Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Op Art in Focus at TATE Liverpool

Op Art exhibitions tend to focus on the works of artists such as Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely who were making work at the start of the movement in the 1960s. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing works by these artists in relation to work created by contemporary artists. Included in the exhibition is one of my all-time favourite works - Jim Lambie’s Zobop which floods the entire gallery floor with psychedelic patterning.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Having You On by Michael Dean at BALTIC

Approach the usual entrance to Level 3 gallery to be faced with a barbed wire fence preventing entry into the gallery. With some guidance, or by paying attention to other visitors moving through the space, viewers can walk along the side of the installation and then enter the vast expanse of the gallery. I enjoy the manipulation of the audience by the artist - it shows how he has considered how we will look at the work, something I always place importance on when installing my own work.

The installation is one of two halves. Towards the back of the space, individual sculptures made from cheap, accessible, waste materials are given space for us to consider them as separate entities. There are some satisfying arrangements. As we approach the front of the gallery the arrangement becomes denser and it resembles a wasteland of sculptures that are synonymous with popular culture and advertising. Logo's such as National Lottery make an appearance along with street furniture such as lampposts. 

I can't say that I am impressed. I understand what the artist is referencing and he has executed it well, but I see enough of these items on the street as rubbish, and would rather not see them presented in a gallery.

Lubaina Himid - Our Kisses are Petals - BALTIC

For this exhibition, Himid is said to have been inspired by the Kanga, a vibrant cotton fabric traditionally worn by East African women as a shawl, head scarf, baby carrier, or wrapped around the waist. 'Typically, kangas consist of three parts: the pindo(border), the mji (central motif), and the jina (message or ‘name’), which often takes the form of a riddle or proverb.'

Himid has suspended a number of cloths on three loops of rope, each of which span the width of the gallery and are positioned behind each other. Each cloth features an image of inner body parts and a statement borrowed from influential writers such as James Baldwin, Sonia Sanchez, Essex Hemphill and Audre Lorde. Himid's intention was to enable viewers to rearrange the cloths using the pulley systems. Although visitors can move the pulley, there is no way to change the order of the cloths or words and so one can only change the size of the gaps between the cloths.

I was disappointed in the execution of the work and found the participatory elements to be limited. The cloth used was a synthetic kind that had been digitally printed on, and so the traditional, handmade quality that is often associated with flags was not present. The concept behind the work was well meaning, but I question how much the artwork communicated this to an audience.

A Tree in the Wood by Giuseppe Penone at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The current exhibition in the Underground Gallery at Yorkshire Sculpture Park is A Tree in the Wood by Giuseppe Penone. The exhibition features works drawn from the past five decades of Penone’s career. 

Central to Perone's practice is humanity's relationship with the natural world, and his work addresses themes around the body, nature, time, touch and memory. Perone makes use of a variety of natural materials including stone, acacia thorns and laurel leaves. An ongoing motif throughout his work is the importance of trees to society.


One suggestion of this is through Matrice, which consists of a 30 metre long bisected trunk of a fir tree that has been laid horizontally and carefully carved to follow one of its growth rings. The trunk cuts through the separate rooms within the gallery so as to emphasise the shear size of the object and to reflect the way that the tree itself has been sliced and examined.

On the far wall in the final gallery space the artist has drawn around his finger and continued the lines off the paper and onto the gallery walls. Again, this references the growth rings on the tree.


Tuesday, 24 July 2018

All Schools Should Be Art Schools by Bob and Roberta Smith at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Aptly situated by the Learning building at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Rob and Roberta Smith's inspirational statement 'All Schools Should Be Art Schools' is intended to prompt political action. 

The artist made the work in April 2017, after Michael Gove (who was Secretary of State for Education) proposed that Art should be removed from the GCSE core curriculum in England.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Women Artists of the North East Library at Workplace, Gateshead

Throughout the Great Exhibition of the North 2018 Women Artists of the North East Library are resident at Workplace Foundation in Gateshead and available to the public as an evolving exhibition, library, and platform for events and discussions. Works by Phyllis Christopher, Tess Denman-Cleaver, Kate Liston and Harriet Sutcliffe are also exhibited in the gallery.

The project aims to use the premise of presenting artists work as an opportunity to explore the act of building such a library;

In what ways do artists make work in relation to, or with, other artists?

