Exhibition 52: Samantha Gray. Title: Dowsing at Brodgar, Orkney. Monoprint, Sketchbooks and Dowsing Rods Samantha says: In 2022 I gained financial support through Creative Scotland’s VACMA fund. This allowed me to pursue a project which involved me using dowsing rods at the archaeological sites of the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar and the Neolithic burial cairn Maeshowe. The dowsing activity was recorded by drone which created wonderful images. During the activity at the sites, I had helpers who laid stones (gathered from Skaill beach near Skara Brae) where the dowsing rods crossed, creating a grid of sorts. These lines of connection at each of the sites create an unseen view of the landscape. But what do they represent? Energy of water, remnants of the Neolithic people who walked there, or ley lines? Whatever the reason, these sites are connected. I am fascinated by these prehistoric sites, the lines they make on the landscape, the natural elements, and the feelings that the sites invoke. Using line and being influenced by maps, archaeological site plans and surveys, I express my own lines of connection to the sites through drawing and print. My monoprints focus on the ditch shapes around the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness, a feature on the landscape not instantly visible. I wanted to remove the obvious focus from the stones to consider the energy of the land around them. During a dowsing activity I tracked my movements and this was the inspiration for the additional silvery design. The concertina sketchbooks were created when returning from a visit to the sites, using inks and Ness of Brodgar spoil heap dirt. They express my feelings while dowsing and my connection to the land and the energy present there.
Samantha is a mixed media artist and printmaker from Orkney. Her main inspiration is the archaeological sites within the parish of Stenness. UNESCO named this area the ‘Heart of Neolithic Orkney’. Samantha graduated from Orkney College in 2019 with an Honours Degree in Fine Art, and completed a Masters module in Art & Archaeology in 2020. She is a member of the Orkney Archaeology Society.
During 2022 The Aimless Archive visited HU3 in Hull asking Where are the things we love being kept? Are they at risk? What systems do we put in place in order to keep these things safe? An archive was built. These ‘Stories of Storage’ are what form the basis of the current exhibition, which also invites views to take a cassette or alternatively listenHERE The Aimless Archive says:It was in Left Bank Books, Pike Place Market, Seattle that I first picked up an audio zine at the end of 2022 – it was in the form of a cassette tape. My repeated Wednesday visits to the HU3 postcode in Hull had petered out a month or two earlier and I was thinking about how all that work – the archive I built – could be displayed. On the same trip to the US, I visited the grave of Raymond Carver – known best for his short stories. At the grave there is a metal box beneath a bench with a blue notebook inside – for visitors – fans – to leave a message. The audio zines could be stored in a metal box at the foot of the board. I slept well in a log-cabin at the foot of Mount Rainer and dreamt Pacific-wide – big sky dreams. The West Coast – right across to the port city in the East of England. Thinking about that as one frightening land mass – the land of the free. But a Carver short story – ‘Why Don’t You Dance?’ – also shuffles into my psyche. A man living amongst his possessions spread out on the front yard of an empty house. As if it were a yard sale. Is the man getting rid of it all? Declaring freedom from clutter. A couple of months after I got back from Seattle – I read about the San Francisco Tape Music Center – then about the composer Steve Reich and his tape-loops and phasing patterns. Two tape machines run at fractionally different speeds – a repeating sound falls out of sync – ‘phasing’ – if it runs for long enough then it falls back into sync – catching itself back up. Something within this speaks to the Stories Of Storage project.
The Aimless Archive is an art project, working across text, conversation, performance and collecting. It uses archival processes to question what we keep and what we get rid of. This approach might include a slowing down to see, the catching of overheard conversations, a process of cataloguing finds. Work often takes the form of a book – a box – a by-product.
