Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: Rosalind Davis
SHOW&TELL blog is a collection of my notes from ZeitgeistArtsProjects talks as well as other talks/conferences/debates/ exhibitions I attend or create!
It is a way of giving some insight to those who cannot attend these event & an archiving device for some remarkable artists, arts organisations and projects.
# 6 [12 September 2012]
I think, this is the final post on ' What Keeps You Motivated to work in the arts..." Thanks to all those who contributed.....another debate to come!
@marjojo2004 Art-making – best conversation with the world. Open. Speculative, Undogmatic. Best way to surprise yourself by what you say.
Best way to probe relationships betw things, animate/inanimate, now/then. Wakes up parts you didn’t know were alive in you.
@JunoDoran boundless possibilities
And from painting friends at Luna Park, where I recently exhibited at the Lion and Lamb Gallery which is a fantastic artist led space, run by Turps Banana Editor Peter Jones & Katrina Blannin
The show was Curated by Jake Clark which included Jeffrey Dennis, Robin Dixon, Gunther Herbst and Jake Clark.
Justin Hibbs: Having the space to make something your own. Its addictive
Gunther Herbst: Affirmation….Stops you wasting time. Something to do which is enjoyable and exciting.Not knowing the outcome. The journey of the unknown….that and the cocktails.
Robin Dixon: To lose yourself.
Mandy Hudson: I don’t know what else I would do. It is something I am good at.
Kirk Morrison: The challenge of bringing something larger to life, that’s in your imagination.
And a quote from Jim Morrison:
“ I just want to get my kicks before this hell hole goes up in fire. “
# 5 [17 August 2012]
Week 2 and the tweets keep flying in on ' What Keeps You Motivated in the Arts.' I had not at the time of asking it anticipated such an overwhelming response and hope everyone doesnt mind me compiling- which had not been my intention at first, until I suddenly hit 50 tweets . Its so we can all read each others thoughts on what can be clearly a challenging yet profoundly rich career path .
It was also the headline news on a-n
Unfortunately we slightly lost the hashtag #artsworth on some twitters that came back but either way, everything is being compiled here.
"Art needs motives that are more profound than profit" 7 Days in the Art World, Sarah Thornton
Tweet me @rosalinddavis to contribute
@NadegeMeriau Nice I will simply quote Socrates as my response " The unexamined life is not worth living "
the thing that motivates me is the possibility that one day I can work in the studio all day every day. period!
by making things I am able to solve problems that thinking alone would not deliver
@heatherbellart Artists can change the world by helping others to see differently.
@jemmajwatts Because being an artist gives you permission to be curious about the world, be interested in anything and ask akward Qs
@lisamuten Inspired by the richness of imaginations, the unexpected, the unknown and the need to improve on the lastest work. life would be too mundane without art!
@BridgetHJackson Me too “@susanefrancis:...because in the studio, alone, I feel totally and inexplicably content and always have done”
@G_Embroidery learning new techniques and and exploring different processes is what keeps me motivated
@Corr_ remembering the alternative keeps me going,wrking with amazingly supportive gallery/people,all the things ev'one else said:)
@cie_brown Hard to say, but for me a sort of yearning, a restlessness and a curiosity. & every so often, a feeling of getting it right.
@joolshenry I have found a way to express myself.
@TheSoupLab ecause every single day is different when running an art space. You are constantly surprised by people's ability to make and share.
@LeelaClarke Blood, sweat, tears, love&encountering lovely,exciting&crazy people along the way
@GordonAitcheson Motivation?The vague possibility that my next work just might be the one that I could conceivably almost be satisfied with.
@trevors_myth I do it because it is in me, I couldn't not do it
@Counterwork I love being constantly asked when I'm getting a proper job.
@Charley_Peters What motivates me to work in the arts....the constant mental challenges, likeminded people... exciting collaborations, new ideas, independence of thought...and besides its many frustrations, it's just great fun
James Mark Whittet Reason #1: When my mind can't deal with a tricky situation or find a logical solution to it, making a piece of art takes me out of myself and into a cerebral realm.
@rebeccagloveruk its the unexpected discoveries along the journey. Nothing is ever predictable
@BADEPTart Its Mental Freedom to express yourself, develope yourself and learn about the world around you
@Phil_Hall_Patch That rush I get when a good idea feels like someone just lit a sparkler in my brain!
@greigburgoyne motivated/arts- its being driven by an urgency to communicate that has no other equivalent in daily life think film "stalker'
@juliecaves Those 'painting dreams', belonging to a creative community, using art for 'positive defiance', and colour.
