Tuesday, 29 November 2016

No Niceties contributing artist - Holly Wheeler

Newcastle-based artist Holly Wheeler exhibited 3 photoshopped collages titled Well… this is awkward.
Here she offers us an insight into her ideas leading to the work.
"Initially I wanted to respond to the aesthetic properties of Helen’s publication. The specific formatting, colour scheme and precision with which it was assembled, readily caught my attention.


I chose instead, to respond to the awkward silences and fragmentation that punctuates the work. For me it reveals a shared discomfort and uncertainty within the narrator and the reader as they are confronted by the intimacy of the work. ‘Well…this is awkward’ is a light hearted attempt to voice the internal critic and acknowledge a mutual sense of anxiety the work might stir within the narrator, reader, author and artist."


ive behaviour/repair/self-help/self-care/language/communication/thought/reality/


making/projection/distance/temporary/humorous/light hearted/lost/vibrancy/perception/displacement/uncertain

ty/uncontrollable/space/placement/fragile/ incomplete/unfinished/evolving/morphing/reshaped/indeterminate


To see and read more about Wheeler's work please visit

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No Niceties contributing artist - Sofija Sutton

Brooklyn-based artist Sofija Sutton contributed Sweet, Hold the Bitter to the No Niceties exhibition.

She states, "My current art practice explores the use of flash fiction and folklore in video, painting, collage, and multidiscipline installations. I use narratives and visuals to tell layered metaphors for daily, intimate life. The most common themes I address are belonging and mental health. I particularly enjoy using anamorphism with invertebrate references in magical realism to juxtapose the absurd with the mundane.

Each project’s message dictates the materials of my work. Some meanings require text, while others may be communicated with paint alone. Some works benefit from collaboration and some works require learning new technologies. Allowing the meaning of the work to direct the form it takes allows me to be open to new experiences while maintaining the importance of the story’s message."

Sutton shares some of her initial thoughts that led to the end result:

how i wanted one story to go
- how I want the word playful to be associated in my head. not playful but investigative and introspective and innately human. yes.

(I related too closely)
how it went.

I just wanted one sweet hold the bitter end so I could think you have some sweet hold the bitter moments. but thats not really how feelings are felt in hindsight.

in fifteen minutes my tea can go cold.

-flying pill bug baby, roll and pop!
- you settle into your train seat.
- your friends talk a lot about babies and weddings
- you live a different life than them

ticking clock with an empty desk and chair. plain.
toxic colors, acidic or washed out, jarring. initial impression of joy masking the anxiety and compulsion.

For more information about Sofija's practice, please visit

She has also just launched her new illustration website showcasing watercolor and collage illustrations. Check it out!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Pester & Rossi present 'A Bodyssey Odyssey' at Baltic 39

Glasgow-based collaborative duo Pester & Rossi have been residents in the project space at Baltic 39 since mid- September.

The artists have used the gallery as a studio space, giving the audience a glimpse into their do-it-yourself approach and low-fi working methods. 

"Pester & Rossi make work that spans sculpture, performance and installation using a wide variety of media. Immersive performances and social experiments are rooted in a do-it-yourself approach with ideas connected to childhood nostalgia, public ceremony and a celebration of the home-made. Often using imagery and props relating to the body, along with its physical and metaphorical associations, they provide a sense of familiarity for the audience, all the while generating irony and humour."

Throughout their residency Pester and Rossi have hosted a couple of performances with other artists. Last night all these artists were brought together for the ultimate 'A Bodyssey Odyssey'.

Belinda Gilbert Scott created the impressive scenic backdrop, out of which the performers entered the stage, and into which they retreated at the end, along with the giant inflatable.

"By using her experience as a scenic painter, Gilbert Scott has begun to paint backcloths, the cloths, draping from the wall to the floor, are cut into, releasing the image from the background and positioning it in the space. The viewer is allowed to walk upon and between the painted surfaces. This expresses the feeling of wanting to physically get into an imaginary space. This is also a response to the gallery setting and counteracts the reverence and untouchability of painting, allowing the audience to enter into a playful relationship with the work. By introducing physical space into the work, the paintings can also become theatrical settings. This has opened up the opportunity to work collaboratively."

A couple of Sarah Kenchengton's amazing sound generating inventions shared the stage alongside the more traditional musical instruments played by
 Fallopé and The Tubes.

"Sarah Kenchington builds her own remarkable mechanical instruments, including a pedal-powered hurdy-gurdy, a giant rotating kalimba and her own brass band, powered by tractor inner-tubes."

