Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: Rosalind Davis
Since leaving the Royal College of Art 4 years ago, after the wilderness of life after college, after many struggles, through much determination to engage with artists and the art world, I finally feel part of something.....an arts community, a network. This blog is also about my practise, my first studio experience and the development of an artist led space: Core Gallery in Deptford
# 61 [6 December 2010]
Relay,our exhibition at Core came together beautifully in the end. A lot of people worked extremely hard. As suspected, assocations were created throughout the show as Jane eloquently puts it
‘The first part of the show is loosely based in structure as container, containment, imprisonment; house as metaphor for the body. It is this structure which houses and holds the potential to distort the soul.
As one moves through Relay, structure as metaphor gives way to the actual body/psychology which confronts its physicality and the force of time and limitations. The translation of physicality upwards to the resonant sounds of the soul gives way to charms imbued with meaning, mythology and spirituality.’
Jane Boyer came from France for the show and it was a delight to meet her in person and spend time with her and her works. The more we talk the more solutions we find.
One of the ideas that came out over supper before the show was a chair appeal – a much needed resource for our space for our DIY Educate next year and on the private view we got 10 chairs! Contributions came from many of our friends and supporters at the gallery including from the lovely Jane, Annabel Tilley and Rob Turner all a-n bloggers. See more about our chair appeal on http://coregallery.co.uk/chair-appeal/
There was in addition an open studios this weekend as well for us at Cor Blimey which was good fun as always but very exhausting ( I have been working at least 12 hours a day on average , for 7 days for I don’t know how long- last weekend I was teaching at the Phoenix in Brighton). Also a couple of weeks ago I had a fantastic crit with Graham Crowley who has given me a solution to the age old problem of ‘ how do I move my practice forward…’
We will be opening up these crits from Graham and other artists to other artists in order for them to get much needing practical and conceptual feedback into work. The bare essentials of the DIY educate are now online,so you can seem more there.
I also have some other very good news ; I have been elected to the AIR Council!
I am very excited about being part of a new something. Already I have ideas about how AIR could harness more exposure to our causes as artists. I cant wait to get started.
We also have the great delight to be hosting an AIR Activists event at Core Gallery on Weds 8th December and all are welcome to come, see the AIR page or
See you there I hope , and dont forget to buy a chair!
# 62 [13 December 2010]
This week has been a new surge of energy and inspiration. Planning the 2011 exhibition and education programme are reminders of how thrilling running the gallery is and the possibilities that can occur.
Jane Boyer commented on wondering how I keep all the threads of the many different demands on my time, I am not entirely sure myself at times. However I realise how extremely lucky and privileged I am to be an artist. To be doing that which I love even if it can be sometimes a painful and frustrating path exemplifies in all of us artists; we are extraordinary in our own ways.
I also realise that sometimes these skills are innate in us and we just need a chance to make more of them. It is something many of us as the teachers and mentors that we are, try to bring out in others, teasing out the skills, harnessing them.
Running the gallery has been a steep learning curve for us all here at Core Gallery and of course at times, extremely stressful but endlessly rewarding . we have done our very best for the artists and curators that exhibit with us. I see artists such as Andrew Bryant and Nick Kaplony who have curated in the gallery, their confidence in their own skills and vision building. It has been an honour to sit by them and learn. To occasionally be able to contribute because they are kind enough to value me as well, asking my opinion and calling upon my judgement. I see they have quite brilliant careers ahead of them.
A result of all of these lessons is my role as a curator for a show in April co-curating with Jane Boyer for our DX 2010 Open Submission winners and then a show in November 2011 with Annabel Tilley which is growing and strengthening. The lessons I have learnt these last few months are deep and wide. I am very excited to be thinking about applying these new skills to a personally curated exhibition.
I see also how important our space has become to others who seek us out.
Kate is a local artist and her work I find very beautiful, intelligent and powerful Following on from one of Elizabeth’s engine chat chat where we discussed the importance of an artists statement I spoke to Kate about hers and helped her edit and strengthen her statement. I came into the gallery one day and Kate had left me a bag of goodies: a bottle of wine, a chocolate bar, Vogue and lavender bubble bath: an indulgence kit. Thinking of that kindness from her even now brings tears to my eyes, after months of working so terribly hard it was very much needed as a symbol that somehow we were doing well in our mission.
see her statement here
I see how important the advice was to Kate and I know it has brought her confidence. That we can help other artist’s career, is why we began, why we continue and why we are launching DIY educate.
