Exhibition 58 – Esther Wilson

hbition 58: Esther Wilson – Quilt flag
Quilts are connected to Women’s work. A quilt speaks of domestic labour, of clothing and comforting and providing and nourishing children. They are a creative output with a practical application. A pieced quilt can be a record of a family’s life and a woman’s emotions. Quilts hold history and track lives. They are a family record held in your hands; a connection passed down through cloth. 
Making this piece I thought of the children wrapped in white shrouds, cradled by their mothers during the genocide in Gaza. I thought of the loss of stitched history, the devastation of domestic textiles. Children’s bedding destroyed, soft toys disfigured and curtains turned ashen grey.
Red is a colour used extensively in Palestinian Tatreez. Red is a colour of danger, bravery and passion. Pink is a colour of sensitivity, of femininty, of childhood. 
The land of the free? Are our mothers free? Are we free within a world that allows genocide? 

Esther is a London based artist and dressmaker. She trained in Embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework (2017) She makes work, both wearable and unwearable, looking at grief, motherhood and domesticity. 

Exhibition 57 – Anna Reading

Exhbition 57: Anna Reading. The Lands of the Free?

Anna’s work deals with issues around anthropocentric perspectives and the subsequent impacts upon environments, bodies, and human psyches. Her work looks to more-than-human life forms for lessons in survival within hostile settings.
When invited to create a work for the specificity of a flagpole, I wanted to situate the work within the landscape for which it would be shown. The work is based on a walk along the flood plain of the river Welland, running South of Uffington. The walk was an attempt to explore a landscape where the notion of free-ness(?) could be explored through flow, flux and entropy. During the walk, I encountered multiple examples of entanglements; sheeps wool wrapped around fences, grasses caught in seed heads, creepers entwined around branches, sedges matted in mud clumps. All of this material stuck-ness was activated by sunlight and a healthy breeze. My sculptural intervention explores what it is to be entangled, both as a restriction to movement while also a support system.
I am drawn to the contradictions inherent within the notion of the ‘Free?’ and what that means in terms of a ‘Land’. In an attempt to physically deconstruct the official fixedness of a flag, the work features materials which playfully interact with the weather, a sun-reflective rigid aluminium flag shape, and protective roofing felt tendrils to be activated by the wind. The notice board features a woven roofing felt and metal textile, entwined with loose materials collected along the River Welland’s flood plain.

Anna Reading is a Newcastle-born artist, now living and working in London. She holds an MfA in Sculpture from the Slade School of Fine Art (2017) and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Central St Martins (2010). Reading is the winner of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award 2018-19. www.annareading.co.uk

Exhibition 56 – Soraya Smithson

Title: Flags, notice boards, quilts and the power of Symbols.

Soraya Smithson is a multi-disciplinary artist with a studio 2.6 miles from the Notice Board and Flag Pole. She is a member of Leicester Print Workshop and uses a council run ceramic studio also in Leicester. Her work led by ideas; first the what, then the how, then the why.
Art is all about colours and symbols. Whilst researching the suffrage movement for a commission in 2018 I was struck by the power of repeated colours to convey a message. From this my mind turned to the use of fabric, colour and pattern in propaganda. And from there to banners as spaces of protest and then to the interlocking pattern blocks in quilts that were used as subversive message bearers during the American Civil War.
So when I was offered a flag pole on which to display a flag, that was my starting point. From my initial thoughts on the meanings of fabric, symbols and colour I came up with a design for a flag with 18 variants, and also a mini-quilt made from the scraps of these flags. I wanted to explore the strong iconography of flags themselves, the Venus symbol representing female gender, and the evocation of a particular colour combination, green white and violet, using fabric, print and sewing.
Humankind are pareidolic animals – they perceive, analyse and interpret patterns.  Signs and symbols surround us. Signs give information or instruction, symbols represent something, something that might need context to understand. All symbols, colours and shapes come with historical meanings that are ever evolving and changing in meaning and uses. This constant shifting, via adoption, reappropriation, re-assignment and re-framing, makes fixed understanding and interpretation complicated.
Neither the colours of The Women’s Suffrage and Political Union nor the female gender symbol have been immune from appropriation to new causes to mean something other than originally intended.
The flags are screen-printed on Cotton Percale and then hand edged. The quilt is made up of six handsewn blocks.

Exhibition 55 – Kate Buckley & Joana Cifre Cerdà

waves           

in nowhere

______(feels like home)

wordless

________ly__

___at play

in the open

air

_________ ungraspable

Wavy (old marigold gloves, waterproof fabric, thread, whipping twine, rope and old tarpaulin).
Kate Buckley and Joana Cifre Cerdà have been making and doing things together, bumbling along, tinkering with ideas, materials, gestures, etc…  for about 12 years. They find explaining their work difficult because as soon as they attempt to fix it in a description it seems to escape any containment. Images and thoughts come and go, they  play with them.

Kate and Joana are based in Boston and Middle Rasen, Lincolnshire, and are part of the Lincoln based artist led studio General Practice.

