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Residency Artists

Maria Jose Carvallo, James Norman, Rachael Nee & Margot Minnot Thomas

We are a group of artists, mostly unknown to each other, with different practices. We were curious to see what would happen if we collaborated, and what this would look like, in this particular space.

We reflected on the concept of “the launderette” as an umbrella for investigating voices, ghosts, communities, and languages. Our Co-Lab was theoretically framed by Hauntology and Hal Foster’s “Artist as Ethnographer”.

Throughout our two weeks we spun our ideas together through loops, repetitions, and iterations akin to the launderette’s wash, spin, and repeat cycles.

“Today We Thought About Cycles: Hoy Estoy Pensando En Circulos”

At the beginning of our residency, we input provocations on how we could approach collaboration. We shared and challenged initial works, starting with visual research on how ‘The Launderette’ sits within the local urban environment. We speculated on the fiction: “if the walls could talk, what would they say?”. Then started to formulate ideas of how to transmit sounds through objects and the fabric of the building.

Alongside this, we embraced a willingness to embody a circular methodology by drawing large meditative circles. An intimate text of a list of instructions on How to wash laundry in a Laundromat intertwined with personal memories was written.

Rapidly our conversation and work evolved. We talked about how to go beyond the whiteness of the space and explore its permeability as the noise of daily urban life infiltrates from the outside.

As our works began to form, the conversation turned to focus on fragments, the granular aspects of the pieces where permeability, inaccessibility, and the unmoored take form. Through the cycles, circles, and repetitions of these fragments, what new works could unfold? What little you could write and still read it?… What happens when you vocalize fragments of sound?… How much can an image suffer and fade from its source? How much can you let go of the meanings of words to narrate images?

Each of us created works that were outside of our normal practice, informed and nurtured by the other collaborators. This made The Launderette residency a special and welcome experience.

Maria Jose Carvallo: mariacarvalloarrau.com
James Norman: jamesnormanartist.weebly.com
Rachael Nee: rachaelnee.art
Margot Minnot-Thomas: margueriteminnot-thomas.com

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Residency Artists

Helen Acklam, Jameson White and Courtney Beckford

Helen Acklam, Jameson White and Courtney Beckford collaborated on a project in the Garw Valley in South Wales in 2023.

Helen had returned to the valley in 2021 to explore her adolescent experiences, growing up there in the 1970’s.

We wanted to explore themes of grief and personal narratives through visual and auditory elements of our combined individual practices.

The residency enabled us to bring and test out two installations together.

Vein: a rendering of a film, shown in black and white on 3 old television sets.  The tv’s sat on gabion boxes attempting to contain coal.

The aim was to capture the essence of our individual stories and responses to universal themes of life and the enduring presence of industrialisation and colonisation of the place.

The soundtrack for the film was engineered by Jameson and Courtney Beckford, enhancing the immersive experience of cross-generational encounters with death and mourning.

(Helen Acklam and Jameson White)

Home: a sound installation of recordings of individual responses to the idea of home. (Countney Beckford)

It was really valuable to have the opportunity to test out this work together, physically putting together the installations and having conversations with each other and visitors to the space.

It enabled us to pause, think about and document the work at this particular stage, and plan next steps.

Thanks to (UWE students) Aphra Beart-Albrecht and Will Hilless for making the zine and helping to put the exhibition together.

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Residency Artists

Geomorph

Geomorph are artists Colin Higginson (Bristol), Sarah Rhys (West Wales) and Emily Joy (Stroud).

Geomorph share an interest in land, landscape, materiality and narrative, meaning and language.

Geomorph spent the residency at The Launderette developing new work in a collaborative environment, discussing and noticing thematic and material meeting points and overlaps between our practices.

Having time in the Launderette enabled us to create individual sculptural/installation pieces, text and image work, begin new performative work and to start creating a short film bringing all three artist’s work together as a night projection.

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Residency Artists

Rich Beale aka Don Mandarin

The residency I organised / curated at the Launderette between 13/12/23 and 29/12/23 came about initially as a means of ‘releasing’ / introducing a collaborative book of illustrated prose published by Ross Bathtub at Bathtub publishing (Bristol). The book ‘I Sleep Gently in the Womb’ is written and illustrated by myself. I designed it with Ryan Broom.

Ryan, Ross Bathtub and myself are more familiar with ‘gigs’ and record releases as vehicles for our work, less so gallery projects or readings. However, two other artists featured here, Vic Coombes and Nick Greenglass have had thriving studio practices at Spike Island (Bristol). The main point here is that we have all, in various combinations, spoken about ‘doing something together’ because of a feeling of artistic camaraderie and mutual respect.

I have always had a gang mentality. My ‘thing’ is counterculture, the underground, ‘scenes’. It was I who sat in the project space for at least 6 hours a day pondering this. I thought about something Alexander Trocchi said about some of his artist friends, that they were a sort of ‘spectral elite’. That is what can happen to artists, and yet by and large we demand community, we need to share, however challenging the process of doing so is. I spoke to scores of people coming in ‘off the street’ about the work on show here throughout the fortnight we were ‘live’. I was forced to articulate my enthusiasms and speak on behalf of the other artists.

The five of us were all aware of each other’s work, but largely online rather than in ‘real life’. We have realised that the apparent separation in our practices is one we would like to overcome with shared projects. We all work across several ‘media’, including the production of Noise cassettes and CDs and zines. Noise artists / Experimental musicians Big Fuss (Harry) Prior (Lauren) and Shit FM (Marcus) joined us in performance at odd dates throughout the residency. The main thread that binds us is the very fact that we have now worked and shown together, we have ‘created a scene’!!!!

