The exhibition “Still Life: Ambiguous Practices” now has an online catalogue. View it here.
The exhibition “Still Life: Ambiguous Practices” now has an online catalogue. View it here.
An Abiding Standard: The Prints of Stanley Anderson RA
25 February – 24 May 2015
This spring the Royal Academy of Arts presents an exhibition of prints by Stanley Anderson RA (1884-1966) co-curated by Professor Robert Meyrick and Dr Harry Heuser of the School of Art, Aberystwyth University. It forms one of a series of exhibitions and catalogues raisonné celebrating the work of Royal Academician printmakers that have been supported by Punter Southall Limited and the Punter Southall Group.
The publication of a fully illustrated and annotated Catalogue Raisonné of prints coincides with the launch of the exhibition. Written by Robert Meyrick and Harry Heuser, it provides an in-depth assessment of Anderson’s oeuvre.
Today, Stanley Anderson is best known for his series of engravings memorialising England’s vanishing crafts, trades and farming practices.These carefully observed and meticulously executed portraits of traditional occupations provide us with a pictorial record of life and work in mid-twentieth century rural Britain. Presented together with Anderson’s earlier, lesser-known drypoints of urban life, they form a composite image of the artist’s world view. Sceptical of progress, Anderson sought to counter what he saw as the threat of modernity and its effect on the human spirit; the estrangement from nature, the loss of respect for physical work and the lack of a sense of fellowship. His work is characterised by rigour, wit and compassion.
Anderson’s printmaking career, informed by a seven-year apprenticeship as a trade engraver and put on hold during the Great War, was firmly rooted in the nineteenth century. The prints of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, in particular, were an early influence on his work. Anderson rejected the notion of art as a means of self-expression and questioned the insistence on originality. Instead, he believed that it was the artist’s ‘job’ to do justice to the subject through a mastery of medium and technique. ‘None of us can reach perfection’, Anderson once remarked, ‘but this need not deter us from making a sincere effort to do so and thoroughly enjoy the adventure’. The adventure took Anderson to London’s bustling outdoor markets of Billingsgate and Covent Garden, to urban construction sites and scenes of demolition, to Paris on the eve of the Great War and to the medieval cities of France, Spain, Germany and Czechoslovakia. A printmaker’s journey, it was motivated by a faith in an abiding standard.
Anderson’s works are in public collections in Britain and Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada. He represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1938, was elected a Royal Academician in 1941, and ten years later was awarded a CBE in recognition of his services to the art of engraving.
3 March Robert Meyrick introduces Stanley Anderson RA and leads an informal tour of the exhibition
7 April Harry Heuser introduces Stanley Anderson RA and leads an informal tour of the exhibition
Monday 27 April Robert Meyrick reassesses the work and career of this now marginalised printmaker and Royal Academician.
Professor Robert Meyrick pays tribute to a much-loved Aberystwyth graduate whose body has been found near his Rhos-on-Sea home.
Stephen made a deep impression on me from his first visit from Liverpool to Aberystwyth University in November 2000. He was a considerate, good humoured and intelligent young man who gave freely of his time, energy and talents to help others. This ‘scouser’, he wrote to me the next day, is ‘made up’ to have been offered a place to study fine art and art history. He had ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ his ‘glimpse of Aber life’ and the ‘warm welcome’ he had received.
In September 2001 Stephen completed his Open University studies. He gave up full-time work and joined the School of Art at Aberystwyth. During his time with us he developed into a highly professional and dedicated artist, an inspiration to staff and fellow students alike.
In 2004 Stephen was awarded a first class honours degree. After gaining a teaching certificate from Exeter University he was appointed to a secondary school in Ilkley and then in Swindon. In September 2010, we were delighted to have him return to Aberystwyth as a Master of Arts student. Stephen always had a profound social conscience, remembers his friend and colleague Philip Garratt, which led him to support the local community in many different and valuable ways.
Between 2010 and 2012 Stephen worked with the Rhoserchan Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Unit where his kindness and understanding transformed the lives of many. He also worked as a carer for Hafan y Waun Nursing Home and for local children with special needs. Through art projects and workshops he improved the quality of life for those in his care. He will also be fondly remembered at Penglais School where he ran the Extra Art School Club as part of Aberystwyth University’s Centre for Widening Participation and Social Inclusion.
