Open Studio

Having bumped into Kathryn Miller at Federation House I was excited to piggy-back on her ‘Up On The 5th Floor’ open studio event. I opened my project space up for the evening and got a good showing of 25 or so visitors.

Shred Project open studio Jan 2014

We also had a chance for the Federation House artists to meet and do a brief introduction.

Federation House Artists meeting

Federation House Artists meeting

UP ON THE 5TH FLOOR #1 | An installation by Antoine Barrot

This will be the first in a series of events launching in 2014 which will provide regional, national and international artists a pop-up exhibition space to showcase their work, exploring a diverse range of artistic approaches. The events will all be situated within a former office space on the 5th floor of the Co-Operative’s Federation House in central Manchester part of Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces.

Federation House is quickly developing into a diverse creative community. To coincide with this exhibition by artist Antoine Barrot there will be an informal open 5th floor event where you can find out more about some of the different artists who are working within the building.

Curated by Kathryn Miller
Thur 16th Jan 2014, 5-9pm (Only)


Didsbury Parsonage: Final Installation

By the final day of my residency all the elements of the installation came together. Though it was strange coming to completion as the main exhibition was closing. Throughout the week many people had been through the Galleries, seen my work (both in process, and the finished pieces ‘Nests‘ and ‘Nested‘), but by late afternoon on the final Sunday no one was around. Nevertheless I did enjoy the sense of completion and the final work itself. And I have documented it for my blog and records. I’m sure it will get another outing in some form at some point.

Broken Soul of a Bird (detail) Watercolour.

Broken Soul of a Bird (detail) Watercolour.


Broken Soul of a Bird (Installation). Mixed Media, Wood, Shredded, Paper, Lining Paper, Russian Vine, Watercolour, willow withies, wire

Broken Soul of a Bird (Installation)

Broken Soul of a Bird (Installation). Mixed Media, Wood, Shredded, Paper, Lining Paper, Russian Vine, Watercolour, willow withies, wire


Feather (detail). Watercolour on lining paper.


Broken Soul of a Bird (Installation detail). Mixed Media, Wood, Shredded, Paper, Lining Paper, Russian Vine, Watercolour


Broken Soul of a Bird (Installation detail). Mixed Media, Wood, Shredded, Paper, Lining Paper, Russian Vine, Watercolour


Broken Soul of a Bird (Installation detail). Mixed Media, Wood, Shredded, Paper, Lining Paper, Russian Vine, willow withies, wire

IMG_1174This is the most complex installation I have created. I wanted to develop some sense of narrative and relationship between the components. The pallets and packing crate reference the importation of the exotic. And yet they also reference the curatorial process of the ongoing exhibition as ‘Fletcher Moss Art Gallery: Div/sion of Power’. I responded to curators’ Ryan Higgins and Adam Renshaw method of presenting the exhibition as a moment prior to a fully hung show. So the show had works in crates, on supports ready to hang and in a process of curatorial rearrangement. My installation echoed this state of transition, showing representations of birds, trees, nests and feathers in ‘importation mode’. And the original reference to the ‘Plumage League’, as the origin of the RSPB in Didsbury, remained pervasive.

Curators Office: publicly accessible archive and research space

Curators Office: publicly accessible archive and research space

Curators: Higgins Renshaw. Preparing in Didsbury Parsonage.

Curators: Higgins Renshaw

Note: Higgins & Renshaw

Higgins & Renshaw are fascinated by the developing role of the artist/curator with regard to active research in contemporary art practices. Treating each project as a critique of ‘insititutional indoctrination’, Higgins & Renshaw aim to investigate the relationship of space, place and heritage through curatorial devises which often appeal for wider audience participation. Paralleling the professionalism of business structures which in turn reflect gallery space aesthetics. the curators seemingly treat each space as a source of ‘anthropological’ analysis to uncover or reveal architectural significances relative to the building or gallery space.

Note from John Lynch: organiser and initiator of project

We not only put on an exhibition we created an entire Art Gallery.

The constant feedback we get is how professional it all was, this was mainly due to yourselves being a constant presence and interacting with the visitors. There was continuous improvement as the week progressed with visitor scripts being produced and so on. It was always intended that the installation would build (as you will have noted with the curators room), and only be completed towards the end of the project. But even we were taken aback by Roger finishing his final work as the gallery was closing. It was instantly dismantled, a rather beautiful piece that would never be seen.
Blog refs:
Further blog on my background research ‘When Birds Were Hats

As Far As We Got / So Far, So Good

Went to ‘As Far As We Got / So Far, So Good’ previews. These shows were for recently graduated artists fomr the North West. Good to see both the International 3 and Malgras Naudet exhibition spaces for the first time.