If someone had told me that 18 months ago I would be running a gallery and would have worked with over 100 artists and curators, that I would be elected to the AIR council as a recognition somehow of a journey so far, of harnessing a collective's beliefs and desire to help artists , I would have been shocked. I had not realised that writing a blog about ‘becoming part of something’ and my desire for that would grow so much, that I would gain so many friends along the way. Thank you for joining me on the journey so far. I am humbled
You reap what you sow and although it is winter, the harvest is golden and bountiful.
# 63 [29 December 2010]
Highs and lows of 2011
My last blog outlined some of these things but to follow the a-n blogging way as inspired by Emily Speed I shall also make a little list
Core Gallery: launching in April: working with over 100 artists and curators, forging partnerships, giving exposure and support to artists and curators. http://www.coregallery.co.uk
Input from Jane Boyer, Gillian Best Powell and Elizabeth Murton as team mates for the gallery who have been splendid.
Having Graham Crowley as a supporter for Core, a mentor and Relay exhibition Partner
Hosting an AIR Activist meeting !
In general being on a-n and all the wonderful people I have met through it
People’s generosity and support such as Matt Roberts, Andrew Bryant and Nick Kaplony
Chantelle’s Core Gallery Interviews: http://www.coregallery.co.uk/chair-appeal/Having
A successful chair appeal for the Gallery : http://coregallery.co.uk/chair-appeal/
Launching DIY Educate
Meeting Amy Mckenny at Coexist ( with whom we shall be having a collaborative exhibition in 2011)
Me ( personal achievements as an artist )
Learning so much from the artists and curators I have worked with
Being elected to the AIR Council ( very exciting! )
Exhibiting and being in Derby for the UKYA events, selected for the ING Discerning Eye, Lynn Painters Stainers Prize and having a solo show in Regent St London as well as Wilderness Exhibition and talk. www.rosalinddavis.co.uk
Being blog of the month in June on a-n. http://www.a-n.co.uk/artists_talking/article/647129
Teaching at West Dean College, Brighton Phoenix and University of the Arts
Having a new extended family made up of my cor blimey studio mates and wider members and being part of the Deptford Art Scene
Having a commissioned article published in a-n in July as well as a letter in their magazine in November 2011! www.a-n.co.uk
Getting some very nice press regards of Becky Hunter, AIR’s Jack Hutchinson and doing my first radio interview with Reprezent.
Being asked to be in Nepartism
Exhibitions outside of Core: Gauguin, Phylidda Barlow and Fiona Mcdonald at Coexist, Fade Away at Transition Gallery , The Crash Open Salon at Charlie Dutton Gallery, Vicky Wright at Josh Lilley Gallery
Overworked and underpaid!Being so tired that I thought my brain would snap at times.
The A3 laminator breaking
To look forward to:
Exhibitions at Core Gallery in 2011; including curating exhibitions with Jane Boyer and Annabel Tilley
DIY educate in action working with lots of DIY educators
Having my work exhibited in India
Hopefully getting out of my part time job as admin bunny
Restored hearing in my ear so I am not quite so hard of hearing.
Being asked to be a judge for Xhibit , a University of The Arts Exhibitions
Overall though and to reiterate, I am so very happy this has all been wonderful way to be part of something and thank everyone for their input throughout the year
Happy New Year !
# 64 [7 January 2011]
Jane boyer and Rob Turner's debate about paint , education and our own battles has been fascinating to read.
I guess how I feel is that when I stop feeling a little scared about painting ,when I stop feeling so mystified and excited about it's transformative elements,the beauty and ever changing alchemic quality.
When I am no longer fascinated by it's mellifluous qualities and as longer as I strive to continue to challenge myself to capture it in my own way somehow, to express all that I need it to. When I stop feeling thiese things then I suppose I shall be dead,but painting will not.
thanks both for a very interesting debate.
# 65 [24 January 2011]
So, January is in full swing, I have had my ear operation, got a job with Matt Roberts (more on that later ) and Core Gallery is motoring ahead.
The xmas period was spent putting the final touches on DIY Educate, finalising our exhibition programme and looking at various funding applications as well as working on 2 curatorial projects within the exhibition programme.
DIY Educate is now launched and looks very exciting! A whole host of a-n bloggers are contributing as well which is fantastic and a-n and Artquest are partnering up with us.
So what is it?
DIY Educate is a contemporary evolving education programme run by and for Artists, Curators and Art Professionals to encourage artistic development.
