‘An Hour to Sing – A Journey of Following’

An Hour to Sing – A Journey of Following by Kym Martindale and Caroline Blythe, is a collaboration featuring drawing and writing, published in Edition Three of Elementum Journal.

Images of ‘An Hour to Sing – a Journey of Following’ by Kym Martindale and Caroline Blythe from Edition three of Elementum Journal

Caroline Blythe, a recent BA(Hons) Drawing graduate of Falmouth School of Art, and Dr. Kym Martindale, Senior Lecturer in Falmouth’s School of Writing and Journalism have, over the last three years, been collaborating on a project that has sought to explore and respond to Edward Thomas’s In Pursuit of Spring, an account of a bicycle ride from Guildford to Somerset in 1913.

Between 2012 and 2017, poet and cyclist Kym Martindale began the pursuit of Edward Thomas, riding and writing parts of Thomas’s journey from Winchester to the Quantocks in Somerset. In 2014, Caroline Blythe joined in, equipped with OS maps, and a copy of In Pursuit of Spring, and set off to explore and discover the landscape and locations described in poetry and prose by Martindale and Thomas.

For practical reasons both Kym and Caroline split Thomas’ journey into three distinct areas, visiting these when time allowed, following Thomas on bicycle, foot and at times by car. They recorded snippets of time and place ­– observing and notating the landscape as they travelled. The result is a collection of poems by Dr Kym Martindale and drawings by Caroline Blythe recently published in Edition Three of Elementum Journal.

Images of ‘An Hour to Sing – a Journey of Following’ by Kym Martindale and Caroline Blythe from Edition three of Elementum Journal

We talked with Caroline and Kym to find out more…

Caroline says, “It has been an absolute pleasure to discover and explore both the countryside in the south of England, described so beautifully by Edward Thomas, and also respond to and work with Kym’s wonderful poems, while at the same time recording my own visual observations. As I travelled through the locations described by Edward Thomas and Kym, capturing fleeting moments in sketchbooks, I kept thanking them for introducing me to these beautiful and interesting places. It was a privilege to experience the landscape through their eyes as well as observe for myself. It was a fascinating process. Perhaps the most exciting visual outcomes from this project evolved through this collaborative working process which led to the creation and compiling of palimpsests – an interleaving of tracings of drawings.”

Kym adds, “This research project combined two great passions of mine, poetry and cycling. In Pursuit of Spring describes a landscape on the brink of change, but it is the cradle too of so much of Thomas’s poetry, and an index to the man himself. The poems and drawings are ‘re/tracings’ of journeys made by Thomas, then myself, then Caroline, through a landscape that is constantly changing economically, politically, and aesthetically. And about halfway through the project, we suddenly realised that although we each travelled alone, we were also together in the journey we were making. I am sorry in some measure, that we have arrived.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Elementum, founded by Falmouth MA graduate Jay Armstrong, is a biannual publication of new writing and visual arts that explores the natural world and our role within it. Through folklore, literature, poetry, science and specially commissioned art and photography, Elementum quietly brings the reader back to what really matters by nurturing our connection to the natural world and the myths that surround it. The theme of the third edition is ‘roots’ and explores our origins and what sustains us.

If you would like to know more about Elementum journal or purchase a copy of the publication, you can do so by visiting their website: https://www.elementumjournal.com/

Advertisements

Tracing Granite – In Search of a White Cross

Beth Pinner graduated from BA(Hons) Fine Art in 2017. Toward the end of her studies, she applied for and was awarded the Groundwork Field Trip Residency; a five-day field trip visiting granite quarries in the south west as part of a team of academics and artists, led by Dr. David Paton. The residency was part of the Groundwork project and Beth’s place was funded by Falmouth School of Art. Beth shares her experience of the residency…

Image courtesy of Beth Pinner

‘The opportunity to take part in David Paton’s field trip, ‘Tracing Granite – In search of a White Cross’, arose when I was completing my studies of Fine Art at Falmouth University earlier this year.

Image courtesy of Beth Pinner

My art practice had developed alongside an interest and very basic knowledge on geology in Cornwall. Heavily influenced by the surrounding coastal landscape, I became fascinated by the dramatic textures and formations found in the open rock faces where the land met the sea. I was fixated on the notion of an entirely wild landscape, sculpted by nature, and made sculpture and print work surrounding these themes.