Latterly, Stephen ran his own adult art classes in Aberystwyth. As a volunteer he was involved in the establishment and running of The Gas Gallery in Aberystwyth where he staged a solo exhibition in 2013.
We are all deeply shaken to hear the news of Stephen’s death and extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family. He was an incredibly likeable person. Staff, students and members of the Aberystwyth community were enriched by his good deeds, by his friendship, warmth and generosity.
Stephen Chilton, 16 December 1975 – 21 November 2014
Professor Robert Meyrick
Head of the School of Art, Aberystwyth University
Recent MA graduates Tom Voyce and Chelsea Orme-Williams have been selected for the Federation of British Artists Futures show 2015. Starting in January it will be held at Mall galleries in London.
“FBA Futures will showcase the outstanding art graduates of 2014, selected from across the country by FBA members. Presenting work from around 20 artists, the exhibition will be an exciting mix of degree show and newly commissioned work, some especially made for the exhibition.”
Find further information can be found on the Mall Galleries web page.
In October 2014, Professor John Harvey begins a collaborative project with the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, based at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
In September 2013, the School of Art, Aberystwyth University convened an international conference entitled ‘The Noises of Art: Audiovisuology in Practice, Theory, and History’. The event was organized with the cooperation of The Courtauld Institute of Art, London and Aberystwyth Arts Centre. The conference brought together sound-art practitioners, sound-art historians, art historians, and theoreticians from the UK, Europe, Australia, the United States, and South America. The NSSAW approached Professor Harvey (the conference convenor) to express an interest in participating in future conferences and developing, in tandem, a sound-art scheme, which this present project initiates. On completion, the project will better able sound artists, sound historians, and art historians of sound to explore the Archive with a view developing and examining artworks based upon its content. To this end, Professor Harvey is undertaking a scoping exercise to determine the range, nature, and condition of recordings that might be used in a creative and critical engagement.
Art/Sound: Practice, Theory & History 1800-2010
This new module on the art history of sound was launched at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University in September 2014. The module, taught by Professor John Harvey, is available for second and third year students. It provides a historical overview of this prolific, varied, and ground-breaking period in the coming together, exchange, and mutual influence of visual art and sound-based practices. While the curriculum surveys a broad span of time, its focus is upon the period from modernity to the present day.
Professor John Harvey’s interpretation of Marcel Duchamp’s ‘Erratum Musical’ (1913), for electric guitar and effectors. In his teaching, Professor Harvey is currently developing modules in the art history of sound and sound-art practice. The full realisation and a description of the piece can be heard at: http://sound.johnharvey.org.uk/track/erratum-musical-2014
MA Fine Art & MA Art History
This year, the School welcomed its largest MA cohort. The students are studying fine art or art history, or a combination of both. The degree schemes aim to provide a platform for the professional practice of art, either through image-making or writing.
13th October – 21st November 2014
School of Art, Aberystwyth
During the second week of October, four artists from Changsha, Hunan Province, China will be visiting Aberystwyth for the prestigious exhibition Contemporary Chinese Printmaking that is due to open at The School of Art, Aberystwyth on Friday 10 October.
Professor Xiangke Luo, Head of Fine Art, Changsha Normal University and Professor Lu Yu from Changsha Central South University – Director and Vice-Director (respectively) of The Hunan Printmaking Association will be accompanied by Liu Jing – Director of Creative Art at Changsha Normal University and Huang Yuanqiang – Chairman of Chenzhou Art Association.
This exchange exhibition curated by Paul Croft, Lecturer in Printmaking at The School of Art, Aberystwyth will comprise of over seventy prints by 28 printmakers and members of The Hunan Printmaking Association and will include further prints by students from Changsha Central South University, Changsha Normal University and The Art School at Hunan University of Science and Technology. Including a wide range of images, subject matter and techniques, the exhibition will provide a fascinating snapshot of contemporary printmaking from this part of China.