These produced the less easily definable noises that fitted so well with the aesthetic of the rest of the set.

Having performed alongside Stasis in Circus Between Worlds in Glasgow earlier this year, I knew I was in for a treat when I saw that they were on the line up. 

They did not fail to deliver, performing a highly energetic performance involving boxing gloves. The way in which they managed to physically carve out space in the gallery was impressive, forcing the audience to alter their viewing positions.

The whole evening was a visual and audio delight, full of experimentation, exploration, energy and fun.

No Niceties contributing artist - Cecilia Stenbom

Newcastle-based artist, Cecilia Stenbom created an audio work for the No Niceties exhibition. Buzz was comprised of 15 recordings layered into a single track. The recordings were done over the course of one week, at different times of the day, capturing various everyday activities at home, studio and in public space, creating a record, of the uneventful and mundane of everyday existence.

Stenbom writes, "My work, primarily screen-based, is concerned with narrative and the everyday; notions of identity and human interaction. I examine collective experiences by reinterpretation and appropriation, employing both documentary and fiction conventions. I am interested in how the mundane and everyday is narrativised; the process of turning real experiences into fiction."

Originally from Sweden Cecilia has lived and worked in Helsinki and Glasgow before moving to the North East of England. Forthcoming and recent projects includes; Somewhere Becoming the Sea (2017) , Group Exhibition part of City of Culture, Hull, curated by Steven Bode and Film & Video Umbrella, Beam Reach Blasting and Parallel (2016) commission for Tall Ships Cultural Programme (UK and Sweden) In Waiting (2014), commission by Creative England, The List (2014), Figure two, BALTIC 39, Newcastle Upon Tyne.



Thursday, 24 November 2016

PMP | Forever Together - M I L K, Seize Projects, Pester & Rossi, McGilvary/White

M I L K, Seize Projects, Pester & Rossi, McGilvary/White
Discussion Chaired by Lloyd & Wilson

The objective of this event was to explore means, mediums and modes of artistic collaboration. Artists discussed collaborative efforts, successful and not. What went right, what went wrong and the joys of a shared creative process.

This event was programmed with M I L K alongside their exhibition This Is It, Isn’t It? the first of 3 exhibitions they have curated as part of their takeover at Workplace Gateshead. This Is It, Isn’t It? Explores ideas of self-doubt, self-awareness and self-reflexivity as a core of artistic practice.

M I L K were joined by Pester and Rossi, Seize Projects and McGilvary/White, and a discussion will be chaired by Lloyd & Wilson.

Ideas around collaborative practice quite often occupy my thoughts. This event yet again prompted me to think about 
- the difference between collectives and collaborations
- individual and collaborative practice and how artists can operate in both fields
- the audience as a collaborator
- friendship and collaboration - does it make it or break it?
- authorship
- identity, ego, 
- committees and collectives

No Niceties contributing artist - David Sherry

Glasgow-based artist, David Sherry contributed a performance sculpture 'Glue the glue with the glue free standing tube of glue glued by its own glue' to the No Niceties exhibition.

In his absence, Sherry sent the following instructions to be performed by a 'helper'.

A tube of Yellow UHU glue, glued upright, standing free. As a performance sculpture.

On a plinth or old table, a helper opens the glue and glues the nozzle of the UHU glue with the UHU glue to the middle of the plinth or table top.

Holding the glue tube while it glues - in an upright position until it is glued free standing.

The performance is someone holding the glue until its glued upright and can stand on its own.

Sherry writes,

"My work includes performance, drawing, video, sculpture, and sound. My work reflects on cultural codes, asking questions of basic learned behaviours: What is work? What is success? What is respect? What is a living? What is happiness? Etcetera.

Central to my approach is ‘play’. I use the different processes of my practice to develop opinions and mini philosophies relating to common experiences. Many of my works aim to process ordinariness into an artistic source which is meaningful and creative."

Sherry graduated with an MFA from Glasgow School of Art in 2000. This year he will be performing at the Liverpool Biennial and Manifesta 11. He has had solo exhibitions at Outpost Norwich; Summerhall Edinburgh, Catalyst Arts Belfast; Villa Concordia Germany; Glasgow Museum of Modern Art and Tramway’s project space Glasgow. Selected group exhibitions including ‘Generation’ at the Kelvingrove Glasgow, ‘RIFF’ Baltic 39 Newcastle, Film and video at BBC Scotland, ‘Grin and Bear It’ at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork and ‘One fine morning in May’ at GAK Bremen. In 2003, Sherry was selected to represent Scotland at the 50th Venice Biennale and his work is held in many collections including the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art.