How can a library of women artists associated with a region, exist for a community?

How do we find our role models?

Can archival strategies contribute to intergenerational conversations and art making?

I enjoyed looking at the range of material included in the library, and appreciated how the gallery has been set up so as to encourage visitors to spend time with the items and choose their own path through the contents, rather than being presented with a selection of texts pinned to a wall.

It was as I was flicking trough one of the publications that I came across the following text by Lydia Davis that really resonates with me.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

The latest Drone Ensemble instruments and some serious angle grinding!

In readiness for our seven hour performance at the Boiler House, Newcastle University in August, we are increasing our repertoire of sound-making equipment and are creating some new instruments.

At our Drone session this week we tested out our new purchase - a couple of e-bows. The EBow is a hand-held electronic bow for guitar. This small battery-powered unit replaces the pick in the right hand letting the guitarist mimic strings, horns, and woodwinds with unbelievable sensitivity. The EBow produces a powerful infinite sustain, rich in harmonics for incredible guitar sounds. Unlike plug-in effects, the Energy Bow does its work on the string itself. The EBow produces a magnetic drive field which in effect bows the guitar string. This field emanates from the blue LED end of the DriveChannel and feeds directly into the guitar pickup when brought near it.

We used a make-shift string on a wooden baton, and were able to produce some amazing sounds, so the hope is that when we have created a proper guitar-like structure made from more suitable materials, the e-bows will be even more effective.

The next job was to make some new singing bowls using empty and unwanted oil drums. The first step is a rather nasty job involving using an angle grinder to cut through the centre of the canister. Yes, that is me doing the angle grinding!

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Why we should learn to embrace failure by Elizabeth Day in The Guardian

As an artist, one has to be able to cope with criticism and let-downs. After spending hours/days/weeks/months working on a proposal for an exhibition or toiling over accurate estimates of income and expenditure for a funding application, one has to be prepared for that devastating email or phonecall offering commiserations on the unsuccessful submission. It was only last week that I was in this position, and couldn't help but feel like a failure. As often as it happens, it never gets any easier to deal with. That's why it is useful to be reminded that there is no such thing as a failure. 

The following article was published in The Guardian on Sunday 15 July 2018

Divorce, miscarriage, career knock-backs – the big moments in life often come through crisis and make us who we are, so don’t airbrush them out, says Elizabeth Day

A few months ago, I spent an evening sitting on the sofa in my flat, cropping my head out of a series of wedding photographs. It was a fairly surreal experience excising my smiling face from the pictures taken outside the chapel. It was not something I had ever anticipated, because you don’t think about divorce when you’re walking down the aisle. You don’t imagine it will happen to you. You don’t believe that one day, you will be digitally altering your wedding photographs so that you can sell your mermaid-style gown and long-sleeved lace bolero to a stranger on eBay.

And yet this is where I found myself. The dress had been hanging in my wardrobe for three years since the end of my marriage. It had been pressed up against the winter coats, shrouded in its dry-clean carrier, and although I tried to forget about it, I never could. The dress took up residence like an unwanted tenant, a constant reminder of my failure.

As I posted details of the dress online, I began to think about failure and its shadow-twin, success. If I listed the achievements of my life, on paper, without emotion, I would have to concede that on some level I am doing OK. I have published four novels. I make a decent living as a journalist. I have a good degree, a wide friendship group and I pay my rent promptly each month.

I am, I suppose, objectively successful. But it doesn’t always feel that way. I still hadn’t grown out of the habit of walking into bookshops and rearranging my novels so they were on the top of the display table piles. Surely no truly successful author does that.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that the biggest, most transformative moments of my life came through crisis or failure. They came when I least expected them, when I felt ill-equipped to deal with the fallout. And yet each time, I had survived.

Into this category I put the fact that I had got married at the age of 33, but divorced three years later. I had tried to have children, but failed despite two rounds of IVF and a natural pregnancy that ended in miscarriage at three months. I had been in and out of relationships that never seemed to last.

Professionally, too, there had been some knocks. I had written a heartfelt second novel about war and its impact, loosely based on the death of a former boyfriend in Iraq. It had been an important book to me, but when it was published it barely seemed to register. The few people who read it were kind and I got used to deflecting my wider sense of rejection with humour: “It’s a beach read,” I told tiny literary festival audiences, “if the beach is Dunkirk.”