DIY Educate is providing opportunities to learn, share ideas, network, and knowledge, providing impetus to develop your practice.
Basically that which we all need in this wilderness of an art world, plus the stuff that art schools dont always teach you.....We have 5 strands:
Nuts and Bolts Talks/ Workshops: Professional Practice( the nitty gritty of being an artists- tips and toolkits)
Engine ChatChat art crit: Peer Critique
Curators and Artist Talks:
Individual Artists Tutorials with established artists such as Graham Crowley
DIY educate is just £18 per year and allows you access to all of these workshops either for free or at a concessionary rate plus more special offers and events to be announced.
You can read a lot more here
This week sees my first AIR council meeting and 2011 looks set to be ever so thrilling.
# 66 [27 January 2011]
After an inspiring first meeting with the AIR council, a very rich and resourceful, intelligent group I got to thinking about the 21st century artist. Who we are, what we do and why is it important....these are my sketchy first draft thoughts....more to come
Artists are incredible.
What the some people don’t understand about artists is that they are talented, not just at the art bit,. practising artists know that this is not the only thing we have to do: out of necessity one has to do your own marketing, research and development, manage people, projects, understand law and legal frameworks,, create business plans, business development, marketing strategies, organise and manage finance, pr, network endlessly, be adept at negotiation and writing funding applications, leading and managing people, ,audience development, collector development, education, teaching, professional practice, social engagement and politics. Surviving rejection, funding cuts, knockbacks to name but a few things.....
Out of the desire to survive and sustain and to nurture we learn countless skills: we are analytical , thoughtful, empathetic, compassionate, passionate, philosophical, aware of countless issues.
We draw on a range of skills,experiences, cultures. We are endlessly creative. We are endlessly self educating. self critical, self directive We challenge ourselves endlessly, we adapt, we try over and over. That takes courage, it all does,
The creative sector works damn hard at being everything we need to be to survive and you know what, we are pretty talented at all this plus the actual making. We need to be recognised and valued further for our contributions to this world.
for those artists who are more high profile or established artists' give something back to those who are still climibing the mountain: those of us Campaigning, fighting to make better futures for artists in every way. Use your influence to create change. Dont isolate yourselves. Give back.....be part of something more than yourselves.
# 67 [1 February 2011]
I am delighted to have been interviewed by Chantelle Purcell in one of our in house interviews: you can read it here
Below as well a taster
"In this interview we look to the past and survey Core Gallery’s 2010 highlights, we find out the commitment and work that goes into sustaining a gallery. I get a peek into this year’s exciting programme and discuss the cultural relevance of artist run spaces.
CP: William Morris declared in his 1884 lecture ‘Art & Socialism’ that: “Association instead of competition, social order instead of individualist anarchy” were the ways to free creativity and return it to the working man. How pertinent would you say that this statement is today? What associations have arisen from the conception of Core Gallery?
RD: I believe through sharing knowledge and working together we can only strengthen artists roles and improve our situations. Association is better than competition, that way you can build a community from which you can nurture and sustain yourself, your career and others.
At Core we have also set something of a new precedent in terms of our associate members, who are not actually in the studio space itself but contribute significantly to the space such as Jane Boyer and yourself and the artists who contribute to the space or education programme.
CP: The programme last year promoted an experimental approach to exhibition-making and placed a strong focus on curatorial concepts. How do you plan to maintain that this year?
RD: This year our exhibition programme is going to continue to be experimental, focusing a little closer to home with myself, Elizabeth Murton and Jane Boyer all curating exhibitions rather than just having guest curators.
Two shows I shall be curating this year: one with Jane Boyer of our DX winners ‘Extra-Ordinary’ in April and an exhibition called ‘Home’ with Annabel Tilley in October. With home, we are exploring this theme in the widest sense of the word- a place of fragility, transition and identity from a cross generation of artists. Artists so far for this project include Graham Crowley, Delaine Le Bas, Rich White, Freddie Robins, Peter Davis, Rose Wylie, Lucy Austin, Emily Speed myself and Annabel Tilley.
I am finding the process of curating a very interesting, analytical, critical and exploratory role. I am testing new muscles and learning an awful lot. Also working in partnership is something I very much enjoy, the debate, the conversations which lead you to interesting new paths. It is a delight.
We are also delighted to invite back Nicholas Kaplony and Andrew Bryant and we are very excited to be working with Coexist, a dynamic artist led space in Southend in a collaborative project with our studio members that will tour from Coexist to Core at the end of 2011.....