It was this (slightly obsessive) interest in rock that led me to gain a place on the 4-day residential field trip, alongside geologists, stone masons, archeologists, artists, writers – an eclectic mix of people from across the country who met, mostly for the first time, at a National Trust bunk house near Helston. With the bunk house as base for the next three nights we undertook a tour of granite quarries across Cornwall, moving to a second bunk house for the final two nights to extend the reach of the trip. Over the duration, our group fluctuated in size as people joined at various stages and quarries to share their own accounts of living and working with granite. Hearing their stories gave a more personal sense of place and insight into how granite in the south west has shaped and influenced individuals lives for generations.

Out of the eight that we visited, only two of the quarries were still in use. The six others were disused and at various stages of reclaim by nature, some so far overwhelmed that, to someone with little knowledge of quarrying like myself, any previous narrative of human interference was hard to comprehend at first. There weren’t any clear differences between the man-made rock face and the naturally formed rock face that I thought I might see. On reflection, however, the quarried sites have become increasingly obvious as man-made. If these rock faces were at the coast one wouldn’t think twice about them being naturally sculpted, but here, in land, they felt out of place, and purposeful.

Image courtesy of Beth Pinner

Having never visited a granite quarry (or any quarry) before becoming involved with this trip, I had no idea what to expect from the four days. Everybody’s enthusiasm to share knowledge fueled a want to learn more, and I have come away feeling truly inspired. Not only by the awe-inspiring places that we visited, but by all of the people that have been involved.

At the time of applying back in June, I hadn’t imagined how helpful this opportunity would prove to be in re-inspiring a desire to move forward with an art practice after university, and by connecting me to some amazing people who I now look forward to working with more in the near future. There are some great things to come from ‘Tracing Granite – In search of a white cross’ and I for one can’t wait to see them all unfold.’

Catching up with Katie Sims, Falmouth Fine Art alumna

Katie Sims graduated from BA(Hons) Fine Art at Falmouth in 2010. Since then she has pursued her art, enjoyed competition and exhibition success and had a spell teaching. She reflects on her time at Falmouth, and talks to us about her life as a professional artist…

Katie Sims

Describe your life since graduating back in 2010…

Things kicked off for me when I was selected for Saatchi’s New Sensations and the Midas Award, two competitions that afforded critical exposure and led to further opportunities to show and collaborate with curators and galleries. The Midas Award provided tremendous professional support during that daunting first year with the prize at that time including a solo exhibition, materials grant and yearlong mentorship programme through Falmouth University. None of this would have happened had I not entered those, proving it’s worth putting yourself forward for things.

Trinity After Ribera and Portal (Opening Gambit, Hoxton Art Gallery, London, 2010), Image courtesy of Hoxton Art Gallery

That led me to establish a working relationship with Hoxton Art Gallery (2011-13). At the time, Hoxton was a new venture and I made work for their launch show. We grew together; things went well and they asked me to be one of their represented artists. We were a good fit and shared a similar ethos so I accepted. The gallery acted as my agents, taking care of all sales, promoting my work, providing exhibiting opportunities and inclusion in key art fairs and events whilst I was able to concentrate solely on painting. For that privilege I promised exclusivity to them, and they would take a commission on all sales. One of the highlights was my solo show, Opening Gambit. I spent 9 months working toward this exhibition and to see the work in situ and how the public responded was moving. It completed the whole cycle for me.

One of the biggest challenges has been trying to create freely whilst feeling the pressure of deadlines and accountability.

I started teaching art to sixth form students in 2013 in order to have more social contact and a regular income alongside painting. Three years later, with a PGCE now done and a ton of experience and newfound knowledge about my work, and myself, I’m shifting the emphasis back to painting. My experience of teaching was brilliant, but I struggled to balance both careers with equal intensity. I still want to teach though; perhaps as an artist that delivers workshops in schools. I loved working with my students.

What are you working on now?

