Falmouth School of Art Purchase Prize – Robin French

Artist Robin French, with a detail from his painting.

The Falmouth School of Art Purchase Prize is an occasional award made during our degree shows, whereby the School purchases an artwork from a graduating student in recognition of their achievement and the strength of their work, and in support of their continued practice. This year we are delighted to have awarded a Purchase Prize to Robin French, who has just graduated from BA(Hons) Fine Art, for his painting, Kitchen, early spring. We asked Robin if he’d like to tell us a little about the painting, and about his future plans…

Robin French – Kitchen, Early Spring, 112 x 152cm, oil on canvas

I’m very proud to have been awarded the Falmouth School of Art Purchase Prize. It is so encouraging to sell work from the show –  it has really spurred me on.

My painting, Kitchen, early spring, is important to me. I shouldn’t like to tie it down to a particular narrative but perhaps I can explain my own personal ideas behind it. The figure is my mother, crouched down to hug her dog. In the room there is a stove. The bowls and mugs are pottery she has made herself. The plants are from the garden she has carefully grown. it’s not so much a portrait of my mother. I wanted more to tap into the soul of the house she has made.

I like to use negative space, leaving large areas of the canvas unpainted. I don’t want the painting to feel suffocated in it’s meaning or appearance. If I’m successful, hopefully the viewer can share certain feelings or understandings that I’ve been working through. This could be very subtle and hard to put into words. I think successful figurative paintings have this unique ability. It’s my challenge to achieve this.

For the future, I’m trying to maximise the time I can spend painting. I’m planning a motorcycle trip where I hop between different artist residencies. At the same time, I’m hoping to find somewhere on the continent where I can rent a studio on a more long term basis.”

https://www.instagram.com/robinfrenchartist/

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Falmouth School of Art student exhibition at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives

Following a month long residency at the historic Porthmeor Studios in St Ives, six second year BA(Hons) Fine Art students are opening their studio space to the public for an exhibition of their resulting work.

Exhibition - Artists in Residence - Porthmeor Studios July 2018

Olivia Brelsford-Massey, Holly Doran, Sofia Fernandes, Samuel Morris, Sophia Rosenthal and Edward Spencer were selected for the opportunity of a month long artist residency at Portmeor Studios. With the cost of studio hire and a materials bursary funded by Falmouth School of Art, the residency will provide these students with an invaluable experience of working within a professional studio culture.

As well as being home to acclaimed contemporary artists, Porthmeor Studios has a long history of prestigious inhabitants. The studio provided for this student residency – Studio 5 – has perhaps the most compelling heritage of any artists’ studio; it appears to have been constructed around 1895 for Olsson’s School of Marine Painting, but is best known as the studio used for 50 years by two of the most influential painters of their generation – Ben Nicholson, followed by Patrick Heron.

The residency is delivered by Falmouth School of Art in partnership with Borlase Smart John Wells Trust, as part of a series of residencies and professional practice opportunities offered to students studying BA(Hons) Fine Art at Falmouth University.

The exhibition will feature an Opening Evening on Saturday 28 July between 5-9pm, and continue with two further days on Sunday 29 and Monday 30 July between 10am – 5pm.

Drawing and Fine Art alumni present new work

Alumni Theo Crutchley-Mack and Sam Wood have announced a joint exhibition showing new work based in and around Falmouth town.

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In recent months, both artists have been working on small en plein air paintings, used to develop more sustained works, all of which will be exhibited at The Poly, Falmouth, from Tuesday 24 July (including private view on 24th 6-9pm).

Theo graduated from BA(Hons) Drawing, and Sam from BA(Hons) Fine Art, in 2015. Both have since pursued their art full time, with exhibition, prize and residency success.

Theo is currently based in West Wales; he has this year undertaken a 6 week period as Artist in Residence at the abandoned whale station in Grytviken, for the South Georgia Heritage Trust. Sam now lives and exhibits in Newcastle, so it’s great to be able to see work from both artists in Falmouth once again.

