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?
Exhibition 42 features two Biro drawings, on found book pages, from the set I no longer fear the invisible, I’m terrified by reality / Blind faith? Kate says: I bought the torn-from-a-book-pages in a small shop in Venice. Using a black biro I scribbled over the religious characters represented to cover all but their tender hands. Hands that without their wider context become non-gendered and symbols of worry, protection and power that exist in all of us. I rather think of them as a trinity, where the white hands acts as metaphors for the current biases and issues surrounding Venice and the approaches of fear, faith, fortitude, being lived out there today by residents and supporters alike. Approaches that I could argue are all attempts at freedom. Further information about these works can be found here
Alice Pool is an early career artist from Sheffield, currently living in Hackney. The Notice Board showed her work back in 2020 as she graduated from Glasgow School of Art. Then as now Alice’s work deals with feelings, freedom and play. Her use of drawing seems to help this exploration. The Notice Board has always liked how she foregrounds living beings in her work helping us reflect on all our actions. Actions that we now know have effects on all our and their freedoms. Out of Misery Alice says: is a painting thats part of a series I am working on that considers how kids figure out their place and power in the world through the caring and killing of animals. I like to explore childhood in my work and the freedom and naivety of children’s minds. I am fascinated how their unknowing drives them to test things.When I was younger me and my brother used to chop the heads off worms to see if they would grow new ones. We would attempt to drown ants with a hose pipe and once we cared for a dying baby hedgehog by building it a home out of a shoe box. These experiences play a significant part in who I am today and where I place myself as a free willed being. They taught me how to love and nurture, what it means to inflict pain, how far my actions can affect other beings, and what it is to grieve and celebrate life.
Exhibition 40 is titled Borders and showcases new collaborative work by Danish artists Anders Gammelgaard-Nielson and Iben West. Of the work they said: We had a great collection of flags in our house. Living with these flags has made us aware of the strong sense of nationality that these flags represent. No matter what we do with the flags they are heavily loaded with connotations of nationality and territory. Among the collection we have made a selection of just two flags. The Danish flag Dannebrog that dates back to 1219 and the English flag Saint George’s Cross dating back to the 1270s. Originating from almost the same time in the history, the Middle Ages and the time of the crusades, having the same colours, red and white and even sharing the Christian Cross they are very alike and yet so different. Distinguished by history, tradition, land, language, nationality they evoke different feelings, memory and a strong sense of cultural identity. However, set in a contemporary context the two flags immediately instigate a sense of antagonism and the existence of borders. Would it be possible to erase the borders and leave a sense of unification by the simple act of folding the two flags together and let their colours and pattern intertwine or would it be an act of confrontation or even provocation? What is the symbolic power of flags? Can this be measured by the act of folding? The Notice Board is interested in how many artists have steered away from using national flags, creating their own designs and disrupting notions of nationality that way. Anders and Iben have tackled the subject head on, leading to multiple interpretations that asking if its ever possible to escape the claiming power of a flag? Or rather, given the Notice Board’s Land of the Free? theme is this flag now more problematic and loaded?
Smith-Genever work predominantly in stitch, developing co-created artworks which respond to experiences of working with marginalised communities. By recognising stitch can help people make-sense and resist the chaos of life, they promote sewing as a way for people to explore tricky stuff and to ‘power up.’ This approach allows for connection with individuals at deeply emotional levels, which is mirrored in the resulting artworks which has included banners, quilts, t-shirts, patches and prints. The Notice Board recognises how, at this time, many of us need to find strength to cope with issues that are beyond our control. This selection from Smith-Genever’s large archive aims to offer support though the sharing of wisdoms collected from people who have or are coping with life’s hard stuff. The Notice Board stands by Smith-Genever in their belief that art is a serious business. And that alongside the creative act, making art can provide routes and opportunities for personal growth and the building of resilience. The ultimate freedom.
All works shown in No one’s coming to save you! were made with different people, of different ages, from many different contexts. We all acknowledge all their inputs and efforts and with respect keep them anonymous.