Fleeting Agony, oil on panel, 24x30cm (2010)

I’m working on a new body of paintings to exhibit. I’ve also been archiving my work and recently launched a new website – www.katiesims.co.uk. Revisiting ten years worth of work has been cathartic and essential, allowing me to notice which pictures resonate most with me now. For example, I made a painting whilst at Falmouth called Fleeting Agony, the first picture that was discovered through the process of painting. It remains a monument to what I’m trying to do now – taking on my historic influences, memories and experiences as they affect me now. Trying to fix the quiddity of that impression rather than objective reality.

Osmosis, oil on panel, 24x30cm (2017)

 

What is a typical day for you?

Studio, studio, studio. I need to be here and cut off from life outside in order to focus. Large parts of my day are spent thinking rather than physically painting. When I do pluck up the courage, I have a window of a few hours to get something down. It’s always been that way, even as a student. The process itself is full of risk and I’ve watched many paintings close down from overworking or overthinking them, but sometimes you have to sacrifice things in order to potentially realise something greater. I’m always learning and each painting proposes a new challenge, leading me on to the next. As I’ve matured I’ve learnt creative down time and play is as important as production, otherwise you burn out. You need to keep nourishing yourself as an artist to remain fresh and engaged. I love to walk and go off exploring new places. These trips feed my work and keep the days varied.

Trinity after Ribera, oil on panel, 30x24cm (2012) Image courtesy of Hoxton Art Gallery.

What’s next for you?

I’d like to kit out a van and create a portable studio to travel around Spain. I’ve returned to the country each year since winning The Ford Award in 2012 (a travel bursary to study at the Prado in Madrid) – it’s my second home.  As time goes on there is something about the landscape, the people, and the light that is of interest and speaks directly to me. I have a collection of drawings, some from life, some from memory which I intend to re-familiarise myself with and work into paintings too.

Why did you choose to study at Falmouth?

I needed a supportive environment where I could really focus on exploring my ideas with fewer distractions. Falmouth instantly felt right. As students we were spoilt – top facilities, resources and tutors available to us. Such accessibility and personal relationships with staff are rare to come by. It’s what makes it unique. I knew I would be a person here and not a statistic.

 

What is your favourite memory from studying at Falmouth?

There are so many, and the most precious for me seem to be in the everyday stuff. I remember walking the tree-lined passage to the Falmouth Campus at Woodlane from my home in Falmouth each day. The light present in my studio building, the buzz surrounding the campus, everyone doing something different – it was a remarkable, concentrated moment in my life. I look back with fondness. They all stay with me.

How did Falmouth influence your career?

Falmouth gave me the space required to find my own language. Its strength as a university is in encouraging each student to have the confidence to do this. I left with a definite sense of who I am and the type of work I want to make.

I also gained a remarkable set of friends, which continues to stand the test of time. Anyone that studies here is part of something bigger, akin to family. When you meet a former Falmouth student, regardless of age or course, you share an instant connection.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a new Falmouth student, what would it be?

Studying at Falmouth is a brilliant opportunity in a truly inspiring place, make every moment count and experience it to the fullest.

 

First look at this autumn’s Guest Speaker programme…

This autumn we welcome five outstanding Guest Speakers to deliver lectures to students of Falmouth School of Art. Speakers include return visits from our two Visiting Professors, and an exciting event in association with the Groundwork project. Places are available at each for members of the public, our arts partners across the region and our alumni.

Places limited, registration required. Click here for more details and links to registration.

New digital artwork from Rosie McGinn, on AVD

“Tonight you’re mine, completely…”, the lyrics from a Shirelles’ classic play out to a pumped up Prince Naseem Hamed staring down his opponent Kevin Kelley

The scene features in new artwork from British artist and 2015 BA(Hons) Fine Art alumna Rosie McGinn. Boxing Series 1  is released on AVD, a digital art platform designed for mobile consumption. Artists provide the art, and AVD provides the coding. Not only offering an alternative to the white gallery space, the technology reduces work to the width of a mobile screen, allowing the viewer to determine their journey through the artwork by finger swipes, rather than having it curated for their physicality.

McGinn’s video pieces are embedded within a stream of fake adverts, porn, betting deals and forums, in the midst of which is the video piece ready to be played. McGinn brings the ever-popular, often controversial sport of boxing to the art world for evaluation, juxtaposing animalistic pre-fight stare-downs with love songs.