Beauty cleanses the mind is the title of Exhibition 50. Kate says: My response to the first lockdown was to ask – how could I help? Flowers seemed important given their role in challenging times. This led to research on the hidden meanings of flowers which was used historically as a way to send coded messages. In response I created a series of small bouquets using flowers from my garden. Over six weeks I made six bouquets and took six shots of each using a 1970’s Polaroid camera. These were then offered weekly (on a first come first served basis) and sent for free to a nominated recipient. I posted them with an accompanying letter explaining the gift, the name of their nominator and the flowers meanings. I sent these gifts to people’s isolated parents, front line workers, missed friends and sad children. This is a reproduction of one of the polaroids and features a bouquet of Peonies, Rose and Aqualija – Good Fortune, Love and Resurrection. It’s part of a larger work called “Wanna Meet me halfway” which features a collection of 18 double sided prints selected from my archives and encourages viewers to make their own exhibition with the contents. Each print is accompanied by piece of writing made by curators and artists I’ve worked with over the last 12 years. Sometimes their words came first and other times I asked them to respond to the selected image. This one features a poem by Mark Richards.
The exhibition Drawing (Paper) Show was an extended by a special edition of the Drawing Paper. Which showcases the diverse and varied drawings of 50 artists from around the world. The exhibition at The Bridewell Studios and Gallery, Liverpool, ran from 22nd July – 13th August 2023. The paper, published and designed in Liverpool, is shared nationally. Both explore the idea of drawing for drawing’s sake.
The Notice Board is showing the complete paper with pages being changed every two days. The Notice Board is interested in how “drawing for drawing’s sake” is a universal freedom available to all. And just like “art for art’s sake” it has the potential to challenge power and exert personal/ individual choice.
United Arts Network is a small group of learning disabled artists working together to promote their artistic achievements, individuality, independence and autonomy as creative people. They share ideas and inspire each other while also actively engaging with artistic practitioners and groups in the wider community.
The group meet at Rob Bibby’s Woodnewton Pottery Studio in Northamptonshire. They have found great support, friendships and further opportunities through this vibrant and engaging rural arts space. The Network has flourished in this setting finding strength, connection and a sense of belonging to a much wider artistic community.
The artists showing are Emily Jinks with prints of paintings: Bop Pop and Summertime Spread. Emily says of Bop Pop: “I like bubbles and round round going pop, outside being with garden friends fun! Bop!”. She described Summertime Spread as ‘Star, sky, planet looking flowers everywhere Spread! and Andy King with the flag: American Dream. Supported artist Ruthie Williams, has used the flag to express ideas around the free movement of people given the current struggle by many to do this.
The Notice Board is a radical space – an action in the face of the enormous challenges of our time – be that ecological, social, political. It uses art and ideas as an act of resistance. United Arts Network mirror this ambition as they strive to find new ways to make work and speak out.
Exhbition 47 features a double sided Screenprint on A1 newsprint titled I am here, for you and a HOME LAND flag. Both by Kate Genever. Kate says: Side one features an unfired dried hard raw clay thumb pot, from a set of 18, that have overheard quotes scratched onto their surface. The pots, made from clay dug at Croft Farm, Uffington, stand on individually made Hawthorn rings, which are on side two. The prints were created both to wrap the pots in and as a gift for those attending a showcasing event. The pots of I am here, for you were created in response to research about farming practices in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. But in particular a consideration on how farmers and countryside specialists work in, on and with the land; and how we imaginatively transfer, draw up, celebrate, distil and repurpose it for the healing and nourishment of ourselves and others. I undertook 25 interviews which produced the words that are on the pots.
The Notice Board is interested in how Kate’s pots and their phrases reveal a farmers embroiled, embedded and engaged relationship with the land. Posing a question: Are these people really free?
Kate Genever is an artist and farmer. More work can be seen HERE
For this months show Pauline asks: Do you know what you are made of? The dust of stars. Elements such as oxygen, carbon, nitrogen to the iron in your blood are your physical building blocks. Your evolution has been eternal. Regardless of our heritage we are interconnected from the very depths of the universe on a vast molecular level. You are in the body of your ancient ancestors who looked to the night sky in necessity and navigation. Today many indigenous communities are struggling to maintain a deep connection to their sky heritage due to the increase in light pollution and objects in low earth orbit.
Constructed of personal x-rays, astrophotography and alternative photographic images, The Body and The Universe asks you to take a moment and consider the relationship to our biological interconnectedness through the depths of the universe. Which The Notice Board might argue is never The Land of the free?
Pauline is based in the East Midlands and considers her relationship to sky, time, place and astronomy often in an urban setting. Her photo ‘Solar Tree’ is the winning image of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022 and she was shortlisted for the Investment Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2021. paulinewoolley.co.uk
Exhibition 45 feature two works by Lincoln based Liverpool born artist, shroud maker and celebrant Lena Sass. Titled Shrouds and Ashes the works are cyanotype shroud as flag and ash print. Lena says: My shrouds are a new take on an ancient concepts, that of making sustainable and biodegradable alternatives to coffins – fabric covers that protect the body at burial. They are artworks too that celebrate the individual and offer a unique artefact to represents a life. I believe my shrouds are a beautiful last gift before burial. Made using direct sunlight to create the image these earth bound items fade over years (just like us). But when placed in a safe dark place the image will stay until the earth takes it and the cloth. A perfect poetic combination of art and death it seems he ‘Ash Print’ is a digital version of an original litmus type paper where the ashes of an individuals are split in a scientific process that reveals the elements contained within us. For the one shown I used my dog Clem’s ashes – he always had the moon in his eye and beautifully it appeared her in this print. The Notice Board is pleased to be sharing these two potent works that talk of love and loss. Emotions that throughout history have been used in the creation of artefacts that hold memories and meaning. Objects that are kept or sent with lost loves on their journey into the afterlife. A place that perhaps is the only true Land of the free?.
Lena Sass is an artist who has developed and led many community based projects, enabling people to create meaningful and life enhancing work. As Director of Understanding Arts, Artlink and The Professors (a radical group of adults with learning disabilities) she has been a quiet instigator of change. She aims now to effect change in the death industry to celebrate the individual and respect the earth.
Exhibition 44 features a drawing and new flag work by Sue Shields entitled The Fettered Crumb. Sue says: Much of my work is derived and reimagined from stories found in song, history, landscape and contemporary experiences. I understand the world to be a place of predicament, loss, beauty and contrasts.Crumb is an imagined character. A personification of the tilled agricultural soil of the Fen. They are an amorphous creature battling with environmental pressures immersed in its own legacy of ever depleting fertility. It’s a primal force who attracts other pilgrims on its journey through our shared national landscape and only one part of my own imagined epic: The Coronach, which is a mourning lament.
Sue is an based in printer and mixed media artist in East Lothian. Until 2022 she was based in Peterborough and worked at The Crumb Studio in the Cambridgeshire Fens. Instagram: @sueshields_art
Exhibition 43 showcases two new works by French artist Celine Siani Djiakoua. Who says: Knowing no cultural or political boundaries, the archetype of the snake-woman or fish-woman can be found all around the world and in earliest pre-religious depictions. Sometimes having wings, she can escape and fly wherever she wishes. I like to dream of her as Nature on Earth. A natural force, existing within the psyche of Humanity and within the natural world itself, all around the globe. I feel her when I select the plants for my botanical prints. She’s been making me to draw her for years now. Here she is again, existing wherever she pleases, knowing no boundaries …. One day I would like to tell the story of how she entered my life, a long time ago, through series of synchronicities, as archetypes do …. But in the meantime, I work “with her”, using plants and other natural materials to produce botanical prints and natural inks of all sorts.
The Notice Board selects artists to show here by considering how their work relates to the theme The Land of the Free?. For Celine and her work there are many connections and reasons. For example we could think about the freedom of natural forces and how nature makes itself available as a material for Celine to utilise. Or we might see how colonisation and ongoing oppressions continue to impact personal and public freedoms. The Notice Board wonders what freedom you might consider as you look at her work?