On being a Groundwork Intern…

Second year BA(Hons) Fine Art student Bianca Cocco was recently awarded a two-week internship supporting the opening of the Groundwork season of international art in Cornwall. Supported by funding through Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence scheme, Groundwork is organised by CAST (the Helston-based Cornubian Arts and Science Trust) in partnership with Kestle BartonNewlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange and Tate St Ives.

Bianca reflects on her experience…

‘My 2-week placement at CAST as Groundwork intern allowed me many opportunities to gain insights in how multi-site exhibitions can be organised. Many staff members and volunteers were artists and students, so I made a few new acquaintances and the conversations were quite enlightening. It certainly broadened my horizons and I discovered a great deal about the local art community and gleaned insights into what could lie ahead after graduation.

Steve McQueen, ‘Gravesend’ (2007), presented for Groundwork at CAST in Helston. Image: Jamie Woodley © CAST (Cornubian Arts & Science Trust)

Christina Mackie, ‘The Judges II’ (2012-2018), presented for Groundwork in the King’s Room at National Trust Godolphin. Image: Jamie Woodley © CAST (Cornubian Arts & Science Trust)

My first day as intern involved some hosting for the resident artists at breakfast before they set off to install and talk about their work with staff and volunteers.  That day was extremely busy and involved preparation and placement of roadside signage about the events around Helston and surrounding areas – it was important to ensure visitors were able to locate the various sites. There was also much to do at CAST as building works had just finished and the spaces needed clearing.

During the opening weekend I travelled to various locations such as Godolphin House, Goonhilly Earth Station and Kestle Barton, where my primary role was greeting and guiding guests to the exhibitions. The atmosphere was lively and positive – I really enjoyed myself and didn’t notice how long the day had been when it culminated in Andy Holden’s evening performance at AMATA at the Penryn campus.

Subsequent days involved invigilating the various exhibition spaces and works by Steve McQueen, Semiconductor, Simon Starling and Christina Mackie. Invigilation can give you a chance to spend prolonged time with artworks and it was particularly relevant for me as most were AV-based and this is my main area of interest. Christina Mackie’s work at Godolphin was rich and mysterious so I was grateful for the opportunity to study her work in detail and read press material relating to her installation.

Overall, I gained a deeper understanding of the effort involved in organising exhibitions and it enhanced my appreciation of the works and institutions involved. I would highly recommend pursuing work placements at some stage during study as it helps to ground you and offers realistic expectations of how life can unfold after graduation. My experience at CAST was invaluable to me and I’m grateful to have been able to contribute in some way to the success of Groundwork’s opening week’.

Groundwork Coordinator Josie Cockram commented, ‘Groundwork internships support people at the beginning of their careers to gain experience working alongside the team in the delivery of an ambitious programme of international art. We’ve been delighted to work with Falmouth University students working as interns and volunteers. Bianca was a big help during our opening weeks and we’re very pleased that she will stay on board as a volunteer invigilator as the programme continues’.

With an emphasis on moving image, sound and performance, the Groundwork programme of exhibitions and events in 2018 includes presentations of important new commissions and acclaimed works by internationally celebrated artists in venues and outdoor sites across West Cornwall. Volunteers are welcomed as the programme continues – to find out how to get involved, visit the volunteer section of the Groundwork website.

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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.’

Artist Christina Mackie talks at Falmouth

Falmouth School of Art’s Guest Speaker Programme brings significant practitioners to Falmouth to give talks to our students about their practice. Final year BA(Hons) Drawing student Megan Fatharly gives a personal response to a recent talk by Guest Speaker Christina Mackie:

‘Multi-faceted artist Christina Mackie spoke to Falmouth School of Art students about her visual language, the depth she goes to to explore materials, how they interact with each other what this can encourage within a viewer.

The themes that ultimately prevail within Mackie’s work are colour and perception; this is evident in the work she did with Tate in 2015, in which artists worked with nets dipped in semi-crystalised dye and suspended to create a stark installation piece. As part of her talk, Mackie showed generated videos and plans of how that exhibition was put together.

As well as discussing this installation, Mackie also spoke about other works: on paper, photographs and how she works with objects to manipulate their purpose and form. I found this conversation between the layers of her work really engaging. Artists who are not afraid to work within more than one avenue show how important it is to do so, because it encourages these dialogues to be had and shows younger artists it’s a thing to be embraced.’

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.

Artist Ruth Ewan to talk at Falmouth School of Art

In association with CAST and The Cornwall Workshop, Falmouth School of Art welcomes artist Ruth Ewan as part of our Guest Speaker Programme on Wednesday 19 October, 6pm.

Installation shot from 'Back to the Fields’ Ruth Ewan - 2015 - Camden Arts Centre - photo by Haydar Dewachi

Installation shot from ‘Back to the Fields’ Ruth Ewan – 2015 – Camden Arts Centre – photo by Haydar Dewachi

Ruth Ewan’s work includes events, installation, writing and printed matter. Her practice explores overlooked histories of radical, political and utopian thought, bringing to light specific ideas in order to question how we might live today. Always engaging with others, Ewan’s projects involve a process of focused research and close collaboration –  recent projects have led her to develop context specific projects within schools, prisons, hospitals, libraries, universities, Parliament and London Underground.

Her audio project ‘The Darks’, a collaboration with Astrid Johnston for Tate Britain, invites visitors to navigate the area around Tate Britain where the infamous Millbank Prison once stood. She is exhibiting in the 32nd Bienal de Sao Paulo Incerteza Viva and will be leading The Cornwall Workshop organised by CAST (based in Helston, Cornwall) this month.

Ruth Ewan, image courtesy a-n.co.uk

Ruth Ewan, image courtesy a-n.co.uk

Matthew Slotover, co-founder and publisher of Frieze, and trustee of the Arts Foundation, presenting Ewan with the Art Foundation Art in Urban Space Award this year, said of her, “Through performances, sculptures and interactive works, Ruth Ewan mines social history in a playful and often humorous style. Her work is socially engaged without being didactic, often reminding us of truths we didn’t know we knew. She is one of the country’s most promising artists and a deserved winner of this award.”

A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World. Ongoing archive started in 2003

A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World. Ongoing archive started in 2003

 

Ewan has also been shortlisted for the 6th edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Exhibitions of Ruth’s work have been presented at Camden Arts Centre, London (2015); Collective Gallery,Edinburgh (with Astrid Johnston, 2013); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, the Glasgow International and the Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2012);Dundee Contemporary Arts and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla (2011); the ICA, London (2008); the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2007) and Studio Voltaire, London (2006). She has realised projects in London for Parliament (2015), Vital Arts (2015), Create (2012), Art on the Underground (2011); Frieze Projects (2009) and Artangel (2007). Her work has also been included in survey exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw and Tate Liverpool (2013) and the New Museum, New York (2009).

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EYE Prize awarded to Ben Rivers

Falmouth School of Art alumnus, artist and filmmaker Ben Rivers has been announced as the winner of the 2016 EYE Prize. Set up in collaboration between EYE, the Dutch film museum, and the Paddy and Joan Leigh Fermor Arts Fund, the EYE Prize exists to highlight the relationship between contemporary art and film, awarding £25,000 annually to fund the making of new work by a living artist.

Image: Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, Swamp, 1971. Estate of Robert Smithson, Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.  

Ben Rivers, Swamp, 1971. Estate of Robert Smithson, Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York. Image: Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson.

The EYE Prize aims each year to support and promote the artist or filmmaker whose work unites art and film, and demonstrates quality of thought, imagination and artistic excellence.

Last month, in an event presented by CAST and LUX as part of the public programme for The Cornwall Workshop 2016, Rivers introduced and spoke about his curated film programme, Edgelands, to a crowded lecture theatre at Falmouth School of Art, from where he graduated in 1993.

Blouin Artinfo have published a new interview with Rivers in which he responds to having been awarded the prize: read it here.