Monday, 14 January 2019

Round up of Recent Work


I am an artist and part-time lecturer- I have just completed MRes at LJMU and have started looking at applying for a practice-led PhD.
Originally a painter I have recently worked in Photography and Installation, often working with my own personal archive of sketchbooks, photographs, diaries etc
Along with artist Fiona Stirling I have just received funding for some collaborative performance work-  “Bonnet Bombing”; to create a series of painting actions in the workplace/schools/public spaces such as libraries/galleries as well as specific art performance spaces.
In the wider community we invite discussion concerning ‘our’ need to make space and to fulfil our creative ambitions. In doing so we aim to analyse and question the role of women in today’s society and consider the way society is shaped.

A collection of A4 painted and collaged pieces. These collages reconfigure the sketches and ephemera from my sketchbooks from that period (tickets from buses, gigs etc) They are about the moments, the autobiographical details, that the component elements represent, but they are also about the processes whereby those memories are themselves adapted, edited and shaped into a coherent personal history

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

I became interested in contrasting my experience with important global events from 1989- contrasting the long-lasting effects and global significance of events with the trivia and mundanity that I expected to find in my own diary entries. It turned out that the dates in point- the fall of the Berlin wall and Tiananmen Square, both marked quite important dates in my personal life. I produced large format prints of some of my remaining artefacts from the period on plinths as if museum pieces.

The places where I used to hide my cigarettes

I took photographs of negative spaces, holes on shelves where my cigarettes used to be. I wanted to contrast my feeling of loss from stopping smoking with that of a big romance; something clich├ęd- the kind of subject matter that might be portrayed within popular culture as a love-song, a film or a book. I displayed a country and western song lyric that never had been a hit to attempt to play with this idea.

15hours, 7days, 4weeks, 4months

I used my domestic and professional schedules as a starting point to isolate and pinpoint the limited time available to make work. The piece exhibited was a sculpture of my schedule -the limited time I have to make work was physically chipped out of the piece inviting reflections on restriction of time as not only a necessity but as a creative tool.
I pr

Friday, 4 May 2018

Feckless Gallery

This collaboration is between students from MRes and MAKE, Liverpool to organise a series of pop-up and short-term events and shows in a purpose built space. 
I have an already existing relationship with Make as I organised an exhibition with them last year

The aim of this incarnation is to give emerging artists an exhibition/writing/performance/curation opportunity. Liverpool has several artist-led gallery and workspaces including The Royal Standard and Road Studios and this collaboration allows us to temporarily (for now) add to these creative spaces. 
This shift towards space outside the mainstream may allow for more dialectical, experimental practice. Clare Bishop discusses this in "The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents" in which she describes how "social events, publications, workshops, or performances" may have a lower profile in the mainstream, commercial art world, however they are gaining presence in the public sector:-
  ‘...socially engaged art, community-based art, experimental communities … participatory, interventionist, research-based, or collaborative art. These practices are less interested in a relational aesthetic, than in the creative rewards of [a] collaborative activity…’  

Why Collaborate?
I had produced and curated a show before so why involve more people now? Is it easier for artists /curators to retain more autonomy and focus working alone or is the idea of the solitary creative process changing? In "Creative Collaboration" Vera John- Steiner argues that some of our greatest artistic and scientific endeavours are produced from the  "Joint thinking, passionate conversations, emotional connections and shared struggles" of collaboration.

Once five students had registered interest in going forward with the project I suggested that we meet up and present our work; despite many of us on the MRes being practicing artists we had not seen each others work I felt it would be useful for this collaboration to see how we might work together but also was simply interested in seeing everyone’s work.
Alzbeta made a beautiful graphic film but is also going to send us links to her  documentary work

Alzbeta Kovandova - Everything Will End Up in a Pine Box

Georgia showed a very layered multi-media installation/video performance piece, which also had elements of sculpture and drawing in it. 

