FMP Week 28: Visitors to Out-Sight-In at The Clay Factory

I was not sure how many visitors would come specifically for the exhibition. Despite various methods of distributing the publicity and inviting people to contact me directly or to register for the open evening and the Artist’s talk on Eventbrite, I did not have a clear number of confirmed attendees. The location of The Clay Factory is slightly outside the nearest small town of Ivybridge, well set back from the main road and transport would be required to get there. I understand that some events have been very well supported but there have been occasions with fewer numbers attending than expected.

Sarah Newton 2019, Discussing images with visitors to Out-Sight-In
Sarah Newton 2019, Discussing images with visitors to Out-Sight-In

Starting slowly with only half a dozen on the first day the numbers built through the week. The last three days saw returns of people who had been previously bringing with them partners, children or friends. What was special to witness were these returners explaining my project and what the images were to their companions and inviting me into the conversations to explain further and answer questions. It did feel as if a momentum had been created and that it could have run for longer especially as more people arrived as I was starting to take the exhibition down.

I had suggested to a colleague (A) some time before that I could do a virtual tour with my phone or laptop as he was not able to attend in person. This would also present an opportunity for a recording, something that could be added to our course assignments. We trialled Zoom with a third colleague (L) before the exhibition. Belatedly we found out that you can only record if using a computer but not a phone when using the free version. On the day of A’s tour we ran it with my phone, his computer and he kindly recorded it using Camtasia. A then rendered the film and forwarded it to me for my use. Following this experience I gave a guided tour of the exhibition to six others (three were relatives) using my phone with WhatsApp and my laptop for appear.in. Unfortunately I missed a further request as it came too late when the exhibition had been taken down.

This experience was something I had not foreseen but was a welcome discovery. With each tour I was able to develop and improve my verbal accompaniment as well as feeling more confident in answering questions. Although none of these were recorded, there is the potential to do so at future events. I felt this was good use of technology to open up events to people who could not attend them. I plan to visit A’s exhibition this way.

Another welcome development were visits by groups of school children some of whom were studying GCSE Photography and Undergraduate Photography and Film students. I found that I could talk spontaneously about the problem of plastics, the five gyres in the oceans and the challenges faced in finding solutions as well as explain the project and exhibition tailoring my language and content to the needs of the different age groups attending. It was good to hear that some had been involved in running a fashion show where garments were made from recycled materials. I was thanked by a teacher on a repeated visit with another group of pupils as those who had been before were apparently inspired by my images and my methods. They had returned to school and tried out scanning. Had the exhibition run for longer I would have taken up their invitation to see what they had made and advise on methodology.

Sarah Newton 2019, Visitors to Out-Sight-In at The Clay Factory

Among the adult visitors there were several photographers and resident artists as well as people who used The Clay Factory for classes, events and a lunch venue. Learning about their responses to what they saw in my images was instructive. For example several people noticed a theme or motif appearing in the form of open fish mouths across several beach debris images. Perhaps the shape was something I engineered subconsciously when scanning. Having the small wooden crate of finds was praised as being helpful in understanding the message behind the images. I also had suggestions for the future of the project. I had some time ago thought about exhibiting on a beach, perhaps during a beach clean and this was suggested. In addition, continuing with the theme of a container, one person suggested a travelling exhibition in a long wheel based vehicle that could visit beach car parks in the holiday season and open up to visitors.

I have since been invited to take images on a Plymouth beach clean by the organiser. Depending on the location I will have to go prepared for all sorts of surfaces to display the images on as well as fixings to secure and protect them with inclement weather. As a backstop the nearest car park and my car boot may have to suffice as I do not possess a lorry.

Sarah Newton 2019, Image from the ‘Dark Matter’ series included in  Out-Sight-In at The Clay Factory

 

Sarah Newton 2019, Image from ‘Event Horizon’ series included in Out-Sight-In at The Clay Factory

Across the two collections, beach debris and recycling facilities repeated comments were made about the images seeming to be depictions of strange objects floating in space and of other worlds. Interestingly this was my original feeling about them and despite a little persuasion to move away from an connection with looking beyond planet earth, I feel that my project is justified in continuing  in this vein. In this way the two strands of the work have a strengthened shared narrative when exhibited together.

Week 6: I Am My Own Primal Parent

Finding an exhibition space for my final major project is no easy task. White walls, other exhibitors whose work may distract from the impact of my own, restrictions on how items may be displayed and hung and of course potential costs of hiring a venue and/or the commission the owners may require if work is to be sold and not just exhibited.

A visit to the KARST Gallery and studios in Plymouth (http://karst.org.uk/) on 2nd November to see how others display their work proved to be inspirational. Under the collective title I Am My Own Primal Parent a number of artists (many associated with New York and Brooklyn) presented sculptures, textiles, paintings, sounds, films and photographs on walls, hanging from the ceiling and rising from the floor in the large white rectangle and adjoining lobby space.

I Am My Own Primal Parent Exhibition KARST Gallery Exhibition 28.09.2018-03.11.2018

“I Am My Own Primal Parent
NARCISSISTER / TOMMY LANIGAN SCHMIDT / GREEM JELLYFISH / MELANIE BONAJO / REBECCA GOYETTE / FAITH HOLLAND / ADEHLA LEE / CHRIS CARR / SOL SAX / GO! PUSH POPS / LAURA KIMMEL / UNDAKOVA / LOTTE KARLSEN / JASMINE MURRELL / JAGUAR MARY X CURATED BY KATIE CERCONE

28.09.18 – 03.11.18
Astral beasts, galactic stunts, nightlife culturati, audiophiles and technophiles, absurdist neo-shamans and sacramental synesthesiacs comprise our I AM MY OWN PRIMAL PARENT exhibition, their bizarre prophecies, culinary listening, phantom phalli, trans-dimensional art-tourism and polymorphous nature castles and cults populate an impressive new terrain.

I AM MY OWN PRIMAL PARENT is by no means a show about sex, or simply sacred kink. For many of these artists, conjuring your PRIMAL PARENT comes down to human beings as conscious actors in a matrix of creation which is by nature, sensual, binding, and multidimensional. Many work in sound, and likewise create artworks in whatever medium as a series of energetic ebbs and flows, of union and discord. Relationships, environments and situations frame the basis of their creative objectives, leaving current Art discourse ill equipped to digest their paranormal dimensions. These works offer tethers connecting an invisible order to the visible order, visions from the front running prophets of a fast forward generation determined to let the false idols crumble to dust.
Please note this exhibition includes images and themes of an adult content. Parental discretion is advised.”(KARST 2018)

I liked the variety in using the walls ceilings and floors. Were finances no problem I could envisage fabrics hanging down from or draped across ceilings, floor to ceiling unframed images particularly of my Events Horizons growing series, some sculptures made from my collected beach debris on floors and walls and moving mobiles of Events Horizons images resembling the rotations of planets. Alternatively thinking outside the white box….all possibilities are being considered including investigating billboards and the sides of buses.
I did not fully connect with some pieces in the exhibition but found others drew me in to see how they were made and displayed ( Rebecca Goyette, 2014, ‘Dentate Umbrella’ and Adehla Lee 2018, ‘Serial Mom’ ) or because the presentation was intriguing and enticing (Jasmine Murell 2010, ‘ Calling all Moon Children Everywhere’) and in one case, mesmerising (Narcissister 2016, ‘Forever Young’). In relation to my beach debris project I related to the rusty cans and rugby balls recycled by Sol’Sax 2011, ‘My Afro-Deity Gets Down and Dirty in Contact Sports’. Described as a wooden sculpture I am left puzzled as the items used seemed to be exactly that and made of tin and rubber.

Rebecca Goyette 2014, Dentate Umbrella Soft Sculpture Dimensions Variable

 

Adehla Lee 2018, Serial Mom Site Specific Installation Dimensions Variable

 

Jasmine Murell 2010, Calling all Moon Children Everywhere Presented in various formats to publicise the exhibition
Jasmine Murell 2010, Calling all Moon Children Everywhere Photo Print 80x180x150cm

 

Narcissister 2016, Forever Young Digital video 5.36mins

 

Sol’Sax 2011, My Afro-Deity Gets Down and Dirty in Contact Sports Wooden Sculpture (Collection of Danny Simmons)

 

One regret I have is not knowing about this gallery sooner. I learned from a studio occupant that I had just missed a call for photographic images to be displayed in a future exhibition!

Steep learning curve or high straight lines?

Today I became an assistant again for the second time. With Sue Brown (photographer) and Madeleine Strobel (artist and helper like me) we put up Sue’s images for her exhibition at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen which runs from 9th December to mid January 2018. Housed in a beautiful riverside building in Bovey Tracey we had a room about 15 x 10 feet with one flat wall and three solid stone and brick white painted walls. The significance of the setting soon became clear. How were we to put up several large pieces on stone and brick which was uneven and would have been challenging to drill through? Having changed Sue’s hanging plan around for fear of fixings coming loose in old mortar for the heaviest and most expensive pieces we settled on a fresh arrangement.

My steep learning curve came as Madeline opened up her tool box, an essential bit of kit for the day. I now realise that I must ask for one for Xmas if I am to be faced with such adversity and challenges as we faced today. So it has to contain a hammer, D rings, a range of screws, nails and masonry raw plugs and screws, a drill with various attachments for wood and stone and fine materials, masking tape, velcro and glue, white tack, scissors, pliers, clips to keep wires flush against walls, tape measure, spirit level, pencils, pens, paper, dustpan and brush, black rubbish bag paint brushes and white paint…..etc etc! Oh and those hanging strings with metallic hooks that can be adjusted. Most of this was used today!

The high straight lines refer to all the measuring which Madeleine was a wiz at getting the pieces to be at the right height around the room. For some of the pieces I climbed a step ladder (the height) and adjusted the string positions according to getting straight vertical lines (there were two on each of the large pieces). Everything was done to perfection including drilling to put up wooden battens on which hung the heaviest pieces and checking with a spirit level. In addition,  spots where previous exhibitors had left pencil marks or had damaged the walls were cleaned and painted  over in order to showcase the work against a pristine white background.

Of great interest was the range of surfaces on which Sue’s images were printed. These included aluminium, glass and backlit frames as well as traditional mounts in smaller box frames. I should have written down all the exact details but was busy up the ladder or sweeping the floor and for a time had to run out to a builders merchants to get a small extension and another length of plastic trunking which had to have a bit sawn off in the shop to fit in my car.

A brief stop for lunch with some great suggestions for photographers and artists who make various creations from rubbish for my Beauty and the Beach… project and back to work for the final leg and a brilliant result.

A full day with lots of problem solving and a great result for Sue Brown as well as being for me both a steep learning curve with an improved knowledge of straight lines and with how to work up high enhanced. So now I am off to write that letter to Santa…….

http://www.susanbrownphotography.co.uk

http://madeleinestrobel.com

http://www.crafts.org.uk