The first of the series of four Boxing Stare Downs was released on 17 September, with the next being released at three-day intervals. To view, go to a-v-d.xyz on your mobile.

 

Exhibition featuring Fine Art students following Summer CAST residencies | Falmouth 28-30 September

This Summer, an opportunity arose for four BA(Hons) Fine Art students to apply for a studio residency at CAST (the Cornubian Arts & Science Trust) in Helston.  The Residency, funded by the Falmouth School of Art in partnership with CAST, offered each artist a one month studio space in the summer months.

The successful artists chosen were Amy McMillan – painting & Drawing, Jasmin Mills – painting, Alberta Shearing – video, installation & performance and Ella Squirrell – painting, cyanotypes and oil pastilles.

Following their time at CAST the artists have now put together an exhibition of their work, ‘Interior | Shift’, which will take place at the old Stones Bakery on Falmouth’s High Street from 28 to 30 September.

Speaking about their Summer at Cast, they described their experience: ‘…The space became the stimulus for exploration. Light. Colour. The suggestions to memory of the architecture, for the building is a Victorian school and remembers it’s old activity in its fixtures, fittings and plasterwork. The interior’s progression to exterior also inspired thought, the location leading to the historical and modern society of Helston, the view from its windows, the sills purposefully too high for a seated pupil to see out off.  The same interior shifts through the subjective view of the artists, filtered, compared to and merging with their interests and practice. The interior of the artists shifts from a myriad of busy stimuli to the starting point of a single bare room.’

The artists would like to thank Josie, Elsa and Teresa at CAST, the Falmouth School of Art and Olly at Stones Bakery.

FSA Visiting Professor, Hew Locke, exhibiting in Bremen and Miami

Hew Locke, our appointed Visiting Professor of Fine Art, has two new projects; ‘Cui Bono’ in Bremen, and ‘Reversal of Fortune’ in Miami.

Cui Bono installed at Bremen Rathaus. Photo ©Indra Khanna 2017

‘Cui Bono’ is a 4 metre long ship that Hew has created.  The work was commissioned by Kunsthalle Bremen and installed at Rathaus Bremen, Germany, as part of the exhibition ‘The Blind Spot: Bremen and Art in the Colonial Era’.  A video on the installation can be found here.

Detail of Cui Bono ©Hew Locke & DACS

The installation in the Town Hall’s upper gallery is an invitation to grapple with Bremen’s maritime commercial and colonial history.  The exhibition takes place in Bremen Town Hall, Germany, from 5 August to 19 November 2017.  For more information on the project click here.

 

‘Reversal of Fortune’ is a new commission for Fringe Projects Miami, in an empty jewellery store in downtown Miami’s historic Art Deco Moderne DuPont Building.  The exterior of the installation is viewable from SE 2nd Ave, 24 hours a day, from 8 September 2017 to 31 January 2018.

Chinese Imperil Gold Loan 10 ©Hew Locke & Hales Gallery

Since the financial crash of 2008 Hew Locke has been buying original antique share certificates from old companies, and painting directly on them.  In ‘Reversal of Fortune’ fifteen have been selected and printed up to create an installation on the facade, and inside the vault, of an empty store.  He has chosen these defunct shares sometimes for their interesting history, and sometimes for their beauty.  He highlights historical and economic cycles. Commerce has its’ ups and downs, yet it is human nature to be optimistic, to continue to trade.  New-born companies garland their shares with confident typography and classical motifs implying stability and worth.  Figures representative of the local population in the areas in which the companies operated are sometimes seen breaking-through.  These are silent witnesses, those who paid the most to create the wealth without receiving the benefit.  Locke’s series of shares is also a wry acknowledgement of the commodity value of contemporary art.

 

Hew Locke will be a guest speaker for Falmouth School of Art later in the year. Watch out for details of our upcoming ‘Guest Speaker’ series.

Falmouth’s Visiting Professor programme brings international speakers of the highest calibre to the university to share their knowledge, insights and experiences with students, staff and wider public.  Visiting Professors are appointed for three years, delivering both public lectures and working with our students during their annual visit.