Human Conditions of Clay

Several a-n members – Antony Gormley, Lindsay Mendick, Jonathan Baldock, Oliver Beer, Ryan Gander and William Cobbing – take part in this group exhibition that explores the varied uses of clay. Humanity’s deep connection with this material is considered through installation, animation, works on paper, sculpture, film and performance, which reflect on history, folklore, human behaviour, tradition and current affairs.

Human presence runs through the show, from Baldock’s colourful ceramic masks to Mendick’s elaborate, autobiographical sculptural installation Cigs, Sushi, Tea and Putin, which explores the parallels between the artist’s experience of nervous breakdown and the poisoning of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

Cobbing uses unfired clay as an extension of the body in his video Long Distance (top image), in which two people engage in an absurd, repetitive cycle of movements as they manipulate the material. Meanwhile Gormley’s Blanket Drawing I (1982), made from white clay and linseed oil on a white blanket, plays with notions of presence and absence by depicting the position of a sleeping body that appears to float in space.

Until 7 May 2022, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton

Jonathan Baldock, Maske XXXVI, 2019. Courtesy: Stephen Friedman Gallery

Glass Exchange

Glass Exchange presents four major glass commissions by contemporary artists, including a-n members Katie Paterson and Ryan Gander. Each of the new works, which are on display at sites across north east England, has been made in collaboration with some of the most highly skilled glass makers in the UK, who are based at Sunderland’s National Glass Centre.

Fife-based Paterson has created a series of hand-blown hourglasses and a glass urn, filled with material and dust which span billions of years. The works, which reflect the artist’s long-standing interest in humanity’s place on earth in relation to geological time, will be shown at Edinburgh’s Ingleby Gallery, Durham Cathedral and National Glass Centre.

Meanwhile Gander’s commission occupies a vacant shop in Sunderland city centre. This life-sized work, entitled Ghost Shop, depicts a betting shop with its entire contents made from clear glass, including discarded betting slips, fire extinguishers and a slot machine.

Until 11 September 2022, National Glass Centre, Sunderland and venues across north east England

Ayako Tani of National Glass Centre, Sunderland flameworking on Katie Paterson’s commission for Glass Exchange. Photo: Michael McGuire

Shaped by Time

Textile artist and a-n member Richard McVetis presents his first solo exhibition, which includes two- and three-dimensional works made over the last decade. The show’s centrepiece is Variations of a Stitched Cube, an installation of sixty hand-embroidered cubes.

Each of McVetis’s meticulous stitches represents a unit of time, while collectively they record the repetitive, labour-intensive process of making. Describing the work, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Loewe Craft Prize, McVetis says: “Mapped on to each cube is a constellation of marks reminiscent of archipelagos, a landscape of time. A literal and metaphorical stitching together of time and space.”

5 April – 30 July 2022, Crafts Study Centre, Farnham

Richard McVetis, Variations of a Stitched Cube. Photo: Yeshen Venema

Meet me at the threshold

This group exhibition brings together video, sound, drawing, textiles and sculpture by the first cohort of artists taking part in the two-year Talbot Rice Residents development programme. Among the 10 Scotland-based artists are a-n members Eothen Stearn and Tako Taal.

For ‘Meet me at the threshold’ Stearn presents her research into University of Edinburgh’s Lothian Health Services Archive, presenting archival material alongside her original screenprints and interviews she has conducted with key figures that lived through the 1980s–1990s AIDS epidemic in the city. These first-hand accounts reflect moments of grief, kinship, resilience and solidarity, and are interwoven with original footage from JOY – a legendary Edinburgh club night that united marginalised communities in reaction to Section 28.

Meanwhile Taal’s moving-image work Departures meditates on intimate relationships, absence and distance as the camera traces the surface of a naming blanket that the artist has had since birth. Over the images of embroidered patterns, worn in places by age and use, the artist’s uncles – one in Gambia, the other in Florida – read a poem by their brother, the artist’s late father.

Until 21 May 2022, Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh

Eothen Stearn, YES!, Take Care Campaign postcard, 1990s. Courtesy: Lothian Health Services Archive, Edinburgh University Library

Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2021

More than 20 a-n members have been selected for this annual open call exhibition of shortlisted works for the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize. 114 drawings by 99 artists, designers, architects and makers from 46 countries showcase a broad range of current drawing practice, reflecting personal, political and social themes.

Among the a-n members included is Edinburgh-based Victoria Clare Bernie who shows the drawing The Burial Ground on the Maam Road. Bernie’s practice, which is primarily video-based, is concerned with the politics of landscape, its ownership and use, and with ‘the picturing of geographies and histories’.

Until 16 April 2022, Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee

Victoria Clare Bernie, The Burial Ground on the Maam Road

Top image: William Cobbing, Long Distance (film still), 2018. Courtesy: the artist