Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sunday, 15 August 2010

That's tool for now!

This will be my last post in residence on this blog in which I want to take a moment to conclude and reflect on the residency as a whole. Thanks to everyone who came to the Private View on Friday, very, very appreciated! Secondly, thanks to Emily Bull who has run the residency and supported us throughout the project especially when it came to hanging the exhibition. Cheers, Brian and Paul and Somerset College too!

I have really loved having the studio space on this residency and have made some really good progress in my work and enjoyed it at the same time. There has been a lot I want to draw from this experience too and I have a clearer idea of my strengths and weaknesses as an artist (in my work and in a professional sense) and hope to expand on this when I progress onto my Masters in September this year. What was particularly exciting for me was that I have been given several tools from different people as a result of the project and I can now explore what I originally intended in looking at tools that other professions use. I have exhausted the same old saws, hammers that I have used for previous projects and am grateful for the offers of more unusual tools to use from other people! I've got Somerset Art Weeks to prepare for now too so watch this space!

I've learnt a lot about putting up exhibitions recently...

I have learnt a lot more about hanging work in these last few weeks. Things like, what looks good/bad next to each other, how to hang things straight and with the right distancing etc. As well as the more obscure things like, how to move thirty-six bags of floor tiles (see above photo) out of a gallery space in thirty minutes and how to move things again and again until your happy with how it looks even though you're exhausted (probably as a result of moving all those bags earlier!). All of these things have really frustrated and helped me reaffirm what is important about these kind of shows and that it is always worth fighting for the cause and not settling for anything less than what is the best that you can do. A little corny perhaps, but from a art management point of view I think its an interesting process and sometimes, battle that art has to go through in order to grace the walls of even small galleries like this one at Somerset College.
As a result of the residency I feel I have not only learnt about my own practice but have learnt about professionalism and organising of shows a little bit more. I can hopefully take this with me on future shows. There are many stories to tell and it has been a great process and one that I thought I'd briefly share with you.

Show time!

After four wonderful, crazy and intense weeks at Somerset College, Brian, Paul, Emily and myself can finally bring you: The Context Residency Exhibition!

Come and check it out! Its on and up now in the White Space at Somerset College everyday 9.00-4.30 until September..........

Week 4: Monday 2nd - Friday 6th

Ok, so this a little more than in retrospect but I wanted to conclude the project for future reference and so it didn't look like I just disappeared into nowhere! This was my progress on week four which was the last full week I was going to have in the studio as the following week was hanging time! I wanted to let everything dry this week so I began by finishing off my prints and one particular big piece that I was scratching into so it could dry in time. I had realised at this point that I had made more of a substantial body of work than I had thought I would have when I started. I don't think the work I have produced was necessarily perfect and polished but it has certainly been productive in pushing my practice further. I now have rekindled my interest in tools and the print process developing my visual language in this medium.
Successes have been my colour palette is better in the sense it is in ways truer to the real life tool workshop and I have found some new styles I can explore further for example: developing the photocopy pieces to look more at scale and execution. Things I'd like to develop are the flatness factor which has improved and hasn't and I wonder if I can create even richer and deeper surfaces within the prints. I'd like too. I would also like to explore the background work I had been exploring but didn't have time to finish using the empty workshop as a scene to print off of. As far as failures go, there have been a few pieces which I won't hang come the exhibition and even the work that I do hang isn't perfect by far but there is, as I have mentioned a lot of potential to develop the things discovered here, further.
In the latter part of this week I managed to cut out twenty-ish tools for future canvases to go in the Somerset Art Weeks exhibition, so I was pleased about that too.
Messy feet in a messy studio space....

Studio space at the end of Week 3.

Work that combines the photocopy process with the printing one.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Mobile phones

The bar code reader on my mobile not working...

not a problem
my work was never about having the technology , more about how the technology can be used as a creative medium. For me I have used it as tool ,exploring the space between old and new technologies, the space between words that look or sound similar but which have different meanings, between the ancient landscapes/sacred sites and the integration of semacodes in a way that connects with the land, rather than offering a new tool to describe the past and also I guess what it is to be human and what that might mean in relation to technology.
Technology offers a kind of phantasy of a better life that works, new and improved .

As humans we are vulnerable, subject to all sorts of errors and failings.

We get things wrong,we make mistakes, our worlds are multi layered, complex.

So I have uploaded some images I created on the drawing panel app relating to the format of semacode ,its wordless and expressive ... meaningful and cannot be decoded.
I like that idea.

