‘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.”

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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/

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FOMO – Introducing Falmouth’s first Art Publishing Fair

F O M O – the first ever Falmouth Art Publishing Fair – opens at 4pm on Friday 29 September for a weekend of talks, workshops, screenings, artists’ book works, performances, zines and comics and readings.   

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Organised by Falmouth School of Art’s Senior Lecturers Neil Chapman, Gillian Wylde and Carolyn Shapiro and Associate Lecturer Maria Christoforidou, F O M O will take place at Falmouth Art Gallery and the Library of the Municipal Buildings, The Moor, Falmouth, and brings together Falmouth School of Art staff and students with local participating institutions including: Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth Library, Tate St Ives, Stranger Collective, Urbanomic, Atlantic Press, Burning House Books, BLNT Collective, Keiken and Krowji. 

F O M O will include contributions from academic and research colleagues from: Royal  Holloway University, Cambridge University, West Dean College, Aarhus University, Plymouth University, Goldsmiths University of London, Research Center for Material Culture Netherlands and from across Departments at Falmouth University.

Generously supported by Falmouth Art Gallery, the event has grown out of discussion between colleagues across different departments at Falmouth University. From meetings as a Research Forum, finding common ground between their varied interests, the group started to consider joint research and how best to team up for that work. One of the organisers, Neil Chapman, reflects on the development of the event, and what we can look forward to over the weekend…

‘As a research group, we share a commitment to collective work. That’s both a pragmatic interest and a critical position too. Most often, when people work together it’s so that a workload can be shared. But collective work is unpredictable and inefficient too and these are values that might tend to be lost in the current climate. There is a lot of emphasis in the contemporary workplace on individuals’ success and the competition that results can be destructive. Our title for the event – Fear of Missing Out – is on some level an ironic allusion to these issues.

We are all of us, in different ways, committed to discursive work, to the climate of ideas that surrounds ‘making’ in our different disciplines. And that’s a foundation for the publication fair too, reflected in the many talks, screenings, readings and performances scheduled over the weekend. F O M O provides an opportunity for us to invite our colleagues and friends to Cornwall. It’s good for the cultures of creative practice here in Falmouth. F O M O will bring lots of people into contact who might not have met otherwise. We’re excited to imagine the new partnerships and the new work that might result.

The aim has been to inaugurate the kind of event that we would want to go to ourselves, also the kind of event that students would be excited about. Henrietta Boex, Director of Falmouth Art Gallery, has been extremely supportive. We’ve made all kinds of demands on her and she seems never to say no to anything; the Gallery’s Glyn Winchester has also been a great support. The independence of the project is a way of underscoring our own priorities, which are evident in all kinds of ways through the framing of the event: the name, the graphics, the publicity, the choice of which artists, writers and publishers to invite. There are many Art Publishing Fairs in the UK and abroad and we have had an eye on some of those. But in another sense this Fair has been invented from scratch. And for that reason it will work well as a foundation for bigger and more varied research initiatives to come. We’re talking about a future peer-reviewed journal, discursive gatherings – dream dinner date/fantasy football team type things with exciting living people—maybe some dead folk too, ghosts. No zombies. Digital Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida . . .

It’s particularly good to be working with current students and recent Falmouth University graduates. As part of FOMO, Graham Taylor who studied Fine Art and who graduated in 2015 is curating an exhibition entitled Practically Outside, involving a dozen or more Falmouth alumni. His contribution makes a direct engagement with the FOMO ethos, looking critically at what it means to be an ‘emerging artist’, engaging in the most thoughtful way with different platforms of exhibition and print publication.’

F O M O also includes contributions from writers, artists, poets, publishers, activists, hackers, Falmouth University alumni and musicians both national and international.

F O M O is an inaugural event, bringing a new art research collective into being, which, over forthcoming months will stage events in different forms and at different locations, connecting diverse networks.

https://falmouthartpublishingfair.wordpress.com/

Falmouth School of Art Intensives – short summer courses for artists

Cornwall Today article (full, from CT)

 

Cornwall Today magazine has featured two of the artists who participated in the Falmouth School of Art Intensives last summer, Judith Brenner and Carys Wilson.