More information about his work can be seen at


No Niceties contributing artist - Fang Qi

Fang Qi is a Chinese artist and illustrator with a BA degree in Public Art and MA degree in Visual Communication Design in Jiangnan University, China. She is currently based in Newcastle upon Tyne since 2014 being a Ph.D. candidate at Fine Art at Newcastle University.

Her contribution to 'No Niceties' was Ripening, a line drawing on paper.

Qi's research explores the relationship between the illustration and installation art which contributes to the new visual narrative strategies in the illustration which helps to reconstruct the self and identity.

For more information about her work, please visit


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

No Niceties contributing artist - Rosie O'Grady

Rosie O'Grady's contribution to the No Niceties exhibition was a short video titled Job Seeker. 

Rosie O’Grady lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. She graduated from Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow with an MLitt Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) in 2015, and from Glasgow School of Art with a BA(Hons) Fine Art (Painting & Printmaking) in 2013. O'Grady was selected for a Graduate Residency at Hospitalfield (2015) and was awarded a special commendation as a Finalist in Saatchi’s New Sensations (2013). She was a committee member at Market Gallery between August 2014 - August 2016 and recently worked as Programme Coordinator at Glasgow Sculpture Studios.

"The video Job seeker responds to the biographical snapshots and colourful designs of Helen Shaddock's publication A lot can happen in fifteen minutes. Advertised job titles flash in succession over footage of rock pools, fluorescent buoys, and seaweed-clad boats. These coastal scenes operate like stock imagery of a beach holiday, although the hand-held camera, white skies and water surface – unsettled by high winds – bely a reality altogether less glossy and tropical."

"The role titles for jobs in various fields and industries briefly become suggested narratives, characters or extracted insights into a range of daily experiences."

"The accounts of simultaneous anxiety and absurdity within Shaddock's publication are mimicked in the video through the pace at which it offers a diverse selection of career paths to an accompanying soundtrack of song introductions relating to freedom, the weekend and a reluctance to work nine 'til five."

For more information about Rosie O'Grady's work, please visit her website: www.rosieogrady.co.uk (currently under maintenance)

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

No Niceties contributing artist - Ute Kirkwood

Sweet Chin Music 

The outside world has disappeared, a vague memory.
The world has turned into a microcosmos, a bubble in which only the two exist.
Minutes,  hours, days even months they melt. It is all measured now by the grant scheme of things – a life time?
Fingers are rolling the tiniest amount of skin, nails digging in, rolling again looking for a better position, shifting around endlessly.
Breath in, one, two, three. Breath out, one, two, three, four, five.

For more information about Ute's work, please visit

Saturday, 19 November 2016

No Niceties Contributing Artist - Sarah Grundy

Sarah Grundy is an artist who works regularly with music, text and live performance. Sarah's response to the publication for the exhibition was a song.

Having read the whole publication, "it was the order of texts that I mainly used because it felt to me as if the titles gave a summary of the general feeling of the publication and the words seemed like a starting point for a song, a framework to build on and make it my own. I then started writing the music and thought of a few ideas, but I ended up choosing the music that seemed most different to what I would normally be inclined to make because it put me outside of my comfort zone, which felt in line with the text itself. The atmosphere and feeling of the text therefore was the part that stood out to me, but also the braveness and generosity of the writing. It feels personal whilst bridging the gap with the audience and offers the readers an almost scary moment of honesty and insight. I wanted to try and also offer a similar experience and share something with the people who were at the exhibition."

Friday, 18 November 2016

No Niceties Contributing Artists - Jez Riley French & Pheobe Riley Law

'not much is a lot that can happen in fifteen minutes. its a question of scale & position'
the sound of 15 spaces that fit inside 7.1 x 4.8m

its possible to hear inaction, we don’t listen (really)

in each minute so much is happening     breaking narrative

a story often says ‘here, this happened’
a story doesn’t often say ‘all this happened’

its a matter of scale and position

'not much is a lot that can happen in fifteen minutes. its a question of scale & position'

Jez riley French (b. 1965)
working primarily with sound, photography and video, Jrf is particularly associated with developing extended field recording and listening techniques as a key element of sound art and performance, alongside photographic scores and work involving various other media. His work has been exhibited and performed widely in various countries inc. at Tate Modern & Tate Britain here in the UK.

Pheobe riley Law (b. 1997)
my work explores play, digital folklore, psychogeography, the curated space (physical, audible and psychological) and aspects of nurtured personality - I currently explore with photography, text, video and performance