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LIBRARY

Artists, Exhibitions, Events

Ben Edge & Ritual Britain Exhibition 2021 

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Ben Edge is a painter who has spent the past few years collecting research and painting scenes of current and ongoing rituals that take place all over the UK. His exhibition in collaboration with the Museum of British Folklore, is held in the Crypt Gallery in Euston.  Visiting this exhibition gave me a lot of information on research techniques and I particularily enjoyed watching the research video that he produced and filmed while visiting the events. The film had interviews with people involved with the traditions and it was so lovely to hear the passion and love they have for them, this linked to how I wanted to investigate the connection with the land that old traditions have.

 

Something to note is that parts of the film I was able to see (it had an almost 2 hour length) were not very racially diverse and generally speaking the areas in which these old traditions still take place are very white areas. This also brings up the questions of which traditions are looked into as of course events such as Carnival and others exist precisely too celebrate multicultured Britain. For me the rational behind the exclusion of these events is that I am particularily looking into the leftovers of British Paganism and whether those links could improve our lives now- this would obviously mean creating spaces for people of colour to feel welcomed and involved in these events. 

I spoke to him in person at this event and he was very kind and gave me recommendations of books and artists to look into.

His art was first introduced to me while reading the 'Weird Walk' zine where he is interviewed about his practice and inspirations. 

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Clare Twomey - Witness 2008

Clare Twomey Witness

According to the Clare Twomey website "Witness was a work made for the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize: it comprised a wall painted gold and covered with a thin layer of unfired porcelain dust. As visitors move through the gallery space scraping and touching the layer of porcelain dust, the wall evidenced this interaction as a series of marks and impressions.

 

The accidental gesture was effectively transformed into a physical imprint and the exhibition’s activity could be visibly traced."

This work was really instrumental for me in that it shows a different way to use ceramics, to engage an audience, capture human nature. This work completely changes the perception of what ceramics can be and how far it can be pushed. this work also created links to my research into medieval graffiti and how mark making humanises us.

Matthew J. Champion
-Medieval Graffiti 2021 

A lecture on the research included in Matthew Champion's book it was really helpful to have a spoken reference and had some extra context. 

Again, this research feeds in not only to the surface design on my work which is where is visually shows but also in the intrinsic values of the work and how it fits into a narrative.

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Jeremy Deller
-Sacrilege 2012

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Described by Deller he states 'For sacrilege, I wanted to come up with a way for the public to interact with a very large work, and I also wanted to create something specifically about Stonehenge, and by association our ancestors. I had been thinking about how to do this for a long time and decided it would be best to create an inflatable replica of the prehistoric site. Visitors will be invited to jump and play inside of it.' 

I find this work really intriguing and fun. An interesting take on bringing history to life. They are interactive and were a huge success with children. 

The connections between land and our ancient past with the modern lifestyle and environment by combining the grandeur of Stonehenge with the childishness of a bouncy castle is seemingly paradoxical but also works really well. I really liked looking at the different ways that artists in the UK have brought the history of our ancestors into a modern context.

Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane
-Folk Archive 2005

Folk Archive - Elephant
Folk Archive - Wrestling Champion

 "Folk Archive is a vibrant, visual account of contemporary popular British culture by the artists Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane. Bringing together drawing, painting, film, performance, costume, decoration, political opinion and humour, and some astonishing objects, Folk Archive celebrates activity from a vast range of British pastimes and pursuits, and demonstrates that folk art in the UK is both widespread and vigorous. The creation of Folk Archive provided an opportunity for a cross section of the community to have their work shown in an art gallery for the first time and includes work from prisoners and community groups, gurning and barrel rolling participants, Notting Hill Carnival troupes, protesters, pop fans, bored teenagers, villagers and the homeless. Treading the fine line between art and anthropology, Deller and Kane have selected over 280 elements to form an archive which provides a snap-shot of the state of contemporary folk art in the UK. It represents both artists’ long-term interests in creative practices and artefacts from outside the traditional art world. " 

Folk Archive - Barrel Rolling
Folk Archive Exhibition

The Folk Archive is both an exhibition and a book compiling current folk traditions and pushing the boundaries on what would be considered and included in that definition - for example items from carnival and posters. 

The work was also acquired by the British Council and is available to view online currently . Again this work shows the breadth of creativity within the UK and how folk art is not defined to the past and is an evolving practice.

Images and quotes from https://www.jeremydeller.org/home.html and https://www.artforum.com/interviews/jeremy-deller-talks-about-sacrilege-30765

Lottie Glob - Environmental Installations

Lottie Glob works on a croft in the Scottish Highlands, her work is highly influenced by the nature she is surrounded by and has installed a lot of her work into the landscape.

One of these works is called 'The Ultimate Rock Garden" and is spread out over the highlands. She talks about them "The clay I use is essentially rock, granite, worn by time and weather, carried by rain and stream and eventually to become sedimentary clay - reformed and burnt once again - a kind of rock or stoneware sculptures, so returning it in its new form to its old primeval earth mother does not seem too strange. Walking through this vast wilderness for days - often sleeping on top of mountains - to find a place for a sculpture, is an experience full of endless sources of inspiration and inevitably led to new ideas in my work - a circle of give and take."

This way of working really speaks to connection with the landscape and the integral role it plays in the creative process. She also talks of the process becoming a sort of ritual. All of these ideas align with ways I want to put thought into my work and for me adds to the sustainability of a project if it is created with integration with the landscape being at the forefront, this means it will last longer and have a feeling of a deeper meaning. I also want to have my work outside and Lottie Glob's work is often placed outside.

The Ultimate Rock Garden Over 75 locations throughout the Highlands of Scotland - 1985 - 1995

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This work also lets me look into the idea of personal ritual and not something organised or necessarily applicable to all but has a real meaning to the artist or person involved in the ritual. This is something I also feel has become more obvious over the course of Covid-19 and the lockdowns where people have been creating rituals as a way to connect to the outdoors and to create a space of peace in a very anxiety inducing time period. 

Image and quote from https://lotteglob792300328.wordpress.com/ in her PDF on environmental installations.

Linda Bloomfield - Installation for Collect 2020

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Linda Bloomfield's work is mostly focused on the glaze and surface decoration.  I looked into this because I was investigating whether to use glaze on my pieces and create a lichen look. Lichen and the wearing in of the sculptures to me gives them a feeling of age and integration into the terrain and shows the history of the objects and areas for example looking at the stone circles and monolithic sites (the Northern Earth Zine has a great article about it). 

However, for me the shapes of the vessels the glaze is on is quite un-natural and seeing them in an outdoor setting looks quite clumsy. I also decided that glazing wasn't something I wanted to investigate for a few visual and sustainable reasons. Obviously glazing of any kind is worse for the environment due to firing again and also on the use of materials (even non-toxic) is mined from the land.  I also found that glazes are still un-natural and wont look as unpretentious as natural weathering. 

So looking at this work helped me decide on some visual aspects of the project.

Images from https://lindabloomfield.co.uk/

Potted History

Potted History is a company based in Northumberland who create museum quality replicas of historical artefacts and also puts on reenactments showing pottery making throughout history.

I looked into this company because I found they really put emphasis on how handling ceramic objects gives you a direct connection to the maker. My investigation is highly into how leaving marks as humans connects us across history.

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They use techniques as close to the original way of working as possible and share the knowledge on youtube and Instagram- in my eyes knowledge sharing is also a form of sustainability .  This companies way of working adds to research on why making matters and the marks of humans stay with us. They also low fire a lot of their work as they would have been in the day which is obviously very sustainable

Image from https://potted-history.co.uk/

London Mithraeum

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The London Mithraeum is based in central London by St Pauls Cathedral and is the remnants of a Roman Temple of Mithras. There is also a display of Roman artefacts found around the excavation site.

This was a really interesting place to visit -I hadn't really heard of it before until my friend mentioned it to me. I learnt about the temples of Mithras; it was male only, it was kept a secret so the temples were hidden below ground and, they didn't write anything down in terms of beliefs and rituals that took place. This really connected to what I was looking into because the information understood about the temple is all from objects and carvings- marks made hundreds of years ago that still tell a story.

Images taken at the site.

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Zakia Sewell- Questing for Albion Series & Zoom

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Zakia Sewell is a broadcaster and DJ from London who has created a four part audio documentary for Radio 4 about looking for the ideal Albion through British folk culture. She has a really interesting point of view and looks into her relationship with British folk culture and connection to this country in general from the viewpoint of being mixed raced and the collision of culture that brings.

Also often the view around British folk culture is very white and quite exclusionary of what is included. Zakia speaks. to this subject really inspiringly and definitely got me thinking about how the desire to connect is integral to human life and this is something that the right wing often exploits to cause fractions. I find looking at seemingly smaller or separate areas of interest often leads to larger concerns being influenced.

I signed up to listen to Zakia present her work on a zoom call in January and that also really allowed me to get an even better understanding of her way of working and the intrinsic connection between music and art and folk. I have also included a link to an interview/essay penned for Weird Walk Zine

Image and link to documentary https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000pffy

Collage by Zakia Sewell

The TATE - British Folk Art 2014

Looking at this exhibition from 2014 was a starting point in my research and showed that there is an interest and a connection between folk art and the high class world of fine art and the TATE.

There were few ceramic pieces documented as being there but this led me to investigating the one that was - a Boody ware tray loaned from Beamish Museum for the exhibition. I then reached out to the museum for more information and emailed with them. I found this useful in my work to see how there is a market for work looking into folk culture.

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Paula Haughney - Hackney Henge 1989

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An installation in Hackney Marshes of a stone circle made of reclaimed granite and engraved with images taken from local schools. The stones are set off to the side and create a nice grounding area. Just sitting and observing, I saw the different people who interact with the pieces and there were families, cyclists who pulled over to have a look, other people just sat looking and contemplating. These stones have already been here 30 years and they have weathered beautifully and fit so nicely into the surroundings. 

They also create connections into the community by involving the schools and get people to stop and look awhile.

http://www.paulahaughney.co.uk/gallery/public-commissions /  Images taken by me.

Pinterest Board of ongoing Inspiration and Initial Moodboards

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