Application is now open (until 29 April) for the 2016 Intensives, five-day courses for artists, practitioners and art educators, delivered at our beautiful Falmouth Campus.

Choose from Abstract Painting, Figure Painting or Drawing. For application form and full details: www.falmouth.ac.uk/fsaintensives

 

Falmouth Student and alumni work featured in ‘7 Shades of Black’ Magazine

Amelia Tinton

© Amelia Tinton

Current BA(Hons) Drawing student Megan Fatharly and Film graduate Christian Villarba are working with Soraan Latif, who is the brains behind current online magazine 7 Shades of Black. The magazine promotes the work of emerging artists and hopes to push the boundaries and start a dialogue between artist and viewer.  Along with other writers the magazine is currently working on a campaign for next month to promote new and exciting talent.

Theo Crutchley-Mack

© Theo Crutchley-Mack

The work of BA(Hons) Fine Art student Amelia Tinton and alumnus Theo Crutchley-Mack has already been featured, and over the next month it is worth checking out the campaign as work of other talented Falmouth students and alumni is to be shared.

‘Take drawing seriously as mode of enquiry’ – Gemma Anderson in British Council VOICES Magazine

Published by the British Council VOICES Magazine, full article here: https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/gemma-anderson-take-drawing-seriously-mode-enquiry 

Gemma Anderson

By Gemma Anderson

Does art simply represent the world ‘as it is’, or does it find other aspects in it, aspects that people wouldn’t normally detect? Gemma Anderson, who creates art in collaboration with scientists, explains why it is possible to be more than an illustrator when drawing and painting the world.

You use the term ‘isomorphology’ in relation to your work. What does it mean?

I created the term, based on the Greek isos, meaning same, morphe meaning form, and logos, meaning study.

In my drawing practice, I had started to see similarities in shapes repeated across the natural world. I noticed that certain sets of patterns recur in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms, but I couldn’t find anything that documented these relationships. I realised that, as an artist, I could visualise relationships in a way that would be more difficult for scientists, because their work is so specialised.

What sort of patterns crop up again in nature?

There are several, including spirals, hexagons, different forms of symmetries, spheres, and branching forms.

For example, you might see a spiral in a snail’s shell or in an ammonite fossil. Practically all plants have a spiralling leaf pattern, or phyllotaxis (the scientific term for the arrangement of leaves on a stem).  And in the animal world, you see spiral forms in sharks’ egg cases. Even in humans, our heart valves and the cochlea in our inner ears are spiral-shaped.

Why do these patterns repeat?

Scientists and mathematicians talk a lot about this, and there are a lot of answers. But the main reason is that they are efficient. These forms all use space really well. They just allow matter to pack together in a smart way, that also happens to be beautiful.

Which other artists have inspired you?

I interpret a lot of the artist Paul Klee‘s work as a creative study of form that makes unconventional relationships between natural phenomena, which are usually organised separately. For example, in the work ‘Comedy‘ (1921) he draws plant and animal forms together into one body.

I’m also inspired by the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who was a polymath and engaged with lots of scientists, although his work wasn’t visual art. His observations about plants were genuinely helpful to botanical scientists.

Are there similarities between the way scientists and artists approach their work?

Both scientists and artists are interested in the study of form. When I started, my expectations were that scientists spend most of their time observing things. I’ve since discovered that much scientific observation is less directly involved with examining the material of the natural world, and more involved with data and modelling. But the process of enquiry does cross over.

How do you work with scientists?

While studying at the Royal College of Art between 2005 and 2007, I began to contact the people who managed the scientific collections at museums and set up meetings where I would ask them if I could draw, say, a certain coral in their collection. At first, only about one person in ten would respond to my emails, so I had to follow up and be persistent. Slowly, I built up relationships with individual curators, who gave me space to draw; and eventually, we became friends. A lot of the relationship is about trust. They don’t have it written into their jobs that they have to help artists, so they are free to ignore your requests.

What’s the difference between your artwork and the sort of scientific illustrations one might see in a textbook?

