Monday, 30 September 2019

Yorkshire Sculpture International at Leeds City Art Gallery

2019 saw the launch of Yorkshire Sculpture International, a festival of sculpture taking place across Leeds and Wakefield from June to September. 

In addition to the exhibitions at the four main galleries; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Leeds Art Gallery, The Henry Moore Institute and The Hepworth, there programme also includes a number of outdoor sculptures and new commissions.

Rachel Harrison draws upon a wide range of influences, fusing art historical references with references from pop culture. Her choice of materials is similarly eclectic, with nods to art history and contemporary society.

Joanna Piotrowska selected a number of artworks from the Leeds collection and displayed these alongside her series of black and white photographs investigating social structures. Piotrowska asked local people in Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Warsaw and London to create makeshift structures in their homes. 

Although it is not part of Yorkshire Sculpture International, my visit afforded me the opportunity to reconnect with Lothar Goetz's vibrant wall painting which dominates the main staircase. Goetz is interested in how colour interferes with our perception of space and form. 

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Nika Neelova - EVER - The Tetley Gallery, Leeds

EVER was a solo exhibition by the Russian-born artist Nika Neelova at The Tetley Gallery in Leeds. Neelova presented new and existing work that responded to, and was in dialogue with, the building's unique art deco architecture.

'At the centre of the exhibition is a new large-scale sculptural installation in The Tetley's atrium. Connecting with the building's past, it recalls the restoration and transformation of the atrium into a gallery space and incorporates original materials such as parquet floor tiles and oak panelling salvaged from The Tetley building.  Featuring these discarded architectural fragments, the installation creates a transitional space depicting, and derived from, places that once existed. For Neelova, it takes the form of a 'landscape in ruin', presenting different layers of reworked and reimagined architectural, sculptural and geological artefacts.'

In the old office spaces that surround the atrium space, Neelova installed a number of existing geological and architectural sculptures. The Lemniscate sculpture series is made from reclaimed wooden bannisters. Neelova has repurposed the bannisters and fitted them together so that they each become a continuous form.

Neelova's architecturally focused work benefits from being displayed in a gallery with its own unique architectural features and likewise the gallery benefits from her work as it naturally emphasises the context in which it is displayed. 

My criticism would be that there is too many repeated versions of the same idea. After seeing a couple of forms made from bannisters, I no longer gain from seeing a different variation of this theme. 

Friday, 20 September 2019

Berwick Film Festival 2019

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (BFMAF) is one of the UK’s leading festivals for new cinema and artists’ moving image.

Based in England’s most northerly town, BFMAF is a dynamic forum where fresh artistic voices develop and audiences hungry for complex and challenging art are nurtured.

Increasingly recognised for its innovative programme and critical engagement, BFMAF presents artists’ and filmmakers’ work in the cinema as well as expanded formats of exhibition and performance.

I chose to visit the exhibition programme as opposed to the film programme, but all exhibitions were focussed on artists' moving image.
I found this slightly problematic in the sense that after a number of hours I began to tire of watching moving images and longed for some sculptural or an exhibition of a different nature to change the pace and nature of looking. I wasn't particularly blown away by any of the artworks, but really enjoyed exploring some of Berwick's hidden spaces and have some ideas of artworks that I would like to develop for as site specific works.

The Magazine was one of the spaces that I was most drawn to for its sonic possibilities.

Aura Satz's Preemptive Listening project focused on sonic obedience and disobedience through the trope of the siren. The Fork in the Road comprised trumpet improvisor Mazen Kerbaj's composition of a new siren sound using circular breathing, and actor/activist Khalid Abdalla speaking on the siren as the emblematic sound of resistance, oppression and lost futures during the Arab Spring. Shot on 16mm, the film was literally driven by its soundtrack, as the voice became a beacon, activating emergency rotating lights.

Following the film, a sound installation—featuring Elaine Mitchener (voice), Laurie Spiegel (electronica), Anton Lukoszevieze (cello), Maja Ratkje (voice) and Rhodri Davies (harp)—proposed a speculative re-imagining of emergency signals. Sirens were recomposed through a variety of instruments, infinitely rising tones and more—from loud and defiant to low, mournful or nearly imperceptible. It was this sound installation that was most interesting to me. The video seemed unnecessary and the voiceover acted as a distraction.

Some of the more successful artworks were those that responded to the space in which they were exhibited. 

Bugs and Beasts Before the Law was sited in the Town Hall Old Gaol, and successfully responded to this unique setting.