Reply From @rosalinddavis to @rebeccagloveruk : definitely.an exciting journey with endless possibilities&potential. Return From Julie Caves: really is! And a sort of battle against society's obsessive need to define/predict the outcome of things
@helen_nisbet creating a platform for others&for myself to ask questions,do something positive& ideally to encourage solidarity between people
@silviejacobi think ahead: new territories for arts. challenge truly creative ideas & concepts that bring growth to urban & global economies
@EKpaint it is a daily challenge that stimulates the brain and gives satisfaction at times.
# 4 [16 August 2012]
Show&Tell has been on summer break….However, yesterday I asked on twitter: What keeps you motivated to work in the arts? Here are the rather,brilliant,insightful tweet answers so far. Tweet yrs @rosalinddavis #artsworth
@thebenstreet Obstinance….Fun (honest answer)
@thisladypaints the constant urge to create
@JackJHutchinson Creation. Growth. Success. Failure. People. Drawing. Insight. Beauty. New horizons….
@markscottwood It's got everything you need. Beauty, horror, scandal, drama, meaning, pointlessness, gossip and the biggest reason is just the sheer pleasure that comes from finishing the thing you're working on, I find it immense.. I'm at my happiest when just experimenting with the unknown. Pulping paper for sculptures is my new joy at present.
RD reponse: but learning from that which has gone wrong is also part of the process.imperative I would say to move practice on
MSW: That is if it goes according to plan. Failure can be almost as powerful, devastating.
@annabeltilley obviously not £! But that's it, being with people who make art, talk art, teach art because it's at the core of who they are
@mitra_m for me the questions the answers the unknowns
@AlanJSlater Not really inspiration... just a need to do it.
debbie ainscoe @wendyhan Cant help but make things/paint always have done, since little. Its a strange feeling not to.
@40elephantsmob pure, unadulterated, stupid love of art and creativity. Plus the corporate sector won't employ mad cows like us.
barnswell @EvryDyisDifrnt 1.15am. So far, only way to feel a bit at home in the world now and then
@rachwilberforce The possibilities Questioning Work-in-progress The journey
@daviddipre I have no choice in the matter. Unavoidable.
@MichaelaNettell Ditto, just something inside of me.
@brobirn constant need to question/understand the world we live in.
LeeAP @Debrisdaily intellectual growth spliced with adult playtime... and Titian
@Captainpye fulfils-like nothing else does. The world is so full of beautiful things I want to respond in some way
@KatrionaBeales It's all about my practice - thrill of the chase of a good idea + seeing it realised in the flesh... and then the way the things you've made have a presence of their own + set up different conversations with different people
@ShelleyRaeArt The free-fall feeling of creating, of an almost zen-like state of mind while in artistic "process". Meeting art soul-mates
@ElizabethMurton so much- playtime, learning new things- practical & conceptual, exploring materials... seeing something emerge, seeing a connection, developing an idea, moving your practice onwards... Just being in my studio!
Justine Cook @jcsculpture you can only do what you do, so to be true to yourself you have to create. There is no choice if want to keep sane & healthy!
Mark Jackson @mjacksonesq good question... various factors:
because there have been amazing projects by artists that may not have happened but for my involvement. .because there is no victory in art, but it's the closest thing to relief. because my grandfather's ghost makes me. Art is his vessel for EVP. Like automatic curating. because it's better to fire the slings and arrows than to suffer or oppose them.
(and lo! He is CURATOR! Fixed as a limpet on the great hull of art. Tearing the skin off of rogue seamen. Et cetera) but mostly because I like helping other people do things. ...my favourite bit is the sound of a silent photographer documenting an exhibition. A sound of observation. Delicious.
Andrew Bracey @BraceyAndrew Simple, imagine a situation where you did not work in the arts. Horrible.
@michelehrashman Because despite deriving no recompense in terms of financial, practical, social reward or appreciation, it is still worth it.
@AlistairGentry 1- knowing there are people out there who care about what I say, do and make. 2- If you can, why wouldn't you? Best job ever. 3- I love art, literature, films, plays & all the other products of human imagination that make a person truly alive.
@speedina working around amazing people as well as constantly being in scary, challenging fun situations and erm, love.
@rosalinddavis: An insatiable passion for learning, collaboration.knowledge,
# 3 [9 July 2012]
Ideas Matter Sphere - Pattern Completion – Neuroscience meets Visual Art & Sound
Elizabeth Murton, http://www.elizabethmurton.co.uk our ZAP / DIY Educate Colleague also runs
http://www.ideas-matter-sphere.com a catalyst for cross disciplinary discussion. Below are my notes on the intriguing talk I attended- engaging and thought provoking….
In 2010 neuroscientist Hugo Spiers, sound designer Tom Simmons and artist Michaela Nettell developed an audio-visual installation to explore ways in which networks of brain cells recall memories.
