Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Freedom of Broken Minds

Eliza Glapinska presents her installation "Raped Freedom " at the Participate Artspace on Saturday 7th November


Raped Freedom is my fundamental work. It is during this process that I developed and found my own direction and philosophy as an artist. Using my background skills in textiles, I communicated with my audience through my art. My limitation in language necessitated a message spoken through artwork, for everyone whose freedom was restricted.

My installation artwork takes a chosen space, such as churches, a courtroom, old shops, outdoor spaces and galleries, to develop the appropriate atmosphere. They are open to everyone who wishes to enter.

My previous artwork, ‘Raped Freedom’, is an inspiration for my masterpiece Freedom of Broken Minds. The continued idea of giving my 12 metres of canvas to my audience and constantly expanding the length by another 12 metres of canvas, installed in the shape of a labyrinth or maze, always including the sound of the songs and red strings of lights. This will be a long-term development, a lifetime’s work, where I will expand the issue of the powerful influence of tradition, religion and culture against human rights, especially women’s freedom, in our lifetime. This means my Masters artwork will not end until I die.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Artist Jill Impey is bringing her creation back to Shrewsbury. The full-size female Indian elephant sculpture took over a year to make from donated, old and unwanted furniture dowel jointed to a plywood base, and was made in the studios of Participate Contemporary Artspace, in the old Co-op building of the Riverside Shopping Centre.

The sculpture is part of an exhibition called the Elephant in the Room Conversations on display at Powis Castle until 30 October.  Jill Impey, former lecturer at the art school, Shrewsbury College, curated the exhibition of more than 20 artworks by Welsh and Borders artists most of whom she has worked alongside at the art school.

I have always been interested in the connections between Powis Castle and Shrewsbury, through the Clive family and in particular the South Asian artefacts in the collection. The aim of the exhibition is to engage visitors in discussions about, the relationships between trade, British colonial history, and the migration of peoples ideas and objects, said Jill who has been a director of Participate Contemporary Artspace, Community Interest Company since February 2015.

There was a lot of interest in the elephant as I was making it through the year and people were able to see it laid out on the floor of the studio. I'm looking forward to bringing it back to Shrewsbury along with the rest of the exhibition, so that local people and visitors can interact with it. It will be different from the Powis Castle exhibition,  because it's not amongst the collection, but I expect to have many interesting conversations because of the link with Clive of India and Shrewsbury in particular.

The project has been very successful at Powis Castle, having been visited by schools, Colleges and community groups alongside the regular National Trust visitors, and while it has not received any funding it has benefited from the excellent support of the Castle staff and volunteers. Jill is in the process of re-applying for funding and hoping to be able tour the exhibition to at least two more venues in 2016.  Exhibiting in Wales and the fact that I'm not a Welsh artist, limits the availability of financial support for this kind of project, but this highlights the themes of the exhibition in relation to borders and boundaries both personal and geographical.

The Elephant in the Room Conversations exhibition will be at Participate Contemporary Artspace throughout November from 3rd.-30th.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Mark Making and Visual Texture Workshop

Saturday 10.10.15.

A small but perfectly formed session led by Reg Cooper and Phill Evans which forms the first element of an ongoing piece of work in which the artists of Participate are working cooperatively.  The finished pieces will be displayed in a public Shrewsbury building, details to follow, and will include 2D and sculptural elements.

After building an abstract image onto a large sheet of paper (disposable table cloths) by drawing around figures laying on it the sheet was then painted in two colours for positive and negative spaces.  The sheet was then quartered (when it dried...note: less dilution makes for quicker drying and the paper is less likely to rip...) and laid onto similar sized sheets to strengthen it.

We then spent a few minutes making textural marks, mostly on the positive space colour, using a variety of wet and dry media.  These included marker pens, brush pens, stamping using offcuts of wood, paint & brush, finger marks etc etc etc.  Whatever was to hand which was quite a lot being next to so many artist studios!
The sheets went from being striking but a bit flat abstract images.....
To incredibly involved and developed areas of visual texture.

I experimented with thickening the dividing line between positive & negative areas.  The jury is still out on this so it's only on this one....

