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My First Blog - My Interview with Jayne Murray

May 8, 2018 by Sandra Cope   Comments (0)

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As an AA2A student representative at the University of Wolverhampton, I have had the pleasure to interview one of this year’s artist-in-residents, Jayne Murray, to discuss, amongst other things, her ongoing projects and what interests her most while practicing as a professional artist.

Jayne has a long history of working in the public sphere and trying to engage people with economic issues that are important to her. She achieves this by collaborating with others and by building a network of contacts. Social media, we both agreed, is a useful tool in achieving this so long as it is kept up to date. She uses appropriate materials for each of her projects. Different mediums have ranged from ladders, glow sticks and even flowers, whichever strikes a chord with the public.

She was eager to talk about her new flag project, which is about places and how they work, highlighting all the historical data she had uncovered in the Wolverhampton archives including some interesting information about Enoch Powell. During the sixties, political leader Enoch Powell was systematic in the rebuilding of much of Wolverhampton’s infrastructure with devastating results. His political choices have left a long legacy of unforeseen segregation. Jayne feels the ring road, for example, creates a hierarchy in which the method of construction, imposed and brutal, was forced upon the people of Wolverhampton. This new road circles the town like a moat around a castle, likened by one councillor to the fortification of a medieval town, cutting it off from the people and prioritising the car. Jayne plans to draw attention to this issue by using the printed flag as a metaphor for failing economic systems, our break from the European Union and the lack of social housing available in Wolverhampton.

 Jayne Print1


Jayne Print2Jayne Murray is improving her printing techniques while on an AA2A project residency at Wolverhampton University and has discovered she likes working with trace best, preferring the see-through aspect of it. The two test cases shown above show the strong opacity of the print that can then be viewed from both sides.


Her interests are significantly based around public interaction, more so than the works themselves, as she passionately explained that her art is more about participation and encouraging social dialogue.  

With this in mind, Jayne wishes to offer some placements covering three days between the 8th and 30th of June this year. This will be good experience and there will be media coverage of this event.

 Any support for the Flag Project is welcomed. Jayne requests that people who are interested in taking part should drop her a short email expressing interest at: peoplemakeplaces@yahoo.co.uk.

'2 degrees International Prize Leonardo Da Vinci The Universal Artist’ Award

May 2, 2018 by Lucy & Layla Swinhoe   Comments (0)

We were featured in the ‘Art International Contemporary’ Magazine, issue # 1 – January/February 2018, and received ‘2 degrees International Prize Leonardo Da Vinci The Universal Artist’ Award. ( https://www.facebook.com/lucylaylaswinhoeartistpage/ )

Every Point in the Universe is Also the Centre

May 1, 2018 by Olivia Penrose Punnett   Comments (0)

This January I was awarded the Paper Gallery residency, 'Exploring Paper' and spent 6 weeks at the gallery making work reflecting on the history of paper. The resulting show will open this May 19th 6-9pm, If you are in Manchester please pop in for the private view, or if your passing through please pop in to see my exhibition at the Paper Gallery until 23rd.
Here is an excerpt from the Paper press release on the show:
"Every Point in the Universe is Also the Centre is Olivia’s response to paper and its history. Her work has often contained the phenomenology of reflection as medium and subject. One of the earliest uses of paper was as packaging for bronze mirrors in ancient China. For Olivia this became the starting point for the residency and the subsequent work that she developed for her solo show. 

What it results in is an ephemeral reflection on present-ness and time; a flash into clarity for a moment, in printed and photographed form. Within the exhibition Olivia attempts to capture the ephemeral. Shadows are captured from dappled light through trees, and bark is both projected and printed onto paper - traditionally made from the same source. Round mono-prints of traditional Chinese mountain river scenes are stretched into screens and used to catch light from projectors. Large hanging prints on tracing paper echo the glass used in frames and screens; hand made, imperfect and veiling. These layers build and reveal to allow views of different stages of printed work, but never reveal the original, like memories always evading perfect recall." 


Fuzzy things

April 26, 2018 by Rebecca Collins   Comments (0)


Soft and Scratchy

In my obsession with the thingyness of things, or to borrow the term coined by Jane Bennett, the ‘power of things’, and our relationship with objects, all stuffs, whether they be real, virtual, real, hyper-real, tangible, intangible, factual or fictional, I recently decided to conduct a rather fun experiment. This is the lighter side of doing an MA by research: fun art practice research.

I'm still living in an exclusive monochrome world and foresee staying here for a while longer, so I wanted to relate this need for a void of colour in our vibrant reality to my life-long passion for objects. The aim with my MA research so far has been to tease out an essence of an object through the medium of still-life painting by extracting that one element, colour, with a desire to create something new and hopefully interesting. This time, however, I foresaw finding something, somewhere in the ether, not something I can touch.

