Archive | June, 2012

Anna Gillespie: Contemporary Figurative British Sculpture

21 Jun

Anna Gillespie: Contemporary Figurative Brisith Sculpture: Welcome.

Robyn Woolston

20 Jun

Open speaks to the 2012 Liverpool Art Prize winner,Robyn Woolston. Liverpool-based Robyn Woolston, a filmmaker, photographer and installation artist won the recent Liverpool Art Prize 2012 winning £2000 and a solo display at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery in 2013.

Congratulations on winning the 2012 Liverpool Art Prize, how did it feel to have won?

Utterly overwhelming, it’s been a rollercoaster ride from short-list to announcement. Primarily though it’s been an honor to work in such a unique environment, architecturally and historically, as Metal at Edge Hill station. It’s the world’s oldest standing passenger railway station and as such is imbued with texture, context and narrative.

What brought you to Liverpool?

I studied for my second degree at Wirral Met College, through John Moores University, and stayed for the Capital of Culture… and I appear to still be here! In some ways I feel deeply nomadic but really I only ‘settle’ by the sea so Liverpool’s perfect as it’s tidal and creative.

What do you find most inspiring about the city?

The buildings, the creative ebb and flow of the people and events like the Biennial. Not to forget Fact, Tate Liverpool and emergent galleries like Curve who are now operating out of two spaces, one in Liverpool and one in Newcastle, Australia.  Tell us a bit about your winning exhibit ‘last’. It’s the second part of a work containing 132,000 pieces of plastic cutlery. The first part was shown at Threshold Festival in early 2012 and was called ‘Smart Price’. Both works question our use of finite resources within an economy that places profit above planet in terms of value to the human race. The prize winning piece, ‘last’ 2012, also contained an 8.5m silver birch tree and a neon sign in conjunction with the plastic.

When did you realise your future was to be as an artist?

When I tried to ‘wedge’ myself into broadcast television production in a standardised form – it’s where I began professionally. Having said that Art was the one thing that always made sense to me as a child, the one process that ‘flowed’, so ultimately I cannot differentiate between those early steps, mark-making, and the way I work with materials now. I still work instinctively.

Who has been the biggest influence on your work?

I’d have to say practitioners like Rauschenberg, Beuys and Kiefer. What resonates most is their relationship to materials and the way in which they interrogate ‘meaning’ through their use of ‘resources’. On an environmental note a former Jain monk called Satish Kumar has irrevocably altered the way in which I view the world and for that I will be forever grateful.

What is the ethos behind your work?

I work with waste products and emotions; the physical detritus that the industrialised society, banking and brands for example, would rather reject. Sometimes such ‘waste’ comes in the form of a vulnerable emotion, like grief, at other times it’s literal, like plastic. My drivers are ecological and my perspective is culturally ‘situated’ so I’m always trying to understand the push-and-pull between the two. To ‘renegotiate’ the boundaries between what a brand sells me and what the earth teaches me.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?

Make contacts, learn about materials, follow your instinct, explore, experiment, take risks, learn from those that know, grow. Acknowledge what ‘best practice’ is within your field then understand what bearing it has upon your own creative voice in terms of the clarity of your message.

What can we expect to see next from you?

I’m currently exhibiting with Curve Gallery in Australia. Later in the year, for the Biennial, I am re-installing a temporary light installation into an Orthodox Jewish cemetery in Kensington, Liverpool and next year I’ve a solo show at the Walker. So the journey continues.

via – Open the City | Open Magazine.

ArtSlant – Matthew Darbyshire Rackroom

20 Jun

James Thompson: You’ve spoken previously about an ‘exhibition structure’ for your work, how does this relate to this show in Paris? Also what’s your criteria for the selection of the objects, which have previously also had a structure?

Matthew Darbyshire: I often adopt some sort of notion or environment as an armature upon which I can place the elements (ie. A two-bed appartment in Kennington, London; an entrance hall in Stalin’s Palace of Culture, Warsaw; a building site hoarding in Bethnal Green, London etc.) however in this instance I, for the first time, decided to use the galleries physical architecture as a structure within which to present more of an overview. Being my first exhibition in France I felt I should offer some sort of overview or introduction to my practice before launching in to one of my larger scale ‘environments’.

JT: You’ve been categorised as ‘anti-consummerist’, your work offering a critique, yet you’ve also stated that you don’t want to be didactic. Can you say something about critique, how you reconcile these two things, how you find a valid position for comment?

MD: I’m wary of consumerism – particularly the agendas of those who abuse it; sometimes the aspirations of those who are slave to it; always its effects socially; and of course the repercussions environmentally. But who isn’t? I don’t set out to make work that is ‘anti-consumerist’. I make work in response to that which surrounds me — that which most interests me and that which I am drawn to. It’s probably a combination of formal attribute, social and political implication, personal association and whim…all of which roll in to one I guess.

With regards to its critical dimension, of course it has one but it’s probably only as pronounced or seemingly overt as it is due to my own inhibition rather than intention (ie. like many I long for the poetic and the ineffable but get snared on the cerebral and literal). The work, or the process through which it is made, eventually offers up a critique but I don’t deliberately focus on this aspect from the outset. Most upsetting of all is when the work’s interpreted solely on its perceived social claims…I hope it’s more oblique than that.

Sorry to ramble on but I think the critique surfaces through the combining of various personal traits and for me these seem to be the social, the poetic, the satirical and the formal. This was highlighted in my recent Tramway show that dedicated an antechamber to each and I’m since consciously trying to incorporate and reconcile these four traits in every work.

ArtSlant – Matthew Darbyshire Rackroom.

Susie MacMurray

19 Jun

I really like Susie MacMurray’s installations. Her playfulness reminds me of Cornelia Parker – who is surely one of her inspirations.

Great to see this installation. As part of Islington Mill’s 10-year anniversary artist Susie MacMurray has reinstalled her seminal work Stratum. Developed while she was in residence at Islington Mill as a graduate student in 2001, Stratum transformed the attic spaces of the building in a cloud of white duck down.