Read the full insightful interview here :
# 68 [14 February 2011]
The last couple of weeks have been diverse! Amongst the things that have happened:
I had the great honour of curating the Salon Photo prize which was very generous of Matt to allow me such responsibility ( and daunting!) I am learning new skills which I just love! Matt and he is a very good boss!
Read more here/ see the cataologue here:
I also managed the online catalogue ( new skills part II- hello Indesign) the PV which was incredibly busy, 1000 odd people in one night ( I felt a bit seasick as wave upon wave of people came in ) as part of First Thursdays in East London. The lovely Rachel Wilberforce ( who was selected and has a wonderful photo in the show ) , Michaela Nettell, Katriona Beales and Andrew Bryant came by as well which was great to have friends there amongst the throng!
Core Gallery News Skin Job: James Prevett, Niklas Taffra, Chad Burt, Daniel Lichtman, Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh, Adrianna Palazzolo and Miguel Pacheco Curated by Andrew Bryant Preview Friday 25th February: 6.30-8.30pm. Part of the South London Art Map Last Fridays. Saturday 26th February, 3.30-5pm: Artists and Curators in Dialogue Skin Job, which is slang for replicant in Ridley Scott's 1982 classic sci fi film Blade Runner, considers whether technology is something external to us, something we can chose to pick up and use, or is it already in us, a part of us, in our tongues, our brains, under our skin? Skin Job, curated by Andrew Bryant, brings together seven artists to explore the ways in which technology, whether it be a high tech recording device, a lowly mallet and chisel, or that most insidious of technologies, language itself, seems to both liberate and ensnare us.
Core Gallery NewsSpeaking of Andrew, he shall be curating his second show at Core which opens next week which has already been creating great debate.
James Prevett, Niklas Taffra, Chad Burt, Daniel Lichtman, Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh, Adrianna Palazzolo and Miguel Pacheco
Curated by Andrew Bryant
Preview Friday 25th February: 6.30-8.30pm. Part of the South London Art Map Last Fridays.
Saturday 26th February, 3.30-5pm: Artists and Curators in Dialogue
Skin Job, which is slang for replicant in Ridley Scott's 1982 classic sci fi film Blade Runner, considers whether technology is something external to us, something we can chose to pick up and use, or is it already in us, a part of us, in our tongues, our brains, under our skin?
Skin Job, curated by Andrew Bryant, brings together seven artists to explore the ways in which technology, whether it be a high tech recording device, a lowly mallet and chisel, or that most insidious of technologies, language itself, seems to both liberate and ensnare us.
I heard on R4 the other day a discussion about this very thing: People's nervousness of robots and the like, in this context within a religious framework: basically, if a machine has no soul, then it cannot have original sin, in which case it does not need salvation , therefore a machine is like God, without sin and therefore can usurp god....interesting... do come along!
Then of course DIY Educate launches that same week. I am nervous and excited about it- feedback has been great, we have a really strong programme I feel and we now have about 20 chair sponsors which is incredible so seats for people- bonus! DIY educate feeds into my role at AIR, a desire to improve artist's situation, to make up for the lack of professional practice compulsory components within art course, so essential, yet often neglected.
Xhibit Selection for the UAL. Being a judge for the open submission for the all UAL students, very interesting day of considering artworks for a show in March
My Work: Had an installation at Battersea Power Station for the last 3 days, incredible space. The Lost Lovers Ball was a festival created by the Secret Garden Party team ( all of whom are incredibly ambitious in their vision) . My installation, an interactive map of lost love, developed from a previous installation at Shunt a couple of years ago. One could call it socially engaged as the people make it what it is- from a barren map to a forest of stories and narratives. It was incredibly popular with hundreds of people adding to the forest, taking photos, pouring over other lost loves. I was there on hand as Lady Valentine and it was a majestic experience!
Tonight, appropriately I guess for Valentines, I shall be reading all the stories to compile....
# 69 [4 March 2011]
The weeks are moving at such a fast pace and so much is squeezed in that my blog is becoming long essays into my life. However , This is a good news blog!
Core gallery got some funding from Fenton Arts Trust with lots of thanks to the glorious Annabel Tilley for helping get that . I was so excited at this prospect of actually being able to pay artists for DIY Educate I nearly blacked out when I got the letter. It also means we can offer more on our DIY Educate programme. In addition we are also now able to offer students and recent graduates a half price discount on our membership. This means we can give more accessibility and for recent graduates the first year after graduation is when they are most vulnerable.
