Professional practice


Residencies



Developing opportunities for artists is something that I will look at as part of my professional practice.

Artist in residency programs offer a platform for creative, like minded people, to develop, exchange and debate creative ideas. This can be over a short, mid or long period of time. They offer a unique experience that can enhance and challenge creative thinking. For an artist, a residency offers the opportunity to have a period of stable thinking and making-time, to realise a project (sometimes with an intended outcome of a solo show or event), to generate new ideas, develop practical knowledge and be inspired by the local or international culture and surroundings of the program. As part of some of the residency programs there is the opportunity to engage with the local community, which can be mutually beneficial to both parties as there is an exchange of knowledge, development of ideas and formulation of new networks. The programs often benefit the recipient with some, if not total, financial stability. These programs can also provide a variety of other benefits such as accommodation, studio access, workshops and library.

I feel that I would personally benefit from such a program and this opportunity would greatly further my practice as an artist. The following points will outline how I would develop as an artist -

- Financial security (if available and depending on the program) for a period of time to support, create and develop ideas.

- Access to a studio, accommodation and facilities connected with the program (as available)

- Opportunity to develop my engagement with the local community, to share experience and potentially run an artist workshop or artist talk.

- Allow time to develop one’s practice. Studio work, experimentation in the manifestation of research into oil paint using a variety of mediums, thinners, boards and canvas with intended aim of developing a cohesive and extensive body of work.

- Build online engagement with my practice, through artist blog and social media. Video online blog with the intention of creating interest in the residency, allowing for engagement from my peers and general public.

- Artistic and professional development: critically evaluate my experiences of the residency towards future artistic development

The following programs I am considering applying for in the future

The Abbey Scholarship, British School at Rome - http://www.bsr.ac.uk

The Vickers Award - http://www.vickersartaward.co.uk

Varc Artist in Residency - http://varc.org.uk/residency/

Grizedale Arts http://www.grizedale.org/about/


Download PDF examples of applications



Mead Fellowship

The Vickers Award

 

 

Open Shows



There is now a wealth of artist open shows available regionally, nationally and internationally. I have been successful at developing opportunities and winning awards from such shows and I have found them to be beneficial to the development of my practice. I will continue to apply and seek out these opportunities in the future.

Interdisciplinary practice


The concept of interdisciplinary practice is to develop a way of working that builds on the knowledge from multiple fields, to solve problems or generate ideas and new perspectives. It allows practitioners and researchers to cross traditional boundaries between disciplines and think across them in order to create something new.


Download unit 3 report

Unit 3 Interdisciplinary practice 1000 word illustrated report

On site overview



In considering the wilderness and questioning whether it exists in the British landscape I felt I needed to develop a connection with someone who works in nature and the British Landscape. It was my intension for this knowledge to inform new ideas and develop concepts when it comes to making paintings of the landscape. I got in contact with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust as I have always been interested in area of land known Humberhead levels, and more specifically that of a small nature reserve called Misson Carr managed by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. The Humberhead levels is an area of land that can feel quite remote creating a feeling of wilderness. Much of the land is a vast flat plain just above sea level comprising of agricultural framing, quarries, rivers and small handful of areas of wetlands, woodland and marshlands. The landscape was shaped in the last ice age, and due to its low lying it was historically a marsh and swamp land up until the 17th century when the landscape was drained and the rivers re channeled and canaled. In recent history Misson Carr was controlled by the Ministry of Defense and used as a bombing range. This spared some elements of modern human interference as the site was off-limits to public access. Most of the site was drained and much of the land was sold off for farming apart from the site of the reserve now known as Misson Carr.