This month’s exhibition: Finding a Happy Ending showcases a work by Jackie Berridge while also drawing attention back to the war in Ukraine. Jackie’s work highlights how making art can help us cope with things beyond our control and how in particular drawing lets us speak our deepest truths. This makes the Notice Board believe art really is the last place of freedom.
Jackie says: “My work is a mash of inspiration from childhood memories, dreams and fairy stories. I create fantastical landscapes populated with people and anthropomorphic creatures, telling tales of joy, sadness mixed with shades of darkness for the viewer to interpret. For example, the tiny tombs at the foot of the drawing might be the tragic result of combat, or alternatively these shadowy little forms might represent defiant little beans of bravery, standing proud in the face of the enemy.
Making drawings provides a means of escape during times of crisis such as the pandemic. The work shown here focuses on my reaction to the war in Ukraine; I found it difficult to comprehend and sought ways to process and deal with the situation. I am reminded of waking up from a bad dream or a recurring nightmare when the challenge is to change the ending. Through drawing I explore ways of avoiding the horror by providing various shelters, bothies and dwellings as sanctuary and exploring the potential of transformation.
Observational drawing is an important part of the process. But as ideas progress, I prefer to work from memory and imagination, even surprising myself as landscapes and beings emerge in unexpected ways. I love to contrast different gestural marks with graphic elements and occasionally I add objects drawn directly from life which have a personal significance.”
EXHIBITION 37 is by Mike Sprout from Hull. It is titled: This place in fourteen flags. The Notice Board was interested in how Mike would interprete its ongoing theme – The Land of the Free?. His response is 14 works that will be changed every 2 days. We see them as a manifesto that encourages us to trust ourselves and our abilities to cope, hope and create – to live free? Mike says:These images represent elements in my journey as I learn to love the land I call home, the people I call community and myself. Loving reality, Understanding difficulty,discovering deeply, finding true integrity… The following list offers us titles and detailed description of each work.
Egg. Egg, cosmos, beginning, all. Take a broad view, a god’s eye view
Plant. Breath of the world, support of all life and converter of all sun energy. World-tree-trunk, our part of the cosmos, here amongst the foliage.
Animal. Within this pink human flesh body, an ancient ape, an animal, raging emotions inherited from billions of years of being an animal. The evolutionary miracle of my feelings and impulses
Friends. Circle of people, humans, gift economy, talking and listening. Miracle of community, mutual support, empathy
Disaster. Change, mystery, trouble. Eventually all things explode, all things turn to ash!
Magpie. Black and white in conflict, conversation, meeting, joining, interlocking. Opposites depend on one another. Opposites meet loudly, beautifully. This is where new things are born, a new whole containing both poles
Growth. I grow beyond my borders, as I expand I see I contain multitudes! I am a container for so many emotions, memories, experiences. I am a world-self, a whole community. I have a golden being living and growing within me, I’m like a mother, like a planet.
Manifesto. Revolution, conscience, stoic solidity standing on the pulsing earth. Strength within good decisions
Care. Hugging myself, self-care, The inner feeling of love, if I can’t love myself how can I love anybody else? Quiet moments to notice, heal and cherish.
Rising. Emergence from below, a rising truth. Let the land and its secrets help shape the future. Our collective history, collective trauma is welcomed back from the shadows, into the air
Action. Action radiates out of me now in every direction! Cycles, patterns, recurrence, change. What movements and shiftings are we a part of? How are we connected to each other’s efforts and struggles? Communal action, commoning, how can we work together?
Snake. Guts, cthonic, snake, abdominal-earth-power. I have the blessing of the nether-regions
Tiger. Confidence, King, Apollo, Lugh, Grace. I move like a tiger, ruling the world. So often we are sorry excuses for humans, let’s shed shame and roam our jungles like we own the place, walking in harmony with our environment, unafraid of our instincts…
Bird. Essence, passion, identity, calling, inspiration. There is a soul bird within me, that wants to soar. I glide, my whole being knows the way.
Mike Sprout is an artist specialising in murals, zines, wood-carving, painting, drawing, risograph printing and community arts. He’s also a founding member of Ground, a community arts centre on Beverley Road in Hull. @mikesprout on Instagram