Fine Art Senior Lecturer Mercedes Kemp on 100:UnEarth by WildWorks

BA(Hons) Fine Art Senior Lecturer, Mercedes Kemp, is also Community and Research Director of international site-specific theatre company WildWorks. Here she talks about the company’s current production, at the Lost Gardens of Heligan – outdoor promenade performance 100:UnEarth – for which she is Lead Artist, Writer and Researcher…The acclaimed production is on until 22 July 2018, tickets from Hall For Cornwall

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‘100:UnEarth tells the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. A tragic love story. Orpheus returns to his beloved wife Eurydice. On the day they are reunited she is killed in a tragic accident. Orpheus cannot accept her death and embarks on an audacious quest to pluck her out of the Underworld. Our telling of the story is set in the vast grounds of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, and is told in a grand scale.

In 100:UnEarth, WildWorks have set the myth against the background of the First World War and the catastrophic losses it produced. The war has ended. The men are coming home. Many are damaged, broken. They return to the families they left behind. Their women have learned to survive alone, to be self-reliant, work the land, feed themselves and their children. Nothing will ever be the same…

As we journey through the Underworld we encounter the souls of those who lost their lives in the Great War, but also of those who died in more recent conflicts. Hades, the great Lord of Death continues to reap his harvest.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan give us the perfect metaphor. A place where growth and decay co-exist. A place full of promise. A place that teaches us a valuable lesson. Death is inevitable. Gardens die out in the winter, but they return back to life in the spring. And love goes on, endlessly regenerating itself.

This multi-disciplinary promenade production uses every art form: stage design, installation, performance, music, soundscape, video projection. And its connections to Falmouth University are strong: students from AMATA have done an amazing job, alongside 200 community volunteers and a team of sixty professionals. Production Designer Myrddin Wannell and Community Projects and Underworld Designer Ellie Williams are both BA(Hons) Fine Art alumni and were my students twelve years ago. Undergraduates and graduates from the School of Film and Television have been capturing our every move. Associate Lecturer in Dance and Choreography, Emily Dobson, has given performers all their moves.

I am immensely proud to have led this project to completion. Catch it if you can. Until July 22nd at the Lost Gardens of Heligan‘.

100: UnEarth is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and The Lost Gardens of Heligan

“Last night, some magic in the mist. 100: UnEarth a beautiful immersive experience, A love story inspired by Orpheus and Eurydice. See this if you can.” Falmouth University Chancellor Dawn French on Twitter

Circle Triangle Square presents ‘Remades and Readymades’

Bronwen Anwyl, Daniel Bethell and Edward May graduated from BA(Hons) Fine Art at Falmouth in 2017. Recent work by the three artists is being shown in Peckham, London, this July.

Remades and Readymades is presented by Circle Triangle Square, an art platform set up by Edward May following his degree. The exhibition explores the aesthetic and theoretical themes surrounding man-made objects and the natural environment (and the crossover between them), in the context of the art gallery.  

“Rock, Paper, Scissors – When microbes play games”

“Rock, Paper, Scissors – When microbes play games” is a graphic novel telling the toils and hardships of a cunning little virus triumphing over its enemies with the help of a valiant knight. It illustrates the intense struggles between viruses of bacteria and their bacterial hosts. The graphic novel is currently being developed under an intense collaboration between Andrei Serpe (recent graduate in BA(Hons)Fine Art , Falmouth University) and Mariann Landsberger (postdoctoral researcher, University of Exeter). It will be available in English, German and French.

Mariann says “The project received seed funding from the ESI Creative Exchange Programme in March 2018 (Environment and Sustainability Institute, Penryn Campus, University of Exeter), allowing us to establish our collaboration, create initial designs and a storyboard, and seek additional funding. The creation of the graphic novel is primarily financed by the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), who awarded us the European Outreach Initiative Fund at the beginning of May 2018 and the Microbiology Society, who supported the project since beginning June 2018 with the Education and Outreach Grant. The project also received the Public Engagement Grant from the Genetics Society, which contributes to the development and promotion of the graphic novel. We are actively looking for a publisher to distribute print versions of the graphic novel. The graphic novel is intended to appeal to both teenagers and adults and aims to spark a curiosity for microbiology and evolutionary biology in the reader.”

