Monthly Archives: September 2015

Paul Coldwell in Times Higher Education

This summer Times Higher Education asked academics what they did with their ‘free’ time. CCW Professor Paul Coldwell responded to the question.

‘I substituted the casual jacket and chinos for boiler suit, goggles and steel-capped boots.

As an artist and academic, research and practice are intertwined. Ideas that exist as thoughts or sketches are constantly tested in the studio, and this flows back into both teaching and further research. However, each process brings its own demands, and there are occasions when a concentrated focus is required.

This summer, I was determined to resolve a number of small sculptures that I had been developing over the preceding months. So, for a few weeks, I substituted the casual jacket and chinos for boiler suit, goggles and steel-capped boots and closeted myself in the very well-equipped metal foundry at Chelsea College of Arts.

The generosity and enthusiasm of the foundry’s director, John Nicoll, creates an environment that is welcoming and professional. I enjoyed the sense of community, working together with the final-year MA students as they prepared for their final show.

The process of casting is long and complex, involving “investing” the wax originals by attaching wax rods to enable the metal to flow, preparing the piece for pouring, then digging out the casts from the sandpit. Working directly in the foundry allows me to respond to each stage, modifying and fine-tuning the pieces until they are complete. Despite my impatient nature, this is a process that cannot be rushed.

The process of casting itself impacted on the actual sculptures I ended up making. Thinking about how the metal flowed round the sculpture led me to incorporate aspects of this in the making of the sculptures, and I increasingly thought of them in terms of fluid lines, and drawing with the metal. It was a highly productive few weeks.’

This story was originally posted online in Times Higher Education on 17 September 2015.

Top image: Coldwell in the foundry at Chelsea

Transactions of the Duddo Field Club

Transactions of the Duddo Field Club book launch will be at X Marks the Bokship on Friday 25th September 2015, 6.30- 8.30pm. This publication documents recent sculpture, video and performance by William Cobbing that were exhibited at Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, and mima in Middlesbrough.

Retrograde images of ancient rock formations are the basis for oversized ceramic book covers of Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus. Monolithic-looking sculptures derive their surface appearance from the anthropomorphic Duddo Five Stones in Northumberland, formed through pressing rocks into heavily grogged clay, a random selection of books then slotted into their surfaces; monuments to inaccessible knowledge and trivia. The book also features a collaborative performance Palimpsest with Beth Collar, a disjointed conversation in which words are scored in a wet clay surface, and are then distorted or erased through the act of continually reworking the surface. Language becomes a tactile experience. Transactions features texts by Louise Chignac, Jonathan P. Watts, a new commissioned artwork by Beth Collar and a series of bookmarks by Arnaud Desjardin. Design by Fraser Muggeridge Studio. This publication is funded by CCW Graduate School, Newcastle University, The Lipman Trust and mima

These mystical voices closely resemble that of chanting as if the stones themselves were ‘speaking’ in some ritualistic manner. In fact the montage of fast cuts of the stones in close-up that constitutes the intro suggests something of the anthropomorphic, as if the stones themselves were people or characters in their own right that will come to play their relevant part in this drama between the natural and the supernatural. 
Louise Chignac

Forever friends, Sylvanian Families, sickness and health, fapping away hunched over, biting the nails down — like down to the skin — biting the skin off — a claw from me would be like a stroke with a bundle of retractable erasers. Cheese Strings. Rough granite shits, sheep turds the same, then the standing stones, the rows, the circles, wispy dried grass inserted up the nostril. Abandonment. But in all of it, it was just me there. Self satisfied / fact finding /nonconscious. 
Beth Collar

A book can be lost and found. A book, used for what it is meant for, functioning in the proper way, is always contingent on the person holding it (reading it?) understanding what it is, the language it’s written in, the way pages make sense in a sequence (left to right, or the other way around), the way it sits with other related books. As a set of signs, from cover to cover, it requires acquired interpretive skills. 
Arnaud Desjardin

The extraordinary marks imbued in the stones is a kind of ur-writing ; they receive their secret inscriptions over geological durations, durations that dwarf the human. ‘There are impossible scribblings in nature,’ he writes, ‘written neither by men nor by devils’. And in these scribbles a viewer might decipher proto-images of anything invented by human visual culture, so that ‘already present in the archives of geology, available for operations then inconceivable, was the mode of what would later be an alphabet’.  
Jonathan P. Watts

A special cocktail ‘Airport Lounge Manners’ will be served from the Push Bar to Open hatch bar.

Cobbing launch

 

Jerwood Drawing Second Prize Winner, Elisa Alaluusua

The winners were announced on 15 September of the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2015. The Second Prize of £5,000 was awarded to Elisa Alaluusua for her 7-minute video, Unconditional Line. She completed MA degrees at Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Lapland before commencing her PhD at CCW. Her prizewinning video drawing depicts the take-off and landing of a flight.

Alaluusua said, ‘My drawing practice varies from graphite on paper to videoworks – both of which have played a part while I have been conducting my PhD research at UAL on the topic of sketchbooks. Often my work explores restrictions set around particular parameters, such as my large-scale 24h Drawings, completed in that time without sleep and pushing physical and mental boundaries. Unconditional Line “explores a line across the skies and recreates it on screen. This particular trip belongs to a continuum of invisible lines drawn between London and Luusua in Finnish Lapland. The lines on the ground speak their own foreign language of order and safety that should not be compromised. The video is a reminder of the experiences of our own journeys.”*

I have been using video for a long time now. At the beginning of the 1990s, in my art school we were the first year group completing our moving image projects on video rather than in film. Renting the cumbersome equipment was expensive, and we would use the linear editing machines around the clock. Over the years video has become an effortless means of expression for me where I work on my own on a project, planning, shooting and editing everything by myself. It is very much like composing a drawing with a more traditional media on paper – every mark or change works in a relation to the marks around it, the whole composition capturing time in the process. On the other hand, I truly enjoy collaboration such as running video projects – for example the Film/Video workshop for Westminster School’s annual PHAB course – or interviewing people for my videoworks. My final PhD exhibition will include thirteen such videoworks, and I look forward to putting that installation together in the spring of 2016.

