As we plan our exhibition together at Spitalfields Studios in November, Karen Wood and I are looking at how we can invite people into our collaboration, to share our working processes of noticing and recording.
This is in part informed by my 1:1 conversation with curator Rosalind Davis earlier this year, where we discussed how I can make the most of existing exhibition opportunities and working relationships; drawing on existing networks, and linking events and exhibitions together to make the most of current opportunities, rather than moving too quickly onto the next one.
Karen and I are working with CAS (Chapel Arts Studios) to develop a walking and drawing event in Salisbury city centre in October. Funding permitting this will see us sharing our working processes with members of the public, by leading drawing walks from the Market Square, to Salisbury Museum.
We visited Salisbury in June to carry out research for this event, and to take our walks together into a new location. Although a city, Salisbury has many of the elements of rurality that we have explored together in our other Wiltshire walks, with water meadows and open river frontage in the heart of the city.
Starting in the Market Square, we walked towards the Cathedral Close, stopping to draw with wax blocks and tape, and take photographs, mapping features of interest for future walks.
After reaching the Museum we moved to the River Avon, testing out different routes that we might take through the city in October. Salisbury sits at the confluence of 5 rivers, which are key to its history and culture. We are keen to draw attention both to the surfaces that we walk on, and what lies beneath them, including the path of water as it flows through a city. This also links to my current research into the relationship between rivers and human bodies with US based artist Kathy Skerritt.
My bursary from A-N is enabling me to explore how my different collaborations support me as an artist based in a rural location. I was invited onto BBC Wiltshire last week to talk about why Karen and I set up URE and what role it plays for me as a rurally based artist. You can have a listen here from 1hr 12 to 1 hr 17.
Maintaining a dialogue with artists like Karen (London) and Kathy (Cleveland, Ohio), and others closer to home including Wiltshire based artists Jo Beal and Jonathan Mansfield, is proving key to the ongoing development of my ‘individual’ (as opposed to socially engaged) work.
My practice has always been about people’s relationship with place, whether my own or the many people I’ve worked with in educational and community settings over the years. But this new focus on collaboration is allowing me to invest in my ‘individual’ practice in a new way, building a supportive community of place-based practitioners, and a clearer context within which to place my work. This makes it more sociable (and fun), expands on my opportunities to reflect and to share ideas, and by doing so deepens my thinking and makes my practice more sustainable.
NB. I’ll be exhibiting with Jonathan Mansfield at Pound Arts in early 2020. Together we will be exploring the relationship between my embodied experiences of place, and Jon’s emotional/spiritual responses to the land. I’ll share more about that as details are confirmed.