 

The following exhibitions feature the final graphic novel, character designs and concept art:

  • The Poly: Spring Gallery 9th – 14th July 2018 at The Poly, 24 Church Street, Falmouth TR11 3EG, UK
  • Falmouth Café Scientifique: Presentation of the graphic novel, creative process and the science behind the story: 11th July 2018 7.45 pm at The Poly
  • Hand Beer Bar: 1st – 30th September 2018 at Old Brewery Yd, High St, Falmouth TR11 2BY

Mariann’s experience

“I really enjoy collaborating with Andrei on “Rock, Paper, Scissors – when microbes play games”. It inspires and motivates my research and everyday life. Andrei is bright, full of energy and I could not have wished for a better collaborator for the project. Whilst I write the storyline, we jointly work on its interpretation into the format of a graphic novel. I highly appreciate our conjoined effort, which I imagine less probable to naturally occur when commissioning an established artist, who would have had more experience in illustrating projects independently. It is a genuine exchange of ideas and concepts on both sides.

I would like to thank the ESEB for their invaluable support and encouragement. The European Outreach Initiative Fund allows us to fully illustrate the graphic novel, display our work and gather the public’s opinion, which will be crucial to create the final print-ready version of the graphic novel.

The Creative Exchange programme at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (Penryn Campus) inspired and encouraged me to take the time and make the effort to conceptualise and develop this project. The programme motivates and supports researchers to seek out and work with local artists. The only reason I could even consider developing the project and applying to the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) for funding was due to the initial seed funding provided by the Creative Exchange Programme.”

Andrei’s experience

“Working on this project with Mariann has provided an amazing opportunity for me for which I am grateful. Over the past three years I have been and am still developing a series of narratives, making this chance to illustrate a novel as my gateway into the industry incredible.

The challenge of illustrating this story was that it was that was completely new to me, in a subject matter I have never studied. This helped me develop my researching skill in researching something that I have never encountered. I found that throughout this project I have been learning and understanding Mariann’s research in a much deeper sense than I previously could. Working with Mariann has given me an insight into the industry and the key to collaborative projects, compromise. It has given me the confidence to put myself out there and advertise myself in the industry to enter the world of freelance as a career.

Overall, this has been a rewarding experience and I intend to carry on exploring narrative comics for many years to come. I have plenty of plans for projects and other collaborations for the future.”

Please visit their blog for updates on the most recent developments, upcoming events and exhibitions, information about their supporters and contact details.  If you would like to display their project in your space, please contact them….they would love to exhibit in a range of venues to engage as many people as they can. Feel free to share the blog with your friends and family, comment and send them any questions you have regarding the project.

Fine Art students’ residency at CAST, Helston

BA(Hons) Fine Art students Ella Schlesinger and Nicholas Sanderson recently secured one of Falmouth School of Art’s studio residencies, at CAST, Helston, where they have been working together for the past month. The result is England your England, an installation comprising sculpture and video, to be shown to the public at an open studio event to mark the end of their residency.

Ella says, “The piece presents a search for a more democratic and honest space to create a conversation about Britain. We see a massive emphasis put on verbal and written language: in other words, the tyranny of the spoken and written word. With the cultural weight of the English language and its global historical context, it leaves us with a predefined and therefore limited platform to connect with and express our individual selves. We want to challenge this vacant gap these words leave and how, using the language of materials we can reown the identity to our country. Humans, as multi-sensory organisms, are constantly reacting against spaces and places, objects and feelings, so why do we settle on such a single faceted form of communication? And how can we create a more immersive and inclusive form of communication through art?