Rupi Dhillon, Jharu, 2019. Still from performance, duration : 9 mins

We are delighted to announce that 10 artists and curators have been selected for our 2019 round of Studio Visits, an initiative as part of our professional development programme run in collaboration with The New Art Gallery Walsall.

 

Rupi Dhillon, Jharu, 2019. Still from performance, duration : 9 mins

 

We are especially pleased that this is the first year independent curators have been selected to receive studio visits, that this is the first year artists have been selected as studio visitors and that we have been able to facilitate a number of open slot nominations from applicants. Each of these visits will take place in the coming weeks and we hope they will be particularly useful and fruitful conversations.

Artists Rupi Dhillon and Karen McLean will be visited by London-based artists Matthew Krishanu and Hew Locke respectively. Mixed media artist Leanne O’Connor will be visited by artist Mark Murphy and digital specialist Edie Jo Murray will be visited by artist and PhD candidate Sarah Walden. Birmingham-based curators Aly Grimes and Josephine Reichert will be visited by Irini Papadimitriou, Creative Director of FutureEverything and Ned McConnell, Curator at David Roberts Art Foundation respectively. Ned will also meet with artist Andrew Gillespie. Emalee Beddoes-Davis, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, will meet with artists Joyce Treasure and Bernadette Kerrigan, while Charlie Fellowes of Edel Assanti will visit Sarah Taylor Silverwood.

Applications were selected by a panel including Deborah Robinson and Hannah Anderson of The New Art Gallery Walsall and Anneka French, co-ordinator at New Art West Midlands, in conjunction with the relevant studio visitor.

We are delighted to announce that 10 artists and curators have been selected for our 2019 round of Studio Visits, an initiative as part of our professional development programme run in collaboration with The New Art Gallery Walsall.

Installation view, Sarah Taylor Silverwood: Daphne at The New Art Gallery Walsall

There is a mysterious twilight in the gallery.  In pools of light, cut-out wooden shapes, painted in hazy patterns of pink and blue and yellow, carry the drawn outlines of feet or breasts or faces.  These cutouts are arranged to suggest stepping stones, or are fixed at intervals sometimes high up on the walls, or assembled to form the housing for three video screens.

Installation view, Sarah Taylor Silverwood: Daphne at The New Art Gallery Walsall

The drawn animation that plays in a loop on these screens depicts things such as swaying tree branches and a woman’s lower legs as she casts off her shoes and dips her toes in water.  Then we see the same legs, but this time running around a rock.  A little later, there is a sequence in which the woman’s arm is clawed at and pinched. Due to the rawness of the animation it all happens precariously, as if newly rendered in each repetition of the loop.

The sounds of tweeting birds and a murmuring stream, together with the melancholic strains of violin and piano, reverberate in the gloaming.

This is ‘Daphne’, an art installation by Sarah Taylor Silverwood at The New Art Gallery Walsall. It was inspired by the Greek myth about the beautiful Daphne, who is chased by the god Apollo; but as he’s about to seize and rape her, she is magically transformed into a tree.

Installation view, Sarah Taylor Silverwood: Daphne at The New Art Gallery Walsall

When she first read the story, Taylor Silverwood explains when we meet, she was held spellbound by these two sentences in the opening paragraph:

Over hill and dale she roamed, free and light as the breeze of spring. Other maidens round her spoke each of her love, but Daphne cared not to listen to the voice of man, though many a one sought her to be his wife.1

In the weeks and months during which she made this artwork, Taylor Silverwood found herself focussing ever more intently on Daphne’s ‘free and light’ and ‘roaming’ state, and her breezy independence. It is this moment of the story that her art installation suspends in time, presenting us with the fantasy that Daphne can forever remain within, or forever return to, this first, footloose state.

It is perfectly in keeping with myths to alter or extract from them in this way. Like fairy tales, fables and folk tales, myths are part of the oral tradition of story-telling and so it is in their very nature to be mutable, with elements from one story sometimes straying into another or taking on a life of their own.2 Perhaps we all know how a single, fleeting passage – in this case, about Daphne’s freewheeling spirit – will entirely captivate us, for reasons we might struggle to understand? From somewhere in the soft colours and patterns and repetitions of ‘Daphne’, feelings of intense absorption and pleasure emanate.

Myths and fairy stories are passed down from generation to generation, most often within the context of the family. Part of their function, it’s been argued, is to express something of the particular emotions of families, over time.3 In Taylor Silverwood’s case, she explains, she first read the story of Daphne ten years ago when she was about twenty, in a book of Greek myths originally owned by her grandmother who had recently died. The book was given to Taylor Silverwood by her mother, who like her grandmother had read this book as a child. Cherished by three generations of women who were and are very close, the book and its stories are singularly charged.

When Taylor Silverwood asked her mother to act as the model for her drawings of the youthful Daphne, she bridged the generations. As the artist herself suggests, there are connections throughout with how her place in her family is changing. Her installation ‘Daphne’ explores, she explains, ‘the way that patterns and structures of myths pass through time in parallel to a sort of shifting familial lineage or loop’.

The animation loops and Daphne’s moment of freedom is replayed, over and over. The grandmother’s storybook is now in the granddaughter’s hands, as life continues on.

Yet we are reminded of the menace of Apollo, in the sequences of Daphne running and having her arm pinched, and in the soundtrack’s darkening tones. I experience all this as an undercurrent, and as a reminder of how women deal with the daily threat of danger from men, yet live happily for much of the time. Grandmothers, mothers and daughters all fear at some level for each other, generation after generation – but still, Daphne casts off her shoes once again and is free.

Angela Kingston, February 2019

Angela Kingston is a freelance curator and writer www.angelakingston.co.uk

The exhibition ‘Daphne’ by Sarah Taylor Silverwood is at The New Art Gallery Walsall from 19 January – 12 May 2019

1.  The First Stories, Grecian Gods and Heroes, collected and edited by J.L. Gunn, published by Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd. The first edition was published in July 1927.

2.  For a discussion on this subject, see for example, Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment, part one, 1975. In an acknowledgement of how myths etc are subject to different kinds of re-tellings, Taylor Silverwood based the patterns on the wooden cut-outs on textile designs by Duncan Grant that were inspired by the story of Daphne.

3.  Bettelheim, a psychoanalyst, gives a wonderful account of this in the aforementioned book.

Freelance curator and writer Angela Kingston reflects on Sarah Taylor Silverwood’s solo exhibition Daphne, on display at The New Art Gallery Walsall until 12 May.

Finished tea towels, Sarah Taylor Silverwood

At Wolverhampton School of Art there is a huge range of both traditional and digital printing facilities. I was interested in developing my printing skills, particularly on fabric. I also wanted to interrogate how traditional printing methods can translate a hand drawn image in different ways.

 

Image by Sarah Taylor Silverwood

 

I met early on with Maggie Ayliffe (Head of Visual Arts, Course Leader Painting and Printmaking, and Sculpture and Environmental Art) and Dr Simon Harris (Senior Lecturer in Fine Art) to talk about how the residency could work. They helped work out what print method would work best – I was exploring how to find a traditional, hand produced method that would allow a quick turnaround of a large print run, but still retain the qualities of the original ink drawing. I decided to work with screen printing.

Art schools and art education are constantly under pressure to justify their existence and as an artist and occasional lecturer I was interested in what it meant to be an artist in residence within an art school, and what conversations this position might allow me to enter into. I was interested in ways of conveying collective voices through un-‘institutional’ methods (and by chance the first lecture I visited was on Institutional Critique). When I was at primary school we made those tea towels where everyone draws their face on a small circle of paper, and the tiny sketches are made into a tea towel as a memento for each year. I decided to use the framework of a mass print run of a participatory artwork as a starting point for the residency.

I set up an online form that was circulated to staff, students and alumni, where they could submit 200 characters of text below the question ‘What is an art school?’. This is a question that came up in conversation with Maggie and Simon during our early plans for the residency. During the residency I had a studio in amongst the students, and I visited various lectures and tutorials. Within two weeks I had 80 responses. The responses that came into my inbox varied from the political to the personal: for example, ‘RADICAL DEMOCRACY’, ’the best version of yourself’ and ‘no discrimination’.

 

Work by Sarah Taylor Silverwood on acetate

 

These submissions were the starting point for a large ink drawing incorporating the text and imagery described in the responses. In order to prepare this for print, I scanned the drawing and transferred it to a clear acetate film. Then I took the acetate to the traditional printing department to begin the screen printing process with Andy Roberts (Print Technican), who helped design a set up and production schedule for the two week residency. Andy built two custom sized screens at the size of the tea towels (one for each colour), then exposed them. These were fitted to a rotating printing station. One screen was used to print the red part, and the other for the black part, using specialist fabric ink. A group of students with an interest in screen printing volunteered to help with the print run during career development week.

 

Sarah Taylor Silverwood’s printing process

 

We printed 200 tea towels during the residency. Like the original school portrait tea towels, they act as an archive of a particular time and place. The design and production of this printed work were collaborative. Everyone who left a submission on the online form was given a free tea towel, along with staff and students who were involved in the production.

 

Finished tea towels, Sarah Taylor Silverwood

 

 

www.sarahsilverwood.com/shop/art-school-tea-towel

Sarah Taylor Silverwood reports back from the Engine Micro Residency she undertook at the University of Wolverhampton earlier this year.

Riverhouse: Kingston, Jamaica 2017 © Andrew Jackson

Following the success of last year’s Accelerator talks, we are pleased to three offer further opportunities to find out about what the West Midlands has to offer to art students and early career artists and to learn from artists practicing in the region and beyond.

Hardeep Pandhal, Pool Party Pilot Episode, 2018, 4K animation, 8 mins 15 seconds, digital still

 

Deborah Robinson, Head of Exhibitions at The New Art Gallery Walsall (lead partner, Engine) and Anneka French, Project Coordinator of New Art West Midlands, will outline the programme and opportunities offered by Engine, New Art Midlands’ professional development programme for artists and curators. We will also hear from artists and curators at different stages of their careers about the development of their practice across all three Accelerator talks.

 

Following our first session at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, on 8 March with Andrew Jackson, Leah Carless and They Are Here, a collaborative practice steered by Helen Walker & Harun Morrison, we are delighted to announce the speakers at the next two sessions to discuss their practice:

 

The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Wednesday 25 April, 2-5pm

Faye Claridge
Keith Harrison
James Lomax

 

Staffordshire University
Friday 27 April, 2-5pm

Hardeep Pandhal
Sarah Taylor Silverwood
Grace A. Williams

 

Through case studies from these fantastic speakers, we will explore a range of topics such as initiating projects, finding funding, the importance of networking and sustaining your practice. We will also explore collaboration, residency and international working. There will be opportunities for questions and further discussion.

 

This event is targeted at art students and early career artists.

 

Please book your free place by emailing Anneka French at info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk by Wednesday 18 April.

 

Keith Harrison. Commissioned for Jerwood Open Forest, supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Forestry Commission England and Arts Council England

 

 

Read more about our next series of Accelerator talks taking place in March and April at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum and Staffordshire University.

Sarah Taylor Silverwood, STS Signmakers, Photo Credit: Ian Edwards 2016

We are pleased to announce the artists selected for our two Engine Micro Residencies taking place this year.

 

Sarah Taylor Silverwood, STS Signmakers, Photo Credit: Ian Edwards 2016

Birmingham-based Sarah Taylor-Silverwood will undertake a residency for two weeks in February at the University of Wolverhampton exploring printmaking, while Worcester-based Suzie Hunt will spend two weeks in January and February in residence at the University of Worcester.

The panel were impressed by both Sarah and Suzie’s approach to the briefs set, specifically the ways in which they proposed to make work and research ideas using the facilities unique to each site. The strengths of both artist’s applications were also found in the ways in which they intended to meaningfully and critically engage with the student communities based at the two universities.

Suzie Hunt, UNIVERSE OF ODDITIES (PLANET), video projection on 5ft plaster dome

Applications were shortlisted by a panel including Deborah Robinson, Head of Exhibitions, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Anneka French, Project Coordinator, New Art West Midlands, S Mark Gubb, Senior Lecturer, Fine Art, University of Worcester and Maggie Ayliffe, Head of Visual Arts, Course Leader Painting and Printmaking, and Sculpture and Environmental Art at University of Wolverhampton.

We are pleased to announce the artists selected for our two Engine Micro Residencies taking place this year.