Exhibition 19 at The Notice Board

Ralph McGaul.
Born and based: Macclesfield.

Title: Land of the Free

The Notice Board is very happy to be sharing these print and flag works by Ralph McGaul. His exhibition features two sets of work – changed half way through. Ralph, like The Notice Board, believes in feeling, making and letting the work do the talking. So when invited to write something to accompany his work his said:
Leave the phone, don the overalls, step into the painting shed and sail off to the land of the free…..
Ralph’s work includes painting and printmaking, mosaics, collages and woodwork. His approach to making art is intuitive and visceral with the goal of producing something that is immediate and visually engaging, without the need for wordy explanations. Adopting various different media helps him maintain interest and inventiveness which is key to the work’s vitality.                                                


Leeds 2023

New year new invitation – the response will see me working in collaboration with teachers and students to consider what culture is for them. I will then develop a series of prints, versions of which will be showcased across the city and gifted to the young people involved.

Exhibition 18 at The Notice Board.

SA Artists for Climate Action. Based: Kaurna Country, South Australia


The Notice Board is a piece of activism both practically and conceptually. Forming around the ideas of reciprocity and mutual aid, which are mirrored in this month’s work by an artist collective from Australia. SA Artists for Climate Action each have their own artistic careers and trajectories, but act together in response to the inaction shown by leaders who refuse to embrace renewable energy and put the care of our ecologies foremost. One of their actions is #climatebadges, which aims to bypass the seeming inability to communicate with leaders bent on economic growth and instead offer encouragement to those fighting for our planet to keep going in the knowledge they have continued support. It’s an interesting approach that The Notice Board is proud to platform while also reinforcing ‘positive reinforcement’ as a change agent.
SA Artists for Climate Action say:
This is a call to action.
As artists we declare a climate emergency. Let’s act as individuals together into the future. It has been shown that contacting our leaders, our decision makers, in a targeted way, directly, personally, and individually, is the most effective strategy to create and continue change. This project is about encouraging those that are part of this change.
We invite you to make a climate badge that addresses your climate emergency concerns. Send this to your politician/leader/local member/decision maker/researcher/board member/influential person of choice with an explanatory note (there’s a template at #climatebadges). Do this to propel their good work further, to give encouragement to keep going, or to spur someone into action who can do more.
Work individually or gather your friends, run a badge-making session in your home, studio or your place of work, take this project wherever you can. Share this call to action far and wide. Your art voice is valuable.
Post your badge and note to your leader of choice. Share your badge and note on Instagram using #climatebadges and tag your selected badge recipient where possible. Follow this hashtag to see other contributions. And thank you for taking action. Collective action has power. 

SincerelySA Artists for Climate Action

The Notice Board is now in the libary.

The Notice Board is now part of the Social Art Library. Led by Axis this is a great resourch of projects and artists The Notice Board’s entry can be found HERE:

‘Care for the carers’ and other ideas

A participant of Cultural Prescriptions used their £10 challenge [sent to buy materials to support their work and this Action Research] on a scratch card. The card formed part of a ‘care’ package sent to me. An idea that builds on the original packs sent to initiate the project. This version came with plastercine, my favourite crisps, a picture of a pit pony and other goodies. As I scratched the card during our most recent session, we collectively held our breathe in a beautiful poignant moment. Sadly we weren’t lottery winners, but instead we could see the impact of care, creative approaches and connection as powerful tools. Obvious maybe but not always visible and that’s why this research is relevant and timely for the Social Prescribers and their clients too.

Mirror mirror/other other

I’ve been adapting postcards of figurative sculptures for an ongoing postal conversation with a friend. The adaptions mostly reference what I see in my dreams. But by adding a title I encourage the meaning to slip and slide [Shown here: LH: Hiding in pain sight. RH: If I can’t see you maybe you won’t see me either]. I’ve struggled making images that are so obviously ‘people’. Yes, my work is all about people but rather I focus on the things they make and do. People are there, but as shadows, ghosts and metaphors. 

In some respect that is true of the cards – the statues are hidden or hiding, removed, collaged over or peeled away to leave only a trace. The form is still present. Then today I was sent a quote by a woman I’m working with in Hull. It’s about ‘the other’ and how when we ‘other’ people/animals we create a kind of ‘ventriloquist dummy’. A puppet we talk across and give character too. The dummy is a side kick, a controversial or questionable cheeky character, with origins in interpreting internal voices that speak in the stomach. This made me think of these cards. It’s this, now, blindingly obvious realisation, that’s made me even more uncomfortable. The cards that dont work are where I throw my voice – where I deflect and attempt to entertain. So it’s back to the dreams and back to the drawing board, because only then will the outcomes be me and not a picture of the other me.

