The curious case of abstraction? Confronting ideas that can at first sight, come across as rather tricky, unexpected and may seem perversley resistent to easy literalism? Pleasingly this is not always so. Visitors to the show presented themselves as willing co-participants whose knowing intent was to discover something new, keen to decide for themselves where the attributes of virtue, value, function and usefulness may reside.
Talking with visitors and guests in this public exhibition is more than a fond memory. The priveleged opportunity to share ideas in the informal setting of a public exhibition venue with ‘people and paintings’ on-site is wonderfully real.
Descriptive terminolgy such as ‘a site for primary research’ though accurate may nonetheless infer a lack of authenicity? By contrast, this conversation was free flowing, sometimes tentative in its query sometimes assured and thereby memorably engaging. The images detailed above give a sense of the manner of discussion.
Public galleries offer a mode of safe space where choice, perception and reflection is expected and, in the context of viewing the outcome of current cultural production, is actively encouraged.
Conversations in Painting: ‘if it fits in the Fiesta you’re in…’ present an exhibition of new and recent paintings at Crown Street Art Gallery, Darlington – open to the public on Saturday 14th October until Thursday 9th November 2017 – showing work made by a group of practitioners distinctly placed in their personal trajectory who sustain a direct connection with the Tees Valley.
A collaboration of emerging, established, national and international artists whose collective expertise represents a diverse range of interpretive approaches. Artists commissioned to make work for this show are: Sarah COONEY, Deb COVELL, Gordon DALTON, Philip GATENBY, Remy NEUMANN and Alicia PAZ.
This project seeks to understand more about how visual arts culture operates in the Tees Valley, especially so through its focus on painting. Conversations in Painting… is an artist led project initiated by Sarah Cooney and Philip Gatenby in partnership with the independent curator Kerry Harker, a co-curated selective review of non-representational approaches to fine art practice. The exhibition is set in the conventions of the white box gallery as a ‘performance space’ for shared conversational dialogue between participant artists and the public. Public events and workshops scheduled throughout the duration of the gallery show will host visitors, guest practitioners, curators, writers, students and invested members of the public as co-participants in panel discussions
Conversations in Painting is an artist led project to encourage dialogue with artist practitioners, especially so for artists based in Teesside. The banner image is the social media notification for the first studio visit event in January.
The project intends to schedule a series of six more studio visits in a range of artist led venues. If you are interested in attending any of the studio visits scheduled throughout this year, typically every six weeks, please contact me direct for details. The next studio visit event is in May…
Gallery photograph by Jules Lister detailing: ‘Madama Butterfly’, 2013 Alicia Paz; ‘Will The Night Last Forever’, 2017 Gordon Dalton; ‘Station 6’, & ‘New Cross’ 2017 and Tight-fit, 2016′ Deb Covell; ‘The Curious Case of Disallowance: Ground’, 2017 Phil Gatenby and ‘Amazonas’, 2015 Alicia Paz.
Artist Hosted Sessions in the Gallery
11.00 am – 4.00 pm on:
Tues 17, Wed 18, Thurs 19, Thurs 26, Fri 27, Sat 28 and Tues 31 October.
Wed 1, Thurs 2, Tues 7, Wed 8 and Thurs 9 November
Visitors and guests – are invited to offer their thoughts and ideas in response to the work on show by sharing Conversations in Painting… with artist exhibitors in the informal setting of the gallery.
‘The BAK Summer School: Art in a Time of Interregnum brings together artists, curators, art theorists, and academics to collectively think through, learn about, and imagine critical, politically-informed artistic practices that work to grasp and influence our dramatically changing times. Concepts of the precariat, the challenges of contemporary fascisms, contemporary constructions of “we,” the posthuman and Anthropocene, etc. will be discussed with a thematic inquiry into forms of artistic expression relevant to contemporary destabilizations.’
Discussion groups, formal and informal: in situ at BAK, taking a break, core texts anchoring shared discourse: public spaces for discussion groups, adjacent to BAK, at CASCO (with a memorably beautiful tree): the view from the tower block allocated for summer school accommodation: city centre events (Women’s Euro Finals) and street life at ACU (performance event and street life smoking breaks). An intriguing mix, a delight to take part in, made so much more fulfilling by a responsive and inclusive approach to hosting. Am I the only one to think the manner of hosting and advance work on reading lists made this event uniquely special?
Random image sequence showing each section of this site specific work including a slide projected image of Eric Satie inviting guests into the space. Entry via the bright fluorescent light tilts at the assumption of calm and the chequered grid that suggests a haven of order teases this possibility. The projector piece in the space (photo image of Famagusta beach, 2008) fixes a different reality and acts as counterpoint to the ideas available in the paintings. The decision to make a site specific work is to urge time based considerations where notions of interdependence become inevitable and raise a challenge to premeditated assumptions an audience might initially present.
In the best of senses this work, titled: Border Crossings, reconfigures a site specific work made ten years or so earlier titled: Casualty and there are mutual contextual similarities in both pieces: Casualty hosted public access for three hours and Border Crossing welcomed guests for eight hours. A third iteration may warrant extending the time available for public access…