Neuroscientist and lecturer at UCL
Hugo’s research is concerned with how we use our brain to remember the past, navigate space, and imagine the future. www.ucl.ac.uk/spierslab
What is a memory? Life-defining moments. Memories such as your first kiss are encoded in the brain. But how do you retrieve those memories ten years later? The hippocampus is a crucial part of the brain for memory – if part of the hippocampus is damaged you may lose all your memories. Thousands of cells in your brain get excited by experiences e.g. going to a bar, that contains memories of other times (it was great to be in a bar): the emphasis of excitement.
A lot of memories are spatial: your brain is constantly processing and structuring the space around you.
What are memories? Spatial understanding.
Information pulsing between connectors takes information from the physicality of the situation – sound and sight. Cells get excited by that sight and sound re-emerging. So a name in itself reverberating in your brain can summon up sight and sound of that person. Memories can be incredibly faulty – we add to the stories taking on board other perspectives and context. Fragility of memory.
Voluntary and involuntary memory – both are important in evolutionary terms e.g you may not have a specific memory of a dangerous situation but an instinct will come into play.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – regions of the brain that deal with memory and anxiety are very closely connected, in some cases people cannot escape these experiences of trauma.
Michaela creates videos and installations that explore the potential of projection techniques to affect relations of space, optics and memory.
The collaboration developed from Michaela’s 2007 video installation Bathysphere, in which snippets of video relating to water – traveling on water, bubbles, swimming – were projected into a constellation of glass spheres. Suspended in space the spheres become capsules for fleeting memories, triggering narratives and associations. Her work is informed by the materiality of glass and relationships between glass and projected light.
In Pattern Completion woodland scenes are projected in fragments into an arrangement of four glass spheres. Sounds and images are shuffled between the spheres so that compositions that initially appear jumbled gradually come together into coherent scenes. Gaps between spheres mean that the scenes are always incomplete – audiences are invited to fill in the spaces with memories of their own. Imagery of pathways and clearings important to enhance sense of distance and depth; also to lead your eyes into the picture, trains of thought.
Scenes are empty of people and events so audiences can develop their own experiences and memories based on what they see. The installation aims to be conducive to memory but doesn’t offer specific narrative.
Visual sequences created through a manipulated time-lapse effect. Emphasising intervals, spaces between, expanding time. Helps you engage, allowing time to experience processes within the image and within the installation.
Sound designer and Senior Lecturer at Norwich University College of the Arts
Tom’s work focuses on ways in which we perceive and experience sounds and animated moving images.www.tom-simmons.net
Sound recordings provide precise spatial details about the forest surroundings, establishing relationships between sounds and images. Large and small scale recordings – from whole environments to close objects and liquids; recordings taken at different times of day and night.
Sounds are experienced through wireless headphones – audience free to move through installation space, changing relationships between projected imagery and sounds.
Listening space – size of glass spheres and relationship to our heads.
Embodied – rather than immersive – installation experience.
Navigating the future – your brain prepares you for future scenarios by coming up with maps of situation, not just geographical but relationally, especially during sleep.
Enjoy and engage!
# 2 [2 July 2012]
The Rise and Rise of Transition Gallery...
ZeitgeistArtsProjects, 14th June 2012.
Cathy Lomax & Alli Sharma
Renowned artists, curators and directors of independent and innovative artist led-gallery and magazine Garageland & Arty.
Cathy Lomax is an advocate of just doing things, ‘I didn't think too hard and fast about marketing etc. people came to Transition and it grew
The initial idea was to have a place to show my work and that expanded
Arty magazine, is a similar idea to gallery.Cathy started magazine to showcase works as well.
People were interested in it-there is nothing like encouragement to make you keep going , so that's how Arty started.
Saatchi buying Stella Vine’s work at an early show was really interesting. Saatchi at that time was visiting east end galleries. He bought Stella’s work and then used it to publicise a show at Saatchi so it was a fantastic career boost for her.
Later on they had a solo show with Emma Talbot. Saatchi bought an entire wall of works.
August 2005: Alex Michon and Cathy Lomax put on their show The English Museum in August http://www.transitiongallery.co.uk/htmlpages/englishm/em_pr.html
There was a lot of press as August such a dead month usually in the art world that people wanted to write about us.
Moving from the Garage to current space in Regents studio in Hackney.
It was more on the art route so that was really useful.
Alli and Cathy are pop culture fans. Like quirky names, quirky themes.
Started up Garageland - a biennial mag, thematically produced. Current one is about Paint, future one about Film.
@cathylomax is planning a big project with Hackney Picture House with a show of her works and to launch the Garageland film mag.
Alli Sharma talking about curating.
Fade Away was a show Alli curated which also toured from Transition across the country, 43 works, selected in 2010.
The idea for Fade Away was about the mix of representation and abstraction
Barry Schwabsky, an art critic,wrote an amazing text and we were thrilled he wrote it. Sometimes you have to ask,you never know who shall say yes!
Alli Sharma runs a fantastic blog 'articulated artists' exploring artists practice &processes.
