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28 November 2010

Friday 19th November: BV Open Studios

Greetings! Last Friday myself and a friend attended the BV open studios in Bristol. For those of you who (like myself until recently) might be wondering what BV studios are then please read the following info about them taken from their blog:

'BV Studios, a new and exciting development of artists’ studios in Bristol, is opening its doors to the public for the first time with an Open Studios event in November 2010.The converted 30,000 square foot warehouse is located in the heart of industrial Bedminster, in the space formerly occupied by the Wiltshire Print Works.The studio building currently houses over 80 professional artists who have been selected based on the quality of their work and commitment to their creative practices. The artists work in a variety of mediums and range from recent promising graduates to award winning, international and established artists.'
Over 80 artists! That sounds great to me, and it really was! After visiting the equally exciting Jamaica Street studios in Bristol this summer, I was looking forward to a similar experience of seeing a diversity of different art styles and studio spaces. So on the evening of Friday the 19th after a half an hour train journey to Bristol and 'slight detour' to get some fish and chips we arrived at the bustling BV studios in Bedminster (and believe me, it really was bustling!). During the two hours we were there there was no way near enough time to see all the work and talk to artists, so its taken some thinking to remember all the stuff I saw. Actually what I found to be more or as interesting as seeing/meeting the artists was the whole atmosphere of Bristol as an art community and seeing so many more artists my own age involved in the arts there, it was inspiring. I think refreshing too, to see a space that wouldn't be used, like the one at Jamaica Street, being inhabited and cared for by artists. The kind of hub of excitement it created in that particular part of Bedminster that evening (as I'm sure it will continue to do) was something I would love to see in my own town.
Below are a selection of images from the work of artist's who have a studio space there.Just to give you a taste. If you'd like to see any of the other artists' websites follow the link to the BV studios blog below:
(above) Sophie Woodrow

(above) Mariele Neudecker

(above) Alex Korzer-Robinson

(above) Lydia Halcrow
(above) Stewart Geddes

21 November 2010

Liverpool Biennial top 10!

(above) image from Eva Kotatkova's 'Stories from the living room' -'Reminds me of Magritte, surrealism, the anime, 'Spirited away' and the whole imagination you have when you're a child (not so long ago for me).'

At last! Here it is. A little bit in retrospect, but finally I am pleased to share with you my top 10 things to see in this year's Liverpool Biennial!

(above) Sachiko Abe performing her piece 'Cut papers' in the Blade Factory
(above) Tehching Hsieh’s 'One year performance' at FACT in Liverpool

(above) Do Ho Suh's 'Bridging Home' commissioned for the 2010 biennial

In no particular order, and with links to web pages so you can see the work more clearly here we go...

1) Do Ho Suh - Bridging Home
Site specific commissioned installation for this year's biennial featuring a scale model of the artist's own Korean house from his childhood wedged between two buildings on Duke Street. A really interesting artist if you look at his other work, that is political and visually dynamic at the same time.

2)Eva Kotátková - Stories from the living room
Kotátková’s project for Touched brings together people from Liverpool at different stages of life whose experiences and personal histories have been informed by a variety of social environments. Over several weeks some school children and some adults met separately and together in order to share and record – with various devices and in different formats – their respective life stories. Her work is presented in the form of drawings and installation.

3)Sachiko Abe - Cut papers
Definitely one of the most talked about things at this year's biennial and rightly so. Put simply it is a performance piece in which the artist is cutting paper from atop the tower in the blade factory in which the cut slithers of paper are left to fall in a floating delicate trail down from where she's sitting. It says so much about childhood, meditation, elements of Japanese culture, repetition and so much more in such a beautifully simple way.

4) Tehching Hsieh -One year performance
Another performance artist, but this one is displayed as a visual record of thousands of photo portraits of the artist as he embarked on the original performance in which he took a photo of himself every hour for an entire year. Mind-numbingly brilliant when you see this work taking up the entire wall space of the FACT gallery.

5) George Gilbert Scott -Liverpool Cathedral bell tower
'Its art but not as we know it.' Whilst the breath-taking views from the top of the tower might not be an 'official' part of the biennial experience it is certainly is worth checking out and remains one of my highlights (no pun intended) of the biennial. Awesome.

6) Bloomberg new contemporaries - (its all good but one artist who I seem to be mentioning to a lot of people is Sam Knowles)
The whole collective group of artists in the Bloomberg new contemporaries is really interesting but if I had to mention one in particular it would be Sam Knowles. Check his work out and see...

7) Izumi Taro -Media Landscape Zone East
A video artist who exhibited with at least 20 other video artists from the East. This was a brilliant group show where you could look at videos in the way you look at paintings, there was something about it that held you're attention and made you curious to look.

8) Christina Lucas - Touch and go
Another excellent video displayed inside the now derelict and empty Scandinavian Hotel/ Europleasure building in which suspicious looking elderly people walk past and throw rocks through the windows of the same building that you're watching the film in. Funny, unexpected, subversive and in one heck of an amazing space.

9) Diago Hernandez - Homesick
An artist exploring themes of identity and culture through the medium of postcards! I'm right to be excited, as I have a bit of a love of using postcards in art and I really thought his simple cut postcard collages were really beautiful little pieces of work. Check him out in the Tate Liverpool if interested.

10) Nicholas Hlobo - Ndize
The winner of the best, most treacherous installation at this year's biennial! Picture the scene, an entire room full of coloured ribbons hanging the entire height from the ceiling to the floor, masses of it! You, the unsuspecting, slightly tentative viewer, battling with thoughts of whether, 'Am I allowed in? Am I supposed to walk in here?' and then when you do finally decide to enter you get completely lost and tangled up in the technicolour ribbon jungle that is this piece of work. Along the way you find people (also as stuck and confused as you) sculptures by the artist and the occasional window, door or wall. A great experience even though as far as what it means I haven't gone into, sometimes you just need to go in there amongst the ribbons!

