Tuesday 18 October 2016, the first day of my residency at the University of Suffolk in the printmaking room.
Well, here I am again on residency. This time at Asylum Studios. I can’t speak highly enough of residencies. They are the best way to engage in your practice with all the accompanying feedback, as well as facilities, time and focus. This time it is very different, a block of time; short but productive.
It is not as busy here as it was at the university but other artists are coming in and discussing my progress and ideas with me. I value that as well as the space. The space is their exhibition space, which is big. I could not have projected the images to locate all the items and designs without this opportunity.
The project for this residency is the culmination of an eleven year exploration. Out Of The Ordinary is the title and the exhibition bringing all the work together is on show tomorrow evening as a closing view. Work from the ongoing period and new pieces completed during the residency will be on show together.
Out of the Ordinary is a play on words. The subject matter is often unexpected and all the work is created in some way with use of ordinary everyday things. A few pieces were from my printmaking residency at the University of Suffolk that did not go into the Simulacrum exhibition. Some from earlier, but much of it is either ideas long awaiting completion or new ideas completed during the last two weeks.
Pictured here are two pieces Empty Spaces where parts of the drawing is cut and fitted into packaging so the closed down shop front image is codified and detached from The rest. The other piece is Subject Matter where the image is to be inserted into the frames as an installation challenging expected subject matter for pictures.
Still working on the project long after the residency ends. The Simalcrum has new variations and formats and also Reportage has been morphed into alternative formats, both using cutting and collage.
I have returned to painting recently overlapping projects, and also I have a hybrid project evolving that combines both print and painting. More about that later. I am a bit busy at the moment, as I have been asked to curate an exhibition on top of other things, but it will be great and I can’t wait to put it all together.
Well not much left to do on this project as the last day of the residency has passed. Just a bit more blogging and finishing of some pieces in the Devices and Reportage series. I can work on them at home now and return for more Simulacrum pieces and larger printmaking later when I have joined the new Waterfront Studios.
Time, I think for the big thank you to all those at The University of Suffolk. Thanks to Lisa Wade for arranging the residency and Robin Warnes for introducing me to the residency scheme. Thanks to Jane Watts as contact and coordinator for the first semester and Vicky Cull for that role in the second semester. Thanks to Vicky and Carol Gant for helping to bring shape to the residency exhibition. Thanks to Carol and Glenn Toner for help hanging the exhibition and Neil for taking down. And a special thanks to Glenn for technician help during the residency.
Painting is the next project for development and a sideline combination paint and print project is evolving also now. Perhaps that would be another residency somewhere?
Back from a break from production for reflection, and also a trip to Amsterdam.
About developing practice.
Interacting with others is an essential part of who I am. I have always known that, as I realise that this is why I moved into teaching and also some curating after leaving art school. As a an art & design lecturer in further education for many years, residencies have been difficult to consider. Mostly because of the time demands of full time teaching contracts, but this change to part time teaching and a return to pushing my own art practice allows opportunity for residencies. So this residency brings a good balance and affirms something essential about the kind of engagement that makes me tick. I think that as an artist, finding ways to engage in practice in a way which incorporates fundamental aspects of your personality is a vital part of successful progress. It is sometimes tricky to get the right balance, but I am making progress, and I think residencies for future projects may again be the right way to proceed.
What is good about this residency is not only that it provides good specialist facilities and equipment, and interactions with students at a higher level than my last residency (a long while ago) which makes the interactions very stimulating; but also that the university has an artist’s studio and other groups connected and integrated into the provision. The studios are re-launching as The Waterfront Studios, and I have been making good connections there, and I am planning to join shortly.
My sketchbooks, pictured here, show development ideas that I have been sorting through at this review point, as I move into the last two months of the residency. Other than the trip to Amsterdam, as a break, I thought a pause in the progress to reflect would be a good idea, as running up to the exhibition it was hectic and I wanted to get the balance right between directing the work and the work leading me. Blogging is of course a continuous reflection, and coincidently Marion Michell talks about the values of blogging in Rosalind Davis & Annabel Tilley’s book ‘What They Didn’t Teach You in Art School’, and also that it has a role much wider than reflection. Interesting stuff, and as I read I find more of interest.
Input by Richard Galpin I found interesting too and relates to my thoughts on developing practice, as he talks about balance between reflection/experimentation and production, although in a different way, and different circumstances. Thinking and exploratory time is important. While I was on my MA and cutting and peeling photographs, and found some kind of validation in what I was doing when I came across Galpin in a V & A exhibition. But I had not realised how successful he has been and how his work had evolved. I think a phase of revisiting the progress of artists who work in similar ways to my practice would be time well spent. But on with the residency for now.
Oh and about Amsterdam.
It was great, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Banksy, Dali, and a lot of houses tipping gently from their regimental uniformity. And a lot of bikes. A bit general I know, but that’s it.
So the exhibition Simulacrum comes to an end. Last day is Saturday, tomorrow. So a few more photographs of the installation. The residency continues, but next week will be take down the exhibition instead. So a bit of a delay to proceedings, but new ideas do await. I have been teaching printmaking at the Ipswich Institute for a term and much of it so far has been lino, so I tried out some of my ideas as well as making demo examples for the students, and I think that the new simulacrum may well have some pieces made by using other techniques rather than just screen printing. I got a portable printing press for the teaching which will do everything, as I have tested intaglio and relief printing methods on it, but it does have a size restriction. Ah well, got a residency for larger work. I am going back to theory, as well as work in the sketchbook for a couple of weeks and rethink things, and see what else I can develop. I have enjoyed working with the students the last couple of weeks so I will enjoy getting back after the big take down and sort out.