Alice Sergeant - Buoy

 I showed my work and then Alice showed some quite graphic paintings and sculptures.

 Amy Russell

We discussed the elements of our work that would work well together in the gallery environment and made a plan to produce the first show on the  “First Thursday’ of April, and idea that JP (our contact at Make) was keen on.  Our hopes for this project seem on the same page; to provide space and autonomy for artists/curators to work, particularly those that might feel marginalised or intimidated by mainstream 'White Cube' gallery spaces. Felt very excited about he possibilities of making this show with these people. 

28 /2/18
Spoke to Mike Badger (Well respected local artist/musician who I have worked creatively with before) about doing a show of some kind, and have sent him images of what we did with the space last time. 

Its important that the process of networking, speaking to as many artists as possible, is set in motion straightaway so that the project has a chance to grow and gain momentum.

Visited Make Liverpool. 
Think everyone excited about he possibilities this space offers

We decided that Alice would show sculpture, a painter she suggested from Leeds, would show paintings and Georgia would perform a piece on the night in the space. The inclusion of this performance seems an important part of shaping what Feckless can become perhaps even pointing ahead to work unconfined to a fixed place. 

Grant Kestors "Conversation pieces" is a discussion about what he describes a dialogical art projects, that is projects that are outside the usual gallery settings that have attempted to develop new forms of collaboration. These projects, he asserts are at the "Intersection of cultural activism"

16th March
Georgia produced a mission statement

Feckless Gallery is not located in a specific geographical location, and unusually for a gallery has no fixed dimensions or space. Instead it is a collective of postgraduate artists and researchers who met whilst studying at Liverpool John Moores University, with a desire to push their own practices in new and exciting ways. This project represents the exhibition opportunities created by this group, who are currently working with MAKE, Liverpool to organise a series of pop-up and short-term events and shows. The primary aim of Feckless is to give emerging artists, an opportunity to test and show their practice with the support of the group, providing an exhibition / writing / performance / curation opportunity in the ‘Creative Capital of the North’.
We welcome all artists, curators and cultural practitioners to collaborate with us and exchange practices, in whatever way imaginable. No matter your experience or subject, the Feckless Gallery is open to all. 

I felt this is a well-written statement, which encapsulates what it is we are trying to achieve in this gallery. It made me feel hopeful that we are indeed playing to our strengths and that we all have different skills to bring to the process. The way we have as a group organised the different roles we play within this collaboration is working well.

Kate Hodgson

14th April
One of the artists selected for the show has backed out. We started looking round for other artists and found two with potential to work with the artists already selected. Kate Hodgson Produces printed graphic work and Mick Hannon is a printmaker who produces fanzines and prints. Felt that these two were perhaps an even better fit than the original artist, and as they are local it is easier to have them contribute any ideas about installation preferences etc perhaps it is easier to work with local artists? Perhaps that could be one of the aims of the gallery?

Mick Gill

16th April
Had confirmation from JP that we will go ahead with the Show on the 26th April. Alice was struggling with photographing her sculptures for the poster but they are needed now, as we will have less than 2 weeks to advertise it, So IG (photographer and graphic designer who had volunteered to help) and I drove over to her studio to photograph the sculptures. IG did a great job and then brought the images back to make the poster.

17th March
All posters are finished, however one the group don’t like the font that the designer has used, the rest of us are happy with it. I feel strongly that when you procure the services of a skilled and experienced practitioner and you are not in the position to pay them then you should trust their judgement (within the realms of what you have asked them to do) This brings up further questions around Commission versus a more formal contracted type of collaboration; IG himself said that if we had been paying him we would then, in his mind, become clients and he would therefore follow to the letter, what we wanted, whilst giving us the option of his expertise. However, if we chose not to listen to that expertise he would do what we wanted. For him, this project feels more like we are asking him to collaborate because we trust his skills and aesthetic.

