Spontaneous combustion – Ignition – Stage 1 24.09.06 – 05.11.06
An exploration into the driving forces that determine the nature of instinctual/habitual creative practice. A selection of comparative viewpoints, featuring the works of carefully chosen established artists, community based mental health projects, HE specialist subject students and the public at large. Our aim being to add to and enhance current research using critical theory, debate and the physical evidence of the Exhibition to enable and widen participation whilst also promoting Cornwall’s creative community in a fresh and vivid light.
How much does the perceived cultural positioning of an artist affect the public perception of that work of art?
To what extent is it possible to ‘read’ an art object when it is divorced from the biography of its maker?How is the notion of quality to be addressed in the curation of this widening artistic participation event?
Does the theme ‘Spontaneous Combustion” unify the artists and objects or lead only to enhance discord?
How do all interested parties benefit from this integrated project?
Can true integration be achieved whilst still managing to retain a quality of integrity and standard of excellence within practice?
What happens to artists who fall foul of ‘ definition’?
What happens to those who are not easily categorised by a label?
Is creative impulse intrinsic to type?
What about students who are trying to carve an entrance into this world?
What about those who are slightly too institutionally trained to be truly naïve, or perhaps are too mentally well balanced to be accorded the official stamp of ‘outsider?
In recent years the arts industry in Cornwall has been undergoing regeneration. Agencies whose remit it is to identify/create projects, support/train creative practitioners and apply realistic/sustainable solutions have helped to enhance Cornwall’s creative growth whilst also increasing opportunity to many practitioners, so enabling them to run more efficient, higher quality Arts based businesses. Whilst this is obviously a positive step, there is a danger that these agencies are only able to help a fairly narrow band of the artistic community, i.e. already established makers and/or those who fit into the prevailing cultural aesthetic.
There has been much research into the field of Outsider Art, in particular the writings of Professor Colin Rhodes, which has generated the ‘Raw Vision’ journal, an international forum for the discussion of Art on the margins of culture and champion of the Naïve style. Those who have had no formal training create much of the artwork highlighted within this Internationally renowned and respected journal.
The main focus for the appreciation of this type of artwork is the emotive force of the sculpture and images produced. This unique field of vision has to some extent become popularised and therefore fashionable, particularly within 20th century Art Practice. Uncomfortable areas, to do with taboo, stigma and validity will also be formally addressed within the critical research.
The questions, which have generated this proposal, have centred on the chasm, which seems to have opened up within the famously warring factions of the art world.
Our intention and purpose, whilst being multifaceted and to some extent contemplatative, is based on the following our project design To decipher similarities/dissimilarities between the works of people with mental health issues and established artists? To add to and enhance current research and widen participation to include established, unknown/not yet known artists.
To add to the Cornish economy by promoting excellence in practice and different ways of seeing/doing. Whilst communal response has been focussed upon in centre specific events – John Daniel Centre/Falmouth Municipal Gallery/Truro Museum, our aim is to formally attempt to integrate selected Art from these workshops to be shown amongst profiled Professional Artist response to the common theme of ‘spontaneity’. We plan to facilitate, interact with and document this occurrence in its entirety.
Within Cornwall there are very well established organisations supporting the contemporary art scene, The Tate Gallery and the Newlyn art Gallery for example. There are also numerous galleries, which cater for the tourist industry and a more mainstream art public. There is mounting evidence to suggest that Cornish Art is once again being viewed as static and therefore safe. Our intention is that the general public and the art public of Cornwall, and indeed the rest of the country should be given the opportunity to be exposed to and experience a unique and culturally significant event.
Linda Styles is very aware of the difficulties faced by new makers and those who may have been excluded in the past from exhibiting opportunities. As a maker, course manager for the HND Ceramics and education officer for Cornwall Crafts association Cornwall crafts association is undergoing a period of change and is well aware of the need to broaden its client base and to embark on education/community activities. Linda also has a sustained personal and professional interest in the field of Outsider Art and Response. Linda will also research and enhance understanding of her own practice, optimising economic growth of her already well established business within the framework of this project.
Lisa Stewart is a maker and the Course manager for arts in mental health in the Foundation studies department and has a keen professional interest in inclusive arts based activities.
Jo Forsyth is a maker and lecturer for HND Ceramics and has a strong interest in the promotion and discussion of Arts activities involving strong emotive responses from an engaged and interested community/participating audience.
We (Lisa, Jo and Linda) will each be producing a body of work and accompanying statement, which will specifically to fit the theme of the exhibition.
Statement of purpose
The main purpose of this investigation is to create diffusion and discussion of a specific interactive themed event, which will allow an effective and strong bridge to be built across some of the already identified factions. The project objectives are to facilitate practical liaisons, which can be discussed and evaluated through academic means, so beginning the process of raising the profile of Cornish artists, both within the South West region, Nationally and Internationally. This will therefore be of value in terms of standards and integrity of purpose, which will in turn raise Cornwall’s profile so enabling economic growth for Cornwall in many ways and on many levels.
If the boundaries are widened to include a less selected section of the artistic community, using criteria to ‘fit the theme’, a synthesis can occur which will be far more powerful both visually and experientially than events, which tend toward a somewhat safer, more marginalized, sector of our Artist communities. Provided issues to do with quality are considered with care and sensibility toward the ‘whole’ aesthetic, we believe that it is possible to create, interact and observe a truly significant cultural event.
An exploration and enquiry into the driving forces that determine the nature of instinctual/habitual creative practice. What are they and where do they come from?
The Spontaneous Combustion project team aims to promote the notion of gestural response, whilst simultaneously exploring the passion and energy that is necessary to create work and life such as this. The project carries three main strands, which are as follows: –
- Works by approximately 20 invited established artists and makers in response to the Spontaneous combustion theme.
- The ‘field of flowers’ project, an open submission brief for all creators within the region, those that are known, unknown, lesser known, nearly known anonymously displayed, unit priced and gorgeous, inclusive of flowers by the 20 invited artists.
- An installation of hundreds of small immediate responses to the plasticity and immediacy clay, ’20 figures in 20 minutes’. The physical evidence of a sustained programme of scheduled workshops booked to run from June – Sept 06, scheduled to include all sections of the community in Cornwall.
Qualatitive documentation will be evidenced in a number of analytic and diagnostic ways, points of comparison and contrast, identified and documented as we proceed.
We plan to collect data in the following ways :-
A series of community/agency based workshops that will be witnessed, documented and explained. The work generated will go toward selection for ’20 figures in 20 minutes’ and ‘Field of Flowers’ clay installation. Experience of these events will be interpreted, (analytic diagnostic), alongside other critical evidence.
Artist response to subject statements.
Questionnaires to be formulated and used in conjunction with public/agency/college workshops.
Art works in Public Exhibition setting, Private View event. Record response via interviews, video, digital imaging, sales, critique/debate, Independant publication of findings.
Catalogue, critical papers to be published in appropriate journals such as ‘Raw Vision’ and ‘Artisan’, our own publication to follow prior to ‘taking the Show on the road to
Appledore Visual Arts Festival in Appledore in the Spring of 2007. Transmutation is desired and expected with a view to this being the starting point of evolving process.
Workshops already booked June 06 – Sept 06 :-
Longreach house, Bolitho Unit, Trevithick Court, Cornwall College Camborne, Boudervean day centre, Woman’s Aid, Homeless hostel, Camborne, Salvation Army Hostel, Penzance, Anchor day centre, HND/Access/ND Fine Art/Intermediate Art and Design/ HND Textiles/ Fd A in Fine Art Practice. Workshops to be run within college environment for all college employees in addition to Arts and media student input. These workshops will take place in the main ceramics studio, Tamar Annexe. The materials and resources has been costed within the Research application already awarded by Dr. leo Salter from Cornwall College Research Funding.
- Press releases/Publicity – Strategic updates to be placed in College Views, Lucy Ferguson of college marketing is already familiar with the project brief/timespan. Word of Mouth, (networking), Jo, Lisa and myself are well placed to be effective within this area as all three of us straddle the worlds of teaching, fascillitating and making. Our Professional Practice mailing lists are inclusive of Universities, (UK and America, Galleries, National Publications, Museums, Academics, Artists, Government Agencies, Hospitals, Outreach centres, Family and friends – All, without exception are enthused by our talk of the concept behind this project and many have written letters of support. *See attached
- Linda Styles will be addressing and expressing a subjective viewpoint as a Mother whose Son sustained a serious head injury 14 years ago – a vivid first hand accountof the real life consequences of living through this type of trauma. We believe that many people can and will relate to the subject of Mental Ill health and the effect that it has on self, family, friends and the community in general.
We will recording and analysing a selection of comparative viewpoints, both visually and textually, featuring the works of selected established artists, community based mental health projects, HE specialist subject students and the public at large, our aim being to add to and enhance current research using critical theory and debate to enable and widen participation whilst also promoting Cornwall’s creative community in a fresh and vivid light. The documented evidence will take the form of major Art works in Public Exhibition settings, Private View catalogue, critical papers to be published in appropriate journals such as ‘Raw Vision’ and ‘Artisan’, our own publication to follow prior to ‘taking the Show on the road to Appledore Visual Arts Festival in Appledore in the Spring of 2007.
The documented evidence will take the form of major Art works in Public Exhibition settings, Private View catalogue, critical papers to be published in appropriate journals such as ‘Raw Vision’ and ‘Artisan’ and our own publication to follow prior to ‘taking the Show on the road to Appledore Visual Arts Festival in Appledore in the Spring of 2007. Spotlight South West/ Radio Cornwall/ Inside Cornwall/ Cornwall Today will be given press releases throughout project time span.
This project is, we feel set to evolve and metamorphosis as it gains in strength and reputation.
The resulting publication of critical writings for inclusion in journal publication, private view catalogue and seminar program. Video/Audio/Digital imaging. Corporate style information boards, (courtesy of Cornwall College) to be displayed in the new education suite at Trelowarren, informing the public of courses available (HE and FE). Selected photographic evidence will also be available.
*Data Protection Act regarding the rights of vulnerable people will be adhered to at all times.
- CCC Research funding award – £1796.59
- Confirmation of venue and Dates of exhibition (Trelowarren) Gallery, 24.09.06 – 05.11.06.
- Invitation to take Spontaneous Combustion to Appledore Visual Arts Festival – May 07 – June 07.
- Huge amount of interest evidenced by numerous letters of support from Academics/Artists/Agencies/Galleries/Museums.*See attached copies.
*To be added to
Lit Review – To follow
Confirmed Artist’s: –
- Professor Robert Ebendorf – Jeweller/Metal smith/Academic, North Carolina State University
- Una D’Aragona – Painter
- Penny MacBeth – Painter, sculptor
- Sue Dove – Textile, mixed media
- Tee J Randall – Contemporary dance
- Tim Carson – Contemporary craft
- Sandy Brown – Pottery, sculpture and painting, Sandy will submit a body of work to be placed in interior gallery although she will be out of the country for the private view, she has asked about the possibility of a ‘site specific’ work to be produced in early November –She is willing for this to be a widening participation event. This would be a fabulous opportunity for publicity as Sandy has a huge following.
- Diana Rush – Painter
- David Doble – Painter
- Jasmine Mercer – Illustrator
- Patrick Tucker – Fine art painter
- Sarah-Jane Marsden – Painter
- Chantal Brooks – Installation
- Paul Wadsworth – Gestural painter, plans to paint a huger canvas than usual, Trelowarren being big enough to accommodate work of a large nature.
- Elizabeth Turrell – Enamel, print, academic.
- Tony Lattimer – Huge scale coiled vessels.
- Bridget Duxbury – Potter – Gestural thrown ware
- Davina Kirkpatrick – Glass
- Morwenna Morrison – Painter
- Angela Sheldon-Fentem – Painter
- Linda Styles – Ceramic/Mixed media
- Karen Lorenz – Painter
- Lisa Stewart – Figurative Clay Sculpture
- Jo Forsyth – Function with a wiggle and a twist
- Emily Harnett – Woven/found Textiles/Performance shows
- Neil Johnston – Fine art photographer
- Kim Berry – Photographer
- Noreen Todd – Glass
- Anthea Richards – Painter
- Joan Riley – Painter
- Julie Mercoli – Painter
- Nicodemus Mevan – Sculpture
- Robert Bradford – 2D/3D fine art/sculpture
- Sophie Fordham – Fine art 2D assemblage
- Tim Styles – Painter
- Chloe Searle – Painter
- Ivan Bray – Painter
- Robin Hawes – Fine art photographer, printmaker
- Tim Shaw – Sculptor
- Alex Smirnoff – Sculptor
- Linda Cleary – Avante Garde Poet
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