I called that book Home Fires. When Kamila Shamsie won the Women’s prize this year for her critically acclaimed novel, Home Fire, it was hilariously ironic: in my head, the success of her work highlighted the failure of my own. But the truth was, I grew from the experience. Afterwards, I put what I’d learned about writing into two more books. The latest, The Party, became a bestseller. Was it, I wondered, that I had unwittingly become successful as a by-product of failure? Had I, to paraphrase the words of the late American playwright Edward Albee, succeeded interestingly precisely because I’d failed interestingly first?

It was a topic that interested me enough to start asking other people the same questions. In my day job as a journalist, I’m in the privileged position of interviewing a lot of celebrities whose fame is a distinctive marker of a certain type of success. Yet they all had their own tales about life going awry. The actress Natalie Dormer, 36, recently told me that her 20s had been a decade of “self-doubt and anxiety”. She said she was relieved to reach her 30s because “You’ve fucked up. When you’ve fucked up a number of times, hopefully the idea is you don’t fuck up as badly the next time when you’re presented with the same or a similar situation. I’m strong because I’ve been weak, I’m wise because I’ve been stupid.”

This seemed to me to be at the root of it: how one becomes strong because of weakness; how one is more likely to succeed if one has learned from failure. In recent years, the notion of “failing well” has gained considerable currency. Books such as Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford and The Art of Failing by Anthony McGowan (which describes itself as “a chronicle of one man’s daily failures and disappointments”) have added grist to the notion that failure can be distilled into something more positive if the right alchemy is applied. Harford argues that improvising rather than planning is the way to tackle everything from terrorism, climate change, poverty and innovation to the financial crisis, and that trial and error is the best way of achieving long-term solutions to complex problems. “No plan survives first contact with the enemy,” he writes. “What matters is how quickly the leader is able to adapt.”

It was an idea worth exploring. So I began a podcast series called How to Fail. The idea was for me to do eight one-to-one interviews over eight weeks with highly successful people about what failure had taught them.

The rise of social media means we now live in an age of positive curation, where Instagram feeds and Pinterest mood boards are designed to give the most glowing impression of our lives. In this context, failure doesn’t get much airplay. But, I thought, wouldn’t it be refreshing if we stripped back the carefully crafted layers of our supposedly perfect selves, and revealed ourselves to be vulnerable?

To my delight, people seemed to warm to the concept. Soon, I had a wonderful roster of participants, plucked from friends and contacts, including the actor and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the novelist Sebastian Faulks, the political activist Gina Miller and the writers Olivia Laing, David Nicholls, Dolly Alderton and Sathnam Sanghera.

Before each recording, I asked my interviewees to come up with three examples in their life when they felt they had failed and that they were willing to talk about. The failures cited ranged from humorous accounts of flunked exams to the big, life-altering crises of divorce and serious illness.

It was fascinating to see how men and women had different attitudes. Many of the men I approached balked at the idea they had failed at anything. They cited lost tennis matches, unrisen soufflés and the inability to play a musical instrument. The women routinely responded that they would have trouble whittling down their myriad failures to just three instances.

“There are so many to choose from!” said Olivia Laing. “Women are so socialised to be self-deprecating, to not claim their successes… I think it’s much easier for women to say, ‘I didn’t do well at this,’ than to say, ‘I did marvellously at it.’ Which is a bit depressing really, isn’t it?”

It is. But I was touched by how openly the women I interviewed were willing to delve into their failures. Gina Miller, the woman who took on the government over Brexit and won, wanted to talk not about that victory but about surviving an abusive marriage, raising a daughter with special needs and failing to graduate from a law degree.

Coping with these twists in life, said Miller, “taught me that you mustn’t make such a rigid plan for your life that when it doesn’t work out, you’re so sad and you then just live feeling this sense of disappointment, because that ruins the rest of your life. You have to let go. It’s like a mourning. You have to grieve and put it aside and bury it and then move on, and that’s what I learned to do.”

The consequence of all of this was that she was forced to be honest about her own mistakes and weaknesses and, by confronting them, she built up the emotional resilience necessary to tackle the next challenge. Success, she explained, was not about getting things right the first time, but stemmed from being able to look at one’s past honestly and then to correct missteps or errors of judgment. That, in turn, gave her more confidence to make brave choices. “In life we’re all going to fail,” she said. “So you might as well have a strategy for how you deal with failure, and then once you’ve got that in your back pocket, you can go out in life and really take risks.”

Laing admitted that she saw the whole of her 20s as a failure – she struggled to find her way, trying out several versions of herself, as a road protester, a medical herbalist, a cleaner and the deputy literary editor of this newspaper before she left and stepped into an unknown future. Not knowing what else to do, she funnelled her distress into the proposal for a book about Virginia Woolf, weaving in elements from her own life.

That book became To the River, which was shortlisted for the Ondaatje prize, and Laing has since gone on to become one of our foremost writers and cultural commentators, who often uses her own experiences of alienation and loneliness as a means to get to some essential, connecting truth. Her failures have, in this way, become her art.

Sebastian Faulks, the author of 16 books including the international bestseller Birdsong, at first felt he wouldn’t have much to contribute to the podcast. His attitude towards failure was that it was a matter of how one perceived it, and he felt his life thus far had been blessed rather than cursed. He gave me three, deliberately playful examples of failure including “once getting out [at cricket] when I had made 98 and chipped a return catch to the bowler” and the occasion on which he came second in a prestigious Italian literary prize. It was awarded, instead, to the brother-in-law of the chairman of the judges.

“Is that a failure?” he mused. “I mean, I wouldn’t have thought so, I thought it was rather a success to be going to Milan to be celebrated in a country not your own for a book with no Italian connection.”

But Faulks had also experienced periods of depression in his life, most notably at university where he “struggled to adapt… I was extremely confused and very fragile and it took quite a lot of time to get over that. I wouldn’t say I have got over it really.”

Many of my interviewees’ failures stemmed from doomed romantic relationships, but they often credited those experiences with providing stimulation for creativity. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who won a Bafta for writing and starring in the feminist sitcom Fleabag, found a certain “glory in failure [because] fighting so hard to be so in love with someone with all that passion in your 20s and teens and then throwing everything at it and it’s not working, or there being so much pain – that is the stuff that so much creativity comes out of. So it’s out of those painful break-ups or miscommunications – or just horrible sticky one-night stands – that you grow in those moments, and so I value them all.”

With so much of my time being spent asking other people about their failures, it was only natural that my thoughts would wander to my own.

If I had to list my three major failures, right up at the top would be the failure of my marriage. Part of the reason my marriage ended (and this will only ever be a subjective assessment) was that I think I tried too hard to please. I forgot, in the rush to appear flawless and irreproachable, that it was far more important to be real than perfect. Like many women I know, I spent my 20s desperately wanting to be loved in order to shore up a shaky sense of self. If I placed no demands on my spouse, the internal reasoning went, if I did everything right, then there would be no excuse not to love me.

It’s terrible logic and, inevitably, it fell apart. The divorce catapulted me into a different sort of life from the one I had imagined. Here I was, in my late 30s, single, without children, and navigating uncharted waters. Despite never having thought of myself as a particularly unconventional person, it struck me I was living an unconventional life. My failure to have children at the time when all my contemporaries were having babies and moving closer to good schools made me reassess what I could get from the life I already had. If motherhood wasn’t going to be part of the future I had always imagined for myself, where else would I find fulfilment?

Life crises have a way of doing that: they strip you of your old certainties and throw you into chaos. The only way to survive is to surrender to the process. When you emerge, blinking into the light, you have to rebuild what you thought you knew about yourself.

It dawned on me that I had my work. I was lucky in the sense that being a writer means you never feel fully alone – you always have the company of the characters you create. I also had my friends and family, from whom I get a great deal of love and compassion. And, actually, if I looked at the failure in a different way, it could also double up as an opportunity: I was free of responsibility. I was no longer living my life in a misguided attempt to please other people. So I could live in a more agile, flexible way. If I wanted to move to Los Angeles for three months and live in an Airbnb, then I could (and did).

I think what I’ve learned from failure is that things not turning out the way you’d planned gives your time on this earth a lot more texture and meaning. I’m now oddly grateful for all the losses – the miscarriage, the divorce, the subsequent break-up of another relationship – because without them I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am, and I wouldn’t have seen the richness in a different kind of life.