24th April
I emailed The Biennial Independents about the possibility of working with them and being involved with the fringe Biennial- they said he would be happy to support us. I’m hoping this experience will encourage the other team members to carry on with this collaboration as I think the possibility of working with BI is exciting- I have worked with them before and know that it holds lots of possibilities to reach larger audiences and involve a wider variety of artists.
 A problem has arisen as a result of us holding the exhibition for a week rather than one night event, as last time. Mis-communication means that Make can’t really invigilate so we can only have visitors to the show by appointment only. This is a big problem as we have printed out all the posters and we are now short of time. In retrospect it is easier to make a One-night only event as originally planned.
There is a tendency for me, to not want to dictate the terms of the project when others have ideas, even if I know from experience there may be problems with said ideas. I feel that this is more in the spirit of collaboration and dont want to be seen as 'taking over' but clearly, looking back at this, there are times when I need to be more vocal and offer compromises or suggestions for making ideas work. 
Roberto Verganti and Gary P Pisano appraise two different distinctions of hierarchy in collaboration in their article "Which kind of collaboration is right for you?" In essence, that a flat, bottom- up approach where decisions are made jointly offers shared risks and technical challenges , whereby a more hierarchical form allows a member/members an authority which can steer the direction of the project unhindered. Both models can have their merits in this situation I feel.

26th April
Install and Exhibition PV
Picked up Mick’s work and met the others at Make, the Exhibition space had been constructed for us.

The space seemed too dark once the work was up- I went to buy some spotlights but saw a string of unbreakable lights that would only need one electricity point. The light isn’t perfect but is pretty good, quite warm and having a string makes it more straightforward.

Sometimes a decision of practicality vs. aesthetic perfection has to be reached. As this project progressed I found I was selecting more of the “practical’ options, making something “good enough” and having it happen seems more important than spending too long on small details and not getting the project finished. Here is the Final Install

 The event itself went well, really well attended and well received. An attentive crowd watched Georgia’s performance, filmed by Alzbeta. 

We spoke to several artists who are interested in showing work with us; this was always one of the aims of the night. The event itself ran much more smoothly than the run up. JP has already been in touch to ask when we would like to do another show. 

Finally, the event was made into a film by Alzbeta



Tuesday, 14 March 2017



The aim of the piece is to highlight issues that women artists face or indeed any women with personal ambition.

We are both women who paint and make art. However, in order to do so we use our spare time or ‘grab’ time and paint. There are so many other jobs to do at home or at work that the act of painting becomes a clandestine activity.

Making art alone often feels like a ‘guilty pleasure’.


The idea (which is in its infancy) is to create a series of painting actions or – ‘Performance Bombings’. We would be dressed as normal and be carrying trollies/or cases. In the chosen public area we would make our own space, open our cases, cordon off the area and put our aprons and bonnets on, take out our painting equipment and paint for ten/fifteen minutes. We wouldn’t engage with the audience during the performance, the piece would feel a little like a historical re-enactment similar to the type provided in museums.

This piece is important to us, as it will address the position of working women, mothers and artists. We would like to analyse the position of women with children in the work place and art world.

For some reason, yet to be explored in more detail, we have been inspired by traditional dress of the ‘Amish’ (particularly the bonnets) and the restrictive rituals of such sects or religions. To paint in such conservative attire is an appealing concept and perhaps symbolises and poses questions regarding the subjugation of women. We quite like the concept of ritualising the act of painting as an act of subversion.

Some also see painting as an archaic practice; this also raises discussion in terms of the history of painting and its place in society today.

Currently, we are considering ‘actions’ in the workplace/schools/public spaces such as libraries/galleries as well as specific art performance spaces.