>> A graduate show across two spaces

AS FAR AS WE GOT curated by TheInternational3

Featuring. Ali gunn / Rebecca Kevill / Lucy McCall / Robyn McGowan / Rachel Pursglove / Rafal Topolewski / Mariana Torres

SO FAR, SO GOOD curated by HCollett/MTorres

Malgras|Naudet, 66 – 72 Chapeltown Street, Manchester, M1 2WH

Featuring. Jan Agulto / Topical Jungle / Cerlin Karunaratne / Daniel McMillan / Higgins & Renshaw / Naomi Tattum / Martin Walsh / Lucas E Wilson

Rafal Topolewski paintings stood out for me. He explains on his website:

In the 21st century we witness an enormous exchange of information, we are bombarded with more than we can receive and analyze. In the age of highly developed capitalism: computers, mobile phones, movies and digital photography have rapidly changed the way we observe and understand the world. More than ever before, human beings have the ability to be an observer of an observer, to invigilate surrounding environment trough mechanical devices, which became powerful, uncontrolled, didactic instruments. However this informative potential very often becomes deconstructive. It functions more to pervert human perception rather than creatively educating it, it produces an inherent unnatural world replacing a natural explorative process with artificial transformation provided by mechanical devices. The main role of creation in the perception of a new generation is played by digital photography and the Internet. Pictorial information is easily taken and submitted to the virtual world, it transforms the Internet into a highly uncontrolled and potentially deconstructive new language. This 21st century access to the pictorial world creates a great challenge for the traditional medium of painting, questioning its role in the modern world.

Also I am becoming more and more of a follower (fan?) of Higgins & Renshaw. Since their final year degree show at MMU (an art-curatorial exploration of the institutional complexities of the location, removal and remaining frame of a Burne-Jones Tapestry) they have continued to explore the boundaries of artistic creation and curation with an intelligent blend of seriousness and humour. At Malgras Naudet the curatorial interventions included the replacement of decayed ceiling plaster onto the floor, removal and replacement of one door to another doorframe to present two doors on a single doorframe, and the relocation and replication of (Malgras Naudet artist/director) Magnus Quaife’s studio furniture into to exhibition space.

DIY Art School

Went to the DIYAS opening last night. Interesting project and a good launch. They say:

“DIY Art School is a peer led, user-generated learning experience behaving as a fourth year for the graduating class of 2012. ‘Part research- part social experiment and art club’, we aim to support our graduates as creative independents formalising their own agendas and wider networks. Homed at the Lionel Dobie Project, DIYAS will be alive for one academic year only creating a space to promote collaborative behaviour and cross pollination among the participants”

“We welcome 2012 graduates across any discipline and from any University. DIYAS’ THINK reading group extends its hand to anyone curious who wishes to participate…”

I’m not a graduate yet, but it was good to participate in the reading group led by Bob Gaunt. We discussed an extract from Art Monthly issue 320, Oct 2008 which is an interview between curator/researcher Seth Siegelaub and artist/teacher Pavel Buchler (MMU).

Areas touched upon:

Is art a ‘vocation/calling’ or has it now become a ‘profession’?

Pavel Buchler makes an interesting comment: you can say perhaps “that the art world is the last remaining unregulated sector of capitalist enterprise. It is really the most ruthless business, there is no OffArt where you complain when you buy a rogue work of art, when you were misled by the title. Nobody defends the customer’s rights. Nobody regulates the prices. You could say that it is the  least professionalised zone of activity…the idea that the freedom of the artist stands for and tests the freedom of the wider society.”

But Seth Siegelaub counters: “….I don’t recognise that freedom….most artists are now coming from educational environments, whereas in my generation they were species of dropout of hippy. They wanted to make art because they wanted to do it…”.

The group talked about their individual experiences of being at Art School. There seemed to be no consensus on the pros and cons of current art school practice. People expressed a mix of responses from feeling the benefits to feeling the limitations of being within a university context.

