Telling Tales – A Creative Pathways Artists Exhibition
Five years ago, I and four other artists received a bursary and professional development support as part of the Creative Pathways programme created by Somerset Art Works. I have to confess that I didn’t realise that our year, 2011 was the first time that the programme had run and was none-the-less grateful for the opportunity it provided; for myself it put me in contact with the Somerset Heritage Centre and staff who worked there so I could access a wealth of historical farming implements and tools as research and source material for making new work. Without making this sound too much like a testimonial, more than it already is, I was two years out of graduating with my degree and having a support network of other artists and some financial support that it provided were both incredibly useful and confidence enhancing. That year I exhibited work I had made based on that research in an exhibition titled ‘Tool Tales’. Now, five years later I am delighted to be exhibiting and assisting in curating ‘Telling Tales’ (the name of which is a fab coincidence) an exhibition featuring 22 artists that have since 2011 all also participated in the Creative Pathways programme. I like that synchronicity and it is very exciting to be exhibiting with and helping put together this exhibition of artists who have shared the same opportunity. Work-wise there will still be everything you’ve come to expect from my tool-based creations but for now I will leave what that is exactly an incentive (hopefully) for you to come and see the exhibition in person! Telling Tales opens for Somerset Art Weeks on the 23rd September and will feature a variety of disciplines from film, printmaking, sculpture, participatory projects, drawing and more. It is open Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm, Saturday 12noon -4pm until October 7th.
The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre Coal Orchard, Taunton, Somerset TA1 1JL
Saturday 23 September 2017 – Saturday 07 October 2017
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat 12noon-4pm
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat 12noon-4pm
STARRING: Laura AISH / Bronwen BRADSHAW / Elizabeth CAIRES / Simon Lee DICKER / Jon ENGLAND / Veronia GAYLE / Adam GROSE / Kitty HILLIER / Leah HISLOP / Sarah HITCHENS / Sandra JAMES / Chris JELLEY / Mayumi KANEKO / Lucy LEAN / Joy MERRON / Jennifer NEWBURY / Andrea OKE / Natalie PARSLEY / Lucy PENDRICK / Dale PERRETT / Beckie UPTON / Gillian WIDDEN
Earlier this year I was invited with six other artists in the South West to participate in a Somerset Art Works project titled, ‘Prospectus’. The purpose, as I understood it, was to explore ways of creating an ‘alternative art school’ for the dispersed community of Somerset. Through workshops, discussion, sharing learning and working together we embarked upon a five day ‘takeover’ of Huish Episcopi School’s Art Department over the Easter holidays, (without the students!) during this time we created things, made mistakes, shared elements of our own practices and learnt from invited artists and one another. This is one example of how we hope future groups of artists could access these facilities and provide a form of peer-led professional development.
With the aim of opening the project out to the wider community, in the second phase of Prospectus we have each individually programmed a series of talks/workshops to take place this autumn. Details of which can be found, here; http://prospectus.somersetartworks.org.uk/events/
It seemed both logical and important to have at least one speaker, in a project about ‘art schools’, to actually talk about the subject we were exploring.... I have also been interested in the conversations that we have had (often whilst making) as a group of artists across different generations, on how artists continue to ‘learn’, our own experiences of art schools (what are they?) and the place that art schools serve in our communities, towns and wider art world context.
‘Art School’, as a term, carries a significance greater than the institution it actually describes: a sense of possibility or world view, what they call ‘commitment to working a practice, to a mode of learning which assumes the status of a lifestyle.” 1
Details of where that quote came from and the talk I have arranged can be seen below:
Professor Matthew Cornford is an artist, researcher and course leader for the BA(Hons) Fine Art Critical Practice course at Brighton University. In association with Professor John Beck, Cornford undertook a research project to find and document the sites of former British Art Schools. Their photographs and findings documented in the 2014 publication ‘The Art School and the Culture Shed’. Cornford will be sharing elements of his practice and research into former Art Schools at the location of Taunton’s original art school, the Victorian, Hunts Court.
Hope you can join us there!
1 FRITH, S; HORNE, H (1987) Art into Pop. Methuen, London. p28
Artist Talk: Matthew Cornford - The Art School and the Culture Shed
‘The Den’ at The Cosy Club, Hunts Court, Corporation St, Taunton TA1 4AJ
Thursday 12th October
Time: 18.00 – 20.00
Fee: £3 suggested donation on door /Free to SAW Members & students
In a slightly indulgent collision of names I have also been assisting in a learning and education project coordinated by Somerset Art Works called Young ProspectUs in which I have been participating as a blogger, documenter and assistant.
“The aim of Young ProspectUs is to facilitate the opportunity for a small number of young people within Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) in Taunton to experience the values of the arts and education, to informally explore the college environment via SAW’s community engagement work.”During the months this project ran I have learnt so much from both the participating artists and relevantly for me, the students themselves. From April until May six workshops took place [one a week] at Northfield and Taunton Centre Pupil Referral Units in Taunton. Artists, Jacky Oliver, Karina Thompson, Megan Players, Rick Crane and Jane Mowat ran sessions corresponding to their practices of; metalwork, sewing, sculpting, graphics and wood carving/printmaking. It has been immensely rewarding for me to participate in these and I feel that I have not only learnt new techniques but have also experienced how they are taught and how the artists have adapted to working with the students. To read more about this project and see what the students made please click on the link below.