Besides, no failure is all-consuming. A nice woman in Shropshire bought my wedding dress on eBay and I put the money into funding the first couple of episodes of the podcast. As I folded the dress into a box, wrapping it carefully in layers of tissue paper, I thought to myself that this wasn’t a failure at all. It was a part of my life. I had learned from it. And now I was letting it go.


Monday, 16 July 2018

Report submitted

The final day of my exhibition THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER at The Word marked the end of my project, Voices: Within and Without. This year long project has been supported by Arts Council England. 

I have been working on the end of project evaluation report and have been reflecting on the various aspects of the project. It has been a really productive and rewarding year, and I look forward to following up all the interesting and exciting things that have emerged as a result.

Here is a reminder of some of the outcomes from my Voices: Within and Without project.

Spoken Word Residency at Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, Canada

Everything Will Be Alright sound installation at Cheeseburn

Portion Control publication exhibited as part of REALITY CHECK at The NewBridge Project: Gateshead

A lot can happen in a  performance workshop at TURF, London

THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER performance at The Word, South Shields

THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER audio-visual installation at The Word, South Shields

I would like to thank all the project partners and people involved in my project.

Plus huge thanks to Arts Council England for supporting me

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Motsonian // Becky Peach – Life in a Northern Town at The NewBridge Project:Gateshead

Motsonian // Conical Earth
Becky Peach // Moving in (un)familiar places

Today I am invigilating at The NewBridge Project: Gateshead. It is the final chance to see the first of three Life in a Northern Town exhibitions all of which feature work by emerging and early-career artists living and working in the North of England. It has been programmed in partnership with Assembly House (Leeds), Islington Mill (Manchester), Caustic Coastal (Manchester), Bloc Projects (Sheffield) and The Royal Standard (Liverpool).

For the first exhibition of Life in a Northern Town, Motsonian and Becky Peach use sculptural installation to subvert and challenge peoples perceptions of, and interactions with space. Motsonian’s work explores the post industrial landscape of the North East, and the boundary between the physical and virtual worlds, and Peach invites audiences to reinterpret the space around them through wearable sculptures.

Motsonian’s Conical Earth explores the culture surrounding the Kiviõli hillclimb as a compelling metaphor for the transformation of the North East of England, where she now lives and works. The Kiviõli hillclimb is a motocross spectacle that takes place in the artist’s home country of Estonia on top of man-made hills created with the ash from oil shale mining which took place from the 1920s until the ‘90s. In the annual event, competitors ride modified motorcycles in an attempt to be the fastest to reach the summit of a steep incline.

In this new work Motsonian suggests the Kiviõli hillclimb as a way of articulating a comparable identification with the North East of England: from historical traces of landscape and industry to the transformation of Newcastle into a leisure city and Gateshead into a cultural hub. As a symbol of the leftovers of industry reborn as spectacle and leisure, the work encourages questions at the heart of post-industrial northern identity and utility.

In Moving in (un)familiar places, Becky Peach draws from aspects of child’s play to create intimate sensory experiences, that re-evaluate the familiar, and provoke dissonance between space and action. Taking inspiration from recent visits to sensory rooms, Peach invites audiences to explore their spatial awareness through tactile interactions with shapes and textures that relate to the local surroundings.

As an advocate of arts for health, she is interested in how engaging in creative practice can enhance cognitive ability and further personal and collective consciousness. Curious to what point this is revealed and how much experience is shared.

Motsonian is the username for Monica Maria Rohtmaa (b. 1995. Viljandi, Estonia), an artist based in Gateshead, UK. Motsonian’s practice combines contemporary technology with sculptural installation by using virtual reality, drone footage and concepts from video games to create installations about the intersection of the physical and virtual worlds. Recent work uses projected video onto physical structures, in reference to what’s known in 3D digital environments as texture mapping, along with the visual symbol of knitting, a tradition drawn from her Estonian heritage, as a metaphor for a video game aim system or player’s view.

Motsonian has recently exhibited with Goldtapped (Newcastle), Baltic 39 (Newcastle), Northern Charter (Newcastle) and Exchange Rates (New York). In 2017 she was shortlisted for the The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Prize. Her writing on video game space in contemporary art recently appeared in IsThisIt?Magazine.

