Artists are roaming the streets of the UK

11 September 2014

As much as this sounds like a zombie apocalypse, unfortunately it is not. It is a crisis of identity and life that hits every graduate in the world, in the UK, and more specifically, young graduating artists. Speaking with students, artists, and tutors, and being a recent graduate myself, I’ve heard things that I’ve asked myself many times – what am I going to do? Am I going to do something at all? How do I make a living from this? Should I do something else entirely? What I found to be important is structure and planning. As boring as this sounds, it might be the only way except pure luck to get your work out there and start receiving offers in a highly competitive world overcrowded with artists.

When an artist graduates he has three paths: stop trying to be artist, be an amateur, be a professional artist.

Stopping being an artist means forgetting the whole thing and doing something else. As depressing as this option sounds, it is a frequently taken path, for many reasons – sometimes superficially practical ones. This way is understandable and most of all honest. It is also considerate of other people – there are few things that are worse than experiencing uninspired art.

Another option is to continue making art, but in an amateur way. You casually work without specific projects in mind, with no deadlines, responsibilities, or fear of failure. I would say this is the easiest way out – you don’t take any risks, while being able to soothe your ego and tell yourself that you’re still doing what you want and call yourself an artist in front of your friends and family.

The last way, is being an artist. Full-time. You may still have day-jobs for years to come, still work in the creative sector and make a living from the more practical aspects of your art (design, video, or sound editing), but what remains is that you work on your art methodically and daily, even if burning all your work is the only thing you did today. Although, even if you don’t work daily you can still be an artist - by always having a deadline and a sense of urgency about your work.

The question you have to ask yourself is – which path are you on?

Helfa Gelf 2014

1 September 2014

Like last year, this year Bocs is taking part in Helfa Gelf by renting out its galleries as studio spaces. 4 artists will be working at Bocs in September as Part of Helfa Gelf: Natasha Brooks, Louise Cliffe, Catrin Menai, and Joy Williams. Also, Sarah McEachran and Sadie Williams are occupying Bocs’s permanent studios.

Natasha Brooks

Statement:

Language, the thinking on the problem, is a more important sculpture even than the end process existing in tools or in paintings, or in drawings, or in carvings. This transcendent character of information, in an invisible world, gives us at the same time the proof… that we are not only biological beings, material beings, but first spiritual beings, not existing on this planet”

Joseph Beuys

With modern technology, forever at our fingertips, stimulation and bombardment from external forces is ever present meaning that peace and solitude are a rarity. Even when time and space is made for mindfulness and the spiritual, true stillness is fleeting, as we are always catapulted back into our chattering individual selves. I am fascinated with this internal battle, the veil that lies between the internal and external, spiritual and material. Within my work I often use water to symbolise this veil that is temporally permeable. Water has the obvious multi-faith connections with spiritual cleansing and baptism. It is completely immersive, all encompassing and has a powerful effect on our physical and mental states.
Biography:

Originally from Yorkshire, Natasha Brooks is a local artist based on the Isle of Anglesey. Whilst recently studying a B.A in Fine Art she has increasingly come to use video and photography as means of her expression, although still classes herself as a mixed media artist.

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Louise Cliffe

Statement:

My practice reflects an ongoing attempt to make sense of the world through photography, text and drawing, often incorporating elements of interaction and social media to explore communication between artist and audience. A thorough investigation of social mores enables me to unpick the values and beliefs to which we adhere, and to pinpoint my response as directly as possible in a thought-provoking and humorous way.

Biography:

Louise is from the Mold area and is now based in Bethesda. Originally a sound engineer, she graduated with a BA (Hons) Fine Art from Coleg Menai in 2014.

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Catrin Menai

Statement:

Catrin Menai (b.1987, Wales) is a multi-disciplinary artist who is based in North Wales. She creates multi layered works that explore the nature of language and documentation and the underlying questioning of how narrative and storytelling exists privately and publically in the spatial and the temporal. Within the work there is a questioning of the relationship between images and information and how they configure and correspond with ourselves. The space in between this configuration, the ‘ecstacy of the gap’, is often where the work lands, a transitory or multidimensional stage where disappearance and loss coincide with romance and fiction.

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Joy Williams

Statement:

Within my work I explore the confines of my physical self mainly through photography, in order for people to question what today’s woman looks like, to question the objectivity of woman, and what we are told a woman should be, though I also enjoy exploring how light, colour, depth and textures alter the overall image that you see, both in nature and in a controlled space.  I want people to feel like they could step into the image and feel it, as though it was right there in front of them, that they would be able to experience it through all five of their senses.