The best Friday 13th your'e likely to have....ever!

Roll up, roll up! Friday 13th 1.30-3.30pm Somerset College, White space gallery!
See, hear and feel new work created in residence here in our very own town, Taunton, by the new and emerging artists in residence: Brian Gibson, Paul Hurley and Natalie Parsley.
Don't miss it!

Final week

Well it's the final week already and I really can't believe how fast it's gone. Nor how much we've done, in just a few fast weeks. It's really exciting to see all of Brian's stuff up here, and Natalie's in the studio - her and I have been busying away today, getting stuff done before we install the show at the end of the week. I performed ArtVoodoo in the town centre on Saturday, which was a lot of fun. People reacted with (predictable) bemusement, but mostly engaged with curiosity, interest and warmth, which was encouraging (and as told my partner, I managed not to get beaten up or arrested either, which is always a good thing...!) Find below a short clip from the end of the video that Emily Bull so brilliantly took of the performance. I'm still finishing editing the whole video for the exhibition but consider this a little taster!

I was planning to go and take some photographs out and about in Taunton this afternoon, but having been on a recce around town and just getting back to the studio the heavens have suddenly opened. But I guess that's what comes of working outdoors... More to follow soon.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Re Generation

Here are four images each generated by my interest in Semacode .

Drafts for a tapestry

Taunton is in the process of being regenerated , here are two regenerated images of Taunton. Drafts for a tapestry

Monday, 2 August 2010


This image functions as an expression on a grid. After the formality of computer generated images and other exactitude's I like it very very much


Origin: 1575–85; < Lcōdex, caudex tree-trunk, book (formed orig.fromwooden tablets); cf. code

I am working with code

and come across this definition .

.After I have create this work

Saturday, 31 July 2010


Is this image a paradox? I am thinking about the title of a Van Morrison track titled "hymns to the silence" its a song I like or have liked but one that I cant listen to right now . My preference as I write this is Silence... Silence is a rhythm too ! as the wonderful girlie band The Slits sang .
Increasingly during the course of this residency I have become more and more drawn towards the space between things and what happens there. Between places , people and words.
One consequence of my travels between Bath and Taunton was to think of the space between two places. At first I printed out maps of the area. Maps of Tauntonnow and maybe a hundred years ago but gradually this idea of working with the geographic maps of the area faded into the distance . Also I had started some cross stitch semacode as I amalso interested inthe space between time, between new developing technologies and old ones like knitting and cross stitch...Knitting is really a code too.! I started with the ideas of doing a whole cross stitch code but then wondered what would happen if I just wandered with the stitch . The resulting journey mirrors my journey between BAth and Taunton . A place for the soul and mind to regenerate??
John Cage... four minutes silence ... makes perfect sense to me , it should be performed more often . More silence and less filling up the space with noise, not justin terms of sound but also the influx of unwanted visual noise ..We seem to live in a society intent with filling up any empty open space with a noise of one sort or another. Perhaps this is a by product of the industrial revolution to create and consume, we like to think that we are in an age when we consider ourselves to be a little more cautious in the use of the earths resources more so than we once were. The after effects of our desire to consume the earths resources seems to have produce a kind of social psychosis where we fear the empty open spaces.
The space between words

Where do we go from here?

Hmmm... Ok, so a few questions, like where do I go from here? I still have some more experimenting to do with this process you see here (below), but there are still many questions left unresolved and whilst I don't have time necessarily on this residency I will want to address them at some point. For example, I'd like to think a bit more about scale. Why do I tend to work so big? I'd say to create more impact and make a contradiction of something small into something big so that you can notice it more. However! I could also argue that actually, as always shouting isn't always the best way to draw attention to something and through whispering sometimes we actually hear better. Should I be more sensitive and subtle? Mind you, I'm becoming more subtle gradually than what I was two years ago... More questions like, why do I leave the tools black and white against a coloured backdrop? And do these prints of the originals actually convey something more than the actual objects themselves?
That last one is particularly tricky and one I would struggle to answer as I cannot see past my own personal bias and connection to both the prints and the tools themselves. I'd have to ask you?
So my next and final week is going to be spent reflecting and perhaps concluding and refining some of these thoughts into a couple more testers and hopefully one big final, pulling it all together monster of a piece.

'I'm good at creating monsters but not at taking responsibility over them.'