In May, Paul travelled to Changsha for the opening of the first show – Jie (Borders) – a joint exhibition between him and Professor Lu Yu at Changsha Houhu International Art Park. This show, which included 33 lithographs by Paul and a similar number of woodcuts and screenprints by Professor Lu Yu was well received and was reviewed by Artron – a leading website dedicated to contemporary art in China.
During his visit to Changsha, Paul met with printmakers from the Hunan Printmaking Association and was able to select work for the Aberystwyth show. Whilst he was there he gave lectures at each of the three universities represented and taught a four-day lithography workshop to 30 students at CNU. It is hoped that further collaborations and exchanges of staff and students will occur over the next few years – leading to further exhibitions and similar projects.
Find out more on the CSU website
The eclectic mix of works curated by Sue Williams for Graduate 2014 attests the support of Welsh Universities, their staff and the hard work of dedicated emerging artists currently developing their unique voices. Through taking risks, pushing boundaries and embracing the challenges of ‘communication’, the artists exhibiting at the Millennium Centre reveal a desire to explore and progress heedless to the intimidation of failure. The concept of the vulnerable yet empowered artist underpins the whole exhibition and illustrates how integrity can carry the artist forward, allowing individuality to adapt and endure.
Three artists from the Interdisciplinary Studio Practice module were selected for the exhibition from Aberystwyth University’s School of Art – Corina Nicu, Vivian Chinasa Ezugha and Belinda Smith, the 3 final year students were selected for the Graduate 2014 exhibition following Williams’ visit to the Final Undergraduate Show in May 2014.
Placed in one of the main windows of the Millennium Centre, enticing visitors and capturing their imagination, Corina Nicu’s Second Skin is a giant dress fashioned from white, handmade tissue paper. Hovering and gently swaying, the dress is fragile and semi-transparent, its delicate patterns and overall design referring to the artist’s past experiences. Representing the immaterial quality of memory, the dress is complete with a pair of empty shoes. A skin shed, the dress and shoes are not only a memory of what once was but also suggestive of the continuity between the artist and her present and future self.
Overlooking Roald Dahl Plass, Nicu’s Second Skin almost takes on another identity, elegantly evoking Roald Dahl’s own imaginative and sadistic fictional world. Indeed, the Millennium Centre is a fitting venue for this showcase of Welsh talent, the exhibition demonstrating what an exciting future Wales has in the Visual Arts. Exhibiting at this prestigious cultural centre allows the recent graduates to grow in confidence and to develop new concepts so that their practices can continue to evolve.
The work on display is raw and dynamic; Natalie Jones’ Family Façade, a chaotic table scene of twisted, broken and suspended crockery greets viewers from a secluded window spot and the three oppressive and solemnly black structures of Johnny Lawless’ Pyramids stand as though to attention on the ground floor, silently observing visitors upon entry to the Centre. The bones in Lisa Evans’ installation attract flies and curiously communicate chilling tales of murderous crimes. The dark obscurity of Lindy Martin’s That’s one big mother of a teapot! and Williams’ Not Playing Around, a rusting barrel on a playground spring, along with Naomi Bowey’s 50boxes50objects (50/50), an artwork involving participants posting mysterious packages to the artist, highlight the white teabags of Vivien McCarthy’s Shelter. A three dimensional structure filled with shoes, this igloo in a wilderness expresses how one of the most basic of human needs is fragile, volatile and unreliable.
The second floor features Vivian Chinasa Ezugha’s and Belinda Smith’s work. Ezugha’s Because of Hair: the dichotomy of culture and identity may initially startle and challenge viewers. Taking a critical view on issues relating to hair, Ezugha draws from her own experience of growing up in Nigeria. Hair acts as an intercessor and subject and through use of the body in performance, Ezugha’s work is both personal and universal, the artist’s memories of Nigerian rituals and culture fusing past and present. A mask of hair generated from collecting the hair of known and unknown strangers is used to conceal the artist’s identity and speaks intently of her own political, cultural and social experiences of hair.
Each artwork is beautifully presented and its placement carefully considered. The exhibition almost takes the form of an art trail throughout three levels of the Millennium Centre, allowing for anticipation and reflection. Smaller dialogues between the works on each level can be discovered and audience members are free to read and interpret these.
