Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: AirSpace Gallery
The mission: to be the centre for the Visual Arts in Stoke-on-Trent and the region, providing gallery, studio, educational and meeting spaces
# 103 [11 April 2011]
A Distance Between Two Points
Jo Coupe & Linda Persson
15th April Preview 7-10pm
16th April -4th June 2011
Gallery Open Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 5pm
The phenomena of our experiences, the existence of matter, and its related situations, can be explored through a variety of means. Art, the sciences and philosophy offer propositions that are challenged through a set of criteria and conditions. A Distance Between Two Points, explores crossovers within art, the sciences and philosophy where the artists use materials, images and objects to create positions of experience that explore our understanding of physicality, value and perception. It is within the gaps, between the known and the unknown, where our curiosity can be sparked and open up new dialogues. AirSpace Gallery is delighted to be showing Jo Coupe and Linda Persson together for the first time.
Persson and Coupe both work with base material compounds that offer tensions of meaning, stability and value. How we may harness and understand these qualities is at the very core of our cultures and societies. The sciences are often seen as a world of facts and figures, concluding in explanations for phenomena that would ordinarily appear baffling. The artists in this exhibition are interested in how art and the sciences can question through proposition. Not everything we encounter needs to be explained, in cold facts. The form and structure of the works in the exhibition allows us to suspend our rational mind and begin searching for alternative explanations and their consequences. Progress occurs in both success and failure.
# 102 [24 January 2011]
David Blandy and Antti Laitinen
18th February Preview 6-9pm
19th February -26th March 2011
Gallery Open Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 5pm
Airspace Gallery is pleased to present Journeymen, an exhibition that brings the works of David Blandy and Antti Laitinen together for the first time.
In a cursory sense David Blandy and Antti Laitinen could be described as Journey-men, in that their work is derived from types of quest, endeavour and travel. The correct meaning of the word journeymen actually describes a certain kind of tradesmen and references the training required to master certain skills. This term, dating back to Middle English, is very appropriate for these two particular artists. For Blandy, his interest in characters such as Grasshopper (from the television series Kung Fu), the Crossroads legend of the Mississippi Delta Blues and the mastery of levels in the computer game Street Fighter, indicate that a sense of training has a central role in his work. In Laitinen’s works, that pit him against natural elements or materials, the activities could easily be characterised as quests, or tests, in which he sets out to achieve difficult and very palpable tasks. It is as if the attempt were a way into a new enlightenment, akin to initiation rituals, these acts seem to fulfil a mastery or personal journey into achievement.
# 101 [24 January 2011]
Conjunction 10 : ESCAPE, took place at various venues in Stoke’s city centre and beyond. This is the second year that this innovative project has taken place as a contemporary art biennial for the city, and is a project which is looking to the future and exploring different aspects of the life of contemporary art and its relationship to the city.
This year conjunction was working to the theme of escape artists were invited and were selected from an open submission, to produce work which responded to the theme.
The three main venues this year were The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, AirSpace Gallery and Staffordshire University’s New Cadman Gallery. The show at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, made use of the museums collection of artwork, and through an innovative use of text made relationships between the artworks and the places and ideas that they represented, turning the sculpture court gallery into vivid and bold statement. The exhibition seemed to talk about the ideal of travel and the idea of an alternative existence. For me the strongest works in the show and the ones which best summed up the idea of ‘Escape’ were a little closer to home than the other works. John Curry’s large photographic prints made at the 1986 Garden Festival hosted in that by Stoke-on-Trent, were bold and mesmerising, and armed with a knowledge of the area of the city that was the subject matter presented both a familiar yet far removed vision. The stilt walkers, performers, and general public that are the subjects of these images are unusual but do not appear to be out of place within their faux natural, and landscaped surroundings. The work is a documentary of a time when a former industrial dumping ground and area of outstanding natural horror was transformed, and yet today the place can be contrasted again as it has almost reverted back to nature, with the trimmings of modern consumer life surrounding it.
The exhibition at AirSpace Gallery again was one of contrasts, the varied work found within explored a diversity of ideas of Escape, some pieces set them selves apart from the others while some seemed to complement the ideas behind others but presented them in a radically different way. The work of Juneau Projects installation was both refreshing and addictive, their work falls somewhere between installation, live art, and music. Their piece in this show “Echo Boom” made use of both high-end technology and low-end techniques to create an installation that the viewer became a part of. A bank of computers, screens and projectors used self generating sound and cutout animations created a scene of technological disarray. The viewer walking past the installation activated the sounds which in turn activated the animations. For me the key thing was the randomness of the piece both through the sound, it’s appearance and the need for someone to be present in order to breath life into it. The idea of escape was multiple, escape through sound, technology and invention, and though the physicality of the piece.
Conjunction 10 saw the inaugural exhibition at Staffordshire University’s Cadman Gallery, for me the key aspect of this part of the biennial was its proximity to a place of learning and giving students access to exciting contemporary artwork right on their doorstep. Work which ordinarily would entail a trek to go and see.