Week 3: Monday 26th - Friday 30th

Time really does fly when you're having fun and I think I have gotten over my initial trepidations about working in the studio. Anyway,things have been going good and I've been developing the idea I mentioned before about combining the photocopied images with the mono printing.

The results have been quite exciting in the sense that they are a new discovery for what has been a continuing subject matter and one I am constantly trying to re-invent. Well, re-invent may not be the right word, I think what I'm getting at is that I'm still trying to find a way to make others see what I see in these objects, show their history and intrinsic little details of beauty. I remember reading once that, 'the tools used to make Faberge eggs are often more beautiful than the egg itself', apparently. I have never seen the tools used, but I am sure they are very precise and interesting objects and I suppose it is that way of thinking and appreciation I want people to see or think about these tools. I think, really the best way to do that would probably be making them into some sort of relic, some sort of stained glass window which would be a better way at conveying that idea. However, I'd prefer to adopt a more rustic approach and think there is something more raw, more real and associated with the action of work in making a print with one's hands. Debatably one is not better than the other, but one is definately more me and is what I have chosen to do.

Studio by week three. Note: the floor isn't too bad, mess wise
Mono print of wrench using photocopy.

Oh, and if you're wondering what all those weird marks are that look like technical angles, drawings and such, they're there from some building and construction slides I found in a heap of folders at SCAT. I liked the idea of combing the technical drawings associated with work and making alongside the tools themselves.
Test pieces in combining the photocopy with the printing process.

Thursday, 29 July 2010


Here are a couple of the sketches that I've been making towards the performance(s) for the residency. Hopefully they'll give some idea of the ideas, images and actions that I've been working with.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

ArtVoodoo needs YOU!

The residency is flying by, and it's astonishing how things are coming together so quickly! Having started two and a half weeks ago without much idea of exactly what I'd be doing, I now find myself preparing for a performance in town this Saturday, and a couple of other performances-for-camera next week. We met up this lunchtime to talk about the exhibition (opening on 10th August) and it's getting really exciting imagining how it will all look.

But first, we need to do the work, and for this I need your help! As I mentioned in my last post, I'm planning a couple of actions based around activating the regeneration of Taunton. Of course, much regeneration is going on already, in the form of building, economic development, social projects, etc. but I'm thinking about a different aspect of regeneration, through a more personalised, grass-roots and ambiguous reflection, drawing on ritualistic and shamanistic practices. I'm calling the project ArtVoodoo (with my tongue in one cheek) and it's become the central theme of my residency, of which Saturday's performance (in Taunton town centre, from 2pm) will be a lynchpin.

For the performance on Saturday, I'm asking for people's hopes, fears, wishes and worries about the regeneration of Taunton. These will become a physical part of the performance and of the installation that will be in the exhibition, and Natalie and Brian will also have an input, which feels really important and quite touching.

So I'm asking YOU for your hopes, wishes, fears and worries about regeneration in Taunton, and I will dance for them, sweat them out, and do my best to summon the energies to empower, protect and generate. All you have to do is pop them in a quick email (max one line on each) to artvoodoo [at], by Saturday morning. And of course do come and find me in the town centre from 2pm.

Many thanks in advance!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Ive been working with old inherited family photographs ... using the zoom and threshold tools to produce a pixelated image , nothing new in that . I had been working with the QR code of Mother which can look like this or it can look like this or even this for me this code nowunreadable due to being manipulated in photoshop speaks is closer to the word Mother than the original generated code. So when I chose to pixelate an image I chose an image of my Mothers eye, which is looking directly into the camera. The image I created though feels more womb like.I also seem to be going through a dyslexic loss of language crisis ,which doesn't impede on the visual work I am doing but I do find it really irritating struggling to find the correct words to describe succinctly what I am doing with the images I create,hopefully it will pass.

In nothing perhaps there was something...

On the afternoon of Thursday 22nd I ventured out in pursuit of the search of nothing and in doing so ended up finding something...

Below are a couple of images of the now empty workshop, which I found took longer to photograph, funnily enough, than when it was full. Maybe 'less is more' and that in the complete absence of tools there was more of a presence of them than there ever had been when physically when they were there. Perhaps...

That's getting a bit metaphysical for me. I do, however, like the idea of using the space, the trace of where the tools once occupied to make new work. I normally draw the 'trace' of the tools anyway by concentrating on their outlines and space around them to make marks in my prints so what if I applied this same thing to these photos? To unravel some of my cryptic ramblings, I'm basically thinking of printing onto these photos. The rest, you'll have to wait and see...