Having grown up in the area of the Humberhead levels, and close to Misson Carr in a small framing village called Misson (1.5 miles to the south) the landscape wasn’t unfamiliar. I feel this area is very personal to me. As a child and in my adolescent years I had frequently visited the site. Overgrown and left to nature’s devices this mixture of fens, marshes and swamps, densely compacted trees and abandoned machinery, offered a gang of kids an escape from reality, to be free, act out, play up and experiment allowing imaginations to run riot and live out childhood fantasies. The group of which I was a part, named themselves “Wolfgang”, dressed in array of camouflage, hiding out in several constructed dens, ready to take on the world with an arsenal of sharply pointed spears, Swiss army knives, catapults and a 40 year old pellet gun with an effective range of 10 meters. Lord of the Flies Survivalists: we thought we were invincible. It was my first encounter with what I then perceived to be an uncontrolled site, a site of nature, a site of wilderness and I feel these experiences and rural up bringing developed my interests in the concept of wilderness, the landscape and our relationship between humanity and nature. On site at Misson Carr I meet the Reserves Management Team Leader Robert Atkinson. He showed me around and explained his role and the work undertaken at this site. I wanted to gain a greater understanding of the history, wildlife and work that goes into preserving the land while considering our relationship to nature and the concept of wilderness in the British landscape.

My interests in to the idea of what constitutes to something be considered wilderness posed me to ask the question, why not allow nature to be free of human interventions or interaction, for the areas of land designated as reserves to be left unattended, and allow for nature take its course and eventually allow an element of wilderness? Robert explained that there are factors that don’t make it possible for this to happen within the British landscape. The size of many reserves are too small for nature to manage itself. If Misson Carr was used as an example it would soon scrub up and then eventually develop into a poor quality woodland, losing all the species richness that Misson Carr is harboring due to the shading out by the trees. Robert remarked that all reserves across most of Britain and much of Europe are surrounded by human activity, whether human habitats or farmland thus stopping the natural migration of nature. He explained in order for a natural system to work all the wildlife and plants would be compatible and there would be a variety of different types of landscapes (woodland, wetland, marsh or open ground) needed to sustain different species that are adjacent and in large areas of land. Robert remarked on managing a site ‘We are keeping nature at bay, resetting the clock, turning it back, allowing for the landscape to sustain the species that we have inherited in each site’. He noted the importance in developing the areas of landscape in such a way that they will be best efficient in protecting nature. He explained that change is happening all the time and that woodlands are trying to graze out and grasslands are scrubbing up and becoming woodland. He explained that onsite land management and conservation work is essential, allowing for multi species sustainability. As an example, Misson Carr is mainly dictated by the level of water that the site holds. Robert referred to the site as a sponge, soaking up as much water as possible. This has been achieved by creating a series of ditches and dams that contains the water onsite.

In direct contrast and in considering the relationship between humans and nature the adjacent framing land to Misson Carr needs an affective draining system, drying out the land and eventually pumping the water out into the river allow framers to create a high yield of vegetable crop. Robert said that there is often an ongoing dialoged, sometimes with many parties, on decisions on how each action will affect landscape and nature. This made me consider our impact and control on the environment and not just on the landscape but that of nature itself, we dictate what can grow, where and in what quantity. Through the conversation with Robert we discussed the fact most of the British landscape is, as he put it ‘tightly managed’. We both questioned the idea of there being anything that can be defined as true wilderness in the British Landscape, maybe remote parts of Scotland could be considered. This was not a revelation to me, but as an artist and a painter it makes me reflect on how I perceive and ask questions in the future in what I am portraying of the landscape.

Personal benefits of Interdisciplinary Practice
  • I feel having an element of Interdisciplinary practice is beneficial to my art practice and adds a layer of investigation to the work that can engage audience, to intrigue and ask questions.
  • This project has made me consider and develop ideas in showcasing the British landscape within a gallery context.  Explore the possibilities of showcasing aspects of the onsite scientific and conservation work alongside my own work. I can consider the possibilities of physically placing examples of the landscape and nature within the gallery context. Simultaneously allowing for greater engagement in the artwork and the work of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

 

  • Allow me an insight into the conservation and scientific research that is done by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. It terms of painting it will open up new areas of interests to debate and explore through my work. consider an alternative way of acquiring knowledge.
  • In developing a stronger understanding of the landscape I feel I have stronger structure/framework to investigate and develop new ideas in paintings. This will also give gravitas to the contextual side of the work

 

  • The knowledge gained will allow me to reflect on the relationship between nature and human society, consider the political issues whilst debating the concepts of wilderness in the British landscape. Consider the wilderness and the possibilities of its existence in the British landscape. Consider It within the ruins, wastelands and edgelands and argue the neglect and absence of societies control allows for natural process and therefore allow an element wildness and possibly wilderness.

