I was so excited when chosen to be a part of the MSB2015 (Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham) exchange.

“The series of residencies is designed to develop the practices of the participating artists by providing them with critical input and opportunities to experiment, collaborate, develop their networks nationally, make new work and exhibit.”

Castlefield Gallery Associates scheme, Manchester
From my point of view, the exchange would allow me to further explore into the reaches of city landscape enabling me to try out experiments in ‘reassembling’ the landscape.

I was also really keen to get additional feedback on how to develop this work and getting extra help to study and analyse the inner dynamics of our ‘shifting landscape’ would be invaluable. And this has been the case as its kept my mind open to further possibilities in extending my ideas and I’ve already come up with new ideas to try in the next exchange.

It’s mad how work flows pretty much straight away in the Third Floor Project Space as I began making preparatory sketches loosely based on the surrounding area, ‘traces’ of the buildings started to emerge in my work. I quickly created a relief cast of the old brickwork onto a modern piece of transparent grey plastic and by the next day I had done four small quick-fire etchings onto partially spray-painted perspex.

Utilising the unique features of the building we were working in also gave me tremendous inspiration in the presentation of these works. Most of them were hung from the old pipes above our heads. The shadows that were then cast onto the wall when the evening sun shone into the room were amazing and added to the effect of layering that I was trying to create with these works.

It was great to watch and speak to all the artists involved and it’s an environment I haven’t had the pleasure of being in since having my studio. Connecting with them personally and professionally, these worlds are so entwined they become blurred, having fun and ‘playing’ with an infinite supply of ideas and possibilities. The work generated by everyone was astounding in the one full day we really had to ourselves and I can’t wait for the next part taking place this week in Sheffield.

For more info:

Thanks to Third Floor Project Space:

The artists exhibiting will be: Peter Bourne, Sandra Bouguerch, Sophie Bullock, Roger Bygott, Claire Davies, Niall Gormley, Lisa Denyer, Rachael Hand, Jane Lawson, Rebecca Ounstead, Helen Stratford, Claire Tindale and myself.

More pics available at www.jennydrinkwater.co.uk

Coming soon our next residency in Sheffield…


The third and final leg of MSB2015 took place last week and lasted for five days rather than the usual two. Forming a residency exchange between artist organisations in Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham, I formed one of eleven visual artists working in the gallery space at Stryx in Digbeth, Birmingham.

I spent a lot of the downtime between Sheffield and this residency thinking about how I’d like to further develop my work and make more connections with the urban landscape surrounding the gallery space and city centre. I came up with a few ideas before I went to explore with but as with anything they morphed into other ideas as I was ‘shaped’ by the landscape around me.

As I move forward with my installation practice I find it increasingly important to observe what’s actually around us and whilst painting offers up a new view onto this landscape, I want people to physically interact with the landscape. Therefore I challenged myself to think of ways I could use painting to ‘adjoin’ to the landscape surrounding the venue. After some initial paper improvisation providing a different outlook onto the views in front of me, I came up with three elements to depict this new ‘urban reflection’.

My first concept was to ‘construct’ a painting from nine small, individual canvases that would be held together using metal brackets. Signifying the metal fencing structures all over the local area. I created an abstract painting of the landscape and then cut out letters in the canvas. L-A-N-D-S-C-A-P-E. A tad obvious but as a metaphor for looking through the painting rather than just at a painting when there’s an actual landscape behind it seemed justified to me. Additionally, I used wire mesh behind and jutting out of the letters to add to the connections in and around Digbeth.


Following on from this concept of reflection and the urban landscape, I looked further afield to the city’s architecture to provide inspiration. The Library of Birmingham with its intertwining circular fascia was designed to reflect the city’s bijou past and industrial heritage. After exploring the building inside and out (particularly of interest too were their ‘secret gardens’ nestled at the top of the structure). It seemed natural to me to ‘sculpt’ my own representation of this using the wire mesh again. Combining several layers of wire which were painted to echo the colour scheme of the Library, at its heart was a cube of mirrors designed to reflect multiple views. Similarly in how the buildings around the Library reflect their surroundings onto themselves, by using this as inspiration I was able to bring it back to the Digbeth landscape through the mirrored cube and its position by the window.