Monday, 27 June 2016



Researching Hanne Darboven works based on the Gregorian calendar, in which she shows a way to represent time as both the constant flux of life and a clear framework of time-what she called “graphic equivalent for the basically no visual phenomenon of time” I was interested in examining how that could translate to a domestic framework, diary or timetable. 
I kept a detailed and colour coded weekly calendar of my families timetables as a matter of course and wanted to use that as a way of reflecting on the time I had available to make work- to see what that time looked like. When time (normally quite limited) was available for me to research or make work it was marked on the calendar but I also wanted to punctuate this somehow by making a quick piece of work to document this constrained time. 

 By taking images on my phone I was able to capture the very specific quality of image required. The images were intended to recall how rolls of film were finished before digital image making existed. When you needed to develop a roll of film it needed to be finished and rather than ‘waste’ any images left on the film one would take a photograph of something nearby: - a member of your family, a pet, the garden a bunch of flowers etc. it seemed to me there was a certain tension between the ‘value’ of the subject and the distance you were prepared to physically move to take it. I was also concerned with how creative that constraint might be.
What became interesting was how the images developed- what started as a fairly perfunctory exercise in recording something aesthetic- flowers, children, nature developed into an something very different as I tired of making similar images daily. 


The next set of images began to take on a different aesthetic as I went back time and again out of both necessity and proximity to the spaces my children inhabit and examined the tangle of their toys and ephemera- how things were placed and how they were left.


Over the Xmas holidays and with both my children ill I felt unable to leave the house and again out of necessity made a model of a calendar and had to work with what was available in the house. Using off-cuts of decking and a children’s craft plaster cast set I structured a 3D calendar hour by hour- the same size as the paper original. This piece later exhibited as, 15hours, 7days, 4weeks, 4months, utilised domestic and professional schedules as a starting point to isolate and pinpoint the limited time available to make work. These spaces of time are carved out and documented; defining a moment used as punctuation to record my immediate surroundings, wherever that may be. Rendered in materials and processes all found within my immediate domestic environment - the limited time I have to make work was physically chipped out of the piece inviting reflections on restriction of time as not only a necessity but as a creative tool.


Having used a series of different processes and techniques throughout this course- partly in reaction to my longstanding practice consisting of only painting and drawing. I have spent the last two years going against what I had done in the past and the immediacy of the action of painting by learning new techniques- all of which involved a series of processes, a rarity for me.

 I wanted a way of picking up painting again using a similar ongoing method and started painted and collage pieces on purchased diary pages- one per day. Again using the concept of a restricted time limit to make work quickly. As a result the pieces were made in my studio using a mixture of painted pieces, current magazines and newspapers and old memorabilia that was hanging around.

The idea of painting has never been separate from the idea of text for me- my early inspirations were graphic- Smash Hits magazines and Dada, punk and pop-art-: -images and words functioning together, ideas that are communicated quickly. My early work consistently worked with image and text- often I had would create a title first and the pictorial element would be almost an illustration of that. Inspired by this Nicolas Bourriaud interview  to research in a range of writings the idea of separating these two elements out as a way to start thinking about painting again began to interest me. There was something intriguing about a specific use of female adolescent language, outlined in this article, which identifies young woman as the leaders of linguistic change historically. Researching artists who had worked with text like Jessica Voorsanger and particularly painted text like Bob and Roberta Smith and Louise Fishmens “Angry paintings” I reflected on past work and whether instead of the idea for the painting coming from the title that it might be interesting if the titles WERE the paintings. I selected 5 titles and developed the paintings. 


As we moved into a large exhibition space and I needed to make these texts as large as possible using bed sheets with spray paint to make them both big and cheap. Picturing the recent occupation by squatter activist of a dis-used Bank of England in Liverpool and how that speed of execution of banners like that can make any message seem like manifesto or protest of some kind, this outcome seemed to recall similar statements/manifestos that I pronounced as a teenager. 


The finished installation recalls not only this but the protests happening concurrently at the Tate’s new opening where an activist group protested the exclusion of artist Ana Mendieta. These text pieces were displayed with the diary assemblages and some quick paintings developing shapes and colour from them- serving as a physical exercise in using paint again.