The Late Shows

DSCN8023[1]

Last night I was helping out at Vane Gallery with their display for the Late Shows. The Late Shows are a city wide series of exhibitions and cultural events which range from open studios to performances. This is the tenth year it has run with over 70 venues participating. Vane Gallery were previewing two new exhibitions and were also hosting a 1960s style photo shoot for people to play dress up. This looked like great fun and the polaroid photos of everyone came out really well. The vintage clothing was selected by Sara Makari-Aghdam, the curator of Vane’s current ‘Vinyl Icons…’ exhibition, and let’s just say she has great taste! In among helping out behind the bar, I was allowed to pop up to see what was happening on the other floors of Union House.

DSCN8029[1]

B&D Studios had a silent disco playing, something which was incredibly surreal as I have never experienced it before. It was strange seeing people dance to no music. Then you put the headphones on yourself and close off the rest of the world as you enter your own little bubble of sound. The music was mellow and upbeat and really added to the fairy light lit atmosphere. There were also these amazing graphic drawings on display by the talented artist Luke Dixon. I love the colours and the geometric components of the animal’s faces and they were suitably eclectic artwork for the atmosphere of B&D.  

DSCN8030[1]

It was really interesting to travel throughout all the floors of the building as there was everything from fashion to printmaking on display. I knew it was a creative hub of a building, but I hadn’t realised quite to this extent! There was also a floor where people had made imaginative creatures in art therapy classes and the option to take classes in pattern making.

DSCN8024[1]

The night was so filled with artistic contrasts and I think this was what I was most intrigued by; you didn’t know what was going to happen from room to room. When you visit an art gallery, or know there is an artist exhibiting, you kind of expect there to be a sense of continuity within the space. With The Late Shows it was just full of surprises and seeing traditional crafting techniques followed by colourful projections, followed by taxidermy really did highlight the range of what forms art could take.

DSCN8032[1]

There was a very scientific-based floor with a UV cloud installation. I have a bit of a thing for these kind of works, UV just excites me! I think it’s partially my childhood fondness of having glow in the dark stars on my ceiling. Having seen Benedict Drew exhibit at The Talbot Rice Gallery was another instance I got quite excited by UV as he effectively employed it to transform and manipulate structural components of the gallery. 

DSCN8031[1]

What’s great about The Late Shows is that it encourages people that aren’t necessarily that interested in art to participate and visit gallery spaces that they may not otherwise. It’s a chance for anyone to engage and although I didn’t see everything given I was helping with Vane, I saw enough to realise what a great sense of community art can create.

DSCN8035[1]

 

Advertisements

As Light Falls Through

DSC00585

Sadly I have not been near this blog in a while – it’s been far too long and I have really missed it. It’s funny, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ is something I was always skeptical of, but then I have moments like this. I miss writing and reflecting on things as for me that is my quiet time; that is the time where I allow my creativity to solidify into something I can understand and convey to both myself and others through text. However, preparations and the heavy workload that comes with putting on not only a Degree Show, but also publishing the catalogue that goes alongside it have taken over for the time being. So I’ve started thinking back and reminiscing about holiday time. Over Easter I had a lovely trip with my boyfriend and his family which involved Hadrians Wall, Alnwick Gardens and the little museum town of Beamish. A perfect little getaway with some really interesting and beautiful sights! 

DSC00579

In the town of Beamish, not only was I delighted by the running trams and bustling little places such as the bakery which transported you back in time, but I was particularly taken by the colourful stained glass. Now, I think one of the reasons I love stained glass so much is because it is an art form I know very little about – the techniques and timing aspects of the process are something I have never touched on myself. This is coming from someone who has tried everything from analogue photography, to performance art, to video art, to batik ink, to oils, acrylics, watercolours, you name it! I have tested out a lot of different mediums but I am always particularly fascinated by the ones I’ve never tried. Such as marble and bronze sculpting (not that I think I have the arm strength for such techniques). I think one of the reasons glass appeals so much to me though is because there is an element of danger; that risk when manipulating molten hot glass.