There will be related events coming up on Friday 25th (SLAM FRIDAY: Artists’ Floor Talk) and Monday 28th September (SCREENING & PANEL DISCUSSION: A Singular Line) when I will be taking part in panel discussions.’ Tickets are free but need to be booked in advance on their website, using the links above.

EXHIBITION INFORMATION:

Jerwood Drawing Prize 2015
16 September–25 October 2015
Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London SE1 0LN
Mon–Fri from 10am–5pm, Sat & Sun from 10am–3pm Free
www.jerwoodvisualarts.org
Twitter: #JDP15 @JerwoodJVA

FROM LONDON THE EXHIBITION GOES TO:

  • Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum: The Wilson (21 November 2015 – 31 January 2016)
  • Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury (11 February – 9 April 2016)
  • Falmouth Art Gallery (23 April – 25 June 2016)

* Jerwood Drawing Prize 2015 press release

Top image: still from Unconditional Line, Elisa Alaluusua

Memories of the Hunt: Paintings and Prints

Memories of the Hunt: Paintings and Prints is a new exhibitions of work by recent CCW PhD graduate Dr Jim Threapleton.

The exhibition explores how paint moves — both in terms of plastic immediacy and subjective potential. Unreliable artefacts of a search for the tipping point where figuration collapses into gesture, the work negotiates the porous boundary between familiarity and estrangement. At such a threshold, resemblance becomes a possibility, but one that ultimately refuses to be realized. The point of abandonment in the painting process exhibits an ambivalence that leaves the spectator with work to do. From a distance the contrast of form against darkness might imply kinship with seventeenth century vanitas painting, but closer inspection reveals the nothing of gesture in place of object.

The spatial values borrowed from visual experience turn on the respiratory rhythms of form and formlessness that emanate from the inconclusive or unresolved nature of gesture — from the throw of a dice. The monoprint is just such a material gamble. The arbitrary and brute force of the press degrades intention, reducing it to a stain of an experience now absent — the ghost of a painting recorded unfaithfully on paper. The painterly phrase that once suggested limitlessness becomes, instead, a statement on the limit of language — on the impossibility of expression.

A number of the paintings come under the title Symptom — as such they are a felt experience. The disrupted, glitching quality of form is symptomatic of a painting process described in terms of sabotage and subtraction. Such reductive methods might be considered sculptural. Painting is distilled to a kind of binary language. Zero or one. Paint or no paint. Mark or non-mark. Depth or flatness. A stark economy actually derived from hours of manipulation, from the push and pull of control and accident, addition and subtraction — from the painfully slow process of painting fastness.

These works, showing at Serena Morton from 10 September to 2 October 2015, mark the culmination of the Jim Threapleton’s Fine Art doctoral research at CCW.

Top image: Symptom XIV, 2015 (Oil on Aluminium, 30 x 30 cm), Jim Threapleton

Syd Shelton: Rock Against Racism

Autograph ABP announces the publication of a major new book of Syd Shelton’s photographs and graphic design produced for and about the British Rock Against Racism Movement of 1976-1981. The accompanying exhibition runs at Rivington Place, London EC2 from 2 October until 5 December 2015. The book is co-edited by Mark Sealy MBE, Director of Autograph ABP, and Carol Tulloch, CCW Professor of Dress, Diaspora and Transnationalism and member of TrAIN research Centre.

Rock Against Racism (RAR) confronted racist ideology in the streets, parks and town halls of Britain. RAR was formed by a collective of musicians and political activists to fight fascism and racism through music. Shelton’s photographs capture one of the most intriguing and contradictory political periods in British post-war history, and for him this work was a socialist act, what he calls a ‘graphic argument’ on behalf of marginalised lives. Shelton photographed performers such as The Clash, Elvis Costello, Misty in Roots, Tom Robinson, the Au Pairs and The Specials. He also captured the audiences at RAR gigs and carnivals across England, as well as what he calls ‘the contextual images’ of the lives and landscapes that often fuelled acts of racist violence.

The full colour publication features an essay by Paul Gilroy, Professor of American and English Literature at King’s College London, and an interview with Syd Shelton by Adam Phillips, formerly Principal Child Psychotherapist at Charing Cross Hospital in London, and now a writer and psychoanalyst, and Visiting Professor in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York.

Syd Shelton is a British photographer and graphic designer. He has worked in Europe, Australia and the United States. He co-edited and was art director of a series of photographic books: 24 Hours in Los Angeles (1984), the award winning Day in the Life of London (1984) and Ireland: A Week in the Life of a Nation (1986). His work was recently included in the exhibition Words, Sound and Power: Reggae Changed My Life at The British Music Experience: Britain’s Museum of Popular Music, O2 Arena, London (2012) and The Photographer’s Gallery exhibition The World in London.

Tulloch has been working with the Rock Against Racism archival material since her 2008 exhibition A Riot of Our Own. The current exhibition and book have received press from The Observer and the British Journal of Photography.

Established in 1988, Autograph ABP is a charity that works internationally in photography and film, cultural identity, race, representation and human rights. Rock Against Racism is supported using public funding by Arts Council England. The publication of this work is supported by a grant from The Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust.