Helen Scalway is an artist who works using drawing to investigate pattern and place. She has just completed a residency project with the V&A and Royal Holloway, London University. In 2007 and 2008 she held residencies at The Drawing Centre, Wimbledon College of Art, London, University of the Arts. Recent London shows include Moving Patterns at the Royal Geographical Society, and loadbearing at Ada Street Gallery.
More information can be found on:http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/1750_scalway/blog/
Some concluding thoughts on the 2010 residency from Helen Scalway:
I was astonished by the very well attended closing event. The drawings were inspired by sounds past and present hovering together in the church and Jane Ponsford, the imaginative co-ordinator of St Georges, happened to remark that it would be good to hear them being sung. Once these words had been said I knew I just had to make it happen so the closing event should echo the performativity of the drawings.
So I had invited the talented early music soprano, Sophia Brumfitt, whom I had heard sing in another church, to ‘sing the drawings’ for this one. To my great relief she expressed interest and came to spend time to lookand to reflect. What might ‘singing the drawings’ mean? How might she combine a phrase from the composer Purcell , whose music would have been new just about the time when some of the church’s finest memorials were erected, with sounds such as the clickings of the thoroughly twenty first century central heating system in the church and the rattle of the current keys to its doors, while also making reference to my own visual use of the contemporary recycling symbol on dustbins just outside the church?
Sophy’s response was intelligent, fresh and unexpected. I hope eventually to give a url here to the video which came out of it. In the mean time here are some images.
Many artists have contacted us at St George’s arts to ask for an application form for our ‘Early Career Residency’ for 2011. This year we haven’t posted a call out as we have been restructuring our art programming. I apologize if you have seen it posted as an opportunity but can only say that we haven’t advertised it ourselves. Where I have seen it advertised (Red Squirrel etc) I have asked them to take the advert down. Rather worryingly I have just noticed it posted on the Opportunities section on the a-n website too and have contacted them to ask for it to be removed as I don’t want to raise any hopes or waste anyone’s time over something which isn’t available this year. If you have asked for an application form or sent us any information I will be contacting you with my apologies and to assure you that when we post an opportunity you will be the first to know!
For 2011 St George’s Arts is proposing to run a series of shorter ‘Mini’ residencies, events and exhibitions. For the first year the artists are mainly being approached directly by us because during the last few years of running our three to six month ‘Early Career Residency’ we have had contact with so many wonderful artists who for one reason or another didn’t slot into the formula of the longer residency or were unavailable to carry out the outreach programme required by our then funding structure.
When we have an open opportunity we will post a call and if you have asked for information about our residency programme now or in the past you will automatically be sent information about the opportunity and how to apply for it.
Helen Scalway’s concluding exhibition at St George’s Arts, ‘Pattern and Place’ opened yesterday evening with a well attended private view that became something rather more than that. Helen had asked early music soprano, Sophia Brumfitt to ‘sing the drawings’ (this in response to comments that the 3d drawings that Helen has been working on during her residency look like musical notation). The beauty of Sophia’s singing and the appropriateness given St George’s original function as a place where sacred music was at home made the evening into a magical event with very different dynamics from the standard private view format.
I’ll leave Helen to reflect on the exhibition and residency in subsequent blog postings but would like to say that it has been a real pleasure working with her and we would like to thank her for her commitment as well as her ability to show us the everyday reality of a place reflected back to us transformed.
Over the past few years while St George’s Arts has been the base for residencies we have been privileged to work with the artists who have taken on the role.
St George’s Arts: http://stgeorgesarts.wordpress.com/
Sophia Brumfitt: www.sophiabrumfitt.co.uk
It’s coming up to the closing show of the residency – hard to believe, it’s gone so fast. I tried to make an animation, my first ever, but soon learned the hard way that this really is a whole new ball game. Still, it’s been great to have the time and space to experiment, even to make instructive mistakes. Animation is for another time!
But this phase- which felt very frustrating – has produced an unexpected outcome: the possibility of projecting some images as a sequence with sound, alongside the drawings. So for the private view for this show, the talented soprano Sophia Brumfitt will be performing, improvising with her beautiful voice around the visual patterns and rhythms of the drawings as though they form a musical score. This seems a fitting event in this church which holds so much music of the past. I’m nervous and excited, but I know Sophie is a complete professional and the event will be extraordinary.
Now it’s just hectic as we are also putting on a Big Draw event in the space just a few days before the show opens – it’s whirlwind time.
Here are some details of the work. Even now it’s changing so I hope to show it as it ends up, in another posting.
We are coming towards the end of the residency now. Two more public events and a workshop to go!
First up is the Big Draw on 2 October. Our theme this year is ‘Seeing Stars’. A user-friendly introduction to a day that we hope brings together local families, artists, interested visitors and anyone who would like to join in with a day of drawing. It is hoped that the resulting drawings can become part of the final exhibition on 12 October as the aim is to incorporate elements of these drawings into a bookwork (working tille: ‘Leopold’s Stars) that Helen Scalway is making now.
So if anyone is in the Surrey area do come along and join us!
Drawing activities for all ages, no need to book. All welcome. 10 – 12 noon and 1 – 3 pm FREE
St George’s Arts, St George’s Church, Esher Park Avenue, Esher, Surrey KT10 9RQ