogue here: