Zero Landscape – Katy Connor
16 January – 7 February 2016
The Gaps Between – Anne Deeming
20 February – 6 March
The objects Deeming designs and makes look familiar and usable in some way, and yet they are not. They exist as amalgamations of everyday utilitarian objects with features that can trigger multiple associations with something you have used or seen before.
The Gaps Between is the culmination of a research and development process undertaken in 2015–2016, supported by a grant from Arts Council England. It brings together the work created and acts as an invitation to the viewer to actively engage with the haptic nature of the work through touch. More broadly Deeming’s practice investigates the slippage between the familiar and foreign, domestic and industrial, the useful and useless. She examines the gaps between sculpture, contemporary design and applied arts.
Since studying an MA Fine Art at Bath School of Art in 2012, Anne Deeming has exhibited nationally in open submission shows, including Exeter Contemporary Open (2013); and SHAPE’s Showcase in the City, London (2012). Deeming was selected by Bristol-based artist collective Hand in Glove to create and present a new temporary sculptural work for the public realm in 2013. Her recent work has been sited outside of the gallery space, including; Do What You Can: Exercise X, Bute Park, Cardiff (2015); and We Could Not Agree, Cavendish Square underground car park, Frieze Fringe, London (2014).
She is currently based at BV studios, Bristol.
1-2 March, Transit Loft, Berlin
chapters, proposals, mysteries, myths, objects, places
Taking the form of a table display or natur tisch, with an off-site element in a popular park, the selected images work as chapter headings to create a text without words. The works correspond to more than one narrative, but in part, they follow their own logic; an image of a train is requested, a train departs for Luxembourg.
In translation, mythologies are altered in subtle and nuanced ways and hierarchies established and dissolved. At a distance, a conversation is initiated between the table and an off-site sculptural work.
Loft Projekte presents work by Julian Claxton, Helen Grant, Simon Olley and Mark Samsworth.
More info: http://loftprojekte.blogspot.co.uk
2-5 March, El Castillo, Santa Brigida, Gran Canaria
Zanne Andrea, David Blandy and Larry Achiampong, Yvonne Buchheim, Julian Claxton, Martyn Cross, ChrisKim Fordwoh’s, Helen Grant, James Hutchinson, Harry Meadley, Mark Samsworth
– review in Jurgen Lore by Anthony Lawrence
Partly an underground cave house with relics of the distant past and all amenities, and partly a turreted castle on the flanks of a pensioned-off volcano, the gallery at El Castillo in Santa Brigida on Gran Canaria represents another step in the internationalisation of Bristol’s Test Space venture with a continuing partnership with the curators of Berlin based, Volkskammer. The exhibition “Saga (Tamaran)” opened on 2nd March and ran until 5th, with what the curators oddly called a “preview” on March 4th.
Big work would be dwarfed by the castle surrounds, and the artists have wisely chosen to opt for small-scale pieces which expand upon imagination. Each work reaches down into the volcanic past of these Saharan islands, into the shamanic and indigenous rites which civilisation has scrubbed too clean, and up into contemporary themes of disturbance, dislocation and dissonance which settle on the mountains of our culture like late February cloud systems. It is, after all, only a short step from Guanche clay fertility goddesses to televised drag queen contests.
Zanne Andrea sets the tone for the exhibition with two talismans from a set of four. They take disregarded items, scraps, detritus, and by recombining them with a combination of magic and flair create evocations of the perpetual magic of our times. These talismans would belong as comfortably in the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford, as they do on a slate shelf in a castle. They regain the word ‘charming’, snatching it back from Victorian bric-à-brac charlatans and placing it against the night-sweats of the sick and the delusions of the deranged. Their expressive force is also embodied in Julian Claxton’s Mysterious Blue Rider (which is part installation, part happening and part seaside-postcard intervention) and in the collaboration between David Blandy and Larry Achiampong: their short video, Finding Fanon II uses Grand Auto Theft technology to explore colonisation in the footsteps of semi-imaginary playwright Frantz Fanon, in a work entirely in tune with this African wasteland which speaks Spanish and whistles.
Helen Grant subconsciously echoes these themes with her souvenir drawing from Madrid, Pedro. In many ways this is a pivotal work for the whole show. It has a fragility and ephemera which contrast dramatically with the gallery itself. Pedro himself – slave-owner and Castillian conqueror of Gran Canaria – personifies the modern dilemma between the proliferation throughout the world of Castillian / Californian technology on the one hand and the respect due to indigenous cultures and ways of seeing on the other, ways of seeing which are being compromised and destroyed. Visitors will find themselves returning more than once to this gilded drawing.
Yvonne Buchheim’s short video shows 13 minutes of a Cairo, and individuals, disturbed by revolution and cultural difference. The building of castles continues. Society is in transformation and is forced back on to its heels to revalue what it sees as important and what it demands from the social compact which glues it together. The Arabic subtitles fracture the experience for English-speaking visitors and invite them to share a sense of dislocation and discomfort. The African and Islamic mainland is, after all, just beyond the eastern horizon.
James Hutchinson’s video-loop does nothing again and again until nothing becomes as real as the stones from which the castle is made. The video becomes a trance into which the shaman, talisman-rich and intoxicated with second-sight, can lose himself and find the essential. Mark Samsworth’s Lanza del Destino entreats the same field of thought, with a xerographic print on paper. Once again we see juxtaposed a fetish item, a mythological tool and a physical symbol of a lost way of seeing the world. Our jet-lagged, TV-sized eyes have learned to ignore and dismiss too much archaic wisdom. Martyn Cross picks up this lance and runs with it, not towards a crucifixion, but to another kind of fiction, Sun Ra’s Mr Mystery. His small and smoking volcano echoes the shape of Teide on Tenerife which is dramatically visible through the clouds from the island.
Harry Meadley’s otherwise rather mildly digressive piece – Curada la mesa de centro – serves to blur the line between object and context and invites the visitor to return to a consideration of El Castillo itself – a commonplace ikea coffee table supports some seeds from a Guanche graveyard, a tourist souvenir keyring of the Guanche deity – pretty much the degraded cultural symbol of Gran Canaria itself – and a packet of Gofio – a powder made from corn used in hot and cold drinks, essentially all that is left of the stamped out Guanche culture in the contemporary Canary islands.
Not all fictions are untrue, as a temporary memorial, comprising a folksy carved wooden owl and candles erected in Chris Fordwoh’s memory replaces the work that ChrisKimFordwoh’s were in the event unable to realize for this show.
The building of castles is always motivated by a mixture of bravado and fear and that illuminating combination fuels all the work in “Saga (Tamaran)”.
Since the piece went to press we heard of the untimely death of Chris Fordwoh. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.
Friday 29 April 2016 – Sunday 15 May 2016
Before Spike Island, there was Artspace…As part of the celebrations for Artspace’s 40th anniversary, Test Space presents ‘Slider’ a lightbox installation of photographic transparencies contributed by founder members, current studio holders, Associates, staff and volunteers – and everyone in between – who have benefited from that initial primal energy of Artspace as it has grown and been transformed into the complex inter connective agency that is the current Spike Island.Artspace was founded in the mid-1970s by a group of painters, sculptors and printmakers who sought out and administered affordable studio spaces for artists in Bristol. Working co-operatively, the collective was able to reduce costs by sharing space and equipment, and securing discounts through bulk purchasing art materials. 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the initial lease of Artspace’s first home, the McArthur’s Warehouse on the Harbourside.The Artspace artists converted and occupied this disused Victorian warehouse until 1998 when, due to the threat of increased rents and a proposed re-development of the site, the organisation moved to its current premises, a nearby former Brooke Bond tea packing factory, and changed its name to Spike Island.
Today, Spike Island is an international art centre and one of Europe’s largest studio complexes.
Photo Mark Samsworth
Andy Jackson: Incarnation (The Possibilities of Datum)
Friday 3 June 2016 – Sunday 19 June 2016
Preview – 6-8pm, Friday 3rd June
Opening Hours: Daily (except Mondays) 12-5pm
Datum: a piece of information implying information as a physical entity: a painting as opposed to a digital reproduction. A thing as opposed to light emitted from a screen. These Datums are the sum of physical matters, accumulated into an illusional whole: green marking within a darkened void, framed by pastel-plasticity. A version of painting that recall encounters with artefacts in a museum. Marking as process with a look of tropical plantation or objects looked at through X ray apparatus (and then back again to marking). Pastel-plasticity frame plus a glow from the dark – the intimate screen encounter, ubiquitous smartphone look.
Insrt the Datum – singular information – a unity of features portrayed as a whole, immersed in an expanded field. The compact Datum floats on washed out spectrums of colour – a singular now coupled with another. Bodily scale with units of intimacy, preceding and receding- on top, sunken or elevated depending on how close you stand to the painting.
Andy Jackson is an artist based in London. Incarnation will be his first solo exhibition in a gallery space. Previously this year he held a solo exhibition on the windows of a disused decorators shop entitled Paintshop.
Since leaving Goldsmiths College in 2006 with an MFA he has exhibited in the John Moores Painting Prize 2014 and Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2006. Later this year he will be presenting a solo exhibition at SE9 Container Space in London. Previous selected exhibitions include Blueprint at Interview Room 11 in Edinburgh, (2015) In(habitat) at Lion and Lamb Gallery (2014), London and Ici Londres at Galerie Silin, Paris (2013).
Thomas Goddard – Crow Jane Blues
Exhibition – Saturday 02 July 2016 – Friday 29 July 2016
Opening Hours: 12-5pm daily, closed Mondays
Preview and performance
Friday 8 July, 6-9pm
‘Crow Jane Blues’ presents Thomas Goddard’s continuing research into the use of manipulation by those in positions of power. Gender, political and media power play are represented through the prophetic figure of the crow and Skip James’ haunting 1967 version of ‘Crow Jane’.
Similar to the flexing of political standpoints, the crow can been seen as a creature with evolving, contrasting connotations and traits – from divine beings and intelligent protectors of the down trodden presented in Celtic myth and folklore, to becoming servants of the devil, and representations of death. The crow, as a key figure of the work, represents not only a powerful political figure, but also the shifting definitions, approaches to and understanding of neo-liberalism.
Sitting amongst these mixed understandings, Crow Jane, a traditional blues standard, also uses “Crow” (as early as 1820) as a derogatory term for a woman of low character – perhaps even the lowest of the low. “Crow Jane” by Skip James is a song about the murder, and subsequent regret by the murderer, of a prostitute.
Using these multiple connotations as spring boards, the work will prompt questions of personal control – that we are the absolute owner of our lives, to use and dispose of as we see fit: that all our social actions should be voluntary: and that respect for everyone’s similar and equal ownership of life and, by extension, the property and fruits of that life is the ethical basis of a humane and open society.
Presented through new installation, text, imagery and performance, this prophetic figure pertains to our own governments approach to hierarchy, power, wealth imbalance and haunting control.
Thomas Goddard is a multi disciplinary artist, who uses primarily film, performance and installation to his location led research and participatory practice, he explores alternative ways of seeing or engaging with the world; be that real or imagined.
In 2015 Goddard received a Creative Wales award and represented Wales at Standpoint Futures, London. Significant projects include Bulletin, a film trilogy commissioned by Outcasting, The Space and ACE as part of a residency at BBC Wales; a Cadw & ACW supported residency at Neolithic site, Parc Le Breos and a series of new performance work in China supported by Wales Arts International. During summer 2016, Goddard’s film piece ‘Chew chew’ will be presented as part of Selected #6, a touring exhibition featuring works nominated by the 2015 Film London Jarman Award shortlisted artists, produced by FLAMIN and videoclub.
Preview – Friday 2nd September, 6-8pm
Under Construction was an exploration of how artists, at all stages of their careers, construct their own identity through their artistic practices. How do the ways in which we construct ideas, objects, space, identity, ourselves – both as artists and as people – manifest themselves across different backgrounds and generations?
The use of objects and possessions and their potential to be something more: for example objects and artworks as vessels to discuss subjects such as migration and gender; or objects that invite other modes of self expression, were all explored by the artists. Our relationship with technology played a significant part: production, printing and photography techniques – new and old – and audio and video recorded, manipulated, presented and re-presented. This was also a vehicle for conceptual exploration: the effect and relationship between mass-production and us; how screens are fragmenting and yet increasingly becoming an intrinsic part of every day life; how technology is letting us down in terms of sustainability; and the ways in which technology can be used to discover more about ourselves.
Nineteen people from many different nationalities were involved in Under Construction – Fine Artists, Photographers, Print Makers, Graphic Designers, Sociologist and Performers – of which thirteen showed physical work.
Nick Greenglass’ practice focuses on how new and developing processes in printmaking can be used and combined with traditional techniques. Much of his work explores identity, specifically how digital and emerging technologies are affecting our shared and individual sense of self. By exploring the idea found both in mythology and psychology of ‘the shadow self’ (our hidden, missing or obscured side of identity) through doppelgängers, mirroring and obscuring within the print and making process itself – a piece of work that is made up of fragmented, albeit different images of identity, printed in a variety of ways and then sewn and re-built together – was created.
Marina Iodice works predominately through installation and incorporates a range of media from the analogue to the digital. Her previous installation pieces have investigated women’s roles in contemporary society through her over-arching mission to build a new perception of the world: and it’s this particular notion that has been pushed further in Under Construction. Marina’s ‘Sound Machine’, controlled by the physical contact between the human body and food, and the latter’s roles as natural conductors of electricity, produced a unique sound for each individual through the act of eating.
James Norman’s practice is in a constant state of flux where different media and themes are embraced and discarded in a promiscuous manner. His current interests lie in the dialogue between visual objects and linguistic text. James created a series of objects of visual interest which intersect and juxtapose with linguistic texts specifically for the exhibition.
Maria Jose Carvallo is a Chilean artist and psychologist. Her theoretical and visual image research of the female body is grounded in her own cultural context and psychological practice. Through watercolour and the found materials in domestic spaces, Maria re-constructs figures from her research around the representations of women in art history and from her personal experiences.
Helen Acklam makes and paints in order to explore and give shape to her thoughts and emotions, in response to particular times and places.
Rosanna England is a recent graduate of Drawing and Applied Arts at UWE, her work is multi disciplinary, experimentation and process led. She creates work inspired by objects or possessions which she believes have the potential to be something more. Rosie showed work from her ‘The Afterlife of an iPhone’ project.
Amalia Pascal is a Chilean artist who believes the use of objects can help us to speak about more sensitive subjects such as migration and gender. Through the use of ‘everyday materials’, digital drawing, performance, installation, and video, her artwork seeks to reflect and challenge the ways in which we see identity, social categories, and how the pre-existing discourses that surround them are created and repeated.
Cliff Andrade studied Printed Design and Photography at Glasgow School of Art. Through his practice, he explores his personal relationship with immigration, and what it means for the land people leave behind. For Under Construction, Cliff showed pieces from his ‘Saudade, Part ii’, a project that has dealt with this very directly. Driven by a feeling that before he could attempt to explore and understand his own identity, he first had to understand the identity of his parents, he then returned to this land. Through a sense of place, the pieces focus on his parents specifically, and how their experience of being immigrants affected their sense of identity here, in the UK.
Benjamin Jones’s practice revolves around the photographic process. Through large scale prints, sculptures, video and still projection, he explores how mechanical reproduction alters how we perceive and construct our world. Benjamin’s 35mm slideshow projection – of 80 candid head-shots of people in a crowd, projected as negatives – deals directly with the photographic process as people as imprints on film, while ‘negative’, lending these figures an anonymity, changing their original visual identity. Alongside this, a single photo-etched portrait amalgamated from multiple prints on stacked layers of tissue paper as a juxtaposition of the projection – both a positive and fixed image.
Tom Goldstone is interested in ideas of recycling materials in order to redesign space – he sees this as a metaphor for how knowledge exists, evolves, and alters when travelling from one person to another. Tom made a series of plaster casts (part of the ‘Space Between Us’ series) of the plastic casing designed to transport products to supermarkets, that are then subsequently thrown away. By taking ‘rubbish’ and using it to create ‘art’, he raises questions about value itself, how we perceive and construct what is valuable to us as people, and as artists, and therefore how art has the potential to change people’s perception.
Flavia Terzian uses a set of self-designed systems and templates to deconstruct and reconstruct the identity of geometric shapes. Flavia uses sculpture as a tool to take her investigations beyond the 2-dimensional space of the page and into the physical world.
Jodie Everett, by using an array of symbology and mythology, and through the rituals of the photographic process, constructs and represents the psychological evolution of her own experiences that form her identity.
Ben Morris, currently studying at the Univeristy of Bristol; Costanza Tagliaferri, who undertook a Maketing & Communications placement at Spike Island; Emily Moore, who studied in London and has recently moved to Bristol; Christina Constantinou, who’s background lies – and who has a degree in – Sociology; Alice Larcome, who is supporting Tom, Jodie and Flavia with all things curatorial, and, Adriana Carvallo, who is currently studying Photography, helped with the organisation, ranging from promotion of the exhibition, documentation, to social media activities and blog posts.
Marcus Jefferies and Colin Higginson – Phase 3
30 September – 16 October
Marcus Jefferies and Colin Higginson have collaborated on a regular basis since 2011. Their work explores the relationship between architecture and memory through the production of sculpture, photography and installation. Their working process often begins with the transformation of an archive image into an immersive, interactive environment – creating new narratives through reimagining the recent past.
For their Test Space exhibition, they presented a new installation exploring the rapid development of urban space in the city, the visual language of gentrification, and the selling of luxury lifestyles.
Colin Higginson (1963) was born in St Asaph, North Wales and studied Fine Art at Gwent College of Higher Education and the University of Wales Institute Cardiff. He currently works and lives in Bristol and has been a Spike Island studio holder since 2007. Higginson’s work incorporates sculpture, model making, photography, film, installation and performance. His artwork is motivated by an ongoing interest in history, memory and representation
Recent exhibitions include Memento Mori (a montage) (2012) and Phase 1 (2011) both at Sculpture Shed Studios, Spike Island and From Within The Bungalow (2010), a site specific group show incorporated into a 1950s bungalow in the Bristol suburbs, Higginson was artist in residence at the Bristol Record Office and Archive between 2007 and 2009.
(1970) was born in Bristol and studied fine art painting at Wimbledon School of Art, London. He currently works and lives in Bristol and has been a Spike Island studio holder since 2003.
Jefferies maintains a diverse practice that incorporates model making techniques, photography and sculpture. Current work centres around the architectural model and the production of fictional archives. Recent exhibitions include Bedizened at A.P.T Gallery, London (2010) and Punctuated Space at the Beachcroft Space, Bristol (2010). He also curated and exhibited in From Within The Bungalow (2010), a site specific group show incorporated into a 1950s bungalow in the Bristol suburbs.
26 November – 11 December 2016
Rebecca Swindell’s exhibition Surface Stories was an exploration of drawn narratives on a variety of different surfaces and found objects.
A main part of Rebecca Swindell’s practice is drawing and extracting narratives from every day objects. Her work is concerned with documenting human behavior and illuminating the perspectives of individuals. She is interested in how wider forces such as economics, politics, fashion and social norms shape and effect people’s personal lives. She is drawn to personal accounts, narratives and life stories and uses these anecdotes to explore society. She takes what may be considered mundane objects or ordinary places as her source material because of what they can reveal about people, their past and the events that have shaped their lives. Rebecca Swindell Lives and works in Bristol, graduating from Winchester School of Art in 2002.
Previous project websites www.thepencilline.com