Becky Peach is an artist, facilitator and current director of The Royal Standard.She is the print assistant and engagement assistant at The Bluecoat. Concerned with hierarchies, codes and values that govern behavior, Becky explores community alongside autonomy through engaging in processes that are harmonious among the fine arts, design and craft disciplines.

Recent exhibitions include; Space and Sensibility, Surtsey Projects, Liverpool (2017), Paper #32: Tracing Paper, Paper Gallery, Manchester (2016), and The Royal Standard, Temple Du Gout, Nantes, France (2016). Recent residencies include theInternational Visiting Artist Residencyat Cork Printmakers (2017), At the Library, Crosby Library (2017), and a 5-day Bookmaking Residencyat Open Eye Gallery (2015).

Friday, 13 July 2018

The voices in my head - BBC Documentary

This moving documentary uses audio reconstruction to "take viewers in to the world of three people who hear voices as a result of mental illness. Around 1 in 10 adults hear voices in their heads as a result of a number of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia.

Kyle started hearing a voice after he lost his job, house and girlfriend in quick succession, he then attacked himself. As Kyle tries to control the voice, he has to come to terms with the possibility that he may have to get used to life with it.

Emmalina has been hearing a collection of voices since she was a child and has found that by welcoming them in, they can all live relatively peacefully - except when the voice of 'the devil' appears. After traumatic experiences earlier in her life, the voices have become a source of comfort and companionship, but they have also made her more isolated. We follow Emmalina as she strives to become more independent.

After four years Chaz is still fighting her voice, which keeps up a steady stream of abuse in Chaz's ear. She has jumped off a bridge twice, leaving her reliant on a wheelchair - but still she feels drawn back to a nearby bridge. The film follows her attempts to resist, as she looks to poetry as a way to cope."

Thursday, 12 July 2018

SAVE THE DATE - Saturday 18th August 2018 - Drone Ensemble gig at Boiler House, Newcastle University

Drone Ensemble have been invited to perform in the newly refurbished Boiler House at Newcastle University on Saturday 18th August.

We are planning an ambitious durational performance between 12-7pm during which a number of selected artists / musicians will contribute to the score. Details of the special guests will be released in due course.

Back in the workshop, Joe has been experimenting with creating instruments that produce sounds through mechanical means (motors, gravitational pull and self destructing / re-creating organic elements).

On Monday night we had a play with these latest creations, and discussed our plans for Summer. We've got some exciting stuff in the pipeline so stay tuned (excuse the puns!)           


Monday, 9 July 2018

Glasgow Women's Library nominated for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018

Glasgow Women's Library

I was delighted to hear (on BBC Radio 4's Front Row) that Glasgow Women's Library was one of the 5 finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018.


The others on the shortlist were Brooklands Museum, Ferens Art Gallery, The Postal Museum, and Tate St Ives.

Glasgow Women's Library is the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to women's lives, histories and achievements, Glasgow Women's Library offers archives, exhibitions and events in the heart of the city's East End.

The library began as a grassroots project in 1991 and has since grown to become a multi-award-winning resource attracting leading academics and artists.

As well as offering a free lending library, GWL holds a treasure trove of historical and contemporary artefacts and archive materials, from Suffragette memorabilia and 1930s dress-making patterns to rare 1970s Scottish Women’s Liberation newsletters, making it a Recognised Collection of National Significance.

Aiming to empower women whatever their background, the library offers a range of events and learning opportunities from one-to-one literacy tutoring and creative workshops to film screenings and guided walks exploring the hidden histories of women in Glasgow.

Tate St Ives was declared the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 last week.

For more information please visit




Friday, 6 July 2018

Body, you are not me - Oliver Doe at Abject 2 Gallery, Breeze Creatives as part of Curious 2018

Body, you are not me
Oliver Doe
Abject 2 Gallery
2nd Floor, Breeze Creatives

Exhibition open 3rd - 7th July, 11am - 5pm

'Newcastle based transmedia artist Oliver Doe presents an exhibition of new and recent works, accompanied by a limited mini-publication, as part of Curious Festival 2018's visual art programme.