DIY actually launched over the weekend. It was a fab start Some feedback from one participant.... Just to say thank you so much for putting on engine chat chat on Saturday. It was great to meet everyone and to get some feedback on my work, I found it really useful and motivating as well as very stimulating, and really enjoyed the artists talk afterwards in the gallery also.... brilliant brilliant brilliant!
Our first nuts and bolts was packed to the rafters, 34 people (four travelled from Maidstone ). It was one of the best talks I feel I have ever given, everyone who came seemed so attentive and interested. Nick Kaplony and Jack Hutchinson joined me and they were amazing, it was a really relaxed and friendly environment full of anecdotes.
One of the most important parts was a discussion about rejection. I recounted a residency I applied for that I was not eligible for ( it was in very very very small print ) . I spent a long time working on the form, deciding what I was going to do with my practice. When I got the email to say I wasn’t eligible, I didn’t get cross, I thought, it does not matter, I will do everything I set out in my project. I will move my practice on and I have. I fulfilled my own residency. So failure and rejection can be turned around.
After the talk I spoke to people that came, they seemed so relived about being told the truth. Some told me that they had never been told this at art school – art school was just about making, however now that they had graduated they felt so lost because even if they had made fantastic work they were drowning in the complexities of real life in the art world. It made them feel inadequate and failures, which I very much doubt they were. This is a disservice for Art Schools to do that, they have to start addressing professional practice. It is very unfair, particularly if so many higher education institutes are putting up fees because they ‘ offer so much value’
Skin Job: Another fantastic exhibition curated by Andrew Bryant at Core Gallery Artists: James Prevett, Niklas Tafra, Chad Burt, Daniel Lichtman, Ciar??Dochartaigh, Adrianna Palazzolo and Miguel Pacheco The PV was jam packed – the South London Last Friday Art Map launched, that partnered importantly with a dynamic exhibition meant lots of excitement in the air. The curator/ artist talk on Saturday was informative and fascinating and allowed us tp spend more time interpreting the artwork. It is a rare pleasure to be told by an artist their processes. My role in this is to ask serious non art questions, such as ‘ so what did the Ukulele repairman think when you brought in a Ukulele you had smashed to pieces in a field in Holland…? ’ y’see accessible….. www.coregallery.co.uk
# 70 [9 April 2011]
It was our first birthday in April at Core which aptly was exhibiting Extra-Ordinary which I curated with Jane Boyer: Tom Butler, Alyson Helyer and Marion Michell are utterly wonderful.
‘ Never was a title more apt - you really have created something that lives up to its title. It was a pleasure to look at. Stimulating but also, quite overwhelming
when you really consider the content, the work itself, which is so excellent’
DIY Educate has been getting overwhelmingly positive feedback with people visiting us from as far as Southend and Birmingham and people driving from Somerset and Devon to have tutorials with Graham Crowley…!
heres some nuggets of joy – or feedback as others like to call it… the stuff that keeps me going.!
‘Thanks very much for the helpful and motivational talk last night’
‘ A fantastic and informative evening’
‘ I am absolutely amazed at how effective your session was at making me take action.’
‘ Thanks for organising Engine ChatChat. It's great to see what other artists are up to and comforting to know that you're not alone in facing obstacles as to why and how your work won't quite move forwards at times.
And as ever, the nurturing environment pervading Core Gallery always leaves me feeling glad to be associated with such a positive and encouraging place and group of people.
‘Just wanted to let you know how helpful it was to attend the ChatChat . When one is in art school one has a special status and so much input and a real sense of being part of the world of art. Later, after struggling alone to be an artist one can then feel on the outside.
What you all are doing at Core Gallery is admirable as it gives those people who are trying so diligently to continue as artists a chance to feel connected with other artists in the same pursuit, to hear how art practice is discussed at the moment and to begin to feel part of an art community. I can see that it is important in the current financial climate to create the opportunities ourselves.’
For those of you that read this blog you are also part of something and it is really something quite special. Unsurpassed. Goodbye for now, I am starting a new blog , but sure to return and thank you for reading.
Below is a blogger interview about what I am up to for now in my practise as well ...
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I am a mixed media painter from the RCA creating complex and 3d dystopian landscapes that explore human experience and identity.
' Rosalind Davis reveals herself to be a visionary artist of sensitivity and complexity... Her mixed media paintings of dystopian landscapes incorporate embroidery and floral-print textiles ....they conjure up a claustrophobic world of the uncanny. '
Review by Andrew Bryant, A-N (Artists Newsletter)