Whatever You Give is Truly Yours. Photograph. 2020

This image of my plait, cut off when I was 13,  accompanies part of an email exchange with a wise woman from Hull. Together they will feature in a community newspaper being developed as part of my commission for 3 Ways East and The Brignall Trust.

KG: The hair-growing-cutting-selling-re-growing that you do is interesting and I’d love to know more details – I’ve realised it’s a metaphor for how you live your life?

N: “hair-growing-cutting-selling-re-growing “- at first I thought to correct the ‘selling’ part. It brings me connotations of something not pure, something with a price tag. However in the core of the things you are right thou.. I do “sell” my hair, because I do get something in return. It is the pleasure that my hair could make the hard time some little kid goes through a little bit more human, normal, pretty even. I do love it. Same as blood donations, same is smiling to people, same as to pick up the key someone dropped in front of me. In our daily life we constantly interact with other people and of course we prefer when our interactions are with people we like, or make us feel good etc. In those moments we are taking, right? We learn to look after ourselves and we most of the time know how to take, without even thinking about it. We deserve it- right? We all deserve the best. But there are sometimes in life when people get the short stick. I had moments like that in my life? Did you? ..I think everyone has.. and in those moments to have somebody around us and to help us is game changer. I’m not so clever to be able to create a medicine to cure cancer. I’m not strong enough to be able to take the pain away from the people. I’m not wise enough to discover the way of happy, no trouble lifestyle and I don’t know many languages so to be able to share the truth with everyone… but I have hair- not the best hair, but I look after it well, grow it long as I can and then shave it, donate it to a charity for wigs for little brave fighters and hope that, this  will make them smile even for one precious moment. I love giving. There is this saying “Whatever You Give is Truly Yours”.                                                                           

Leeds Art Gallery: ART CLASS ONLINE

Leeds Art Gallery posted this today: Still life as a way of describing a particular kind of subject matter in art practice has been used for a very long time. The Tate says, “Still life includes all kinds of man-made or natural objects, cut flowers, fruit, vegetables, fish, game, wine and so on. Still life can be a celebration of material pleasures such as food and wine, or often a warning of the ephemerality of these pleasures and of the brevity of human life (see memento mori). 

From this it’s clear that some artists who make artworks about man made and natural objects are communicating something beyond the look of the things they are picturing. Paint, stone and plastic are just a few of the materials that can be used to make a Still Life artwork. The objects in themselves could also be used as well. In Still Life art, it is the selection, arrangement and picturing of objects that communicates what an artist wants to say. So what can Still Life art say about Stilled Lives, and can it help us notice how we are feeling and thinking?

We’ve put together a package of resources, including an electronic copy of a collection artwork and an art-film, to explore these ideas further. Just email art.gallery@leeds.gov.uk if you’d like to know more.

Image: Various Flowers (c1807–76) by Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Pena (c) the Bridgeman Art Library

The last biscuit debate continues – should or shouldn’t you?



Today’s Zoom session for Art Derbyshire and the Cultural Prescribing pilot went to new levels. [A commission that sees me working closely with Link Worker staff from across the county to consider how engaging in creative activity helps nurture them and support the work they do with their clients]. By their very nature these highly motivated stretched to capacity workers are empaths and generous. They make do with little resources and are driven by the limitations. Both of which makes me not surprised by their responses to the question: Would you eat the last biscuit or give it away? All said ‘give it away’ bar one who only then would save half for herself.

Why though were we considering this question? I was initially interested in mirroring their responses back to catalyse a conversation about value and worth. I wanted us to consider how given our traits and the nature of the role, our answer would help us she how we can be easily led into a position of being exhausted or put upon. I wanted, I guess, to see how thinking about ourselves is as important as what we deliver. And as a good friend of mine would say: “if I’m overwhelmed I cant be of use, so being safe is about staying useful”. This all links back to considerations I’ve done over many years in relation to resilience, both of ourselves and the nurturing of it with others. Resilience I believe is about accessing, acting on and actioning choice and often we cant do this when we’ve given away everything. I, alongside artist Katie Smith, considered this at Ash Villa – a young people unit in Lincolnshire. We used the biscuit idea, then as now, as a metaphor to consider concepts of why we loose focus, loose resilience, loose power… we considered how if we give away all our power in the support and help of others we become depleted.

But why is this interesting for Link workers today? Of course it addresses the same Resilience ideas. But also I propose it helps us consider in a creative, artful, skewed, non-direct way, a base line assessment? Maybe it also reminds us that just because you can doesn’t mean you should, which might help us to consider choice? Does it let us reflect on where we all stand as we start, alerting us to our own health/wellbeing – helping us consider how close to exhaustion or overload we are? I wonder too can asking the biscuit question of others help us be more responsible of what we ask of them? I would argue that saving the last biscuit helps us see our own agency and gives us the power to demand that we deserve to be cared for to?


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