Natasha Brooks - Collectivity

26 July 2014

Biography

Originally from Yorkshire, Natasha Brooks is a local artist based on the Isle of Anglesey. Whilst recently studying a B.A in Fine Art she has increasingly come to use video and photography as means of her expression, although still classes herself as a mixed media artist.

Having extensively travelled over the past decade, she has drawn from her experiences and chooses to focus on the uniting characteristics of humanity that span the globe despite geographical and cultural divides. Because of technological bridges that have been created in the modern world, the chance for connectivity, empathy, and understanding have never been experienced on such a scale before. In this increasingly small world Natasha believes that it is important to focus on unity to tread a sustainable path through our increasingly precarious future.

Natasha chooses to look within, to deeply understand and express the human condition. Her work is highly personal and visceral, placing herself in, and highlighting the fragility of the natural life cycles that encompass all. She often uses water to symbolise the barriers observed between the physical and the spiritual, the internal and external. Her work is influenced by the ideas and works of Marcus Coates, Joseph Beuys, James Turrell and the Psychologist Carl Gustav Jung.

Since graduating this year Natasha has exhibited in Cardiff for the Modern Alchemists. She has been selected, and is currently exhibiting for the National Eisteddfod, Llanelli, and will shortly be exhibiting in West Yorkshire. Collectivity is her first solo exhibition.

Artist Statement

Language, the thinking on the problem, is a more important sculpture even than the end process existing in tools or in paintings, or in drawings, or in carvings. This transcendent character of information, in an invisible world, gives us at the same time the proof… that we are not only biological beings, material beings, but first spiritual beings, not existing on this planet”

Joseph Beuys

With modern technology, forever at our fingertips, stimulation and bombardment from external forces is ever present meaning that peace and solitude are a rarity. Even when time and space is made for mindfulness and the spiritual, true stillness is fleeting, as we are always catapulted back into our chattering individual selves. I am fascinated with this internal battle, the veil that lies between the internal and external, spiritual and material. Within my work I often use water to symbolise this veil that is temporally permeable. Water has the obvious multi faith connections with spiritual cleansing and baptism. It is completely immersive, all encompassing and has a powerful effect on our physical and mental states. Long distance swimming shuts out the external world and allows me a meditative state. When surfing I find that the speed of action required to harness the waves energy results in a take over of an instinctual reflex, a focus that is so strong it eclipses all other stimuli. In this primeval state, personal energy is so wound up in the energy of the surroundings, the two are harmoniously intertwined.  I have also attained elevated states of mind through free diving, not only because the lack of breath, but because of the experience had in the water, the deeper you go, the more ‘other worldly’ it becomes. Whilst the physical pressure felt on all the body makes you extremely aware of your physical self, being surrounded by the beauty of such an expanse of heavy water around and on top of you allows an incomprehensible, yet deep understanding of our fragile personal existence and eventual unity with all existence.

This body of work has been heavily influenced by the works of Marcus Coates, by both his attempts to blur the barrier between human and animal, but also by his more recent ‘communal works’ which emphasise a needed yet weakened connection between people. It is this connection that I explore in my work. Believing that we are all individual expressions of a single divine source, I feel it is essential to unite with this divinity that is collectively at the heart of us all. I am interested in Jung’s ideas of the ‘Collective Unconscious’ and ‘Individuation’. The idea of the uniting of a persons conscious and unconscious mind so that their original unique promise might be fulfilled. For this to be possible it has to be realised that the larger conception of the self is also based on the idea that humans are expressions of a deeper layer of universal consciousness. To grasp the uniqueness of each person, paradoxically we have to go beyond the personal self to understand the workings of this deeper collective wisdom. As Jung states with ‘Individuation’ The deeper we understand our collective unconscious, the more we can flourish as our individual expression.

Opening

The exhibition opens on the 7th of August at 6pm. Attendance is free, but please register here for free drinks and snacks.

Workshop and talk

The artist’s workshop in Shadow Photography will run on the 16th of August at 11am, followed by the talk at 1pm. Please book your places for the workshop by following this link.

Patrick Queen - May We Find The Language

25 June 2014

Originally from Dumbarton Patrick Queen now lives and works in the city of Glasgow in Scotland. A recent graduate from the sculpture department at the Glasgow School of art his work explores the processes of transformation, conversion, metamorphosis and transfiguration within life; the potential that people and objects have to change and to become something new. Working interdisciplinary through painting, drawing, sculpture and photography his work examines this core concept of change aiming to make sense of past, present and future events and the role that they have in shaping who we understand ourselves to be today in the here and now.