Since 2014, Oliver's research and practice has been centred around queer visibility and representations of queer bodies, and he has previously partnered with organisations such as Northern Pride and The Albert Kennedy Trust. His work has been developed from personal experience of queer identity and the intersections between body and identity that lie in between binaries. Oliver's work takes transmedia forms, using painting, text, sculpture, and the found object (as well as the less well-defined spaces in between those) to explore ideas around the queer potential of abstraction. Reduced and abstracted bodily forms explore the changing boundaries of queer bodies and the possibility to recognise the body as a site of queer sexuality.

The accompanying mini-publication includes a selection of Oliver's new poems, which provide context for the paintings and objects.'

More info can be found online: http://www.oliverdoe.com

Sunday, 1 July 2018

The hunt for a new Director for NewBridge has begun

Job Opportunity: Director

Deadline: Wednesday 25th July 2018, 12pm

The NewBridge Project is looking to appoint a dynamic Director to lead the organisation going forward.

The Director will oversee all elements of NewBridge’s operations and activities including: strategic development, building development, fundraising, artistic programme, facilities management, company & finance and audience development & engagement.

NewBridge was established as an artist-led initiative in 2010 and at its core remains a strong artist community. As such, a key element of the Director’s role will be to strategically steer the organisation while ensuring it remains responsive to artists, contemporary visual arts practice and its locality (Newcastle & Gateshead).

The NewBridge Project is at an exciting and pivotal point in its development as we look to secure long-term building solutions for all our activities. We are looking for an exceptional and ambitious individual who can navigate this process, articulating and achieving a collective vision while moving towards a secure and sustainable future for the organisation.

The role will be ideally suited to an individual who is looking for a new challenge; will bring energy, enthusiasm and determination to the role; has a unique understanding of working with and supporting artists; who thrives working in collaboration as well as under pressure; is highly motivated and organised, a strategic thinker and problem solver; and someone willing to get stuck in with all that comes with running an artist-led initiative.

PHOTO: Kuba Ryniewicz

Director of The NewBridge Project, Charlie Gregory will be leaving the organisation to take up a new role with Create as The White House Curator. Charlie will be stepping down after 5 years as Director at the beginning of August 2018 and will take up her new role in late August 2018.

Julia Bell, Chair of NewBridge said:
“We are incredibly thrilled for Charlie and the fantastic opportunity she has ahead of her, the Board of Trustees wish to thank her for all her hard work and commitment to The NewBridge Project. Her work has been outstanding and her impact on the organisation has been substantial, she should rightly feel proud of what she has accomplished. It has been a pleasure as a Board to watch her grow into not only an accomplished Director but also a strong and generous cultural leader for the North East visual arts sector who is deeply respected by her peers. She will be sorely missed, we can’t deny that, but we wish her every success and as a Board commit to appointing a successor who can build on the strong foundations she has built for us as an organisation.”

Charlie Gregory said:
“NewBridge has been my home for 5years and has given me so many wonderful experiences, memories and friendships – it has been a difficult decision to leave such a remarkable community of artists, staff, partners & collaborators; an ambitious programme of exhibitions, commissions, community projects and artist development; as well as my home turf, the North East.

During the time I’ve been part of NewBridge, I’ve seen it grow into an amazing and incredibly strong artist community and organisation: It’s move from Norham House (its base for over 7 years) into two news sites Carliol House &  Gateshead High Street; achieving Arts Council National portfolio status; securing revenue funding through Newcastle Culture Investment Fund; developing a partnership with Newcastle University to deliver bespoke graduate support through The Collective Studio; gaining charitable status with a strong and supportive board of trustees; establishing many initiatives and opportunities to support artists to develop their practice and careers such as Practice makes Practice; and moving towards securing a long-term premises to house all these activities.

I am excited to be moving onto a new role with Create, an organisation I greatly admire and respect. The role will allow me to pursue my passion for supporting artists to explore different models of collaborative arts practice embedded within a community context. The White House is unique in providing a space where artists and communities can experiment, think, play and ultimately create new ways art can form part of our everyday lives. I look forward to helping develop a collaborative vision and an artistic and community resource that has real impact.

NewBridge will always mean a lot to me, I truly believe it in, its ethos, its value and everything it does for artists in the North East and beyond. It is now ready for someone else to take the reins – if you are up for the challenge, watch this space!”