11 November 2010

Save the arts!

As it turns out quite a lot has happened and indeed is happening since I took my break away from writing the blog. Perhaps one of the most crucial being the devastating cuts that are being made to arts funding in Somerset and the rest of the country. It is therefore long overdue and worthy of a mention on this blog.

This is quite a difficult, complicated and important topic to talk about and one I may refer to for future posts on this blog. I feel its probably a both a difficult and potentially interesting, if un-nerving time to be an artist in Somerset with the current state of affairs being that Somerset County Council are going to cut the arts funding by 100% it is going to have a serious affect on many arts organisations, artists and the individuals who use, enjoy and benefit from what the arts bring to this county.

As a graduate and emerging artist (for want of a better word) in Somerset, I have used and been supported by artists and organisations who are arts funded and have learnt much from these opportunities of then which I have, in certain circumstances, been able to give back to the community through as a result of what I've learnt. I don't think I'm alone in this respect I think there are many graduates from all backgrounds (not just the arts) who may have benefited from the experiences and knowledge that the arts in Somerset offer. There's a lot more I could say, but won't for now, I just want to address the context of where I am coming from regarding the arts cuts.

I do not want to run into a political debate on this blog, but I am actually more interested in hearing how other artists are responding to the situation? How will artists adapt to survive through the cuts? Will the arts in Somerset disappear altogether (I don't personally think it will) and will it take new forms? What forms will this be?

I have my own views on these questions but would love to hear from you and feature them on a future post on this blog. Please get in touch.

(above) Image from David Shrigley's animation 'Save the Arts'
(below) Cornelia Parker's altered image of Antony Gormley's 'Angel of the North'
Please sign the petition on the link below:

And see/read about Somerset's own battle to save arts funding on the link below:

We'll try and keep you updated!

Finding your way...and what is a pecha kucha anyway?

The following images and comments are taken from the 'Finding your way' day event at Barrington Court on the 20th October. The day featured presentations from SCION’s curator, John Plowman and exhibiting artist Louise K Wilson.Louise K. Wilson’s artwork takes the form of installations, sound pieces, live events and videos.

This event was aimed at local artists/emerging artists and graduates and any one who is interested in the arts as a way of discussing, networking and hearing the stories and examples of how other artists have 'found their way' in the arts and their practices. Or perhaps, as the case may be, they are all still 'finding their way', whatever that means? I think as an artist you are constantly looking to find your way, in terms of finding an answer, resolution, problem solving etc. Even sometimes simply finding your way through the current lack of employment/arts market or next opportunity, I guess we're all still finding our way. Be it as individuals or as groups. Although I didn't attend this event (I was at the Liverpool biennial at the time-probably lost in a disused building/exhibition space or in a bar, but anyway..) I think it sounded useful and probably quite inspiring. It must certainly be of great help to hear of the experiences of other artists who are/have made the transition between graduating and establishing their art practice in the art world. At the event this took the form of talks from recent graduates from the University of Lincoln, Amelia Beavis-Harrison and Alan Armstrong. Presenting together they shared their experience of establishing their practices and various projects since graduation three years ago.

The Pecha Kucha part of the days events sounded particularly encouraging too. For those of you, like me wondering what a pecha kucha is then here's some info:

Pecha Kucha! - a simple Power Point presentation format where each artist show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images forward automatically and the artist talks along to the images, in this way each artist will be able to present their work for 6 minutes 40 seconds.

Ah! Ha! So its like a kind of group crit, or showcase for your work. Sounds good to me and from looking at the photos three artists I happen to know were there, Gary Dickins, Liz Fathers and Lucy Lean so I'm sure it was an interesting, dynamic part of the day!

If you would like the opportunity to share your experiences as an artist then please get in touch, or if you're a recent graduate looking for a sense of direction then please send us an email.

Anyway, enough from me here's what some of you who went to the event had to say:

“I met up with some friends, talked to others whose name I knew, but had never met and exchanged conversation and ideas with a new group of people. It was very exciting to hear that people were self-motivated, despite hard times... I was very impressed with the architecture and fittings , to say nothing of the gardens at Barrington. I would love to photograph the whole place.” – Mel Sewell

“I had a fantastic day on Wednesday. I feel strongly that sharing experiences in that kind of way is extremely valuable for artists at all stages of their careers. I thought the Pecha Kucha was a really successful vehicle for a number of artists to share the ideas behind their practice quickly and clearly. And was intrigued to see how a seemingly prescribed format can be interpreted very individually.” – Fiona Cassidy
On an end note, if you're still trying to find your way like me, you might as well enjoy the journey.

We're back!

We're back!
After a summer of gearing up for art weeks and running away with the circus we're finally back!

We're back! The SAW blog is back with a vengeance, well, maybe not too much vengeance, but none the less, we're back coming to you live from the art world that is Somerset and beyond. Every week posting to you the latest in art news/events/exhibitions and projects from home grown Somerset artists and more.

Why the image of shoes? I figured that after an absence from blogging for the last month that coming back to the blog would be like putting on an old pair of shoes after not wearing them all summer. What a summer it has been too, with all the activities and exhibtions that went on during art weeks I needed a couple weeks just to recoperate from it all! There will be more information and highlights from this years Somerset art weeks to come in future posts.

So without further ado, I think its time to start running.