I felt there could be a lot more teasing out of the pros and cons. Rather than either/or, good/bad. It is a complex issue and no doubt an ongoing debate both for existing undergrads and post-grads. There was a sense of excitement at the possibility of DIYAS meeting needs of recent graduates in terms of dialogue, cross-pollination (C.pol being a tenet of the Lionel Dobie Project of which DIYAS is a part of) and contexts free of the pressures of course assessment criteria.

We discussed group crits – do we sometimes just ‘wing it’, act out the presentation somehow? i.e. do we conform to perceived assessment expectations to the detriment of more authentic presentations? Is there a ‘game’ to be played?

After the reading group Stephanie Graham led a participatory practice session as a taster to longer full sessions later in the year. We were asked to write associative words to the word ‘run’. We then compared the similarities and differences in our lists. The outcome showed that there was very little overlap of identical words – most, if not all of us had pretty well unique lists of words. This shows how much variation there can be in response to a simple single word. It would be interesting to do the exercise with more complex words such as ‘education’, ‘professional’, ‘art-school’ etc. And then to use that as a basis for discussion.

The DIYAS open day closed with a ‘Speed Mating’ exercise led by Taneesha Ahmed. An exercise exploring the notion of ‘social networking’.

Speed Mating at DIYAS

After DIYAS opening was the launch of the Lionel Dobie Project space. Events included:

– Art&CraftBeer –
Our in-house brewers, under the stairs, have made an exclusive pale ale hopped with an L, a D and a P; available for one-night-only, the LDPale. ACB aim to produce an ongoing series of hand-crafted beers curated by their master brewer in collaboration with LDP residents and projects.

– Conway & Young –
Conway and Young are LDP’s second curators-in-residence exploring the term, curator, based on its original latin meaning to “take care” with consideration of design and education in relation to this. They will initiate a participatory work that will result in editioned objects; participants will be asked to take care of them for the duration of the project. 

by Mike Chavez-Dawson
Departure @ 10am
Arrival @ 4pm
A six-hour performance by our first curator-in-residence, Mike Chavez-Dawson, featuring LDP PMs, Helen Collett and Lois Macdonald. Mike will carry a gilded frame by hand and on foot to a number of LDP associate galleries and project spaces based in and around the city, receiving a story through speech and a word through writing from each. 
– Sponsored by Fentimans –

Intergenerational Dialogues

Mixing It Up: An Intergenerational Perspective interrogates the sustainability of artists’ practices (financial, motivational, environmental, political) and creates opportunities for intergenerational learning between the artists as well as a better understanding of these practices for audiences.

Aaron Williamson’s work as an artist is inspired by his experience of becoming deaf and by a politicised, yet humorous sensibility towards disability. Mostly, he devises unique artworks that are created on-site immediately prior to their public presentation. These consider the situation he encounters and represents, in part, his response to it. A constant theme is to challenge and subvert the romantic valorisation of social ‘outsiderness’ and thus he portrays himself in performances and videos in the guise of sham-shamans, pretend-primitives, hoax-hermits, fake feral children, charlatan saints and dubious monsters. With these figures he explores and devises humorous or absurd actions that reference and pay homage to the ‘classic’ period of performance art in the 1960s and 70s.  In the last ten years he has created over 200 performances, videos, installations and publications in Britain, Europe, Japan, Greenland, China, Australia and North America.

Katharine Meynell has been working as an artist since the late 1970’s. She studied at Byman Shaw School of Art and the Royal College of Art where, in 2000, she also completed a doctoral thesis on Time Based Work in Britain since 1980. Her works drift between material media, emerging as performances, bookworks, video installation and drawings. These are often in series, as records of precarious things. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally in spaces such as Franklin Furnace, Cabaret Melancholique, Serpentine Gallery, De La War Pavilion, Ikon Gallery and Tate Britain and her films are included in Luxonline with a monograph essay by Dr Andrea Phillips.

Ellie Harrison (b.1979 London) is an artist based in Glasgow shortlisted for the Converse/Dazed 2011 Emerging Artists Award. She studied Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, Goldsmiths College and Glasgow School of Art.  In 2011 she was artist in residence at Wunderbar festival in Newcastle and at Artsadmin’s Two Degrees festival in London – a week exploring art and activism, climate and cuts. In 2009 she founded the ‘Bring Back British Rail’ campaign and in 2010 became the first individual artist to openly publicise an Environmental Policy on her website.