DSC00578

When I was younger, I used to do ballet lessons (I hated every single one of them – tutus are not for me!) But what I did like about my lessons was they were next to the glass blowers workshop, so my mum would use that as bait to lure me to ballet class. I still remember being mesmerised by the molten glass as I nibbled on a rice cake. As a youngster I could hardly believe that a solid could become a liquid in such a beautiful but dangerous way. So when I saw these windows inside the little cottages of Beamish, I was instantly drawn in. The way light falls through and illuminates what is essentially a drawing is utterly beautiful. The contrasts between the colours and their vibrancy cast colourful shadows across the room. 

DSC00577

For me it’s inevitable that I always think of Rennie Mackintosh in relation to stained glass; the bold blocks of colour, the simplicity yet elegance of design. There’s also a kind of melancholy to the pictures, as if the depictions are a lost world trapped inside a solid frame. Working with glass is something I have always wanted to try, but I feel it’s the kind of thing you need a workshop for – and especially with my clumsiness levels a lot of protective gear too! Pottery is also something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently and I’m realising that having worked in contemporary art for almost three years now, I’m ready to take a break and maybe study or take up a new and more traditional art form. 

Artist Takeover at The Laing Art Gallery

IMG_8759

At the weekend The Laing Art Gallery held an amazing Artist Takeover Event. It was the first time they had ever held such an event and it was partially a testing ground and partially to raise awareness in their aim of winning a bursary. If they succeed and win this bursary it will bring artist Marcus Coates to the gallery to host a ‘Museums at Night’ event in October. Given the success of Saturday, I am feeling positive for The Laing, however it will all depend on voting (see bottom of blog page). The Artist Takeover was unlike anything I had ever participated in before. It was a very exciting day with the event running from 10-4pm. Not only was the event open to working artists, but to anyone who considered themselves an artist and a whole range of mediums were therefore accepted. These included contemporary dance, paper-cutting, a blackboard of ideas, modernist installation art, live painting, charcoal and inks, and performance art. This made for an eclectic variety of practices and a room bubbling with creative energy and people. 

IMG_8775

I myself had proposed to do a piece of Performance Art which explores the relationship between the serenity of yoga and the manifestation of trauma within the female mind and body. I had never proposed anything before and this was a very interesting proposal in the sense that only one sentence was required. This was challenging  yet helpful to me; as to sum up my work in such a short word count is difficult, but also beneficial as it forced me to really consider and realise what my work is currently about. 

IMG_8763

So not only was the day itself exciting and new, but the experience was also a great one. I spoke to so many different and like minded people, artists, non-artists, the curator. It was a day filled with learning and inspiration, of pushing the boundaries of what art could be and the way we view conventional gallery spaces. It was also a whole new experience for me performance wise. As it was an entire day event, I decided to perform more than once, which I have never done in a single day before. I thought I would be more nervous doing this, however the relaxed and creative atmosphere helped put me at ease. I did the first performance in the room with all the other artists but in a different room for the other two in order to create a different environment for myself. It was interesting how the differing rooms affected and shaped how the performance evolved as apart from my prop of ribbons it was entirely improvised.

IMG_8780

I had a sound piece to accompany my work which filled the gallery space with the sound of my breathing, which brought an unsual atmosphere into the room. In comparison to a lot of places, I would consider The Laing quite a traditional gallery as it holds a lot of spectacle artwork such as that of John Martin (he is one of my favourite artists and I actually did a performance piece in the room where his works were hung which was an incredibly exciting moment for me!) Yet the Artist Takeover completely transformed this stereotype of it for me. I realised that The Laing was willing to engage with its local artistic community. It is a rarity for local artists to be asked into a professional gallery space which is why I was so honoured to have my proposal accepted. It was such a great experience and can hopefully be the first of many events such as these.

IMG_8783

I think a lot of people can feel isolated from the arts or not good enough to either engage or practice art. Events such as this however I feel help break down those boundaries; they make you realise that art can be anything. There was dance, there was mime and there was performance present in the gallery alongside more traditional art forms such as painting and it was refreshing to have these conventional forms of artistic segregation removed and the broad umbrella of the word ‘art’ applied instead.

IMG_8765

Art is limitless, but art also relies on an artistic community and I think an event such as this truly harnesses this and taps into what contemporary art means today. Hopefully this sense of community and artistic discussion can be expanded and built on with Coates’ arrival in October. 

IMG_8764

If you’re interested in finding out more about the October event, take a look at The Laing Art Gallery’s website: 

https://laingartgallery.org.uk/votesforcoates

IMG_8770