I was delighted to receive a year mentoring support through this a-n bursary with Rosalind Davis. I applied for the bursary with Rosalind specifically in mind; as she is both an artist and curator I felt she had a viewpoint from both ends of the scale.
When I submitted my application I had my head down working towards a solo show, but knew later in the year (once the show was de-installed) I would fall into a familiar gap with a head full of questions but very few answers. Being studio based can often become quite a solitary routine and every now and then I need to step into the unfamiliar, to shake things up or nudge stuff around…sound it out.
So my work, I make small domestic scale assemblages from found objects, castings from disposed packaging and small elements of neon lighting. I reimagine this matter into arrangements of acrobatically stacked, bundled or tentatively balanced forms where permanent structures emerge from impermanent matter. Series’ of works have suggested architectural playgrounds, utopian visions or portals to an otherworld. My current exhibition, peck o’ trouble (at Brighton’s Regency Town House), features 34 pieces performing as supposed spells. The shows aim has been to explore notions of magical thinking through welcoming conversation around the work and during guest speaker events. Now in its final week, closing this coming Sunday, thoughts are circling back to the ‘what next?‘.
I had my first mentoring session with Rosalind earlier this week. I felt I tripped over my words as anxieties and ambitions fought to get out my mouth. When my studio starts to become a vault for storing work I fear stagnation or worse, repetition. I am satisfied with the work I’m making but often feel at a loss figuring out how it may connect with the world beyond the confines of my studio. So this is my starting point. There are other concerns, but one step at a time.
peck o’ trouble | an exhibition exploring notions of magic.
Opening times: Weds to Fri 11am – 6pm / Sat to Sun: 12noon – 4pm.
The Regency Town House, Hove BN3 1EH
A leap on from my last posting back in January. Where to begin? The above, two titles of work made during a recent 4month residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. This a-n Mentoring Bursary was to help support me applying for suitable residencies, and IMMA was always the dream, this being my first ever residency.
So, I arrived in Dublin back in April, grey skies and rain, rain, rain – it rains often in Dublin. Everything was just as I’d hoped, amazing folk working at the museum, so incredibly open and supportive. The location itself was dreamlike; a historic military hospital modelled on Paris’ Les Invalides, set in 48 acres with a meadow, graveyard (Bully’s Acre – Dublin’s oldest) and formal gardens. Days soon became filled and as much a routine as back home. Although there was no pressure to make finished work, somehow ones own internal pressures take over, fed by a concern to make the most of this valuable time. I quickly adjusted to my studio space, enormous compared to what I’m used to. I attended workshops At Fire Station Studio’s, ventured off on road trips to research ‘thin places’, and welcomed many, many studio visitors.
When I got home I needed to decompress and take a bit of time to reflect, something I wasn’t prepared for. Many shifts had taken place, what I had hoped to happen. I worked to a larger scale than I was familiar with and I have many thoughts stirring on how/where I need to place my work. And, unexpectedly, I’m already considering applying for another residency, for next year, somewhere more remote.
In a few weeks I will have my final session with mentor Rosalind Davis, a chance to look back and plan forward. It’s been quite a year!
I feel a lot has happened since my previous post, besides Xmas/New Year that is! I was last here back in November, half way through my solo exhibition ‘peck o’ trouble’ …what a month that was to be. My three guest speaker events with writer Sally O’Reilly, Dir. Museum of Witchcraft and Magic Simon Costin and writer/broadcaster David Bramwell exceeded all my and others expectations – truly inspiring evenings with an amazing lightning storm breaking out directly overhead during Sally’s, an unexpected bonus. I invigilated during the show as I wanted to open up the space to engage with others and from doing so have made many invaluable connections with an array of curious and similar thinking minds.
Once the show had been de-installed I realised I was actually fairly exhausted so visited family in Ireland for a breather. I was soon reenergised enough to decide that I needed to completely rejig my studio to fit in a much desired sofa, as my days were mainly spent hunched over workbenches or my desk. I have yet to spend more than 5 minutes on my eBay bargain, but just looking at it makes me most satisfied. The studio is at long last back in order and finally this week (after sorting tax return etc…why oh why do I always leave it until the January deadline?!) I got to properly focus on new work again. I always find getting back into work after a delay of even a few weeks most disorientating. Oh, and my big news! Part of my mentoring proposal included the need to get myself on a suitable residency, with the dream being IMMA’s (Irish Museum of Modern Art). In December I was blown away to receive the news that I was one of four awarded a place on their 2019 International Residency Programme – I still can’t quite believe it. I’m beyond excited but also slightly nervous if I’m honest. Dates are yet to be confirmed but the hope is to spend 4 months there researching new larger-scale work.
Having the added support of a-n’s Mentoring Bursary while on this residency seems perfectly timed. Today I had my second mentoring session with Rosalind Davis, who was yet again most patient and full of great advice, this time in response to how I can best prepare for this next venture. Watch this space.