TIPS: When you approach a gallery, really research the gallery, visit. People approach us that have never been to the show. They do look at all the submissions and some go on file. But you should know the space first.
Keeping in touch, building a relationship with artists is important..
How did Cathy meet Alli?
Emma Talbot was a Tutor of Alli’s and was in a show at Transition
Mix of established artists and younger artists
Alli wanted to be involved in something more than just doing her work.
It's a fluid organisation.its a not-for-profit org. we don't have a salary.
Just started press with networking extraordinaire Corinna Spencer @corr has joined Transition as Marketing. An excellent social media networker extraordinaire.
3 directors, Alli, Cathy and Alex Michon and 3 interns. Are a proper limited company&
We don't represent artists officially but we do work with some artists on an informal basis
Interns? They tend to stay but It's not always exciting, but we try &get them involved in interesting projects. The people who get the most out of it are the ones who understand what we do.
What was Sluice Art Fair like?
Sounded different and had different ethos which was great. Was very busy.
Has your work suffered as a result of running Transition Gallery?
No it hasn't, it has improved. There are other opportunities that sometimes come about because of it. You can get more respect from others because you are running your own project so it balances the power.
The idea of artist/curator is more accepted than it was 10 yrs ago.
How do you balance it all?
It's a question of prioritising. You have to be disciplined!Transition is part of our practice.
# 1 [24 June 2012]
Annabel Tilley and I have been running DIY Educate with the help of Elizabeth Murton, Charlie Norwood and our DIY Educate Ambassador Graham Crowley for the last two years. Central to the programme is an ethos of generosity and sharing and the idea that more experienced artists will act as role models and share their experiences and different careers in the art world and give a more realistic picture of it.
Each talk is a different journey, allowing you to reflect upon and examine new possibilities in one’s work, practically or conceptually. We have had talks from Phoebe Unwin, Fiona Macdonald, Matt Roberts, CoExist, Rob Turner, Emily Speed and Day+Gluckman amongst others.
Marion Michell has been an artist I supported and admired for some time. We first met at Core Gallery (which I founded and ran 2009-11). Marion applied for and was selected for our open submission exhibition 2010 and went on to win a 3 person show with Alyson Helyer and Tom Butler in 2011, Extra-Ordinary which I co-curated at Core Gallery with Jane Boyer.
I have been aware of Marion’s ME and her indomitable courage, persistence and strength. Our audience is geographically vast, from Bristol to Cornwall. I was keen to try to involve Marion as much as possible with our DIY Educate Programme. I was delighted to see her joining (and enjoying) twitter and connecting to people after she attended one of our seminars at Goldsmiths. It was something that had been on my mind, how to connect with all these people who could not come to our talks.
The difficulty is that as an artist-led space we are very ambitious but just do not have the resources. We are a small organisation with big ideas, literally 2 artists on limited time & resources.
I tried to be a live tweeter on the nights of the talks (which can be very successful).
‘Definitely better than nothing, but lonely, fitful and fragmentary’ Marion said in a recent post.
Three events later, I gave up the live tweeting job as its not possible to multitask to that extent as co-organiser, co-chair, speaker, note-taker, photographer (& enjoy and absorb the talk myself)
We tried Skype, which failed too….
As Marion says ‘Nothing can really replace direct contact… of course you also miss out on the chance to meet the other artists in the audience, chat, over a glass of something.’ With our talks, we definitely watch networks building and see that people are inspired and enlightened.
No matter these live technologies it is not the same as being there, for all the bits that cannot be explored in 140 characters or notes and for the connections made. For all that you are partially living through and feel like you are missing out on, it seemed to make things even more excluding to some.
So, I am going back to good old fashioned note taking, less problematic as Susan Francis comments. The talks will be published here after they have taken place. Plus some insights into what we are doing. Already it has been positively received on facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/ZeitgeistArtsProjects/302887699736353
Susan Francis Brilliant Rosalind, and I do find notes like this often more useful than tweeting which tends to have gaps in information etc, thanks for posting
Thanks Rosalind. Good notes, encouraging talk, especially if you want to know how people start their own gallery/mags/projects. Blog for talks=great idea. (Shelley Calhoun)
Jane Ponsford Thanks so much for posting this..
Lisa Muten Thank you - good to read as couldnt get there.
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London-based mixed media painter of dystopian landscapes which incorporate paint embroidery and floral-print.
Rosalind Davis is a graduate from the Royal College of Art and Chelsea College of Art. An artist, curator, award-winning blogger, writer, lecturer, member of the AIR Council and manager of ZAP. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and has work in private and public collections. Her work is currently on display in the Courtauld Institute until 2013.
Davis lectures for organisations such as the RCA, UAL London. As a writer she has contributed to The Guardian, a-n Magazine, Artlicks & Jotta.