Conjunction this year saw a number of activities taking place alongside the exhibition programme. A series of talks and seminars gave people access to the artists involved in the biennial as well as exploring subjects such as collecting, and regeneration.
The main body of the programme concluded on the 27th of November with a day of Live Art taking place across all the city centre venues. It was a day of contrasts and the unexpected, which took all those who attended on a rollercoaster ride of experiences, including fire escapes with bouncers deciding who could leave the building, intense hardcore punk being contained, and a vision of Ancient Greek Gods fallen from grace into a pit of alcohol and Ambrosia custard.
# 100 [3 November 2010]
Two more exciting events for Conjunction coming up this weekend!
5th Nov 5-6pm
Check out the Private View of the Phil Collins, Adam James and Paul Rooney show!
Preview 5th November 5-pm 6pm
Open Wednesday - Friday 10 - 12 November, 17 - 19 November, 24 - 26 November 12 - 4pm
Phil Collins Hero 2002 Phil Collins’ video Hero turns tables on a New York journalist who, like so many other ‘lifestyle’ columnists, found himself having to cover the reality of the lives of those caught in the aftermath of 9/11. Every so often Collins’ arm enters the frame with a mug of whisky, from which the genial hack is obliged to drink, like some terrible reality TV forfeit or an endurance piece of performance art.
Adam James Paris Vagabonds series Adam’s ‘Paris Vagabonds’ pick up on the distinctness of the outsider in the city. City tramps are noticed in their particularity – their micro-performative gestures, and specific clothing is exaggerated and transformed to celebrate their individuality.
Paul Rooney Bookmark This multiple work takes the form of a bookmark on which is written a self contained story, a modern parable of a librarian who discovers a bookmark which has extraordinary powers, one of which is that it seems to be able to stop time itself. The librarian does not use it’s powers ‘correctly’, however, and suffers the consequences. The lessons to be learnt from the parable are not clear and offer no obvious moral guidance.
6th Nov 2-4pm
Artistic Community Development Seminar.
Seminar: Artistic Community Development: (Regeneration) @ AirSpace Gallery
6 November 2 – 4pm
You are invited to attend the second seminar in the series of events as part of conjunction 10. A seminar looking at regeneration, and in-particular how arts organisations have impacted on this area. The two organisations involved have had extensive experience of working with derelict spaces and collaborating on large scale events within their local areas, and developing a national and international reputation for the regions.
The seminar will cover:
Background and Starting Points for the organisationsVision and GoalsProjects, examples and ideas behind themRelationship with the local area, and other organisationsImpact on the areas in which they work, and the Artistic community
Speakers Eastside Projects Robin Kirkham Eastside Projects is an artist-run space, a public gallery for the City of Birmingham and the World. It is organised by a founding collective comprising Simon & Tom Bloor, Celine Condorelli, Ruth Claxton, James Langdon and Gavin Wade, who first conceived and now run the space. Eastside Projects is a new model for a gallery, one where space and programme are
intertwined: a complex evolving programme of works and events starting from radical historical positions. They aim to commission and present experimental contemporary art practices and exhibitions. The artist is invited to set the existing conditions for the gallery. Work may remain. Work may be responded to. The gallery is a collection. The gallery is an artwork. The artist-run space is a public good. Grand Union Harminder Singh Judge Grand Union is an artist-led initiative that supports the development of artists and curators and aims to establish and nurture dialogue between contemporary visual artists, and local, national and international art organisations.
Established by a group of artists and curators in Birmingham, UK, Grand Union is a unique project that houses eight purpose built studios and a project space. It provides a platform for a diverse and exciting programme of events and exhibitions, while the studios provide a professional and secure working environment.
# 99 [4 October 2010]
Conjunction is a Contemporary Art Biennial taking place in Stoke on Trent. This year Conjunction will feature over 15 commissioned artists responding to the theme of Escape. The work will be exhibited in a number of venues in the city centre including AirSpace Gallery, Dazed Gallery and The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.
Artists this year include; Paul Rooney, Fikret Atay, Tim Long, Adam James, Juneau Projects.
There is a range of works to be seen from idyllic landscapes to sound based installations, to bronze sculptures and 8mm film.
There is also a series of events and talks running alongside the biennial, this will include talks from the Curators and the commissioned Artists talking about how they have responded to this years theme. Invited organisations and key individuals such as Helen Moore, Chris Biddlecombe and Tom Varley will talk about the Glasgow art scene. There will also be a chance to gain insight into collecting art and being a Collector through a talk lead by Stephen Snoddy (The New Art Gallery Walsall). There will also be further events and talks from local and regional artists.
If you would like to find out more information about the programme please visit our website:
Conjunction is partnership project between The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Staffordshire University, Stoke on Trent City Council, Wren Park and AirSpace Gallery.
Conjunction has been funded by Arts Council England, Stoke on Trent City Council and Staffordshire University.
# 98 [29 September 2010]
AirSpace Gallery Window
by Phil Rawle
Phil has had a long career as a graphic designer working in London, New York, Washington and the Midlands. He is now exploring the image-making process outside the normal realms of graphic design.