The purpose of this workshop wasn't in fact to come up with some more or less pretty patterns.  It was the first of a series of sessions in which users of the building the artworks will be placed can contribute to it's development.

The brief for Participate is to produce a site specific artwork which will be in two parts.  Firstly a 2D element will be printed on vinyl to be installed onto windows in dividing walls, ostensibly to provide separation and privacy. The second element of the finished piece will be a permanent suspended sculptural work hung over the public are and visible both from both above and below.

This first workshop begins the process of collecting a body of elements which have been produced by the building's users that will form the resources which will be composited into the image which will be printed in vinyl.

At the end of the session we had made four large images, elements of which can be taken, digitised and used to develop the final, printed piece for the windows.  The next sessions will take these pieces and can (but doesn't have to) use them as a starting point to develop physical textures using fabric and other media.

Here are examples of close-ups of the finished pieces:




Thursday, 8 October 2015

You own the means of production. So produce!

The first episode of the BBC's series "Music for Misfits: The story of Indie" is bloody good!  If you were around it'll give you some chills of memory, if you weren't there (and here I am speaking to you whippersnappers) it might just give you the confdence to do what us old folk have forgotten.  Go out and make something creative that is all your own!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

It's about context, not taste.

Posted by Phill Evans

It's all about context, not taste.

Charlie Hebdo was recently criticised for publishing a cartoon using Aylan Kurdi's death by drowning (two, actually) as being in poor taste. So was Mac, the cartoonist for the Daily Mail who managed to concatenate the death of Cilla Black and the Calais migrant crisis into one drawing.

I've not been able to find comments about the cartoons by the actual cartoonists but whilst I *have* found discussion about the motivation for Mac's cartoon (that it was not racist and abusive but rather a subtle dig at white/christian privilege) I have found no such discussion of the Hebdo cartoons. Much of the criticism of Mac's cartoon was summed up as it being in "poor taste." Many of the DM readers who criticised expressed support for the gist but varying degrees of outrage at the taste.

My personal take is this. Each cartoonist was working for, and clearly shares the politics of, a publication which throughout it's history has been consistent in it's political standing despite much vilification. Each publication enjoys consistent popularity.

Hebdo is a left wing publication with roots in the iconoclastic situationist movement. It regularly and routinely publishes cartoons which lambast, challenge and undermine public "taste" as being rank hypocrisy. In their
 use of Aylan Kurdi (or rather the effects of the photograph of the little boy) they are unapologetically aiming to hurt the reader who has enjoyed the frisson of grief given by the original photograph but who permits such atrocity to continue whilst enjoying the bounties denied to Aylan, his siblings and thousands of others.

Left cartoon text "Proof that Europe is Christian. Christ walks on water. Muslim children sink."
Right cartoon text: "So near the goal..." and "Promo! Childrens menu two for the price of one"
Both cartoons seem to hammer at the fascist view that such a tragedy is a double win, a dead muslim who isn't in Europe...

On the other hand, the Daily Mail has a long history of right wing bias which goes back to Lord Rothermere being an out and out fascist and Hitler fan boy in the 1930's. It regularly exploits social division, and where possible some external "threat" such as jews, the Irish, black people, the internet, video games  etc to bolster the prevailing social and class system in the UK. So when Mac pens a cartoon in which a saintly Cilla (looking uncannily like DM saint Margaret) being threatened by a "swarm" of migrants I believe that there is unlikely to be any message, however couched, which runs counter to the prevailing political message of the publication itself. 

It is all about context.

Do you have any thoughts or comments?  Please let us know below!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Shrewsbury Market and the Flaxmill Maltings come together at Participate Artspace!

Participate is pleased to be holding a join exhibition of works from today. Celebrating both fifty years of the Shrewsbury Market and the artistic community which has grown up around the renovation of the Flaxmill Maltings.

The works on show include a full sized replica of the finial  which tops the Market tower (made by Keith Ashford and Liz Turner) but it in no way dominates or detracts from the many drawings, sculptures and objects which are also part of this large and exiting exhibition.

There is a private view this evening (16th September 2015) so please come along, enjoy the artworks and meet some of the artists.