Barbara Dougan & Darren Ellis, Matthew Ferguson, Glen Jamieson, Phil Mill, Mandy Roberts, Holly Rumble, Alex Pearl & Andrew Vass, Jevan Watkins Jones
Friday 30 October 6 to 9pm
Exhibition open Saturday 31 October to Saturday 26 December 2015
Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm
Space can be made or defined across times, through sounds, via actions or by other means. Space is one of the tools we use to define ourselves – the space between us and other things positions us, and is how we help to locate ourselves within the world and plan our next move. Space can be physical or psychological, or both. Making Space presents work by artists who have explored ways of documenting, recording or responding to space, whether as a physical or psychological environment.
A parallel incidental exploration also occurs around the question of the making of an artwork, and when an artwork becomes completed. This is particularly relevant in relation to artworks that are performed. The “making space” that is referred to in this case is the space where something is made, or perhaps where something manifests itself – sometimes these two things may occur within the same space, at others they are clearly defined and distinct.
Choreographer Darren Ellis and artist Barbara Dougan have been collaborating since 2012, aiming to find a space between them; a common space to make work between visual art and choreography. Over the last two years they have been engaged in a process of research on the broad theme of ‘unentitled’. This process involves bringing together their separate interests in how circumstances inform movement, and the aesthetics and traces of that movement via a shared physical exploration in a particular environment. The environments they have created have involved mental and/ or physical barriers with ideas of restraint or constraint.
The invitation to exhibit at The Minories has prompted parallel experiments in film, photography and drawing, delving into how they fit into and adapt to new and unknown spaces or environments. The emerging work focuses on creating a personal space in a public space, or adapting to making a ‘home’ in a temporary space, one that is unfamiliar and not necessarily comfortable. The factors that disrupt their ability to fit in, to relax, or even to sleep, range from deliberate design to noise, smells and a change in routine.
Leading towards the exhibition both artists are travelling and documenting attempts and rituals used to settle into new spaces and places. Documentation of this process will be presented in the galleries as a precursor and introduction to an ‘occupation’. The occupation will involve activities within the galleries that negotiate the space of the exhibition (the space made by the physical gallery and building structure (and perhaps outside that structure) and the works that are part of it, in an attempt to find a ‘comfort zone’ or equilibrium of being.
For his work People Walking On The Planet Earth (via The Minories Galleries, Colchester), Matthew Ferguson has devised a looped route around the gallery’s neighbourhood and individuals have been invited to walk along the route whenever they feel like it during the opening times of the exhibition as an enactment of the artwork. A ‘point-of-view’ style video of the walk has been recorded and is viewable upon request from the front of house staff. The work is conceived as a capturing of a moment and will only last for the duration of the exhibition. If the work is shown again it will need to be re-walked. It exists as a parallel to a reality, but also as its own reality – as a point of reference and comparison that highlights the ephemeral, impermanent and ever-changing nature of our environment.
Glen Jamieson has investigated the history and culture of Colchester, gleaning facts from various sources and using them as a guide to take a series of photographs. These photographs are presented in a pile as if ready for play upon a green baize card table (Colchester was a major producer of baize and The Minories was at one point bought with ‘baize money’. Alongside the card table a carousel slide projection shows a series of images demonstrating the pile of photographs going through a process of rearrangement and reconfiguration upon the table, presenting a synthesis and distillation of history that overlap and combine to create new stories and potentials.
On the preview evening, Glen will present a work titled Umbrello to Terminate a Prospect which will consist of a slide projection from the folly in The Minories garden, detailing single images sequenced as if they are from a walk that begins on the other side of the wall, around what used to be East Hill House’s former garden (commonly known as the ‘D shaped lawn’), through the town, and returning to the folly.
Phil Mill will be presenting a series of ‘field recordings’ sourced from six different sites. These will be played through six individual speakers mounted on the ceiling, with each speaker playing an individual recording – the pattern of play will be automated and change over time, and not all speakers will sound at the same time, allowing the listener to find their own listening position by navigating the aural space within the exhibition. This will recreate the ‘unpredictable’ aspect of listening to the environment, also recreating live experiences in the ‘field’.
Mandy Roberts presents us with My Norwich, a filmed documentation of a period lived within a certain city. Spaces and places have been revisited and recorded, condensing space across a time-span of close to twenty years down to a few moments. The relationship we have with a place that we live in, and the relationships we have while we live in that place, shape us and move us as well as shaping and moving others around us. This record serves as a personal reflection of all that has occurred within a particular place, perhaps a memorial to a time that combines psychological and geographical space and ‘fixes it’ allowing the maker to move forward.
Through her project Hear a Pin Drop Here, Holly Rumble invites us to explore our audible environment. By asking us to find a location where we can hear a pin drop, she focuses our attention on the sounds that surround us, in particular the quietest of sounds, perhaps we are being asked to listen out for silence. The instructions are as follows:
Hear a Pin Drop Here
In a public space, drop a pin. If you can hear it hit the floor, take a photo.
Post photos of audible pin drops on Twitter: @holly_rumble #pindrop
The work by Alex Pearl & Andrew Vass consists of a video made by Alex documenting Andrew making a drawing. The location is industrial wasteland and Andrew is drawing onto a large exterior wall. Through some rapid cutting and editing we see Andrew’s focus of attention moving from the wall to the subject. This is a found still-life drawn on location and shows a process of making that is direct and visceral, translating one space to another in a manner that is almost a parallel to the way in which a medium channels messages from the other side. Alex Pearl’s video documentation flits around the scene in a parallel to Andrew’s flitting eyes. He focuses on lines within the decaying landscape including bits of hanging pipe, weeds waving in the wind, flaking paint and the forms made by piles of bricks and rubble. The edit sometimes pauses on framed views then swiftly switches, the attention caught by a new line or view. The combination of drawing and video results in a new work that it is difficult to define as one or the other, crossing the space between the two.
Jevan Watkins Jones has produced two works for the exhibition. One is a drawing on parchment paper with linseed oil. The translucent qualities that result when the two materials combine are closer to reduction than addition. The work is exhibited upon a window – a physical boundary that allows the work to be seen from both sides, but also allows light to pass through and alter the work as the shape of the day changes. The surface of the drawing as a space being placed upon the window emphasises the fact of the window being a surface that is often ignored but is still a place of transit that allows some materials to pass through whilst others are forced to remain remote.
Jevan's second work comprises of a description of a drawing by Andrew Vass (which was unusually one peripheral line containing nothing) and the planting of a set of snowdrop bulbs under a tree in The Minories garden. Andrew's drawing no longer exists and the snowdrops, a perennial artwork, will only be visible in February – the time of Jevan and Andrew’s penultimate meeting. The two images operate outside of each other yet collide in association through their encounter.
About the Artists
Barbara Dougan is a freelance artist, consultant, and curator. She has worked as the National Programme Director for Enquire and was the director of the Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery. She has recently been working with the choreographer Darren Ellis supported by a bursary from a-n The Artists Information Company as well as support from Arts Council England. The project has included three public showcases at the artist’s studio, The Place in London and Metal in Peterborough.
Barbara is the evaluator for ARMA, an annual artist residency and commission, and editor of the engage Journal, the international journal of visual art and gallery education. She has a Postgraduate diploma in Arts Management from City University, London and an M.A. in Fine Art from Norwich University of the Arts. www.barbaradougan.com
Darren Ellis is a trained percussionist and dancer. Darren was an Associate Artist at Dance East 2010-2014. In 2007 he established his own company, Darren Ellis Dance, which has worked with a range of artists including composers, film makers, visual artists, writers and designer as well as actors and dancers. Darren works extensively works in education, in community and schools projects and training dancers through further education courses and summer schools in Britain and abroad. www.darrenellisdance.co.uk
Glen Jamieson is a photographer based in Norwich. Tombland Drift is an online and book collection ‘archive-in-motion’ of images of the city of Norwich and surrounding landscapes. Tombland Drift takes its name from the Scandinavian word for ‘empty space.’ The photographs in this series were taken between autumn 2013 and spring 2014 and Jamieson took these images whilst walking to different locations in the city originating from, and always returning to, Tombland. Glen tags these images according to ‘image-facts’ creating an index of these images. Though this series was originally published online, it was has been published into an unbound photobook that allows viewers to sequence the series or curate the series to their choosing, creating new pathways or new journeys through the space of the city as represented in this archive.
Glen has a BA in photography from the De Montfort University. He lives and works in Norwich, Norfolk. His screening and exhibitions include Playing with Space, Firstsite, Colchester (2013), Citadel Screenings, Hadleigh, Essex (2013), Solid on Our Source Planet, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire (2012). He is currently working on a research commission from Ordinary Culture (2015). www.tombland-drift.co.uk
Mandy Roberts is an East Anglian based artist and a member of the collective other/other/other. Mandy’s work often explores issues relating to politics and art and questions the notion of social responsibility in her practice. Her work has a participatory aspect to it where people, members of the public and visitors to a space, are made to re-examine their relationship to their environment. Mandy was an associate artist at Firstsite, Colchester 2011-2013 where she conceived of a project Our Space I Your Space in which she questioned how her own artistic practice could have a positive effect on the local community. The project aimed to welcome members of the community to feel welcome in their local art space Firstsite, Colchester.
Holly Rumble is a Norwich based sound and performance artist. Her project Hear a Pin Drop Here explores the sounds of the city by looking for silence amongst the bustle of the city. Holly goes in search of spaces that are quiet enough to hear a pin drop, a literal take on the proverbial saying. Holly marks the spots where she has been able to hear a pin dropped at arm’s length on a map and takes a wax rubbing of the floor’s surface. The difference in materials makes a difference to the amount of sound that can be heard at a given location. Many of Holly’s works are site-specific and she explores psychogeography in her practice including in the aforementioned project.
In 2010, Holly curated AfterLive, a showcase of performance pieces that problematized performance art’s relationship to documentation held at the Norwich Arts Centre. She has also used this approach in her project One Minute Birdwatching, a sound piece realised at The University of Essex campus and gallery, Art Exchange, where she asked her audience to respond to a set of instructions surrounding birdwatching. In 2014 Holly produced a piece called Gabbro at the Wysing Arts Centre in which she used rocks to create looped textural sounds exploring the surfaces and structure of each type of stone. The title of this work took its name from a magnetic rock from the Isle of Skye.
Holly has received National Lottery funding through the Arts Council England. She is an Escalator Performing Arts artist, participating in East to Edinburgh. Rumble is currently working for the Turner Prize 2015 as a Public Engagement Coordinator for Tramway, Glasgow. She is also a co-founder of the Norwich based collective other/other/other. www.hearapindrophere.com
Jevan Watkins Jones
Jevan Watkins Jones is a graduate of the Royal Drawing School. He is also a keen gardener. Jevan has been an Associate Artist at Firstsite Colchester and has collaborated on a project with the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Essex. The culmination of this project was a residency and exhibition at the university’s gallery Art Exchange. During this time the artist turned the gallery space into a laboratory and garden. The exhibition consisted of large-scale drawing, objects and film, and plants taken from the university’s laboratories and greenhouses.
Jevan’s projects include Parallel Lines, a two part panel discussion held over two nights inviting professionals to discuss the use of drawing in everyday occupations; The Drawing Alive, a two hour screening curated by the artist including films by artists and filmmakers, exploring drawing as a form of human expression; and Leading the Line, an exploration of the relationship between football and drawing in collaboration with Colchester United FC. The latter involved examining the football pitch as a blank sheet of paper. jevanwatkinsjonesart.tumblr.com
Andrew Vass (1961-2015) spent a lot of his life researching and immersing himself into ways of drawing. He studied at Cambridge College of Art and Technology and went on to teach at Suffolk College, then Suffolk New College and University Campus Suffolk. He has exhibited widely at venues including Ipswich Town Hall Galleries, Gainsborough’s House, Kettles Yard, North House Gallery, Chicago Art Fair, Jerwood Drawing Prize, London and Contemporary British Print in Shanghai.
His spatial approach to drawing has often meant he has produced work on location and in situ, leaving his work to live on in the environment. www.a-vass.co.uk
Alex Pearl lives and works in Ipswich. He studied a BA Hons in Fine Art at UCE Birmingham and an MA in History of Art & Design, also at UCE Birmingham. He has exhibited widely, at venues including; Canal Gallery, London; Fishmarket Gallery, Northampton; the Whitstable Biennial; Tap Gallery, Southend; ICIA, University of Bath; Firstsite, Colchester and Transition Gallery, London amongst others. www.alexpearl.co.uk