Interestingly, Ezugha’s work is juxtaposed with Olivia Richardson’s Hair, where the hairdressing experience is explored through presenting audience members with a tank of collected hair and a photographic analysis of three individual locks. The mass and the individual become important at this point of the exhibition, with Liz Syme’s boat people in Man’s Inhumanity to Man seemingly identical yet each an individual and Lucy Donn’s Here We Are Nowhere documenting the fate of refugees at Calais.
Humanity’s vulnerability and the mistreatment of humans by others is further heightened in Edward Davies’ Links To Slavery, a bronze cast chain with empty cups – a stark reminder of the inherent sense of weight that incurs through enslaving others for imperial growth. Kostantins Grigoriadis’ Arachne refers to a post-apocalyptic and biochemical world; a humble bicycle saddle is modified to become part animal in order to depict the ‘fear of the future,’ damaged life and the hybridity of ‘existence’ in a conceptual time and space.
Smith’s Campanology also places focus on the role of the individual within a group. Investigating the relationship between sight and sound, her work challenges pre conceived ideas about documentation, preservation and reality. Handmade glass bells, which may or may not be of value, are carefully treasured and archived. An audio tour offers a personal viewing experience whilst a film of one hundred and six movements catalogues the collection of individual glass bells. With a small interactive element, Campanology also uses Twitter as a way to enhance the idea of the virtual gallery experience.
Work on the first level offers a sense of hollow emptiness, with Emily Rose Furber’s cavernous Hollowed Out and Cored referring to Female Genital Mutilation and Beth Marriot’s empty but decorative matchboxes an affectionate tribute to her grandmother who suffers from dementia. Mental illness also informs the work of Aneta Kempa, whose Do you remember me . . . documents everything that her grandmother will forget through the medium of text, sound and film.
The otherworldly shadows produced by Charlotte Morgan’s beautifully etched pieces offer a personal and autobiographical approach to disclosing the chronic pain and secrets of permanent physical illness, reflecting the beauty of shared suffering. Meanwhile, Miriam Biddon’s oversized, colourful hand knitted garment, Field, Farm, Fleece conjures the agricultural landscape of Ceredigion. Like a hide stretched out to dry, or even assuming the form of crucifixion, this work resonates with the tragic fact that the artist died earlier this year.
Contrasting these meaningful pieces, The Exciting Mundane by Amy May Bulpin uses video and poetry to document meaningless car trips and walks, trapping the viewer within the artist’s own consciousness yet encouraging spectators to use their own imagination. Ellen Donovan’s Jack explores the childhood gaze and the innocent, secret world which children inhabit through photographic portraiture whilst Lewys Canton’s photography of Kingsmoor Common documents the cultural identity of a Travelling Gypsy Community within Pembrokeshire.
Textile and Fashion communicate further messages in Graduate 2014. The colourful patterns of Printed Jacket by Maisie Jane Andrews reflect the vibrancy and energy of club and rave scenes, arousing ideas of escapism. Rhian Mai Protheroe’s Structured Neoprene Dress also draws inspiration from upcoming trends and designs, offering a futuristic feel and making a statement.
Graduate 2014 boasts a selection of media, from paintings to film, photography, textiles, ceramics and three dimensional forms, all of different scales and enormity. Danielle Sullivan’s impressive paper book garden, Regrowth, appears pretty and delicate at first, yet has a profound message about the neglect of books and words in the technological age, hinting at the possibility of proliferation.
Shabazz Chapman’s suspended textile work represents the strain of maintaining stability in the context of Bangladesh’s textile industry. Facing continual deprivation, millions living in shanty towns develop strength and resilience – the artist portraying perseverance rather than helplessness – just as Sue Williams communicates how dexterity overcomes vulnerability.
Sue William’s thoughtful synthesis of styles, ideas and mediums invites viewers to interpret and respond, to consider the power of art as a tool of communication in a world of beauty and struggle.
Graduate 2014 exhibition can be seen at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, from 13 September to 16 November 2014 for free and is open to all.
A short video testimonial extoling the virtues of our group residencies at Joya: arte + ecología