His sculptures primarily composed of welded unfinished steel overlain with raw and fired clay explore the physicality of materials and their nature and propensity to break down over time. This dual nature and meaning can be seen as a metaphor for the life process and cycles found in nature - a building up and nurturing followed by decomposition and recycling of form and energy. Formally the work is often inspired by found materials from nature collected in locations ranging from Israel to Sardinia, all ending up inevitably in his studio in Glasgow to be explored and dwelled on intensely over long periods of times. Picked apart by hand and eye, again and again, he understands that what he sees and feels before him he will never have full grasp of intellectually -  the infinite potential of objects to give new meaning and direction to life. Each study reveals before unseen lines and forms to become shapes in a future piece of work, old memories combined with focused meditation in the here and now to create something new out of something bygone.

To be shown for the first time in the show are collages containing film photographs of past journeys and travels juxtaposed together with new and old drawings in gouache, charcoal and pencil. Text pieces from past diary entries and quotes from books which have shaped and continue to shape the life direction he takes are also incorporated into the collages. Books, much like the found objects, which have been visited again and again, left to penetrate deep into his mind before surfacing weeks, sometimes months later to inform new direction within his life and work. The overlaying of text with image over image hints at this multilayered experience of his mind, and of his memory, and the struggle sometimes which ensues in attempting to understand and place both in the moment of present experience. The collage work then is a visual representation of this complex course into understanding his mind and memory and of the subsequent process of yielding, of letting go and being okay with not knowing.

And sometimes if you sit, close your eyes and just feel who you are - where are you?‘  -Osho

The work on show is the result of ongoing research into the themes of time, location and movement and the influences they have in shaping and changing human identity. Central to these themes are questions relating to change and stasis, past and present and the nature of self and other - where does the past end and the present begin and where exactly am I able to locate myself within these moments? The work aims to explore the relationship between these themes and to make visible the moments of overlap and tension that can arise when exploring a possible consolidation to these questions.

Patrick Queen’s exhibition will open on the 3rd of July at 6pm.
The opening is free to attend, but drinks are free only if you book here or bring flyers you found or have.

Workshop on 05/07/14, 11am-12:30pm; Talk 1pm-2pm.
Only a limited amount of places is available!
Workshop is free if you book or bring a flyer, otherwise £10 for adults, and £5 for children on the door.
Book online or call 01286 671 366

The exhibition and workshop is sponsored by Bruce Edwards Jones Commercial Brokers and Ty Siocled

Check out Patrick Queen’s exhibition on Google Open Gallery

Rebecca F. Hardy - neuroanatomy

21 May 2014

The contemplation of the human mind, the conduct of human nature, its behaviour to perform consciously and subconsciously and the complexity of these emotions upon the individual and within society - this is Rebecca’s visual exploration and journey into understanding the dense sociology, psychology and biology of this process.

She works in a range of materials and projects, from mixed media, collage, sculpture, installations and photography.

Her sculptures/installations are from the series Tuccia are loosely based on the renaissance painting ‘The Vestal Virgin Tuccia’ by Giovanni Battista Moroni around 1560. Inspired by the tale of Tuccia an ancient Roman Vestal Virgin whose chastity was questioned by a spurious accusation and how she proved her innocence by carrying a sieve full of water from the Tiber to the Temple of Vesta. The sieves in Rebecca’s artwork act as vessels and metaphors of the mind and these metal objects co-exist with the repetitive motion of winding and stringing the chosen coloured thread. The work touches on feminism and mental health issues.

Her photography from the series Bodlondeb plays on the subconscious of grief and is mixed with the conscious of intentionally appreciating the importance of a memory, object, smell, or photograph. Her artwork encompasses these ideals through using personal autobiographical images in which she explores their representation with other surfaces and narrative objects. It is the passing of time and Rebecca’s own acceptance of her own grief; it is her contentment with this acceptance.

Her assemblages, collages are expressive, obscure and surreal and the contribution of text in the work, written in English and Welsh adds both conflict and augmentation. This method and style has been present in her work since her university years at Howard Gardens, Cardiff but has evolved and expanded through subtext and medium. Rebecca states “like many of my pieces it looks aesthetically pleasing could almost say pretty but then there are undertones of quite dark and unearthed themes”.

Within the past 8 years Rebecca has been involved in several group exhibitions in London and in Wales. Selected exhibitions include Works on Paper, Elysium Gallery, Swansea; In a State of Flux, SOUPgallery, London; Y Lle Celf 2009, The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Meirion and District, Repeat & Reprise, East Gallery, London; Wunderlust ll, tactileBOSCH, Cardiff and recently Ffoto Alternative: Time at Castell Bodelwyddan. This year her second solo exhibition will be held in the contemporary and experimental art hub, Bocs in Caernarfon.

www.rfhardy.blogspot.com

Rebecca’s exhibition  opens on the 29th of May at 6pm and runs until the 29th of June. Attendance is free, but please register here to get your free drink.