 

 

 

 

Mini Martin

 

 

 

 

MARK FAIRNINGTON AND SIMON CALLERY



As part of the Unit 3, Interdisciplinary Practice program we had a series of artist talks, seminars and tutorials.


MARK FAIRNINGTON


http://www.markfairnington.com

Mark Fairnington delivered a seminar on funding and provided MA Painting a walkthrough of his exhibition ‘Collected and Possessed’ at the Horniman Museum.

Farinington offered us an insight into his experience of funding and the opportunities and outcomes he has achieved through this. I was particularly interested in his research trip to a rain forest in Belize and I was fascinated by the thought of entering an environment that is considered a wilderness. The field trip, funded by The Welcome Trust, was a collaboration with an entomologist and their study of treehoppers and the use of mimetic camouflage as a defence mechanism. He explained the interdisciplinary practice aspect, noting on the relationships between art and science, focusing on painting and the exchange of skills and ways of looking and analyzing.

In the gallery walkthrough I really got to appreciate the skill and craftsmanship within Fairnington’s work. I felt his level of detail and execution of applied brush work was reminiscent of past masters. The exhibition showcases Fairnington’s intense observation of nature, natural history and collections over a period fifteen years. Fairnington explained the role which interdisciplinary practice has played in informing his observations of collections and the exchange of knowledge and ideas. Throughout the show there were examples depicted in his paintings of his engagement with the relatively unseen museum stores. Accompanying this were previously unseen examples of collection objects chosen to be exhibited. Through his paintings and the un-boxing and presenting of collection objects (some even depicted or exhibited in their plastic dust sheets), Farinington allowed the audience a glimpse behind the scenes.


SIMON CALLERY


Simon Callery explained the benefits of interdisciplinary practice and encouraged a positive attitude in developing collaboration. He explained that artists can become too fixated and that collaboration can help nurture your practice and develop ideas.

Callery himself developed an interdisciplinary practice with archaeologists. He was interested in the British landscape, the nature of it and how deeply embedded it is in society and history. In developing a collaboration, he was able to look at how archaeologists are recording and analysing the soil and the content of a site. He explained that they were seeking a sense of human presence, and then exploring ways to explain what had existed at that site. Callery referred to this as recording the earth or material of a place and through this his own work developed a relationship with the surface of the landscape. He became interested in making paintings that are objects, responding to the landscape and its physical presence.

 

 

 

Mini Martin

 

 

 

 

MA Painting Show Interim show


About Space



Artist led exhibitions can be difficult beasts due the multitude of different opinions and ideas on curation. In the MA interim show “About Space”, we also had an added dimension in that all the works had a unique discourse. This is unlike many exhibitions that are normally topic driven, have a debate or a theme of enquiry and often have a curator at the helm, although artists still possess a say in how their work is presented.

The MA interim show allowed for me to take my work out of the studio and place it in a gallery context. I was able to reconnect and reassess the work, look for ways in which I might move it forward and find answers that I had overlooked in the studio. It also allowed for me to have a dialogue with the audience and gain other observations in how the work is perceived and what viewers gain from it. I was also able to make crossovers with my peers on MA Painting and open up dialogue between the ideas in my work and theirs.

Through critical debate, analyzing the gallery space and working as a group, we overcame the problems in installing the MA interim show, bringing a harmony to the multitude of ideas and practices. In addressing the issues, the MA interim show allows for all parties to try ideas and develop their personal understanding of curating and exhibition hanging. This also allowed us to make connections with the work of our peers and develop an intertwining thread that we had not considered before.

As part of the process in challenging ideas and developing skills in curation, artist Simon Callery offered feedback on his thoughts of the show and some insight into his ideas on hanging and curation. Callery was quick to point out the harmony within the gallery space. He explained that harmony is not a bad thing but that we could have potentially considered other possibilities, used the opportunity to push the boundaries and asked questions of the gallery and that of curation. He also suggested that we attempt experimentation and consider different options in how works relate to one another, for example displaying contrasting images to present audiences with something new and unfamiliar.

About Space was considered and fair in how the works were placed and arranged to allowing equal attention to all student contributors, however Callery’s suggestions are beneficial for reflection and consideration for future exhibitions. We had over a hundred visitors and on the whole I was very pleased with the outcome and aims of the show.