I knew that I still needed to paint more things in monochrome. I just needed a new direction to go off in. I didn't want real things, such as the fried egg or the pile of baked beans. I wanted to see if I could take the genre of still life into the cyberworld. I wanted to experiment with being in an abstract, semi-figurative and the fictional world beyond this one.

I needed a way to imagine new objects, objects that don’t exist in exclusively either the data world or in the tangible world. I wanted to create ‘between-the-two-worlds’ objects.

I came up with the idea of painting real objects, that are real somewhere else, but are translated to me via social media and via the medium of language not image.

To this end, I asked people on social media to describe one thing to me. I told them that I didn't want to know what the thing was. I just needed their description. I would then paint the thing described, literally, based on the words alone. In addition, I would translate any colour language into black and white. I wouldn't try to guess the identity of the thing, necessarily, but I would paint what they asked for, almost in a mechanical way (although I did inject an element of the visual image of the objects in my head – this image created by words).

I received an overwhelming response. So far, I have had at least 30 replies. All of which were different, but interesting and valid in their own way. They varied from 'soft and scratchy' to four paragraphs describing an object in almost scientific detail down the lengths, shades, colour, size, relative proportions and materials. This all fascinated me for a number of reasons. I was amazed at the variety of people's capacity to describe. I also received some rather humorous responses ('black and white and red all over' and ‘olive skinned and handsome’). Generalising a little here but the more artistic, creative friends tended to use very visual words to describe their objects ('shaped like the female form but without limbs') whereas the perhaps less creative friends (those who work in non-creative industries such as IT) tended to use a very logical, prescriptive system for 'recreating' their objects in linguistic form. I also saw a slight variance in terms of age, gender, and frequency of use of social media. 

Violin Thing

To date I have painted 17 objects. These objects range from the recognisable to the bizarre. I feel oddly very attached to my objects. It is as if I have somehow extracted them from a place in cyberspace that isn’t accessible, isn’t visible, isn’t quite real yet it really is real. Or perhaps I have extracted them from a parallel universe inside my head, or even inside the heads of others, a dream-like place where the objects are all known and familiar, where they all meet and mingle. A place where they are normal.

Wall of Things

To me, these objects exist. They are tangible. They even have personalities. They are on my studio wall, and they stare at me all day. They blink when I’m not looking. They grin. They are alive to me. They giggle. Am I going mad? I don't think so. Not yet. Where are they? Where do they exist? I made them so they exist. I think their lack of colour adds an eerie, uncanny aspect to them. It is almost as if they have travelled from somewhere where colour isn’t a thing. They have travelled from the past yet from a parallel place.

And, yes, if you are from the object-oriented ontology or new materialist schools of thought, colour is indeed a 'thing'.

All of these thoughts are now going around my head, angular, bombarding and all pervasive. Where will I go next? Watch this cyberspace.



The necessity to change direction

April 19, 2018 by Sally Stenton   Comments (0)

I was invited to be part of an exhibition for Cambridge Science Festival, but with late notice the gallery became unavailable due to the anticipated knocking down of a wall to connect it to the adjacent cafe. The exhibition relocated to the 'library' upstairs in the cafe and my intended video installation was no longer viable, so I created a new work in response to the new space - with limited options available I developed a dual video projection on the library shelves using video footage of my walk from art to science and back again. Between the projections was a row of books brought to the space by myself and neuro-scientist Marty Fiati. The work reflected our collaborative discussion and we gave a presentation as part of the festival that explored this process.

An Unreliable Narrator

April 9, 2018 by Chris Meigh-Andrews   Comments (0)

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I have developed a new work from material produced for my recent talk to students and staff at ARU. Entitled "An Unreliable Narrator", it consists of a boxed set of index cards, each containing the description of an incident or event that has had an impact on my attitude and approach to my practice with references to ideas, artists and thinkers who have been influential.

Since the talk at ARU, I have added more stories, and plan to continue to add more as they are written. This work will be "published" as a limited edition, starting with version 1, commenced March 2018.

I am also considering including some texts which will be written in code...

Uclan AA2A'ers present to year 3 Fine Art students, 22nd March 2018

March 26, 2018 by Fiona Candy   Comments (0)

Following on from Hollie's recent blog post: 

Rika Jones, Benedict Rutherford, Shelley Burgoyne, Alexander de Vol, and I all had a great opportunity to meet a group of final year fine art students last week. We each spoke about our work, past and present, and answered questions. I conveyed the process involved in a recent museum commission. Ben spoke about his art practice and his involvement with The Birley Artists Studios in Preston. Rika offered up some great advice about undertaking an MA, for students curious to know more about continuing to postgraduate study. Alex described his previous profession in menswear design and manufacture, along with some of the reasons behind his decison to change direction and move into ceramics and craft.  Shelley Burgoyne is currently exhibiting her prints in the corridor close to the printmaking workshop in Victoria Building, at Uclan, and her very lively presentation took place there and in the printmaking studio, where she has been working. It was a productive and really interesting morning and the artists continued their discussions over lunch together in a nearby campus cafe. Lots of new ideas brewing ....   

It was an enjoyable and stimulating event. Many thanks to all involved. 

Testing out the completed installation: "Impossible Object No. 4 (Flying Lampadario)"

March 23, 2018 by Chris Meigh-Andrews   Comments (0)

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Today I have finally completed my flying lamp project. This morning I set it up in the Project Space at my studio in Cuckoo Farm. Happy with the way it has turned out. The final element to try out was the the drone sequence projection, and after several different ideas, decided the best option was to project the images in front of the sculpture. This created a shadow of the lamp and, best of all, the spinning rotors break the projection beam into the component colours of the video image! These colours also show up on the projection itself, which is a real bonus...I have posted some images on my web site (www.meigh-andrews.com) as well as on the AA2A site.

Receiving Advice - Artist Talks

March 22, 2018 by Hollie Burge   Comments (0)

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For the Fine Art BA(hons) at UCLan, we have an Employability Skills Module for the third year students which includes artist talks…

 The current AA2A artists at UCLan were invited to participate and give us an insight into their knowledge as practicing artists, as well as a talk about their own practices. The participating artists included:


Fiona Candy

Rika Jones

Benedict Rutherford

Alexander de Vol

Shelley Burgoyne


 Learning more about the artists’ practices was very interesting, especially seeing the diversity of each artist’s methods, matched up with the images of the works seen here on the AA2A website. It was amazing to hear the themes and tones of the works in more detail to gain a greater understanding of each of the participating artists.

 Another segment of the talks, which was especially relevant for new and emerging artists such as myself and fellow students, are the different pathways available to take post-graduation. This invaluable information included opportunities such as commission and collaborative works, residencies and studio rates, to setting up a studio and working in a parallel industry such as design or fashion. Gaining knowledge of the ‘real world’ of art, and the internal workings of a large industry makes the steps from graduation to practicing artist seem much less daunting.

 In the end, each artist, both established and emerging will find a different pathway which suits themselves, non of which are neither right or wrong. Nevertheless, it is reassuring to receive talks from the artists and know that amazing opportunities are there waiting for everyone who wants to take them.



An art writer is always learning - writers’ workshop with Louise Palfreyman writer-in-residence

March 22, 2018 by Rebecca Collins   Comments (0)



This week I took part in a weekly writers' workshop at the University of Wolverhampton run by AA2A writer-in-residence, Louise Palfreyman, who is currently based there.

One of my many loves, besides making art and drinking rhubarb gin, is writing about art. So I was keen to take part in this workshop to learn something from someone with experience with creative writing and to improve my skills as a reviewer of art. I wanted to gain valuable insight into what it might be like writing for a living. I already work freelance as an editor and book publishing project manager but I’m struggling to take advantage of my love of art and passion for writing to earn any money.

For the workshop, myself and a number of other students from the fine art department at Wolverhampton, met with Louise at the Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery. We were tasked by Louise to spend an hour looking at anything that sparked our interest in the gallery and consider what we might write about it. We were instructed to note down observations about anything that came to mind, however significant or otherwise, that might form part of a review.

Interestingly, the other students decided to consider the Diaspora Pavilion exhibition which is currently running at the gallery. I, however, took myself off to the Clangers, Bagpuss and Co. exhibition to consider my own take on what I might see there. I had seen the Diaspora Pavilion before, and also in Venice, so I quite fancied the challenge of coming up with an interesting angle for writing a review about Zippy and George and friends instead.

After the hour at the art gallery absorbing and thinking and making notes, we gathered together in a coffee shop to discuss our ideas and responses. The fascinating aspect of this part of the workshop was the amount of new ideas that came out of the brainstorming that took place, which Louise said mirrored a magazine or newspaper editorial meeting. We were able to feed off each other's thoughts and come up with some new and interesting ideas. We voiced fresh responses to what we had seen that we might not have come about in isolation and while still in the art gallery. Louise was able to tease out of us some thought-provoking angles that could be used in a review to give it that vital edge that can capture a reader's attention.

All of us, inspiring art writers, gained valuable insight during this workshop into important considerations that need to be made when writing a review of a piece of artwork or body of art, or an exhibition. These included the following: anything goes, within reason; a negative response is just as valid as a positive response so long as it can be intelligently justified; a review can be written with a particular audience in mind; an angle is vitally important and the quirkier, possibly the better; and concision is key.

So, with all the advice from Louise in mind, the group, including me, are all going to write a review which will hopefully be published on the Arts Foundry website which is run by Louise, which is a forum for allowing local people to voice their creative expression.

The main lesson I learnt from today is that the two most important qualities of an aspiring art writer is passion for art and the words in which to express it. If you have both, you are on to a winner.