Traditionally, the pattern is that there’s a scientist and an illustrator who is employed to represent the science. I am using drawing to ‘find’ repetitions in nature. So, although the etchings and drawings may look similar, the motivation behind my work and the questions I’m asking are different. My art represents my own understanding of the natural world, which comes from drawing. It’s qualitative. It isn’t representing a scientist’s understanding, which might come from other more quantitative methods, like DNA barcoding (a way to identify species).

How did you start?

In school, I was keen on drawing and also really liked science. I did biology and art at A-level, and enjoyed the process of mapping structures in each discipline. But learning biology through a textbook wasn’t the way I wanted to do it. Over time, through drawing in scientific collections, I was exposed to a vast range of objects in the animal, mineral and vegetable world, and that’s when I started seeing repeated patterns.

What advice would you give teachers?

Take drawing seriously as a mode of enquiry. Encourage your students to look closely at different examples of plants in the classroom, and they may start to genuinely see the five-fold symmetry or spiralling leaves of a particular flower. Don’t underestimate drawing as a way of learning and making comparisons.

For example, if you look at crystals and insects, there are symmetries in their forms: both have types of bilateral and four-fold symmetry. Crystals are more geometric, and insects are less symmetrical, of course; in real life, you only get the endless variations on these patterns. You never see quite what you expect and that’s part of the fun.

What advice would you give young artists?

I always say to my art students, try to exercise initiative. And if you want to find something out, ask! Don’t fear looking silly. There have been lots of times when I’ve been following a particular line of enquiry that might seem obvious, but not knowing is part of the process. It’s important to ask unconventional questions.

Also, use the freedom to enter lots of different disciplines that comes with being an artist. In most of society, it’s difficult to step outside the normal pattern of your work, but artists can. It’s a rarity that is available to us.

Volcano the Bear

One of our BA(Hons) Illustration lecturers, Nick Mott, has another ongoing career in music.  Recently, a group that he co-formed 20 years ago, Volcano The Bear, has had a box set released on the German record label, Miasmah.

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The box set comprises 5 vinyl LPs and a 50 page book of photos and illustrations.  You can listen to a 35 minute mix of 9 of the tracks here.  The box set is also available to borrow in the collection of the Penryn campus library.

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In Leicester, England in May 1995 Aaron Moore, Nick Mott, Clarence Manuelo & Daniel Padden created a free form group named Volcano The Bear out of their frustration with standard musical limitations.  Now, after 20 years of experimenting with improvisation, folk, Dada, Post Punk, Krautrock, noise, surreal comedy, pure avant-garde and more, the group has obtained a cult following and high critical praise across the globe.  Reknowned for their highly theatrical and obscure live performances, as well as their mind-blowing catalogue of releases, VTB truly is a one of a kind group, consistently pushing forward with their own unique, experimental approach to sound making.

Commencing manages to be both a retrospective of the group’s 20 year history as well as it’s own unique release filled with vast amounts of material.  The 5 albums, 64 tracks & over 4 hours in length, has been carefully put together over the last couple of years to become an entity – working as much by itself as well as a whole. Expect an abundance of unreleased material, alt-versions, tracks from early cassette albums never released on vinyl, live recordings, pieces from forgotten compilation appearances and more, all mixed and compiled together to form 5 stand-alone albums.

More information on the release can be found at sonicpieces, and at thewire.

 

Virginia Verran – wall drawing at RIBA Bookshop

Virginia Verran at RIBA

Virginia Verran at work on the drawing

Falmouth Fine Art Associate Lecturer Virginia Verran currently has a wall drawing, RIBA (Space), at RIBA Bookshop, Portland Place, London W1B 1AD.

The work is in connection with the launch of a new book, ANCHOR, edited by Joe Graham. ANCHOR is the result of an artist drawing research project in which artists, writers and curators with an interest in drawing were invited to respond to the phenomenology of the Outline. Verran’s work is also included in the book.

ANCHOR is published by Marmalade Publishers of Visual Theory, London, 2015; Virginia Verran’s wall drawing will be in place for at least a month.

Detail of Virginia Verran's RIBA (Space) wall drawing

Detail of Virginia Verran’s RIBA (Space) wall drawing