Takeover

For 6 months Soraya Smithson will curate the Notice Board using the quizzical ‘The Lands of the Free?’ theme. Soraya says: This is a provocation to react, condemn and fight against injustices, corruption, oppression, traitorous words and deeds. Many gender equalities and freedoms have been won, however not universally. Many are still promised, compromised or reneged upon. All too often Women and those Othered are the first to suffer violence, marginalisation and the indignity of powerlessness. For this reason, my choice of artists are all women.  
February = Kate Buckley & Joana Cifre-Cerda
March = Soraya Smithson
April = Anna Reading
May = Esther Wilson
June – Naomi Frears & Ella Frears
July – Elspeth Owen Potter  

Exhbition 54 – Craig Fisher

Remains features two works:
Remains [Brick  Wall Rubble] 2024. Patchworked and painted cotton and
Remains [Broken Window] 2024. Patchworked and painted canvas
They form part of a series of textile works whose meanings appear to slip and slide. The Notice Board asks:
Are they figurative descriptions or abstract patterns?
Are they dumb soft things or subversive hard things?
Are they funny or not?
Are they representations of gentle ruination or of places purposely destroyed? 
Whichever way, The Notice Board is interested in:
How current affairs across the globe affect them.
How this village context changes them.
How it might feel to live with or near broken windows.
How patchwork and patchworking has always been a political.
How abstraction and pattern can appear in the unlikeliest of places.

Craig says: I’m interested in how these works (panel and flag) hover in an in-between space, acting as figurative representations (a broken brick wall and a smashed window) while at the same time being patterned formal abstractions. Ideas of destruction or ruination are juxtaposed with decorative motifs and craft techniques from textiles. I often draw inspiration and reference artists such as Philip Guston and have become particularly interested in his use of recurring motifs such as the brick wall. By employing an image of a fragmented brick wall within the flag work, it asks us to consider borders or boundaries and the futility of containment. The panel of a smashed window forms part of my fascination with the architectural ruin and abandoned spaces, it raises questions about violence and intentional decay.

Craig Fisher is an artist, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader BA (Hons) Fine Art at University of Derby. He lives in Nottingham and is a studio holder at PRIMARY. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally. In 2022, Fisher had solo exhibitions, FLAT SPACE, at Abingdon Studios Project Space Blackpool and a space in a space in a space at Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham. Recent group exhibitions include, An Elastic Continuum S1 Artspace, Sheffield (2023); A Generous Space, Hastings Contemporary and inclusion in touring exhibition, Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2021 (both 2021).

Exhibition 53 – Andy Parker

A Rock From An Island
Maritime Distress flag (with sleeves): Embroidered shirt, rope, wooden toggle.
A Rock From An Island: Folded giclee print on paper.

Andy says: A rock sits behind a glass panel embedded in the wall of a museum in Turku, Finland.  It has been moved 17,000km from the Island of Pourewa on the east coast of New Zealand. It’s surface looks sea washed, smooth and white, and it sits on a bed of light pink and grey pebbles (their origin is not recorded).  This rock commemorates Herman Spöring Junior, a watchmaker from Turku in Finland. He sailed on Captain Cook’s first voyage, during which Cook re-named Pourewa ‘Spöring Island’. Herman was the first person from Turku recorded in this part of the world but he died on the way home and was buried at sea. 
On Eastney seafront in Portsmouth, not far from where I was born, fortifications of concrete and steel, angled to repel hostile military forces, jut into the rising water, sliding, fissured, smashed smoothed and sinking.  The tide races between this point and Hayling Island opposite, the water heaping up as it rushes to fill Langstone Harbour and the salt flats which cut Portsea Island from the mainland beyond. I lift a smooth lump of concrete from the water’s edge into my arms. Rounded pebbles of unknown origin are exposed on its surface.  The rock is moved 127km to my friend Sam’s studio in London, where he helps me photograph it to make a poster as a reminder of the rock behind the glass panel embedded in the wall of a museum in Turku, Finland.
I printed this work for The Notice Board as I was thinking about time, territory and the sea.  Studying the Flood Map website I could see that, left unchecked, rising sea levels would leave the flag and noticeboard on a promontory reaching into the North Sea at the wide mouth of the River Welland.  By this time Portsmouth would be inundated, the rock in Turku would be under water and the Island of Pourewa would be divided into two, smaller, islands.  Herman Spöring would still be buried at sea, but it would be a different shape sea and there would be different stories.
The Maritime Distress flag (with sleeves). Onboard ship, flags are a source of useful coloured material, and I have seen examples with shaped holes cut out to fashion other items at sea.  One man I know used to cut all the white material from enormous naval flags to use as dust sheets.  This work, a maritime distress flag which is 30 miles from the sea, takes this repurposing in a new direction. Its form as a shirt alludes to a missing body, its empty, flapping arms a frantic wave for help.  The absent vessel suggests a wider context; a flag flown from the deck of a vast floundering vessel floating in space…

Andy Parker is an artist based in Somerset. He grew up in Portsmouth; his dad was a sailor in the Royal Navy and his mum is from the tiny South Atlantic Island of St Helena. With a nautical backdrop and a passion for unpicking and re-tangling history, his practice often turns toward the coast for its inspiration. He has been selected to exhibit at galleries including Arnolfini in Bristol, Outpost in Norwich and Studio Voltaire in London.  His work is held in public and private collections including the V&A, the British Museum, and Deutsche Bank in London, and the Frangenberg Collection in Cambridge. andyp.co.uk

Exhibition 52 – Samantha Gray

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.

Exhibition 51 – The Aimless Archive

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 listen HERE
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.

theaimlessarchive.com and @the.aimless.archive

Exhibition 50 -Kate Genever and Mark Richards

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.

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