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.

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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

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Feather (detail). Watercolour on lining paper.

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

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

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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

Nested (Photo-shoots)

Further developments on the ‘Nest’ theme using human form and photography. For the nude shots I selected four mounted photos and worked with the curators to position them in the gallery space. The images in the nude shoot aim to have a sense of vulnerability and perhaps an irony in that the naked human form does not have feathers. But although there is vulnerability, there is a sense of protection created by the nest. The nest is an archetypal form, resonating with ‘home’ and safety.

The second shoot was with a model in black with a black feather boa. A different mood. More obviously referencing a bird (corvus, crows and blackbirds?). But perhaps a mysterious narrative, a bird-woman from a fairy-tale? A vignette for projecting fantasy.

The nests are in a public garden, so it is likely that people will want to sit in them at some point. In fact my original intention was to encourage people to do this. The final shot below is of my friend who wanted to do just that. The nest as fun and play.

 

 

Fletcher Moss Art Gallery Residency: Nests

Phase one of my nine day residency involved the creation of two large nests in the Didsbury Parsonage Gardens.

Having cut down a large swathe of russian vine in my back garden I was looking out of the window at the pile and realised it looked like a giant nest. So I transferred all the vine to the Parsonage in three car journeys. I realised that I was mimicking bird behaviour: gathering materials, flitting back and forth, and slowly building my nests.

Also out of my garden came a buddleia stump and a discarded blackbird nest which I lined with felt.

Stump and Felted nest

Stump and felted nest

Stump and felted nest

Curator’s office inside Didsbury Parsonage

Nest in process

Nests in process

Adding autumnal Acer leaves

Adding autumnal Acer leaves

CP Lee (Manchester writer and musician) and Pam Lee.

Finished nest