Bugs and Beasts Before the Law explored the history and legacy of the “animal trials” that took place in medieval Europe, in which animals—and other non-humans, such as insects and inanimate objects—were put on trial for various crimes and offenses, ranging from trespassing and thievery, to assault and murder. This history of colonial law-making forged political and sometimes profane relationships between humans and animals. Bambitchell's essayistic film reimagined common perceptions of legal history and, in doing so, produced a world where past and present, fiction and non-fiction, human and animal fuse. —Bambitchell

Recent drawing - alphabet series - J

Thursday, 19 September 2019

To Me, To You - Mick Peter - The BALTIC

"Mick Peter’s playful installations incorporate imagery influenced by illustration and commercial art. To Me, To You draws on archetypes of the artist in a narrative sequence about a sculpture being produced and displayed in a gallery.

Peter references how abstract modern sculpture has sometimes been used to represent the incomprehensibility of art in editorial illustrations in newspapers and magazines. By showing the imagined decisions being taken in a studio Peter wittily undermines the significance and authority of the finished sculpture."

We begin by walking through the gallery office, the administration centre of the gallery and then enter the corridor-like expanse that is split into a number of booths, each a different scenario in the artist's studio tracking the development of activities on the day that the art handlers have come to collect his work.

As the narrative develops, one realises that, as the art handlers struggle to move the sculpture, the artist adapts its shape so as to make it easier to carry.

I appreciate the understated simplicity of the work which complements the cartoon-like style of Peter's monochrome drawings. The humour within the work is coupled with an intelligent understanding of the contemporary art world.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Collage cut outs

I spent an afternoon cutting out sections of colour and patterns from magazines, and then enjoyed placing them on top of each other to create interesting compositions. I intend to create some collages from these later this week. Here are a few of my initial experiments.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Latest eyesore progress from marginendeavour

Once Upon a Space, exhibition by Helen Edling, Kat Auld and Sarah Tulloch

GOLDTAPPED, The NewBridge Project, Newcastle upon Tyne
5th - 16th August
Finnisage 6 - 8pm 15th August

During a 14 day residency in the gallery Helen Edling, Kat Auld and Sarah Tulloch worked together as part of artists’ collective Once upon a Space. 

The three artists work with found, ephemeral and contingent materials and explore everyday and unexpected playful juxtapositions of material. The photographic and the sculptural are preoccupations as is the ‘drawn’ line whether that be explored through 3d pens, ink or the scalpel knife. 

Auld works with ephemeral projects and photography, Edling with sculpture and drawing and Tulloch with collage and video. 

The artists focused on rhizomic forms including plant roots and 3D pen technologies.


The artists wanted to blur the boundary between artist and audience, to encourage participation but also to allow unexpected things to happen and work in a way that was open to that chance element. They encouraged other artists in the building to participate, for example by touching, re-arranging and commenting on the work. 

The gallery is located the heart of the studios; meaning that most of the visitors and studioholders walk through it to reach their destination. I found it fascinating to witness the presence of the artists working away in the gallery as I moved through the space on numerous occasions to and from my studio. This encouraged interaction and dialogue, and I had some really meaningful conversations with the artists as they worked. 

I also benefited from getting an insight into the working practice of one of the NewBridge studioholders (Sarah Tulloch) and being introduced to some new artists (Helen Edling and Kat Auld). It is rare for any of the NewBridge artists to have exhibitions in the gallery, and so was really useful to learn more about Sarah's practice, gain a better understanding of her areas of research and further the possibilities for constructive dialogue in the future. The setup of the exhibition made for an interesting model that could be repeated.

As for the work itself, I was taken by their approach to materials, the use of the cardboard, the juxtaposition of colours and expanded drawing practices. Process was integral to the work.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Newcastle University MFA Degree Show 2019

Each August the Newcastle University Master of Fine Art students take over the Fine Art building and fill the beautiful studio spaces that span over five floors. The result is unique and often site-specific work that makes the most out of the large-scale spaces, with the addition of the newly renovated Hatton Gallery.

Fourteen students from both year 1 and 2 exhibited work across the disciplines of painting, sculpture, installation, and new media. The show was curated in collaboration with Turner-prize nominated artists Jane and Louise Wilson.

Exhibitors were:

Alice Adams, Eleanor Curry, Carole McCourt, Jenny Mc Namara, Rebecca Reed, Yan Yin, Ella Jones, Sophia Juergens, Darryn Sharpe, Genevieve Stone, Zenaira Mahmood, Wan-Chen Chan, Sara Palmer, Valeriia Savina

I enjoyed the diversity of the exhibition, and there was some very strong work. The luxury of having such beautiful studio and gallery spaces to work in and then exhibit in obviously had a beneficial effect on the work produced. I look forward to seeing how these artists continue to develop as they, in the case of the 1st years, move into their final year of the MFA or for the graduating students, leave the educational establishment.

Carole McCourt

Jenny McNamara

Jenny McNamara

Zenaira Mahmood

Eleanor Curry

Eleanor Curry

Sara Jane Palmer

Genevieve Stone

Genevieve Stone

Sophia Juergens

Sophia Juergens

Sophia Juergens

Sophia Juergens

Sophia Juergens

Sophia Juergens

Sophia Juergens