This also allowed for further observation via the ‘BRUM’ vinyl lettering on the wall opposite to the hanging wire installation. Contemplation of the dynamic Digbeth landscape made room for my love of street art, bringing the outside in and incorporating the use of tagging. Each pink arrow conveyed a district of Birmingham and the lines indicated towards the multiple layers of roads, rail and canals coming in and out of the city.

Language was used more openly in this residency and I think its due to the originality and uniqueness of being a ‘Brummie’. There are no fixed boundaries anymore. With so many networks and communication systems in place it’s easy to lose sight of what makes us special in the first place. By utilising key words I was able to bring my work back to the area in which I was inspired.

Hopefully my work will keep making people aware of the environment and their connection to it. I plan to develop my work with added awareness of movement and light as I believe that this will reveal hidden and unexpected dimensions of space and place, giving us new insights and impressions of the landscape.

More images can be found at:



It’s been a great start to this month’s residency exchange at Stryx Arts in Digbeth, Birmingham. Not only am I able to continue my explorations into the local landscape (where there is a plethora of material) but I’m also able to combine ideas for reflection and multiple states of viewing.

Carrying on with my love for street art, I’m experimenting with on-wall vinyls, just like I did at my solo show at Bankley Gallery in May. As well as getting stuck into painting a nine-piece set of canvases which have been ‘constructed’ together using brackets.

I’ll post a full, detailed blog on my return!

More pictures can be found in the meantime on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/JennyDArtist


The beginning of July heralded the start of the second part of the MSB residency exchange between Castlefield Gallery, Bloc and Stryx. This time we were with Bloc Projects in Sheffield. A great venue and a great bunch of fellow artists.

Instead of lengthly introductions, our group said our hellos and got straight down to idea formation and discussion. Knowing everyone’s practice to some extent it was easy to continue playing around with current concepts and extending fresh ideas. I personally felt so much more at home this time and with it came a certain amount of confidence that my own physical experimentation would be welcomed with open arms.

So by opening myself up more freely to the process I was instantly less inhibited by invisible restrictions and limitations I had imposed upon myself in Manchester. Pushing boundaries within the process of my practice was liberating and I felt more confident in expressing my ideas.

I came with a few potential ideas up my sleeve so I would be ready to start work in the unforgiving timeframe of 1.5 days. I knew I wanted to go bigger. I knew I wanted to be bolder. I knew I had an opportunity to attempt work I wouldn’t normally have the space (or time) to do. I also knew that I wanted to make my work more interactive. So how would I go about incorporating my vision of being able to interact physically with painting.

Work in progress!

In Manchester I had already touched upon this through the transparency in materials (clear perspex, grey plastic vinyl, tracing paper), being able to see through to the ‘raw’ building behind them. To continue this concept I needed to use a bigger transparent ‘canvas’ which led to the idea of using clear dust sheets. Painting the Sheffield city map as a guide lead to an abstracted painting not dissimilar to my ‘Our Urban Playgrounds’ works on paper (‘A Question of Landscape’ solo show) showing road, rail networks, roundabouts, etc.

The second day allowed for time experimenting in how it could be displayed… hung like a sail or draped ceiling to floor. I knew from the day before I wanted people to enter into the painting via the main entrance door which would mean having to cut up the entire piece. A few deep breaths later and sure enough I hoisted it into position towering above the entrance like some floating immersive sculpture flowing in the breeze of the door. As there was a good foot of in-between space within the doorframe, productive discussions with my fellow colleagues came up with the idea of making it even more interactive by placing my ten individually painted ‘whimsical utopia’ reflective CDs in the space itself.

Visitors then had the opportunity to stop and immerse themselves in the total landscape painting and here are some of the pics with more to find on the ‘Shows’ page.

For more images go to www.jennydrinkwater.co.uk