https://www.rugby.gov.uk/ragm/homepage/158/false_memory

Rugby Art Gallery and Museum reopens on 6 August with ‘False Memory’, an exhibition seeking to challenge our perception of being able to accurately remember moments from the past, as well as considering the relative ease of creating false memories. The show features the work of New Art West Midlands alumna Grace A Williams.

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We are offering one to one conversation slots with arts professionals in our network for artists, creative practitioners and freelancers based in the region who are looking to apply for Arts Council England’s Funding for Individuals scheme. This is a chance to ask them any last minute questions you might have in relation to your application’s content and focus before pressing ‘submit’.

These conversations will take place over the telephone on Wednesday 15 April and Wednesday 29 April prior to the two deadlines for the Emergency Response Fund – Individuals.

Please find all the details of Arts Council England’s scheme, including key information, deadlines and eligibility criteria here: https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/funding/financial-support-artists-creative-practitioners-and-freelancers

Please email info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk with ‘Telephone conversation’ in the subject line if you would like to request one of the slots. There are a limited number of one to one telephone slots available and these will be offered on a first come first served basis.

We are offering telephone conversations Wednesday 15 April and Wednesday 29 April for artists, creative practitioners and freelancers based in the region who are looking to apply for Arts Council England’s Funding for Individuals scheme.

Artist Sarah Byrne exhibited in New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial 2019. Having recently completed her Masters degree at the University of Wolverhampton, she has gone on to undertake a residency at The New Art Gallery Walsall. We caught up with her to find out more about her practice, and her approaches to the residency on site and during lockdown.

Clean your hands, 2020, print on A4 paper


How have you approached the residency? What have been your starting points?

The residency largely offered me a space to play, and to try things without too much planning or thought. Something I began to value during my Masters was what I called ‘mindless’ work. It’s like the opposite of being mindfull, which is associated with having to be very present and aware – something which honestly just freaked me out because there are times I didn’t want to be so aware, I just wanted to shut off and let things happen. One of my favourite chefs, Jack Monroe (2019) wrote in the method for her Self Love Stew, that:

“Stirring is key. It is soothing. It is mindless, not mindful. Sod mindful. My mind is full enough. It is a minefield. Sometimes I want to stir some stuff and stare at my hands or into nothing”.

I find it’s a great metaphor for how I try to approach my work now – mindless stirring. Just using the right ingredients, and then letting the flavours come together themselves.

So how I started was by bringing a bunch of materials into the studio without any solid plan, just some notes I’d made on my phone during the months leading up to it. I already understood where my work stood conceptually from recently finishing my Masters, so it was a great opportunity to let the materials take the lead and see what I could allow them to do.

First day in the Artist’s Studio at The New Art Gallery Walsall


Can you tell me more about your work in the lead up to the residency, specifically that as part of your MA and shown during New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial?

My practice explores the relationship that I have with my dual nationality, and explores imagery and thoughts relating to my mixed race heritage.

I began with an interest in the photographs and photo albums my mum curated of me growing up. She still keeps and displays them, in leather-bound chronological order on the bookshelf. I began a material exploration of these photographs, viewing myself and my narrative with a different, analytical eye to how I would normally view them. I looked at them at this point as if I were an anthropologist, rather than a family member. The impulsive family snapshot became important, as did the consideration of how I’d grown up with value placed on my race as an identifier, with muddled memories of feeling tokenised by both sides.

As I repeatedly used and re-used the photographs, remembering stories, smells, sounds and emotions, I began to question the reliability of my own narrative voice, becoming aware that I was attempting to recall a period of my childhood which is commonly misremembered by many. I was already going through a process of comparing digital and human memory, and doubts around my attempts to recall events were making me question a degree of computer-like overwriting and corruption within memories. At the time of the New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial, the visuals I was creating would explore the ideas of glitching, malfunctioning and faultiness in relation to human memory. The approach of collage on an overhead projector allowed for an ambiguous and infinite number of possible scenarios using a decided collection of existing objects, environments and disruptions.

In the lead up to the end of my MA and my gallery residency, my work had also developed to consider trends relating to skin whitening in South East Asia.  A strong memory I hold from my trips to the Philippines is the overbearing presence of skin whitening treatments. I remember on one trip to the Philippines, after using up all the sun protection cream we’d brought with us from home, my dad and I were searching for more in the local Boots pharmacy equivalent. I remember picking up and examining each of the bottles and being unable to find a product that wasn’t selling itself on its whitening or bleaching properties. The metaphor of fading and bleaching began to be included in the discussion around distortion and concealing in relation to memory.

Me circa 1996, Umingan, Pangasinan, Philippines


How have you utilised materials and motifs?

In the Philippines there is a huge value placed on Westernism. Historically, the Philippines have been owned by both Spain and America, making it a cultural hybrid of these places as well as its geographical location in Asia. Something I observed (and became very uncomfortable with) even as a young child, was that my dad and I were revered for visiting there as white people. People in the markets would stop, stare and point, people would approach us for money, sometimes begging, sometimes threatening. Conversations would revolve around my appearance, with huge worth placed on my “lovely light skin”.

Growing up, this gave me whiplash as I compared it to the treatment I received for being Asian when back home in England. At school, it was a running joke for many that I looked Chinese … My nationality was my identifier, and the way people would introduce me. “This is Sarah – she’s Filipino”, they’d say, pre-empting that the other person would be wondering that already. My descriptors would shift to “lovely olive skin”. Which was I, then? And why did it matter so much?

The bleaching soap was one of the ideas leading the work at the start of the residency as I saw it as an object which could speak of lots of different metaphors and dialogues. My parents had recently been on a visit there, so I asked them to pick me up some of the boxes they saw in the supermarkets!

There’s something to note in that many of the whitening properties lie in women’s cleaning products. I don’t notice the same sort of marketing in the men’s variety of soaps and deodorants. I thought then about the cleaning products themselves, and their purpose. Cleaning. Whitening. Like the intention is to wash your skin colour away. The same language wouldn’t seem out of place on a bottle of Cillit Bang. I started to consider this in parallel with the disintegration and fade treatment in my work.

In addition, another motif which has been important throughout the residency, has been the colour yellow. I did a series of Instagram posts about this, discussing how my instinctual relation of the colour to the Filipino landscape was what initially drew me to the colour, but then how it developed to become something important to continue with. There’s a broad consideration of the colour yellow in reference to Asian countries. It became quickly established in the world that there were black people and there were white people. More recently brown, too, has become a common descriptor. But where did Filipino people belong in these categories? Reclaiming and taking possession of Yellow outside of its former derogatory context gives us a “little flag to fly” (Chok, V. (2016) ‘Yellow’, in The Good Immigrant. London: Unbound, pp.33–44.)

Texture study (detail), 2020, water and soap on acetate, overhead projector


You have shared some really interesting content on Instagram during your residency so far. Given the Covid-19 situation and the residency pause, how do you hope to continue to use digital platforms to share your thinking and research moving forward?

Thank you! The staff at the gallery have been incredibly supportive during this time. I have been continuing my Instagram takeovers on the gallery account, and have been very grateful for the responses I receive on that platform.

With so many of us now staying at home, an at-home art practice is something that I think is important not just on an individual basis, but in terms of sharing and contributing to an online community that others can view or feel involved in. A lockdown practice doesn’t have to be that productive or important, but the act of setting a goal for yourself or having something enjoyable to be working on, can be so important for wellbeing in this weird limbo. I’ve found that since the lockdown has been enforced, the viewing numbers on my Instagram stories have shot up, and the number of responses have increased, as more people are turning to their phones and social media with their extra time.

I’ve found social media, and particularly Instagram stories, to be really positive in encouraging me to write in a voice like I’d write to a mate. It’s not my ‘academic’ voice, or the one that would maybe be present in an artist statement. I don’t do any planning for them, and I barely proofread them. I try to engage my stream of consciousness, and not put pressure on myself to sound a certain way. I’ve personally found this to be very freeing, and based on the responses I’ve had, it has allowed others to get a good insight into how I think through and make decisions around my work as it happens.

On a personal level, documenting this stream of consciousness is also great for me to formalise the ‘bitty’ thoughts that might otherwise be lost and overwritten by the next idea as I potter about with my materials. It leaves more for me to reflect on after the fact, and can be more beneficial in developing those threads further as I progress. It’s definitely something I’ll adopt to featuring more on my personal page after this residency is finished.

Clean your face, 2020, print on A4 paper


What’s next?

I wrote my MA thesis in the style of a book, titled Chinese Burn. It’s in some ways similar to how I voiced my Instagram stories, I aimed to write it in a language that straddled conversational and academic. I didn’t want it to be a book that only my supervisor would read, and would be impenetrable and/or useless to anyone else.

On completion of the book, I had a small handful of copies printed and was pleased that Deborah Robinson at the gallery decided to curate one of the books into the MA show beside my work.  Since giving sneak peaks of it online, I’ve had queries from people wanting to know where they can purchase a copy! I’d love to be able to self-publish it properly, and I’m currently looking into options which I hope to be able to pursue relatively soon.

As my work develops I would be interested in exploring the possibility of more books, perhaps exploring the work I’ve been able to play with during this residency and documenting the thinking and process.

Ultimately, I’ve been saying that the end of my Masters does not equal the end of this body of work. It’s still very much something that’s developing and spitting out new outcomes as it goes. It will be great to return to my studio space at Eagle Works in future when this current dystopian reality is lifted, but for now I’m very grateful for my dining table studio space, and I hope for more sunny Spring weather so I can use my garden to explore sun-bleaching and drawing possibilities.

 

www.sarah-byrne.com/
@sarahqueenofrat

 

Artist Sarah Byrne exhibited in New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial 2019. Having recently completed her Masters degree at the University of Wolverhampton, she has gone on to undertake a residency at The New Art Gallery Walsall. We caught up with her to find out more about her practice, and her approaches to the residency on site and during lockdown.

New Art West Midlands, Coventry City of Culture Trust and ARUP
 
Deadline: 5pm, Wednesday 29 April 2020
Lab dates: provisionally rescheduled for 13-17 July 2020
Location: Coventry, site tbc

We are delighted to announce a call out for an artist’s lab developed by New Art West Midlands, working with Coventry City of Culture Trust, ARUP and artist Simon Poulter.

The lab is open to artists from all art-forms including visual arts, photography, theatre, sound, live art, design, digital and any other hybrid forms. It is open to artists at all career stages as a professional development opportunity. You must be based in the West Midlands, within travelling distance of Coventry.

 


We will be working with ARUP, with input from their Midlands team, based in Solihull. Artists will have the opportunity to explore some of the emerging technologies that ARUP are working with, including LIDAR (​Light Detection and Ranging).

Active Reality is a way of describing site related and site specific public artworks that incorporate a range of elements. We are encouraging participants to think about work that is located in a place, has narrative form, uses episodic approaches (‘releases’), incorporates digital and has live elements. We expect collaborations and new partnerships to emerge from the lab.

What will it be like
These labs are based on a method that Simon Poulter devised in 1997 at Dartington College. They encourage peer presentation, engaging with new processes and taking risks in your working practice. The lab environment is intensive, friendly and encapsulates both practical skills and theory. There will be exploration of Coventry as a city, along with sessions run by other professionals. You will learn new skills and have the opportunity to present your own work to peers. It has been described as ‘like doing an MA in a week’.

If you have any particular needs around mobility or access you can identify these to us in advance, as the lab is built around the participants. If you are accepted onto the lab, we will call you beforehand to discuss the process with you and any particular questions you have.

Commitment level
You have to be able to commit to the whole week. It is not a course, it’s an intensive lab.

Professional Development, food and honorariums
This is a professional development opportunity to develop your practice. However, we acknowledge that equal access support is needed, to make this open to participants on lower incomes. We offer a flat rate honorarium of £300 to every participant. Food is covered for the duration of the lab.

Practice and process
The active reality approach aims to fold live performance, digital outputs and site specific production into new work. Artists are encouraged to work outside of their normal skill sets and consider wider producer models for making new work.

The lab will combine practical input from previous projects, with taught technical sessions. One day of the lab, will incorporate a site based session working with one of ARUP’s team members to see how LIDAR can be used to capture high resolution data and then be manipluated on other media (e.g VR). Alongside this artists are invited to reflect on their own practice and engage in a peer-to-peer environment.

Taught sessions will include an introduction to web based augmented reality using AR:JS, hands on developing with VR tools such as HTC Vive and work with sound. We will look at how to devise projects combining media to create impact and new work.

Artists do not have to have previous experience of technical tools and may arise from any artistic background and skill level.

Other notes
We will provide food but are not offering overnight accommodation for artists. You will be resident in the West Midlands area and able to attend for five days in Coventry.

There are 8 places available for the lab.

 

To Apply

Provide your full name, email address, telephone number and address.

Provide 500 words about the work you do and the challenges you face in your practice. Tell us about what you have been making in the last year and what you would do if you had the right resources. We are looking for artists at all career stages who want to find some new directions in their work. We particularly welcome applications from diverse candidates, or artists that have not followed a traditional art education track. (You do not need an art degree to apply.)

Places are limited for this lab but in rare circumstances we will consider artists who work as part of a shared practice (up to two people). If you apply as a duo, then provide one application for both people with relevant CV and imagery of shared practice.

Send us some web links or a digital portfolio (up to ten pages as PDF format). Please keep the file size under 15MB.

Please email applications (your 500 words and web links or digital portfolio) as a single PDF document to info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk by 5pm on Wednesday 29 April 2020. Please include ‘Active Reality Research Lab’ in the email subject line.

If you have queries about the lab or application process you can email info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk 

The deadline has now been extended for the Active Reality Research Lab, developed by New Art West Midlands, working with Coventry City of Culture Trust, ARUP and artist Simon Poulter. The lab dates will be rescheduled for later in the year. Dates to be confirmed.

Engine, a professional development programme run by New Art West Midlands and The New Art Gallery Walsall, is pleased to be partnering with Outside In to offer artists living in the West Midlands the opportunity to apply for Micro Bursaries towards professional development activities of your choice. Two artists will be awarded a bursary of £500 each.

The Outside In Engine Micro Bursaries are aimed at covering the costs of, for example, research visits to exhibitions, festivals or sites of interest, attendance at seminars, workshops and conferences, travel and accommodation. (Please note that this fund is not designed for the production or the exhibition of work.)

 

Work made by Thomas Wynne as part of a period of research supported by an Engine Micro Bursary, 2018.

 

Eligibility

These Outside In Engine Micro Bursaries are specifically for artists who face significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation.

You can apply for the Outside In Engine Micro Bursary if you are an Outside In artist and live in the West Midlands region. The bursaries mark the development of the organisation’s programme launching shortly at their Midlands hub at Compton Verney in Warwickshire. www.outsidein.org.uk

(A further series of £250 New Art West Midlands / Engine Micro Bursaries open to all artists within the region will be launched in March 2020.)


Artist Support Day

If you would like help with applying for this opportunity or help signing up to Outside In you can book onto an Artist Support Day. We will be running this at The New Art Gallery Walsall on Tuesday 25 February, 10.30am – 5pm.

Please contact José Forrest-Tennant, Outside In Midlands Regional Coordinator, to book on to this.

 

How to apply

You should complete the application form which can be downloaded here:
Outside In Engine Micro Bursary application form.

An easy read version of this information can be downloaded here:
Easy-read-Engine Micro Bursary information

In your application form, please send a link to your Outside In online gallery with the text from your artist statement, 3 images of your work as jpegs, video links or other digital formats which can include audio files. We will also need up to 250 words from you telling us what you propose to use the bursary for, why this is important for your work and a budget detailing your activity.

Please email applications to info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk with ‘Micro Bursary’ in the subject line.

Application deadline: 12 noon, Wednesday 18 March 2020.

 

If you require this information in alternative formats or any additional information regarding this opportunity, please contact José Forrest-Tennant on 07496 997 333 or jose.forrest-tennant@outsidein.org.uk  

 

 

About Outside In 

Outside In, founded in 2006 at Pallant House, Chichester, aims to provide artists with the support and confidence they need to enter the art world. The organisation’s work covers three main areas: artist development, exhibitions and training. These activities, supported by fundraising and communications, all aim to create a fairer art world by supporting artists, creating opportunities and educating organisations.

Since its inception, the organisation has engaged with more than 5,000 artists traditionally excluded from the mainstream art world, reached a quarter of a million audience members and gained more than 80 partner organisations nationally. It has held more than 50 exhibitions to date and now provides opportunities and support for more than 2,600 artists. In the next three years the charity will work to create a national platform to support the delivery of its programmes. It will do this through working in partnership with key strategic arts organisations across the UK to act as hubs of activity and support.

 

 

Outside In, New Art West Midlands and The New Art Gallery Walsall are committed to widening access to our opportunities. Audio or video recorded applications may be submitted via Vimeo or YouTube by those facing barriers in applying. 

If you have any support requirements or would like to discuss this further, please do get in touch with Anneka French, New Art West Midlands Co-ordinator on info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk or 0121 300 4309. 

Or

José Forrest-Tennant, Outside In Midlands Regional Coordinator on jose.forrest-tennant@outsidein.org.uk or 07496 997 333

 

Engine is pleased to be partnering with Outside In to offer artists living in the West Midlands region the opportunity to apply for Micro Bursaries towards professional development activities of your choice. Two artists will be awarded a bursary of £500 each.

Work by Laura Dicken

New Art West Midlands, Grain Projects, Aarhus Billedkunstcenter and Galleri Image are delighted to announce that Laura Dicken has been selected as the successful recipient of the International Bursary 2020. Laura will now undertake a period of research in Aarhus, Denmark, in March 2020.

 

Work by Laura Dicken

Laura’s research proposal was selected by representatives from each of the four organisations from a batch of very strong and exciting proposals. The panel were particularly impressed by the focused, specific approach Laura took to her proposal and by the clear case she made for the impact of the bursary upon the development of her practice.

Laura’s work ‘You Are Another Me’ explores migration through the lens of the female (and female identifying) experience. The project includes portraits and stories of women from a broad spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities who have, for various reasons, migrated alone. By facilitating the telling of these disparate stories she hopes to bring new voices to the migration narrative and to highlight not only the vast differences but to celebrate and illuminate the many similarities. Having worked with participants in Copenhagen, in a pilot of this project, Laura is now able to use her research methodologies to connect with communities in Aarhus, to promote understanding, compassion, international cooperation and collaboration.

Laura’s ongoing body of work is a series of projects which are collaborations with individuals, communities and arts organisations. Through her work Laura hopes to create opportunities for previously untold stories to be shared authentically and with agency. Her process is built around meaningful connection, conversation, workshops and photography. Laura is interested in illuminating the shared human experience and celebrating the extraordinary ordinary.

 

New Art West Midlands, Grain Projects, Aarhus Billedkunstcenter and Galleri Image are delighted to announce that Laura Dicken has been selected as the successful recipient of the International Bursary 2020.

Installation view (detail), Andreana Fatta, Ξεριζωμένη Γενιά / An Uprooted Generation, Copper pipes, Greek orthodox candle wax, archived objects and publication at St. Mary's Guildhall, Coventry, Exhibition as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial 2019. Photograph by Marcin Sz.

We are delighted to announce that the New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial artists selected for the Engine Room professional development programme and the forthcoming autumn 2020 exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum are: Hira Butt, Andreana Fatta, Navi Kaur, Shiyi Li, Farwa Moledina and Matías Serra Delmar.

 

Installation view (detail), Andreana Fatta, Ξεριζωμένη Γενιά / An Uprooted Generation, Copper pipes, Greek orthodox candle wax, archived objects and publication at St. Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry, Exhibition as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial 2019. Photograph by Marcin Sz.

 

The artists have been selected from this year’s cohort of exhibiting artists by Sylvia Theuri, Curator in Residence with New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum. The themes central to the forthcoming exhibition, curated by Sylvia, emphasise notions of ‘decentering’ – that is, removing from the ‘centre’ a focus on subject matter and art historical narratives that prioritise Western and male perspectives, as well as challenging the traditional presentation of artwork in gallery spaces.

The premise of the exhibition will be for the Herbert Art Gallery to be interrupted, appropriated and transformed (as Edward Soja notes in his 1996 text Thirdspace) by the artworks, subject matter and forms that the artists explore.

The artists have been selected because they decentre a predominant white male European focus that has been historically central to art exhibitions, through a centering of the narratives of minoritised voices, perspectives and experiences, and/or because they decentre – through deconstruction and disorder – the ways in which audiences predominantly view artwork within a white cube space.

Sylvia and the teams at New Art West Midlands, the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and International Curators Forum look forward to working with the selected artists to profile and showcase this exciting art developing in the region.

 

 

 

We are delighted to announce the 6 New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial artists selected for the Engine Room professional development programme and the forthcoming autumn 2020 exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.

Georgia Tucker, Terra Firma, VR installation, 2019

Georgia Tucker, Terra Firma, VR installation, 2019

Terra Firma (2019) by Georgia Tucker combines a physical and VR installation which explores the environmental crisis through different spaces. The installation is a narrow room that houses an immersive and interactive VR environment portraying a speculative future of increasing consumerism. Terra Firma exemplifies the artist’s concerns of our impact upon the natural environment and the production of man-made materials, represented respectively by woodland and plastic.

Further interaction with the work comes through a QR code, providing a weblink and narrative. The narrative is set 50 years in the future, where Georgia transports the viewer to Earth’s last natural woodland. A plastic netting ‘viewing’ barrier has been used to prevent further damage to the woodland. However, it has adapted, and thrives within the trees as an organism. The viewer is now encased within a compartmental maze and a natural soundscape, and is able to explore the tunnels and never-ending plastic structures. Whilst VR exposes the viewer to vulnerability, removing their sight and sound, the building provides a place of protection.

Georgia is a graduate of Birmingham City University. Her work, on display at The Row, was selected  by International Curators Forum for New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Georgia Tucker’s virtual reality installation Terra Firma was selected by International Curators Forum for New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. Her work is on display at The Row.

Ameera Sadiq, Untitled, 2019, mixed media installation

Ameera Sadiq, Untitled, 2019, mixed media installation

Ameera Sadiq is interested in how our perceived reality, constructed from our sensory input, can transform the perception of our environment. Her current sculptural assemblages aim to convey a sense of disconnectedness from reality, bearing a resemblance to a virtual world or out of body experience. The work has an otherworldly appearance marked by the intensity of luminescent colour schemes, and metallic and plastic surfaces that evoke futuristic and technological environments. Her practice draws inspiration from sci-fi cinematography, exploring unsettling dystopian worlds, where futuristic realities fail, when dreams and desires become questionable.

Drawings and collages allow Ameera to build a library of ideas that inform the construction of her sculptural installations. She employs an experimental approach to rethink and utilise everyday objects and materials by violating their intended use and depicting them serving an alternate purpose. Ameera frequently uses mass produced objects and materials to explore their technological capabilities.

Ameera’s installation is on view at the Lanchester Gallery, Graham Sutherland Building, Coventry University as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. She is a graduate of Birmingham City University.

 

Ameera Sadiq’s installation at The Lanchester Gallery is the subject of our next New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial artist spotlight.

Betsy Bradley, Swing to Utsuroi, Acrylic on reclaimed canvas, found wood, hemp rope

Betsy Bradley, Swing to Utsuroi, Acrylic on reclaimed canvas, found wood, hemp rope

Betsy Bradley’s practice seeks to communicate an experience of the present moment, embodying a dialogue between thought and action. Paint acts as an extension of the artist’s body and mind, physically suspending impulsive gesture. Her meditative processes unify these elements of being; moments free from thought in which the paint takes on its own agency. Driven by discovery, Betsy deliberately evokes moments that lie on the cusp of becoming. Her use of found materials and improvised mark-making tools challenge the hierarchical connotations of traditional painting. Fluid interaction between loose canvas and found objects extends this gesture beyond mark making on to the painting as an object itself. Informed by their immediate surroundings, improvisational structures serve as both supports and sculptures in her practice that question conventional notions of painting display. Betsy relies on a reciprocal relationship with her environment; spontaneous responses to materials around her result in adaptable works that upend the expected functionality of object and artwork.

www.betsy-bradley.co.uk

Three of Betsy’s paintings are displayed at The Row. She is a recent graduate of Birmingham City University. New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continues until 24 November 2019.

 

The painting-based practice of Betsy Bradley is the focus of today’s artist spotlight from New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Farwa Moledina, Not Your Fantasy II, Birmingham School of Art, 2018

Farwa Moledina, Not Your Fantasy II, Birmingham School of Art, 2018

Not Your Fantasy is a series of textile prints by Farwa Moledina concerned with re-appropriating and reclaiming Orientalist imagery of Muslim women. The work aims to unveil the voyeuristic tradition of Western male painters, whilst inviting viewers to question the prevalence of Orientalist stereotypes.

The image features a Muslim woman clad in white on a white background. The lack of colour negates all exotic and erotic Orientalist stereotypes, the only colour being the fabric. It is embroidered with the words ‘Not Your Fantasy’ and patterned with fragments of Ingres’ painting ‘La Grande Odalisque’, criticised for its appropriation and sexualisation of Eastern Culture. Not Your Fantasy is challenging and clearly directed at 19th Century Orientalist painters who created scenes of harems from their imagination and were fascinated by the otherness of the Eastern woman. Here, the subject’s gaze is challenging, opposing the vapid expressions of women found in Orientalist paintings.

www.farwamoledina.com

Not Your Fantasy is exhibited at The Row. New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continues until 24 November 2019.

 

Today’s artist spotlight is Birmingham City University graduate, artist Farwa Moledina, whose work can be found at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art.

Laura Onions, Writing Otherwise (after Marion Richardson), Screen print and acrylic paint on canvas

Laura Onions, Writing Otherwise (after Marion Richardson), Screen print and acrylic paint on canvas

Printmaking, writing and archival research are approaches through which Laura Onions explores the impacts of learning in relation to gender and feminist pedagogies. This responds to the ways language reproduces patterns of meaning. What we read and write situates identities and positions us socially and politically.

Laura’s recent work is focused on female educators/learners who fostered a caring, holistic approach towards education. Archival research into Marion Richardson (1892 – 1946) an artist/educator who transformed the manner in which children learn to write through pattern making, resulted in the series Writing Otherwise in which writerly patterns and textual elements meet one another in functional paintings.

Laura is interested in the spaces we create for ourselves and others. Images of women reading are a reoccurring theme in painting – particularly historical paintings by male artists. The ongoing series The Look of Reading uses painterly printmaking techniques to push the images towards abstraction. The figure and surrounding scene begin to merge, obscuring and shadowing to subvert/invert the male gaze.

A graduate of Birmingham City University, Laura is exhibiting several works across The Row and Bell Green Library in Coventry. New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continues until 24 November 2019.

Laura Onions is the focus of our artist spotlight today. Her work can be found as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial at The Row and Bell Green Library in Coventry.

Hira Butt, Dhee Rani (Princess Daughter), Mixed media

Hira Butt, Dhee Rani (Princess Daughter), Mixed media

Hira Butt’s work revolves around the ideologies of gender and cultural dominance and her research on ‘Pak/Brit Mess’ – a self-defined term expressing a mixture of Pakistani and British culture – that has left empowering emotional and psychological effects on her personality.

Dhee Rani (Princess Daughter) is a series of bejewelled sculptures that reflect the complexities of domestic violence and contemporary slavery as a result of cultural transition. The series is a provocation to the commodification of life partners who are selected on the basis of property, exchange and domestic function rather than personality, aspiration or other human qualities. It reflects on expectations behind the selection and its potential fallout. The football, for instance, recognises globalised male dominance within the ‘beautiful game’ and incorporates feminised, domestic Pakistani decoration. The series is a confrontation of the pressures that enforced cultural differences or fictional differences can have on those that undergo tremendous cultural transition.

Dhee Rani (Princess Daughter) is exhibited at The Row. Hira is a graduate of Birmingham City University.

Artist Hira Butt is the subject of our artist spotlight today. Hira’s work was selected for New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial by International Curators Forum.

Amy Guo, Free Time Acquired by Forgetting to Press Pause, screenshot

Amy Guo, Free Time Acquired by Forgetting to Press Pause, screenshot

Amy Guo’s practice works within the frame of digital technology, glitch, documentation and time, investigating our relationship to these phenomena. Digital material and space are explored through projection, video, painting and installation works. Amy views glitch as an unexpected intervention that prevents the normal function of modern technologies. It functions as an apparatus to distort human perception.

Works consider the ways in which our social interactions with others are mediated through technology and the visibility of our digital selves.  In some of her works, a common ground is established by creating a human voice-over video akin to Siri. Amy’s practice comments on the projection of human emotion and intellect on to virtual entities. This articulation of the non-human critically depends on the understanding of our human selves.

A graduate of Staffordshire University, Amy shows a painted work titled Free Time Acquired by Forgetting to Press Pause created via the app Now Then Time Tracking Pro at Arcadia gallery.

New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continue until 24 November 2019.

Next in our artist spotlight series is Staffordshire University’s Amy Guo. Amy’s work is on display at Arcadia Gallery as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial selected by International Curators Forum.

Image: Shiyi Li, ‘Minister of Loneliness’, 2018

New Art West Midlands invites you to the launch of No Limits, the visual arts strategy for the West Midlands, devised following consultation events across the region.

The launch will be followed by a very special performance by artist Shiyi Li of her percussion and live collage work ‘Minister of Loneliness’.

No Limits
Friday 15 November 2019
6 — 8pm

The Studio
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Coventry
FREE
Register for the event here.

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Additional support from Coventry Biennial, Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Hereford College of Arts, Staffordshire University, University of Wolverhampton, University of Worcester, International Curators Forum, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum and The New Art Gallery Walsall.

 

(Image: Shiyi Li, Minister of Loneliness, a collaborative performance involving chamber music, animation and live art performances made in conjunction with international percussionist Gloria Yehilevsky and originally performed by Aisling Reilly).

New Art West Midlands invites you to the launch of No Limits, the visual arts strategy for the West Midlands, devised following consultation events across the region.

The launch will be followed by a very special performance by artist Shiyi Li of her percussion and live collage work ‘Minister of Loneliness’.

Lily Wales, Mr owl ate my metal worm, Handmade photomontage

Lily Wales, Mr owl ate my metal worm, Handmade photomontage

Lily Wales’ work has previously explored the effect of language on the public perception of nuclear weapons through the names they have been allocated. This was the subject of the work shown in New Art West Midlands 2018 at AirSpace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

Lily’s new body of work aims to critique the presence that underwater nuclear weaponry has on our natural and political climate. The title ‘Mr owl ate my metal worm’ is a palindrome. The work refers to the sinking of HMS Coventry, a destroyer in the Royal Navy that was part of a pairing, unofficially termed Type 64, with the warship Broadsword. After being struck by Argentine bombs from a second wave of A-4 Skyhawks in 1982, HMS Coventry was sunk to the sea floor, taking its on-board weaponry and nineteen crew members with it.

www.lilywales.co.uk

Lily is a graduate of Birmingham City University. Her work is shown at The Lanchester Gallery and The Row, as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Lily Wales is today’s artist spotlight. Her work is shown at The Lanchester Gallery and The Row, as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. Her new body of work aims to critique the presence that underwater nuclear weaponry has on our natural and political climate.

Ewan Johnston, Prehistoric Hangover, 2019

Ewan Johnston, Prehistoric Hangover, 2019

Wolverhampton-based Ewan Johnston’s work is rooted in his life and the lives of people around him, while taking influence from historic narratives and myths. Ewan is concerned about what it means to be a young adult living today in a small city in England and describes his practice as political with a medium ‘p’. Working through painting, Ewan’s practice is focussed on colour, survival, joy, fear, humour and pain. He describes his practice as his purpose, his refuge and the way he is most comfortable expressing himself.

Ewan shows a selection of his acrylic paintings on canvas at The Row, a former NHS facility. His work Prehistoric Hangover (2019) is shown in one of the bathrooms open to Coventry Biennial visitors – a playful intervention that challenges and provokes.

Ewan is a graduate of Birmingham City University. New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continue until 24 November 2019.

 

Wolverhampton-based painter Ewan Johnston is the next of our New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial artist spotlights. A selection of his work can be seen at The Row, a former NHS facility and Coventry Biennial venue.

Shiyi Li, Minister of Lonliness, Live performance and live collage, 2018

Shiyi Li, Minister of Loneliness, Live performance and live collage, 2018

Shiyi Li is a Chinese visual artist, animator and illustrator currently based in Birmingham. Her work Minister of Loneliness is a collaborative performance involving chamber music, animation and live art performances made in conjunction with international percussionist Gloria Yehilevsky and originally performed by Aisling Reilly. The composition expresses concerns around mental health issues, an area in which the artists share personal experiences.

The story divides into four chapters that explore the relationship between women and loneliness. The film combines poetic narrative and montage and addresses the impact of media and scale. The chapters mix animation, live collage, live drawing performances and live music, and tell a story of a woman who progresses from self-denial to emerging positivity.

Minister of Loneliness has been screened and performed internationally in 2018 and 2019 in Bangkok, Saint-Étienne, London and Birmingham. It is screened at the Lanchester Gallery throughout Coventry Biennial, with a special live performance taking place on 15 November at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum as part of New Art West Midlands’ No Limits, the launch of the visual arts strategy for the West Midlands.

shiyili.org

Shiyi is a graduate of Birmingham City University. New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continue until 24 November 2019.

Shiyi Li’s work is showing at The Lanchester Gallery, with a special live performance on 15 November as part of the launch event of New Art West Midlands’ visual arts strategy for the West Midlands.

Rosie Piercy, Give Him Up, flag, pole and fan

Rosie Piercy, Give Him Up, flag, pole and fan

Worcester-based Rosie Piercy deals with the redaction and transparency of public funds and personal debt. Her works are often specific to site and are frequently both critical and playful.

She is showing works at The Row and St Mary’s Guildhall. The first, a new work, consists of sky-blue helium filled balloons highlighting the cost of Coventry Biennial which slowly deflate during the course of the exhibition. A recent balloon sculpture Forever in Debt outlined the exact balance of her student loan and drew attention to the political issues of tuition fees and the socio-economic costs of education in Britain.

Extending her inquiries into the value of culture, Rosie’s flag sculpture Give Him Up, references memes, repetition and internet archives via the familiar face of 1980s pop icon Rick Astley.

www.rosiepiercyfineart.com

Rosie graduated from University of Worcester and was selected for New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial by International Curators Forum.

New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art continue until 24 November 2019.

The next of our artist spotlight features is University of Worcester graduate Rosie Piercy, whose work is shown at The Row and St. Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry.

Matías Serra Delmar, No particular order, OSB boards, wood, sandbags

Matías Serra Delmar, No particular order, OSB boards, wood, sandbags

No particular order was exhibited as part of Matías Serra Delmar’s degree show at Hereford College of Arts, and was placed outside the main entrance of the Grade II listed brick building. No particular order is a large installation made on 11mm OSB boards, originally made with a total length of 56 foot, from wood and sandbags. Its variable length has now been reconfigured and takes up residence at The Row, cutting through its walls assertively and responding to this specific site.

No particular order utilises and references the raw, DIY materials that can be found encircling construction sites in fast-growing cities around the UK, with Coventry being no exception. The work also refers to the artist’s upbringing. Matías was raised in Argentina, where the socio-economic crisis meant that unfinished buildings could become a part of the day-to-day landscape for decades.

www.matiasserradelmar.co.uk

New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial continues in arts venues and historic sites across Coventry until Sunday 24 November 2019.

Matías Serra Delmar, our next New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial artist spotlight, exhibits his work at The Row. Matías is a graduate of Hereford College of Arts.

Matt Gale, Soma, Plastic, silicone, steel and living organisms

Matt Gale’s Soma explores the idea of the body as an ecosystem and critically examines the commonly held notions of both bodies and ecosystems as discrete, contained and distinct. It is a gentle tease about our tendency to oversimplify and about the fetish for neatly categorising things, often as a means to more easily comprehend them.

Soma comprises a collection of vessels, some containing living organisms, others containing elements intended to represent either an organic or environmental system. Some vessels specifically reference research into bioremediation (using living organisms to digest pollutants we have created), including mealworm beetle larvae eating polystyrene and a water fern (Azolla) used to cleanse fresh water. Other vessels contain species that challenge notions of what is ‘natural’. The installation plays with the idea of oversimplification with individual species contained and displayed as if in a zoo, but it is problematised by the tubes linking vessels together.

www.mattgale.co.uk

Matt graduated from Birmingham City University. His work Soma can be found at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial until 24 November 2019.

 

Our next artist spotlight feature is on Matt Gale, an artist who graduated from Birmingham City University. His work Soma can be found at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Anna Katarzyna Domejko, Everyone grows a big toe nail from now on, Watercolour on textile, lino, pencil on the wall, agave plant (detail)

Anna Katarzyna Domejko, Everyone grows a big toe nail from now on, Watercolour on textile, lino, pencil on the wall, agave plant (detail)

Philosophies of power and wealth distribution inform Anna Katarzyna Domejko’s installation. The work emblematises a fictional scenario that places humans at odds with a ‘Big Toe Nail Tribe’. In the narrative, the two tribes find themselves unable to communicate with one another, situated on different sides of political, economic and social pivot points, with each having leverage against the other.

Composed of a series of paintings and found objects, the installation’s centrepiece is a fulcrum point comprised of layers of household lino. It is crowned by an agave plant, a species which is resilient and requires little resource to survive. The artist’s aim is that the work be observed from different locations in the gallery space, depending upon your perspective and upon the tribe you choose.

Anna, a graduate of Birmingham City University, is exhibiting at the Lanchester Gallery as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. The exhibition continues until Sunday 24 November 2019.

 

Anna Katarzyna Domejko is our next artist spotlight. Her installation, comprising of paintings and sculptural pieces, is on show at The Lanchester Gallery as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Gemma Costin, Wanderlust; Version 3.0, Metal, plastic, paint, hessian, soil, wood, plants

 

Gemma Costin describes herself as “a renegade botanist”. Informed by biophilic concerns and passions, her recent work Wanderlust is a travelling seedpod-cum-caravan that used to be the artist’s home. The piece has been awarded a permanent location at the Sidney Nolan Trust in Herefordshire where Gemma will be studying the creatures and the diversity of wildflowers that will take hold and set seed in in and around the caravan over the next few years.

 

Wanderlust; Version 3.0 has been created especially for Coventry Biennial. Gemma’s new living sculptures located at The Row, a former NHS rehabilitation clinic, incorporate plants with herbal, folkloric and medicinal properties that respond to the site. Window boxes made from recycled materials and a new travelling seedpod trolley will make a home for themselves in Coventry during the course of the exhibition.

 

Gemma is a recent graduate from Hereford College of Arts and her work can be found in the Learning Space at The Row.

 

Gemma will take over an exciting, practical, hands-on free family art workshop on Saturday 9 November, 11am – 2pm at The Row. Inspired by Gemma’s artwork and passions you will become mini urban activists, using a variety of materials and techniques to create your own seed bombs which will be planted across the city. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Drop-in session, suitable for ages 5+. More information here.

 

Today Gemma Costin is the subject of our artist spotlight. Her work can be found in the Learning Space at The Row, as part of Coventry Biennial. She will be running a free seed bomb workshop on Saturday 9 November.

Sarah Byrne, Margins of Margins, Overhead projector, prints on acetate and found material

Sarah Byrne, Margins of Margins, Overhead projector, prints on acetate and found material

Interested in memories, nostalgia, narratives and truth, Sarah Byrne’s work forms a reflection of experiences growing up in England as a British girl with an Asian mother. Using and re-using imagery from her mother’s old photo albums showing Sarah’s childhood trips to the Philippines, her practice forms a process of recalling, realising, and questioning the events, exchanges and associations which have contributed to what she describes as a separation in her two national identities.

The work questions what she remembers, versus what she thinks she does, and examines the extent to which memories may glitch, malfunction or overwrite. The imagery explores the extent to which visibility, fade, and blur relate to ethnographical trends of ‘Whiteness’, particularly the proclivity of Western idealisation within South-East Asia. Sarah relates this to her own muddled young memories of feeling tokenised by both sides.

Sarah is a graduate from University of Wolverhampton and has recently been awarded a residency at The New Art Gallery Walsall from February – April 2020.

Sarah’s work is exhibited at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. The exhibition continues across arts venues and heritage sites in Coventry until 24 November 2019.

 

 

 

Our next artist spotlight is Sarah Byrne, a graduate from University of Wolverhampton, who is showing at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial. Her work forms a reflection of experiences growing up in England as a British girl with an Asian mother.

Mengxia Liu, Stefania Reportage Illustration, Gouache, watercolour and coloured pencil on paper

Mengxia Liu, Stefania Reportage Illustration, Gouache, watercolour and coloured pencil on paper

Mengxia Liu’s work explores the collision of multiculturalism in public spaces in different locations around the world. Combining reportage and documentary illustration with an anthropological approach, her research investigates multiple narratives, both explicit and hidden, that can be found in marketplaces. Mengxia employs techniques and methodologies from a cross-cultural perspective to create an ongoing and dynamic record of an ever-changing community that reflects on the multi-layered histories, textures and communities of the market as a site of commerce and diversity.

Stefania Reportage Illustration, is the result of a live project that took place at the 11th Saint-Étienne Biennale of Design in France in March 2019. During this residency period Mengxia observed the ways visitors of different cultural backgrounds interacted with the city’s exhibits and documented the biennale community and culture in the form of detailed reportage illustrations.

Mengxia’s painting is exhibited at Coventry University’s Lanchester Gallery, located within their Graham Sutherland building, as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

She is a recent graduate of Birmingham City University and currently an artist in residence at Grand Union.

www.liumengxia.com/ 

 

Our next Artist Spotlight is on Mengxia Liu whose work explores the collision of multiculturalism in public spaces in different locations around the world. She is a recent graduate of Birmingham City University and currently an artist in residence at Grand Union.

Tayyibah Mota, My Hijab Collection, fabric, plastic, yarn

Tayyibah Mota, My Hijab Collection, fabric, plastic, yarn

 

Through film, photography and mixed media, Coventry-based Tayyibah Mota considers the Hijab, a head covering worn by Muslim women believed to be a display of modesty and an act of devotion to God.

In Western or what we call ‘modern’ societies, this is a foreign practice. To some it is viewed as outdated or even oppressive. For some time, the Hijab and Niqab (veil) have been taboo and in some countries banned. Tayyibah’s work considers the Muslim women who observe the Hijab or Niqab who are now struggling to wear them. She is concerned with their emotions and their voices, sharing the experiences of the British Muslim women that observe this practice through her work.

Tayyibah has spent the past two years speaking to women of different ages and from different backgrounds that wear the Hijab, and has recorded some of these conversations and photographed them to show the diversity that can be found within the practice of Hijab.

Tayyibah recently graduated from Coventry University and her work is displayed at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial, an exhibition which was selected by International Curators Forum (ICF) earlier this year. See New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial until 24 November 2019.

 

Our second artist spotlight is on the work of Tayyibah Mota, currently showing at The Row as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial.

Andreana Fatta, Ξεριζωμένη Γενιά / An Uprooted Generation, Copper pipes, Greek orthodox candle wax, archived objects and publication

Andreana Fatta’s project archives found objects in a creative manner. It follows the case of her grandmother, a Cypriot woman and a subject of displacement.

Throughout the process of archiving, the legal guidelines of the State Archives in Cyprus, presented in the publication that accompanies Andreana’s sculptural installation, have been followed. The “Historical Section Criteria” is a manifesto for Andreana’s creative practice, allowing her to make a space in which to raise awareness of the importance and functionality of an archive.

It is significant that the National State Archives of Cyprus were founded in 1972, two years before the country was invaded by Turkey. Archiving information that had the potential to be collected in this period of war turned out to be rather challenging. Many documents and other materials including artworks were lost.

Andreana is a graduate from Birmingham City University. Andreana is one of 20 recent graduates from the West Midlands’ six art schools exhibiting as part of the Biennial, selected by ICF International Curators Forum from an open call earlier this year.

Her work can be seen at The Muniment Room in St. Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry, in an exhibition that focuses on air and archive as part of New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial

 

In the first of our artist spotlights from New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial, we focus on the work of Andeana Fatta.

Now Showing 316: The week’s top exhibitions

a-n news select Coventry Biennial’s exhibition at Coventry Biennial, including work by New Art West Midlands x Coventry Biennial artist Amy Guo as one of their picks of the week – via a-n

Coventry Biennial 2019: The Twin

a-n news report back from the opening of Coventry Biennial: The Twin, including a focus on New Art West Midlands – via a-n

Beyond the Frame Curators Masterclass at Haus der Kunst, Munich (February 2017). Image courtesy International Curators Forum.

Hosted by Culture Coventry at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
In partnership with International Curators Forum

Beyond the Frame Curators Masterclass at Haus der Kunst, Munich (February 2017). Image courtesy International Curators Forum.

In partnership with the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum and International Curators Forum, we are welcoming applications from curators, in particular those from underrepresented backgrounds, to develop a New Art West Midlands exhibition for autumn 2020.

Hosted by Culture Coventry at the city’s Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, we are looking for a dynamic individual with the vision and ambition to reflect the West Midlands’ visual arts in the widest sense.

The role is supported by International Curators Forum, bringing access to international networks and contexts – part of a distinctive professional development package that aims to create pathways into future opportunities.

Resulting in an exhibition of depth and relevance, and benefitting a broad constituency of diverse artists and audiences, the curator will apply a distinctive approach and perspective that extends beyond the mainstream to represent the region’s very best talent.

Applications should be submitted via our online application portal

Deadline 5pm, Monday 5 August 2019

 

Context

Coventry will be the UK’s City of Culture in 2021. Our project is part of a strategic collaboration with Coventry City Council, Coventry University and the Coventry Art Forum (CAF) focused on raising the profile and quality of visual arts in the city – both in the run up to, and beyond, 2021. Together our ambition is to significantly increase the reach, visibility and impact of the visual arts to new audiences.

Background

Established in 2013 as an annual survey exhibition featuring new graduates from the region’s art schools, New Art West Midlands has been successful in supporting the development of early career practitioners. Our new model puts risk-taking and partnerships at the core. Moving from a multi-city approach showing graduate work, the new model supports production of new work by early career artists alongside established practitioners, responding to a single city context (Coventry) and curatorial focus through a dedicated Curator in Residence. The single city approach increases our ability to engage audiences in a holistic way with visual arts practice, bringing greater depth and impact to the visitor experience.

Partners

Our partnership with the Herbert and International Curators Forum ensures excellence, and brings experience of delivering projects at the highest level. Culture Coventry through the Herbert has a long track record of supporting and presenting contemporary art. Among a range of other projects, International Curators Forum’s Diaspora Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale received acclaim for challenging the prevalence of national pavilions within international biennial exhibitions. Together, our work aims to support regional talent within a global context.

Expectations

The Curator in Residence opportunity has been created to support a curator to work closely with the team at the Herbert. Through a professional and critical dialogue, the successful candidate will contribute to the shape of a wider programme for Culture Coventry.

The Curator in Residence will be expected to:

  • Devise, plan and revise where necessary with partners an outline of a personal work plan for the year, that considers key tasks and objectives on a quarterly basis which will include on/ offsite working from the Herbert
  • Research and curate a group exhibition for the Herbert for autumn 2020
  • Work directly with 6 pre-selected artists from New Art West Midlands 2019 graduate cohort, supporting the development of new work for presentation, and lead in identifying and selecting 6 mid-career artists from the region who have established national and international recognition for their practice
  • Identify and apply for additional sources of income with support from New Art West Midlands and our partners
  • Engage with New Art West Midlands’ Engine – the professional development programme for the region – through studio visits/portfolio sessions and the Curatorial Research Group
  • Advocate visual arts practice and curatorial excellence in the region

 

Fees and resources

  • Curatorial Fee of £7,500 (fixed)
  • Travel and accommodation expenses available up to £1,500
  • A working space at the Herbert, with support from curatorial and technical teams
  • Professional Development support through International Curators Forum and regional Curatorial Research Group

Timeline

  • Deadline: 5 August 2019
  • Interviews: Coventry, Friday 16 August 2019
  • Residency timeframe: October 2019 – October 2020*
  • Exhibition: September – November 2020

(*attendance in Coventry will be required at key stages, and agreeable upon appointment)  

Eligibility

  • This opportunity is open to curators with an aim to support professional development by enabling access to exhibition space, resources, audiences and professional networks.
  • Curators based in, or affiliated with, the West Midlands are eligible to apply.
  • The Curator in Residence will be selected based on the strength of their application and interview, and evidence of their ability to deliver in the role.
  • We particularly want to address the imbalances in representation within the sector; we will prioritise applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people, those who identify as Deaf/Disabled and/or LGBTQI, or practitioners whose work is intersectional in approach.

Applications

  • Applications should be made via our online application portal, and include the following information*:
  • A statement (between 500 and 1000 words) describing your interest in the Curator in Residence opportunity, the benefits to your practice, and an indication of how you might approach the brief.
  • A short description (250 – 500 words) of a key exhibition or project that you have previously developed, delivered or contributed to.
  • An outline of specific skills you hope to develop, what you feel your professional development needs are and/or possible mentoring you would like to get out of the experience.
  • Your CV.
  • A maximum of 4 images and supporting web links.
  • A completed Equalities Monitoring Form.

 

* We are committed to widening access to our opportunities. Audio or video recorded applications may be submitted via Vimeo or YouTube by those facing barriers in applying. Financial support is available to support access costs relating to the application.
If you have any support requirements or would like to discuss access, please do get in touch with: info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk or telephone 0121 300 4309.

 

About New Art West Midlands

New Art West Midlands is the Contemporary Visual Arts Network for the region. Our purpose is to strengthen and develop the contemporary visual arts sector in the West Midlands, creating defining opportunities for West Midlands’ artists and curators, and working collectively to safeguard the future of artists and our sector.

About Culture Coventry

Culture Coventry is the trust that manages three of Coventry’s finest visitor attractions: Coventry Transport Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of British road transport, including the two fastest cars in the world; the award-winning Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, which celebrates the city’s culture, history and arts; and the Lunt Roman Fort, a fully excavated and partially reconstructed turf and timber fort, including the only gyrus in the Roman Empire. Between them, the attractions proudly tell stories of Coventry’s unique history to over 800,000 visitors per year from around the world.

About International Curators Forum (ICF)

Since 2007 International Curators Forum has developed and offered professional development opportunities for artists and curators: connecting professionals at all stages of their career around the world through its programme of organised international networking trips, masterclasses, residencies and mentoring. The 2016/18 programmes Beyond The Frame and Diaspora Pavilion were nationally and internationally notable for their innovative proposals and approaches towards addressing professional development and cultural diversity.

ICF also curates exhibitions and events that address diasporic culture in a global context, selected projects include: Tactical Interventions (Venice, Kassel, Munster, Istanbul, 2007), The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age (Sydney Biennial, 2010), Caribbean Pavilion (Liverpool Biennial 2010), Curating the International Diaspora (Martinique, Barbados, Sharjah, Gwangju 2016/17), and Diaspora Pavilion (Venice/Wolverhampton 2017/18)

Hosted by Culture Coventry at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum In partnership with International Curators Forum In partnership with

We are delighted to launch the open call for New Art West Midlands 2019 in partnership with Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, Herbert Art Gallery and International Curators Forum (ICF).

Exhibition
New Art West Midlands 2019 is a new model curated exhibition that takes place at Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, 4 October – 24 November, across a variety of sites in the city. Applications will be considered in relation to the unique context of the city and to the Biennial.

Coventry Biennial takes ‘The Twin’ as its theme this year. 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of Coventry’s twinning with Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad), Russia. As the world’s first formal international twinning, this is a significant moment which locates Coventry as an international, collaborative city. The Biennial will consider what twinning might mean within the context of contemporary artistic practice, explore the urgency of collaborative and participatory projects, and look at what happens when artists and others come together to make. The Biennial opens dialogues between artworks and place, presenting exhibitions in galleries, historical sites and the public realm in Coventry and its surrounding areas.

Following the enormous success of their Diaspora Pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, we are very pleased to announce that International Curators Forum will select a cohort of 20 emerging artists from diverse backgrounds to exhibit existing work at New Art West Midlands 2019 x Coventry Biennial.

Professional Development
In addition to participation in Coventry Biennial, a smaller cohort of diverse exhibiting artists will be selected to work in partnership with ICF and an appointed curator on a year-long professional development programme. This intensive period will support practice-based skills toward the development of new work for a further curated exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery (Culture Coventry), in autumn 2020.

Applications
Applications are welcomed from visual arts graduates from Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Hereford College of Arts, Staffordshire University, University of Wolverhampton and University of Worcester graduating at BA, MA or PhD level in 2017, 2018 or 2019.

Diversity and diversification are key priorities for New Art West Midlands and our partners. We particularly welcome applications from artists with culturally diverse heritage or who explore diversity in their practice, as well as artists who identify as disabled and/or LGBTQI. Previously unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to reapply.

Applications should be submitted via our online application portal.

Deadline: 5pm, Monday 17 June 2019.

 

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Information

About New Art West Midlands

New Art West Midlands is the Contemporary Visual Arts Network for the region. Our purpose is to strengthen and develop the contemporary visual arts sector in the West Midlands, creating defining opportunities for West Midlands’ artists and curators, and working collectively to safeguard the future of artists and our sector.

 

About Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art
Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art brings critically engaged, high quality contemporary visual art to the city and surrounding area. Celebrating and promoting contemporary art and artists, the festival is equally rooted in the city of Coventry, its history and its future. The first Biennial took place 6 – 22 October 2017 in venues across the city, the centre-piece being the sprawling CET Building, now under redevelopment. 2019 is the Biennial’s second iteration, with the third taking place in 2021 as part of Coventry’s UK City of Culture year.

 

About International Curators Forum (ICF)
ICF develops and offers professional development opportunities for artists and curators, which include curating exhibitions and events that address diasporic culture in a global context; connecting professionals around the world through organised international networking trips and residencies. Past projects include the 2016-2017 international knowledge-sharing platform ‘Curating the International Diaspora,’ and the 2016-2018 professional development programmes ‘Diaspora Pavilion’ and ‘Beyond the Frame.’

 

About Culture Coventry
Culture Coventry is the trust that manages three of Coventry’s finest visitor attractions: Coventry Transport Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of British road transport, including the two fastest cars in the world; the award-winning Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, which celebrates the city’s culture, history and arts; and the Lunt Roman Fort, a fully excavated and partially reconstructed turf and timber fort, including the only gyrus in the Roman Empire. Between them, the attractions proudly tell stories of Coventry’s unique history to over 800,000 visitors per year from around the world.

We are delighted to launch the open call for New Art West Midlands 2019 in partnership with Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, Herbert Art Gallery and International Curators Forum (ICF).

We are currently recruiting a Coordinator.

This part-time, fixed term position will support the coordination of New Art West Midlands, the West Midland’s regional visual arts network, part of the national Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN).

New Art West Midlands works with artists, curators, public and independent visual arts organisations, and Higher Education institutions to promote the region’s contemporary visuals arts and develop a strong regional visual arts network. It is led by Birmingham City University and supported by a range of funders and partners including Arts Council England.

The Coordinator will assist the Director in coordinating the New Art West Midlands contemporary visual arts network; support delivery partners in the coordination and delivery of New Art West Midlands programmes for artists and curators based in the region, and coordinate marketing and communications activity.

Full information on this role can be found here.

Deadline: Wednesday 23 January 2019.

Interviews: Monday 4 February 2019.

 

We are currently recruiting a Coordinator. This part-time, fixed term position will support the Director in coordinating the New Art West Midlands contemporary visual arts network. Deadline: Wednesday 23 January 2019.

We are delighted to announce that we have been successful in our application to Arts Council England, securing a Project Grant and enabling New Art West Midlands to deliver an 18-month programme of activity.

In collaboration with Higher Education and Arts partners, we will be delivering an ambitious sector development programme, building resilience for the Visual Arts in the West Midlands, placing diversity and diversification at its heart. Our programme will continue to include ENGINE, supporting professional development and creating resilient artists and curators, as well as a change to the format of the New Art West Midlands exhibition in 2019. Introducing our new Midlander Research Hub, we will be brokering new research opportunities for artists and curators, and evidencing the public impact of the Visual Arts here in the region.

Further information will follow in the New Year.

In the meantime, thank you to Arts Council England for their continued support.

We are delighted to announce that we have been successful in our application to Arts Council England, securing a Project Grant and enabling New Art West Midlands to deliver an 18-month programme of activity.

Florence Straw, NT Mr Straws House, Film Still, Grace A Williams, 2018.

As part of New Art West Midlands 2018, five artists and alumni of the exhibition were awarded coveted residencies with the National Trust. The residencies are part of an ongoing dialogue that aims to support West Midlands’ artists as part of Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts.

Grace A Williams was awarded a residency at Mr Straw’s House in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. The modest semi-detached house was home to a grocer’s family, and has remained virtually unchanged since 1923. Grace has produced a short film of here time there, which can be viewed below:

Grace A Williams, awarded a residency at Mr Straw’s House, a National Trust property as part of New Art West Midlands 2018 shares her experience.

Unskinned Corsetry, 2018

Unskinned Corsetry, 2018

This is the last week to catch The Space Between Gender, Yasmin Boyle‘s solo exhibition at the RBSA. Yasmin won the opportunity to exhibit at the prestigious gallery as part of New Art West Midlands 2017.

Yasmin is currently studying for an MA Fine Art at Birmingham City University. Her practice tackles gender stereotypes by utilising the symbol of the circle. The circle, the orb, the hole, the piercing is an obsessive compulsion within her practice and forms, with its long reigning connection with women –  Personifying the anxiety and patriarchal control of woman.

You can read more about her work and exhibition at the RBSA here.

The Space Between Gender is open at the RBSA until Saturday 14 July 2018.

This is the last week to catch ‘The Space Between Gender’, Yasmin Boyle’s solo exhibition at the RBSA. Yasmin won the opportunity to exhibit at the prestigious gallery as part of New Art West Midlands 2017.

Jessica Eburne, TR (technology religion), 2017

A graduate of Fine Art and Illustration, Jessica Eburne is one of 28 regional artists to be selected for New Art West Midlands 2018. She completed her studies at Coventry University in 2017 and is pursuing an MA in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths College. Inspired by the digitisation of visual culture, Eburne engages with the modern-day technologies that have swamped our psychological and social consciousnesses. While recognising the merits of technology, Eburne emphasises the dangers of “electronic dissemination” and plays with comparisons between technology and religious traditions. Two of her works, TR and Rechnilgog, are on display at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery until 6 May.

 

Jessica Eburne, TR (technology religion), 2017

 

Selina Oakes: Your practice revolves around “electronic dissemination.” What first drew you to this subject and can you expand upon this phrase?

Jessica Eburne: By using the term “electronic dissemination I refer to the global spread of electronic devices and the increasing use and reliance on these in everyday life. The most obvious of these is the use of smartphones and social media. My opinions of this dissemination are not completely negative, however I believe that some sort of moderation needs to be attained. With both TR and Rechnilgog, I aim to raise awareness of the overuse of these devices in a direct, yet sensitive manner.

My creative practice is largely influenced by my personal observations and theoretical research on society’s use of smartphones and social media. For example, when traveling on the tube, almost all of my “co-tubers” are entertaining themselves via digital screens. Furthermore, witnessing the “where is my phone?!” panic exemplifies this reliance. In today’s Digital Information Age, it appears that many people are growing increasingly connected to their devices.

The most significant theoretical inspirations for these works were drawn from pre-internet texts that portrayed concerns regarding non-digital technology. Many of these predicted a situation whereby society would be controlled by this technology. For example, in his text, Question Concerning Technology (1954), philosopher and seminal thinker Martin Heidegger states: “everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology.” Even though Heidegger was speaking of fuel-driven mechanical technology, his views seem more relevant than ever today. My work is also influenced by contemporary texts like Brett T. Robinson’s Appletopia (2013) which describes how Steve Jobs’ own religious thoughts inspired Apple products and marketing strategies.

 

SO: Audience participation plays a major role in your work. Why is it important to involve the audience, while still toying with the notion of technological alienation?

JE: In terms of TR, I wanted to put the spectator in a situation where they are engulfed by technology and thus provoke a consideration of their own usage of technological devices. To achieve this outcome, I employed an audio file playing through headphones, visual light elements, and with Rechnilgog, interactive buttons. By their physical contact with the pieces, spectators get to add the final “wow” factor – it is almost as if the artwork is incomplete without them.

While the piece does encourage an understanding of how technology alienates people from one another, it can also cynically suggest that an intimate connection with a piece of technology could be a substitute for an emotional connection with a human being. Ultimately, for both TR and Rechnilgog, I felt that interactional elements would lighten the mood on such a serious subject and enable the viewer to dictate exactly how they would experience the artwork.

 

Jessica Eburne, Rechnilgog, 2017

 

SO: TR and Rechnilgog draw comparisons between technology and religion. What commonalities do these share and how might one inform the other?

Many believe that science and religion are dichotomous. My interpretation of religion is that it is formed upon both individual and collective beliefs, ideologies and norms. Many religions promote attaining a higher human self – or involve worshipping a “superhuman” being. Through this understanding, I interpret technology and religion as sharing many qualities, including:

Quantity People’s behaviours are often determined by quantitative analysis. It could be said that the more one posts on social media, the higher their social “score.” Similarly, in some religions the more you pray and worship, the closer you supposedly are to an arbitrary higher self. In terms of recording, uploading and sharing information, in the book Homo Deus (2017), Yuval Noah Harari states: “people want to be part of the data flow, even if it involves giving up their privacy, their autonomy and their individuality.” The more likes and shares one gains, the more powerful their stance on social media. Furthermore, he also suggests that “traditional religions assured us that we were part of some big plan.” Technology also seems to suggest that every part of data exchange is meaningful. Being part of the network is a mode of being, and for many, to be disconnected from this flow means losing their meaning in life.

Usage I compared technology use to a ritualistic religion. A religious belief can direct or dictate our actions to the point of becoming a habit, and similarly technology use appears to impose certain habitual practices in our day-to-day lives. These include checking one’s phone at regular intervals, using applications that prioritise and reward users based on the quality of their input, and consuming online and digital content as a priority to other forms of entertainment. Many applications and devices today remind users to use them via notifications: I describe these as a technological “call to prayer.”

Visuals – The most obvious link I found was in digital retail stores, most specifically at Apple stores worldwide which shared many design similarities to a church or temple. Most Apple stores are designed in the form of long aisles of tables, with their products placed in dedicated spaces as if for worship. There are brightly coloured images of Apple products displayed on the walls, similar to stained glass windows or murals, and the stores are lit so as to illuminate their products in a (unintentional or intentional?) halo.

 

SO: TR has a retro-futuristic aesthetic. Where have your visuals come from and how do you wish them to be interpreted?

JE: My work for TR was quite heavily inspired by that of Nam June Paik and the technology available around the 1970s and 1980s. Paik practiced a future-forward form of technological art and it is apparent that his vision for the future – i.e. today – is dystopian. By emulating the aesthetics of guardedness and uncertainty exhibited towards technology in the 1970s, I highlight the need to return back to that cautious mentality towards technology.

I continue to be inspired by the work of Elsworth Kelly, Aristarkh Chernyshev, Bruce Nauman and John Bock. I also looked into modern clamshell computer/mobile device design, including design elements borrowed from Amazon’s Echo and Apple/Android smartphones and decided to produce, what I felt, was a rudimentary, oversimplified version of the same. I also included elements of modern devices such as backlights and accent lighting. One could also suggest that combining this into a retro-futuristic style is an attempt at dumbing down modern technology into its simplest form, either for easier digestion by buyers, or to disseminate a message of warning.

 

SO: How has your participation in New Art West Midlands at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery impacted your practice and future aspirations as an artist?

JE: In terms of exposure, New Art West Midlands 2018 has been an outstanding opportunity that has enabled me to promote my art practice to the wider art world following university. I’m aware that my work has been seen by a variety of artistic personalities and I have met some inspirational people. Being selected for the exhibition has proved to be a huge confidence booster for me as a practicing artist in the future. I am currently producing work for an upcoming show in London and have a few projects in the pipeline for this coming year. On one hand, I have pursued a different creative style for these future exhibitions and moved away, at least for now, from creating digital or technological artwork. Nevertheless, New Art West Midlands has led me to employ interactivity and effective audience communication in a far superior manner and I have pursued audience-forward artworks since then. Going into the future, I wish to continue producing independent projects and remain hugely interested in modern human and cultural conundrums and issues.

 

www.jessicaeburne.co.uk 

Jessica Eburne is showing as part of New Art West Midlands 2018 at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Selina Oakes caught up with her to find out more about her influences and ideas.

Sarah Walden, Bodies of Pleated Matter, installation view at AirSpace Gallery. Image by Selina Oakes

Drawing upon influences in experimental filmmaking and post-structuralist philosophy, Fine Art graduate Sarah Walden (MA, Birmingham City University) considers the boundaries and sensations that can emanate from the surface of the moving image. Working across digital and analogue film, she plays with the imperfections of her chosen media – and the potential for chance occurrences. Her four-channel video projection, Bodies of Pleated Matter, folds together multiple images and cultural references to stimulate and challenge the viewer’s cognitive interpretations in an increasingly dematerialised world. Walden’s film has been selected for New Art West Midlands 2018 and is showcased at AirSpace Gallery in a purpose-built screening room until 31 March.

 

Sarah Walden, Bodies of Pleated Matter, installation view at AirSpace Gallery. Image by Selina Oakes

 

Selina Oakes: Bodies of Pleated Matter examines our relationship to surface in an image-saturated society. How does your work provide a respite from the mass of visual data present in our everyday lives?

Sarah Walden: Much of my work deals with the idea of overload. Bodies of Pleated Matter bombards its viewers with visual information that is created by overloading processes (electronic glitches, material disruption and distortion), which are combined and wrapped around the viewer in order to foster a confrontation with the mechanism of sensory processing. The sheer volume and variation of speed of information can force a cognitive stop, enabling the experience of the work to become a kind of flattening whereby one can’t immediately draw a recognisable meaning from it. It’s less of a respite, and more a series of questions posed to the audience: where is your body when you engage with visual data? Are you fully engaged with your senses when you navigate that space?

As a viewer, you are encouraged to confront the idea of surface: there’s the screen in front of you and there’s the truth of light hitting that screen. The celluloid film has a material surface that is highlighted by its obliteration. Your skin becomes the surface that the light seeks if you hold your hand up in front of the projection. The imagery itself is about surfaces – water, the body, the threshold between land and sky – and how we navigate those surfaces. It asks you to consider how the surface of water wraps around your body, and within that consideration, how do you determine your own boundaries?

 

SO: How does the piece feed into your wider practice and research?

SW: Boundaries, edges, screens and materiality are huge parts of my practice. I’m interested in how things that don’t have a tangible material existence, such as digital data, can have such material effects on humans. We’re becoming transhuman. My research focuses on the breaking of technologies – both digital and sensory technologies – and how we can find new languages for engagement with the senses. 

My experimental media practice and research into the lived experience of neurodivergence (autism, synaesthesia, dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD, etc) unpicks the frustration I have with living in such a heavily mediated world, where all this visual information needs to make sense intellectually before it will be given value and attention. I want my work to create new narratives that make a different kind of sense – one that emanates from embodiment and discusses the experience of living in bodies that behave in surprising and sometimes uncomfortable ways.

 

SO: You work with both found and filmed footage. Why is it important for you to create a dialogue between old and new imagery – both of which appear anonymous in the piece?

SW: I think when you start to question surface and the materiality of film, you have to engage with the fact that film is a time-based media. I wondered how material our relationship is to time: does it have a surface on which we can skate and make new stories? The piece spans 50 years of film and video technology, so the inclusion of found footage from the 1970s sets the scene in that regard. I also want to challenge the notion of narrative and whether our filmic gaze has changed with the development of digital media.

I’m always struck by the reverence with which home movies are shot on Super8. Now, it’s so much easier to film when we all have home movie cameras in our pockets, and that shows in our framing: we’re happy to cut heads and legs out of frames and camera shake isn’t a thing to be avoided anymore. It’s become a throwaway technology.

I filmed and developed my own celluloid because I wanted the experience of scarcity and preciousness – the anxiety of wondering whether the footage has been correctly exposed and testing the tolerances of the celluloid itself through the development process. I had to wait for images, and this is beautifully uncomfortable in the age of instant gratification. Meanwhile, in narrative terms, the similarities between the old and the new footage outweigh the differences. We’re still interested in our families and the places we visit. We love our pets and gardens and children, and we want to preserve them.

 

SO: While split across a 4-channel digital video projection, some of the scenes we experience are shot on Super8. What draws you to celluloid film, and why do you transfer it to digital?

SW: Much is made of the analogue versus digital debate but I’ve never seen it as a binary or exclusionary relationship. Digital video and celluloid film will give you the same product – a moving image – but they are vastly different mediums in their form and functionality. The celluloid film I used has a material surface that is ultimately obliterated by mechanical means: the emulsion on its surface has been scraped back to separate the layers of colour. Some of it has been developed in experimental conditions so that the dirt and noise of imperfect conditions are aesthetic elements, choices that are made by the materiality of the media but can also be directed by the artist. I also used VHS tape, made from digital and celluloid film and then forced through a homemade dirty video mixer. This makes the image jump and swim: it bottlenecks two and sometimes three channels, and makes unseen decisions about which channel to prioritise at any given time. Transferring the footage to digital means that I can push the analogue in alternative directions.

 

SO: Technology is both an enabler and a disabler. Have you experienced any challenges working with such an ephemeral medium?

SW: The short answer is, of course, yes. I always mutter when I’m installing work that I should be a sculptor or painter because I wouldn’t have to deal with the temperamental nature of technology. Of course, that’s an incredibly flippant thing to say, as all art forms have their production challenges. I have probably run the gamut of technological challenges since I started making film work 5 years ago.

Luckily, my collaborator Ollie MacDonald-Brown is one of those amazing people who just seems to be able to engineer his way out of any technical problem, and of course a problem shared is a problem halved. We once did a performance where we had 100s of feet of film loops draped through the gallery and we were distressing them live on two projectors: I had the 8mm and he had the 16mm. Unfortunately his projector broke about 10 minutes through the performance after someone stood on his film loop and creased it. He spent the first hour of the two hour performance trying to fix the projector. Eventually, he accepted its demise and pulled the film through by hand, which resulted in some beautiful burn patterns. By contrast, I only had to deal with a couple of broken loops. Most recently, we had an issue with Bodies of Pleated Matter at the private view at AirSpace Gallery. The computer that was handling the projection mapping crashed and we had to run it off our backup.

There are always questions of how the work gets turned on or off each day in a show: it’s quite terrifying to entrust your work to someone else who isn’t a film and video technician. That being said, digital technology makes moving image works much more accessible than celluloid: babysitting old projectors is not something most people would feel comfortable with, and rightly so – it’s a complex skill. Turning a digital projector and media player on is much easier and allows for moving image to be part of a wider discourse.

 

SO: What does it mean to you to be part of New Art West Midlands 2018 at AirSpace Gallery?

SW: When I submitted my proposal for New Art West Midlands, I didn’t expect to be selected largely because of the complexity of the work. I’m delighted to have been proven wrong and grateful that AirSpace Gallery rose to the challenge of its realisation in such an enthusiastic and supportive way. Glen Stoker (AirSpace Co-Director) has gone out of his way to make this piece work, wrestling with building the screens single-handedly and learning all of the technology required to make it work every day. He made all of it as easy as it could possibly be. Overall, it has been an amazing experience and I’ve learned so much more about my own piece and practice as a result of showing in the gallery. I think it was the only place that Bodies of Pleated Matter could have lived, and it has been lovely to see it working again in its new custom-built home.

www.sarahwalden.net

In the third of her series of interviews with New Art West Midlands exhibitors, Selina Oakes catches up with artist Sarah Walden.

Jodie Wingham, Unbuttoned Shirt, 2016

Recent Birmingham City University graduate, Jodie Wingham challenges the boundaries of printmaking and traditional methods of display by disrupting her imagery’s flat surface with sculptural interventions. Two of her works, Sitting Cross-legged and Unbuttoned are being shown as part of New Art West Midlands 2018 at AirSpace Gallery until 31 March.

In her practice, Wingham encourages the voyeuristic tendencies that lurk within the human psyche by presenting the viewer with seductive images of scenarios that are usually hidden from public view – like the bare legs of a cross-legged woman or the undone button on a man’s shirt. Inspired by The Pictures Generation and the language of advertising, the artist ultimately seeks to heighten her audiences’ relationship with these hidden, private moments.

 

Jodie Wingham, Unbuttoned Shirt, 2016

 

 

Selina Oakes: Your work plays with notions of human curiosity and the cognitive pleasures experienced when something hidden is exposed. Why is the act of ‘revealing’ important to you?
Jodie Wingham: This is based on a mixture of personal interest and research into psychological ideas on the nature of sight being an important driving force for our desires. As an individual, I’m drawn to the moments that you’re not meant to witness or pay attention to within the public sphere. You are allowed into a narrative which you have to embellish to make sense of: the act of revealing has not yet ended – it is not fully revealed – therefore it remains in this state of suspense, which I believe is far more interesting than the end result. The idea of what is about to happen, or what is being revealed, is often far more satisfying than what you may want to know or see. This is because your imagination has to work to fill in the gaps. It is this moment that exists ‘on the cusp’ that I like to play with and, because it doesn’t give everything away, you as a viewer have to be involved in the development of the image or idea. We as a society have information readily available: images are explicitly shown in media, billboards etc. We no longer think or take notice of the finer details – not really. I want to entice a longer gaze: one that the viewer, as an individual, fuels.

 

SO: Sitting Cross-legged and Unbuttoned distort the aesthetic of high-end advertising and are reminiscent of works from The Pictures Generation. Can you discuss some of your art historical and cultural influences?
JW: The Pictures Generation is an excellent reference as I was influenced by their usage of media techniques to produce their work. In my own practice, I am aware of the media’s influence on our interaction with images and the bombardment of information that we consume. My photographs may appear reminiscent of the images that we interact with in the media, however I don’t use models that fall into the industry’s ideals. My imagery is meant to represent real people: it’s an interplay between magazine aesthetics and non-typical models to disrupt what you expect.

 

SO: You present a predominantly two-dimensional medium – printmaking – in an unconventional and sculptural way. What draws you to bend the traditional rules of display?
JW: I became frustrated with the idea of printmaking being seen as a traditional and often boring art practice in the fact that the prints are often flat, displayed within frames and hung on walls. Print is so much more and can be pushed to the extremes like any other art practice. I wanted, and still want, to see what is achievable in print by using a cross-disciplinary approach to create alternative conversations of what print can be and how it can be displayed. My ideas focus around the viewer being involved in an image – an image that is usually voyeuristic in nature. For me, it is important to promote the interaction between image, display and audience: the use of sculptural elements introduces a physicality which the viewer can interact with. In doing this, it upsets the common reading of an image and, through the addition of different viewpoint and angles, the print takes longer to read. This prolonged gaze is an important theme in my work.

 

 

Jodie Wingham, Sitting Cross Legged, installation view at AirSpace Gallery. Image courtesy Selina Oakes

 

SO: Does gender representation come into your practice, either through your choice of imagery or materials?

JW: Even though I do not make work with set gender representation ideas in mind, it would be hard to say that gender representation is not present within my practice, particularly within this body of work. The image of a woman sitting crossed legged with flesh clearly on display naturally initiates a conversation on how women are represented and what the image is saying by using that particular pose. I was aware of this when creating Sitting Crossed Legged, but I didn’t want it to be the main idea that people thought of when looking at the piece. With this awareness, I chose a model who did not conform to set ideas of media shape and size – what people may deem as a ‘model’ woman. She is not digitally altered, and I wanted to only use the cropped section of the chair seat with no face: without an identity this woman could be anyone and allows a closer association with the ideas behind the piece rather than the sitter herself.

Similarly, ideas around gender representation can be applied to the male sitter in Unbuttoned. Here, notions on how masculinity is portrayed in the media arise, but I try to focus the scene on the opening of the shirt. I am aware that the imagery in my practice (and possibly the materials used, for example, metal is commonly seen as a masculine material) engage with notions of gender representation: I’m currently thinking about whether this is an important conversation to include and play with, or not.

 


SO: 
As a visual arts graduate, how do you intend to continue with your practice? Have New Art West Midlands 2018 and the show at AirSpace Gallery bolstered your confidence for future projects?

JW: The visual image will always feature in my practice. I want to see how far I can push the boundaries of the printed image by working on new ways to make the discipline interactive for the viewer. Traditional printmaking is a medium that I love to work with, however, it is often displayed in a set way. I believe this should be challenged and the art-form represented more often in contemporary art practices.

That being said, intimacy has become a much more prevalent concept for me. This is not so distant from my previous work, as I have always wanted the viewer to have a more intimate connection with the images. In the past, I have often used installation concepts to achieve this interaction between the work and the viewer. New Art West Midlands and AirSpace Gallery have given me great support and feedback from the show itself, which has given me the confidence to push forward in the creation of new work.

 

Selina Oakes speaks to Jodie Wingham, currently exhibiting at AirSpace Gallery as part of New Art West Midlands 2018.

Larissa Shaw, Flesh Party, 2017

28 artists have been selected for the exhibition, New Art West Midlands 2018 which will take place at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry and Airspace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent in February to May 2018.

 

Larissa Shaw, Flesh Party, 2017

The artists are recent graduates from the West Midlands region’s six leading art schools at BA, MA and PhD levels:

Nicola Arnold, University of Worcester

George Caswell, Birmingham City University

Aileen Doherty, Birmingham City University

Jez Dolan, Birmingham City University

Amrit Doll, Birmingham City University

Gem Douglas, Birmingham City University

Jessica Eburne, Coventry University

Louise Hampson, Staffordshire University

Lucy Hanrahan, Birmingham City University

Simon Harris, University of Wolverhampton

Keri Jayne, Staffordshire University

Lisa Kemp, University of Wolverhampton

Bob Langridge, Hereford College of Arts

Bryony Loveridge, Coventry University

Tony McClure, Birmingham City University

Hayley McNally, University of Wolverhampton

Bayley Morris, Birmingham City University

Olivia Peake, Birmingham City University

David Poole, Birmingham City University

Lewis Pritchard, Staffordshire University

Larissa Shaw, Birmingham City University

Margaret Shuter, Hereford College of Arts

Sarah Walden, Birmingham City University

Lily Wales, Birmingham City University

Grace A Williams, Birmingham City University

Jodie Wingham, Birmingham City University

Darren Withey, Birmingham City University

Valerija Zukova, University of Worcester

Our three selectors of the 2018 edition were Patricia Fleming (Director, Patricia Fleming Projects, Glasgow), Sinead McCarthy (Curator, Liverpool Biennial) and Ingrid Pollard (artist and photographer, London).

The exhibition includes painting, sculpture, digital and sound installations, assemblage, photography, prints and film and video works that reference wide ranging contemporary themes from artificial intelligence, fake news, gender inequality and surveillance to timelessness, interruptions, displacement and glitches, to how our lives are now lived through the screen.

Rachel Bradley, Project Organiser of the annual exhibition said: ‘The selection panel members are very impressed year on year at the diversity and quality of the artists’ work they are able to choose and showcase in the New Art West Midlands exhibitions. The project has now seen 176 artists pass through this early career professional development experience which has made an invaluable contribution to the development of the West Midlands’ visual arts scene over the past six years. It also gives audiences an opportunity to see new work by a new generation of artists.’

New Art West Midlands Exhibition 2018 is led by Birmingham Museums Trust with support from participating host venues. It is funded by Arts Council England alongside Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Hereford College of Arts, Staffordshire University, University of Wolverhampton and University of Worcester.

28 artists have been selected for the exhibition, New Art West Midlands 2018 which will take place at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry and Airspace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent in February to May 2018.

Birmingham City University graduate Hannah Honeywill exhibited work as part of the 2016 New Art West Midlands exhibitions. As as result, she was selected for a residency at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. We caught up with her to hear about the residency, and her new piece Tumbleweed which is currently on display at the gallery.

The curators from the Barber Institute selected me from the New Art West Midlands 2016 exhibition for this residency. I was asked was to submit a proposal for a new piece of artwork responding to the Barber and its collections.

As I walked through the Barber’s galleries, I was surrounded by the different narratives within the paintings and sculptures – for example, you are sharing the final intimate moments of John the Baptist on his deathbed with just his closest family, and then across the room is a painting of Alexander the Great in his bright pink leggings. In another gallery I encountered a fragment of 1900s realism as if captured on surveillance camera: a private and intimate moment of a woman picking fleas from her body and then drowning them. These narratives are not happening out loud – they are happening visually and silently in the quiet gallery. It felt like I was being whispered at from various centuries and realities.

The challenge was to incorporate these reflections into a new artwork. Within my practice I use objects that already exist, especially furniture, as using familiar everyday objects creates a ground from which I can queer / reshape into sculpture. When I make a change to an existing structure, I question its expected function and it subsequently occupies a new space, raising questions about its identity.

I started by looking for the furniture within the Barber, but the very nature of the architecture and purpose-built design of the interior and furniture is so cohesive and seen as one that I felt no one piece could be manipulated individually.

I then turned to the artwork, and saw that the gilt frames were the common denominator of all the paintings, encompassing the diverse narratives and points of view: the frame harmonises the collection of works. Picture frames were traditionally made by furniture-makers to protect, enhance and preserve the painting within. This legacy makes them perfect material for reshaping into a sculpture, reflecting the materials and methods of my practice of reshaping furniture. The gilt frame’s sense of being part of the institution, informing the atmosphere and influencing how people conduct themselves within it, also provided the perfect ground for me to queer. By cutting or reshaping a frame I would be committing an act against the frame – it would no longer have value as a frame but instead have a new destiny that rebels against the expected.

The eclectic nature of the Barber collection brought to mind the economist Rumens’ metaphor of queer theory being a form of “intellectual tumbleweed”, collecting different influences, experiences and ideas as it rolls around academia, culture, politics and feminism as well as other areas where you might not expect to encounter it. The tumbleweed struck me as a fitting physical form for the sculpture to take. My proposal was therefore to make a beautiful, intricate tumbleweed sculpture using reshaped picture frames echoing the styles hanging in the Barber Institute.

In addition to creating a new artwork, the residency has given me the opportunity to give a public lunchtime gallery talk and take part in a children’s Arts Award workshop that was developed around Tumbleweed. I will also be running a days drawing and creativity workshop with adults and presenting in a Pecha Kucha-style event at the Barber on Saturday 20 May along with four other contemporary artists who have been working with the Barber and the University of Birmingham.

Tumbleweed is on display in the Beige Gallery at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts until 4 June 2017. New Art West Midlands 2017 continues at the Waterhall, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, mac birmingham and Wolverhampton Art Gallery until 14 May 2017, and Worcester City Art Gallery until 3 June 2017. Applications are also currently open for New Art West Midlands 2018.

Birmingham City University graduate Hannah Honeywill exhibited work as part of the 2016 New Art West Midlands exhibitions. As as result, she was selected for a residency at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. We caught up with her to hear about the residency, and her new piece Tumbleweed which is currently on display at the gallery.

Are you a visual arts graduate from one of these West Midlands based universities and colleges?

Birmingham City University
Coventry University
Hereford College of Arts
Staffordshire University
University of Wolverhampton
University of Worcester

If you graduated with a Fine Art or Visual Arts BA, MA or PhD in 2015, 2016 or 2017 you are eligible to make an application for the selected showcase exhibition New Art West Midlands 2018.

New Art West Midlands is the regional network for the visual arts sector and the exhibitions are the result of a partnership between Birmingham Museums Trust, AirSpace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry.

Deadline extended: 5pm, Monday 3 July 2017.

How to apply? Download the brief and application form below:

New Art West Midlands 2018 Brief.

New Art West Midlands 2018 Application form.

 

New Art West Midlands 2017 showed at the Waterhall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, mac birmingham, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Worcester City Art Gallery.

Applications are now open for New Art West Midlands 2018. Apply now!

New Art West Midlands 2017 exhibiting artists. Photograph by Jas Sansi

Ten New Art West Midlands 2017 artists have been awarded with cash prizes and unique career development opportunities.

 

New Art West Midlands 2017 exhibiting artists. Photograph by Jas Sansi

 

Rob Hamp (Coventry University), Henry Rice (Hereford College of Arts) and Poppy Twist (Birmingham City University) have each been awarded cash prizes of £1000.

Lorna Brown (Hereford College of Arts) and Damian Massey (Staffordshire University) have both been awarded with £250 of art supplies by Cass Art, the principal sponsor of New Art West Midlands.

The cash and Cass Art prizes were selected by Craig Ashley (Director of New Art West Midlands), Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery curator Lisa Beauchamp and independent artist and New Art West Midlands advisory group member Mahtab Hussain, in liaison with venue curators Emalee Beddoes (Worcester City Art Gallery), Neus Miro (Wolverhampton Art Gallery) and Jessica Litherland (mac Birmingham).

In addition, special Opportunity Awards have been awarded to six artists who will benefit from career development opportunities.

Damian Massey and Natalie Ramus (Hereford College of Arts) have been selected by Grasslands to undertake a residency place in spring 2017. Grasslands is an artist-led project space that explores group activity and collaboration from a domestic garden site in Birmingham, founded by Dan Auluk.

Katie Hodson (University of Worcester) will take a two-month residency at the Office for Art, Design and Technology in Coventry. Founded by Ryan Hughes, the Office for Art, Design and Technology works nomadically and collaboratively to probe the spaces between seemingly disparate fields.

Sculptor Yazmin Boyle (Birmingham City University) will enjoy a solo exhibition at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists in their gallery located just off St Paul’s Square, Birmingham.

Halina Dominska (Birmingham City University) will undertake a week-long residency at the Sidney Nolan Trust, Hereford, as part of h.Art week in September 2017.

Finally, Jenna Naylor (Staffordshire University) has been awarded a commission by Treeline, an artist-led project delivered through the Herefordshire-based environment organisation New Leaf.

New Art West Midlands showcases the work of 31 exciting emerging artists in the region, with exhibitions at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, mac birmingham, Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Each of the exhibiting artists has graduated from one of the region’s six art schools within the last three years: Birmingham City University, University of Wolverhampton, University of Worcester, Staffordshire University, Coventry University and Hereford College of Arts.

Opening on Saturday 18 February 2017, New Art West Midlands includes brand new painting, installation, sculpture, photography, video, animation and digital artworks, and together give an insight into the latest trends and concerns in contemporary art.

Over 180 people applied to take part in New Art West Midlands 2017. The 31 successful artists were chosen by a group of three selectors: Jason E. Bowman, artist, curator and lecturer at University of Gothenburg; curator and writer Angela Kingston and the Birmingham-based artist Barbara Walker.

With four venues, six universities and colleges and 31 artists, New Art West Midlands is the largest showcase of its type in the region. Now in its fifth year, New Art West Midlands is an important aid in developing the careers of artists. Previous exhibitors have seen their work purchased for the national Art Council Collection and have gone on to achieve solo exhibitions in respected galleries.

The New Art West Midlands 2017 graduates’ exhibition is an initiative led by New Art West Midlands, the contemporary visual arts network for the region.

Cass Art, the UK’s leading independent art supplies retailer, proudly supports New Art West Midlands. Committed to helping everyone realise their creative talents, Cass Art supports artists across the UK, at all stages of their career.


Sponsors of
New Art West Midlands 2017

Ten New Art West Midlands 2017 artists have been awarded with cash prizes and unique career development opportunities.