Jordan Mckenzie is a performance artist who also works with drawing, sculpture and installation. He has exhibited extensively both in the UK and internationally including The National Review of Live Art, Glasgow, The Courtauld Institute, London, Museu Serralves, Portugal and DOLL Exhibition Space, Switzerland. He has received research bursaries from both Artsadmin and The LIve Art Development Agency and has had residencies in Oxford, Nepal and the USA. Currently he is a senior lecturer in Drawing at Camberwell College of Art and in FIne Art Practice at Kingston University. He co-curates a performance space LUPA (Lock Up Performance Art) located in Bethnal Green, London.



Yoko Ishiguro is a performance maker, performer and actress. She studied psycholinguistics  at the University of Tsukuba and has worked with theatre companies in Japan. In 2005, she started to make her own site-specific pieces and to explore the relationship between time and distance as well as presence and absence, self and non-self, and the functions of those dichotomies. She has performed in Japan, China, Indonesia, UK and other parts of Europe and is currently studying on  the Contemporary Performance Making MA course of Brunel University.

Fiona Templeton‘s work includes poetry, installation and performance. She is director of the New York-based group The Relationship, specialising in experimentation in language, relationship with the audience, and use of site.  Current work includes Aguas Dulces, Aguas Saladas, in the San Juan Estuary in Puerto Rico, and a 6-part performance epic, The Medead, forthcoming in New York in December. She has received awards in various disciplines and has published 12 books. Fiona leads the MA in Contemporary Performance Making at Brunel University

Robbie Lockwood is a Hackney based artist working mostly with sound and video. In collaboration withLucie Galand, he has been working with the local civil rights group Hackney Unites and is a member of a non-hierarchical art education group AltMFA.

Stefan Szczelkun is an artist interested in culture and democracy. In the early Seventies he was fortunate to be part of the Scratch Orchestra. His doctoral research into Exploding Cinema collective was completed in 2002. Recently he has produced the collaborative project Agit Disco, published as a book by Mute

Barby Asante is an Artist, Curator and Educator based in South London. She studied Fine Art at the University of East London, where she began making work in film, photography and installation, placing herself in the frame as a means of confronting the audience with the perceived problem of her image. Asante is interested in creating works that stimulate dialogue around the cross-cultural and multicultural and how we view and frame these questions in contemporary Britain, often using familiar or popular culture triggers as a means to begin the dialogue. Recently Asante has been working on projects exploring music and its cultural and social significance, with particular emphasis on black music and it’s importance in the creation of a post-war British cultural identity.


Sonia Boyce came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning black British art-scene of that time – becoming one of the youngest artists of her generation to have her work purchased by the Tate Gallery, with paintings that spoke about racial identity and gender in Britain. Since the 1990s Boyce’s practice has taken a more multi-media and improvisational approach by bringing people together to speak or sing about the past and the present. Since 1983, Boyce has exhibited extensively throughout the UK and internationally and has completed an AHRC Research Fellowship at Wimbledon College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London with her concluding research project the Future is Social.

Hunt & Darton is a Live Art collaboration between Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton. Having met at Central Saint Martin’s, Hunt & Darton have been collaborating for the past 5 years approaching performance from a Fine Art background. Hunt & Darton work with spoken word, movement, sound and installation. Their work comes out of a shared interest in what it means to be human. They make work about common problems, embarrassment, human behaviour, love, life and art. They tend towards the deadpan and the absurd.

Richard Layzell is a London-based artist affiliated to ResCen at Middlesex University. His work in performance, video and installation – and with industry and communities – has been recognised internationally.His interests and areas of focus include: environmental and gender issues; architectural space; experiential learning; expanding the audience for contemporary practice and exploring the public realm.From 1996 he developed a series of innovative residencies in industry, defining the role of the ‘visionaire’, with: AIT Plc, Promise, Chordiant International and Unilever. His development of the artist’s role in redefining corporate culture and community has subsequently been applied to a series of artworks and commissions in the public realm. He is the author of The Artists Directory, Live Art in Schools, Enhanced Performance and Cream Pages.

Walk The Plank: Bunting

I spent the morning helping Walk The Plank make bunting for their upcoming ‘fire garden’ -‘Heaton Sparks’ show in Heaton Park. Lots of cutting out triangles for bunting. Glad to have been of help but I don’t think I will be doing more – not quite my sort of thing.