This piece explores the iconography of our secular world, our reverence to the computer, film and TV, and the worship of the transient. The window becomes a stage set evoking the power and glory of advertising, described with the manipulative swagger of ritualised pageantry.
# 97 [17 August 2010]
The Drowning World
Preview: 27th August 6 – 9pm
Exhibition: 28th August – 2nd October
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm
Artists: Dan Davis, Michelle McKeown, Terry Shave.
Artist Talk 18th September
In1962 J. G. Ballard wrote the book The Drowned World, wherein he explored a particular post-apocalyptical scenario and ideas of chaos brought on by the consequences of solar radiation and melting icecaps. Nature takes over, once again, and the world returns to a more primitive state of existence. The protagonist eventually embraces this new natural order but wrestles with the devolutionary position he finds himself in, this sharply contrasts with the determination to retain power and control by other characters. The actions of others eventually persuade the protagonist to find unity with a more organic landscape. After all, you don’t know tranquillity without knowing chaos.
The Drowning World, explores some of this subject matter in relation to contemporary and historical concerns, alongside the layering and transformational processes within the production of art. The artists shown here produce unnerving images, which discuss the dislocation of people related to place, history and society. The notion of strata is key to all of the artists, whether that be historical, physical (in terms of the layering of an image) or social. All of the artists are showing new work in this exhibition.
# 96 [17 August 2010]
AirSpace Gallery Window
Until 23rd August
Paper plane: Questions
Who made the first and why? Was its creation an accident of design or a deliberate action of thoughtful development? How did this simple paper folded efficient delivery, where in truth its flight is unpredictable and unreliable in both duration and direction?
# 95 [6 June 2010]
GREEN / REGEN
Kate Lynch, 2010
Found lithographs, vinyl on polycarbonate sheets
‘GREEN’ is an anagram of ‘REGEN’. The circular form of the text allows both of these words to be read and reflects the regenerative cycle of nature and continuity of life. Just as in the natural world, the city is undergoing constant changes involving destruction and renewal; urban regeneration. Regeneration has become a buzz word in the city at this point in time, often abbreviated as ‘regen’.
‘Green’ is also emerging a desirable and fashionable term/ethos within the city, with campaigns for green spaces and environmental improvement, and the rising popularity of allotments and ‘grow your own’. This organic aesthetic has been diluted into the marketing of many products, with the results sometimes being misleading and false. The use of vinyl lettering and plastic, over the artist’s usual choice of natural and sustainable materials, reflects these contradictions.
The face of the ‘Green Man’ emerges from the detritus of the ceramics industry (ceramic lithographs), questioning the sustainability and prosperity of industry and regeneration schemes. The used lithograph backings are lifeless remnants of industry. The ‘Green Man’ traditionally represents regeneration of the natural world. Here the artist is reinterpreting this theme to relate to the regeneration of the city, therefore also suggesting potential - that it may become abundant and vibrant after the process of urban renewal.
The floral lithographs also celebrate what is ‘green’ in our city- parks, allotments, back gardens or overgrown wasteland with thriving habitats.
For more about the work go to www.aconversationwiththegreenman.blogspot.com
# 94 [27 May 2010]
Best Practice Seminar: with Alex Pearl
29th May 12.00PM-4.00PM @ AirSpace Gallery
no4 Broad Street
In this session we will be looking at the fundamentals of what it means to be an artist and will explore ways of moving an artistic practice forward. The main speaker will be Alex Pearl an artist whose practice we feel presents an example of best practice, through his development both of his work and relationships with galleries and curators. Alex has also gained recognition and experience through taking part in commissions, and residencies, both in this country and abroad.
UK artist Alex Pearl sets up situations, which illustrate our predicament. He makes mini-epic films, video installations, games, photographs, sculpture, blogs and books. Throughout his work there is a sense of an acceptance of failure or disappointment as important parts of the human condition. His new work for The Whitstable Biennale is based on a mistake. Last year, when he began to consider making work for the Biennale, a friend commented to him: “Whitstable? That’s where Dracula landed”. The mistake was soon rectified, but when he discovered Peter Cushing lived in Whitstable, he decided to write a sort of vampire novel entitled The Pearl Fisher. Based on Bram Stoker’s diary form, but without the benefit of plot or supernatural threat, his novel (in the form of a blog) soon became what the artist calls "an aimless ramble through forests of coincidence and disappointment.” The narrative of the blog is the only thing loosely connecting the films to be presented in Whitstable. Firstly, a set of three ghostly apparitions born of obsessive watching of Hammer horror films and an interest in Victorian theatrical magic. Next a series of informal blue films made at the beach and finally a film of a male bingo caller, calling to the ladies of Whitstable’s Oxford Bingo Club.
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The first Artist led Contemporary Art Gallery in Stoke-on Trent. As a newly formed arts organisation, our initiative is to help develop the contemporary arts culture within the Stoke on Trent area. Exhibiting professional and developing artists, aiming to engage with the local community.