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Residency Artists

Jo Ball

Jo Ball is an artist and gardener based in Bristol. Her works looks at the relationships between people, plants and the surrounding world. She is interested in emotional responses to matter and invisible connections between things.

Her sculptural practice uses material gathered from her allotment, often incorporating organic substances that change throughout the installation. Her practice also includes participatory commissions that often involve inviting the public to grow plants. She received a DYCP in 2021 and is currently working towards a solo presentation of new work at Studio Kind, Barnstaple in 2024 as well as group shows at APT Gallery, Deptford and ACEarts, Somerton. From December 2023 to May 2024 she will have a studio at Spike Island, Bristol.

Jo was at the Launderette space in November 2023. She used it as a testing space for installation elements too large to play with in her home studio. Being able to see things outside of the studio in a clear, white-walled environment and arrange elements with more space around them changed the way things looked. Several pieces which had initially been thought of as unsuccessful looked very different and will be developed further. Several visits from other artists and friends happened through out the fortnight to get feedback and see how they responded to the work. An open studio event was held on the last weekend.

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Residency Artists

Nikki Allford

I am a Maker and Installation artist based at BV Studios in Bristol. I exhibit regularly Nationally and Internationally.

My work is a preciptation of time consuming processes. Expectations and outcomes are left unsettled , emphasising physicality and materiality, and allowing for a spontaneous, intuitive approach.

I continuously search for new ways of inhabiting and responding to a site while making connections between the past and the present, memory and place.
Work is created from the accumulative repetitive actions of folding. The resultant pieces can be read as abstract, or as hinting at other qualities – perhaps reminiscent of the innards of the body, pools of blood or water, or organic plant growth such as flowers.
Exploring notions of beauty, my Installations have a presence that disrupts a space.

For my residency l responded to the former use of the site as a working launderette while pulling threads from previous work. For me the timing of the residency was a perfect convergence of the space and ideas already in progress.
I appreciated having breathing room to allow for experimentation with paper, folding, lighting and space. I made new large scale site-responsive Installations.
I had conversations with other artists about the history of Wash houses/ Bath houses, folklore surrounding wells and the reoccurring theme of water in my work.

‘It was great to see you and your work at the Launderette. Fantastic how you made the space your own’
Matt Benton artist.

‘Activating the interplay between surface and depth, inside and outside, exposure and concealment’
Folds exhibition, Lewisham project space

 

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Residency Artists

Transatlantic Accents

Transatlantic Accents exhibition at The LaunderetteThis exhibition is the second instalment of an exchange between a group of artists from Bristol (The Garage) and  Los Angeles (Durden and Ray) and continues the transatlantic exploration of a fluid, non-linear set of interactions through a process of cognition and abstraction.

Though varied in their respective practices, each artist in “Transatlantic Accents” celebrates an organic and intuitive approach to image making. The artists relish a love for material, form and colour and, on a deeper level, their works speak of the fragility and fleetingness of identity, nature and the interactions between us ….

Bristol artists:

  • Helen Acklam
  • Alice Freeman
  • Jack Paffett
  • Joe Warrior-Walker 

LA artists:

  • Gul Cagin
  • Jenny Hager
  • David Leapman
  • Hagop Najarian
  • Max Presneill
  • Alexandra Wiesenfeld
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Residency Artists

Helen Acklam

I began my current project, What it is to be There, in 2021, returning to Wales to explore my adolescent experiences of growing up in a mining valley in South Wales and the liminal space I occupy today as a mother without children.

This ongoing project has led to forensic and spiritual connections with the earth and a bodily engagement with matter that has enabled me to explore maternal and grief narratives.

I’ve used the Launderette as a retreat to spend a few weeks in the new space and feel what it’s like to be within the Stokes Croft community – it’s vibrant and welcoming and yet a really peaceful space to think about my work and up-coming opportunities.

With three exhibitions coming up, in Stroud (Gloucester), Barry and Pontyprydd (South Wales), I felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount going on. I wanted to place the work around me, in a clean space, and see where I was at. I’ve been using new materials and working at a different scale, so it was particularly good to use the three spaces within the Launderette to look at things in isolation and also put pieces together.

I’m collaborating with a film maker (Jameson White) for one of the pieces, so it’s also been particularly helpful to work together and separately both on site and in the space.

I arrived with many questions and, of course, I’m gathering new ones!

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Garage Residency Artists

Megan Wheatley

Reflecting on My Artist Residency Experience

One of the pivotal aspects of my residency was the time dedicated to researching and reading on Gutai painting and the pioneering artists of Japan. This exploration provided me with a deeper understanding of the movement’s philosophy and techniques, enriching my own artistic practice and learning from their fearless drive to create new ways of thinking and making.

I revisited books such as “The Anxious Object,” “Concerning the Spirituality of Art,” and “Zen in the Art of Painting” which allowed me to connect with the spiritual element of my paintings and think about how to make my work more personal. It also served as a reminder of the profound influence of Eastern philosophy on my practice.

One of the most exciting discoveries during my residency was the use of raw pigments. The process of working with these pigments, with their natural soil-like consistency, was really exciting. I experimented with making the pigments into stains and worked on raw canvas, unafraid to leave blank spaces. This experimentation with materials led to a deeper connection between my art and the natural world, fostering a sense of harmony and authenticity in my work.

The residency provided a unique setting for my creative process. Having the ability to hang my work and observe it in this new context was so useful. I realised that the experience of viewing a hung painting is vastly different from one placed on the floor. This revelation allowed me to explore new ways of presenting my art and challenged my preconceptions about how my work should be displayed.

Beyond the solitude of the studio, the visits from friends and members of the community added an element of connection and inspiration to my residency. Their presence and feedback not only boosted my spirits but also provided fresh perspectives.

As I reflect on this artist residency, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to delve deep into my practice before embarking on my year of study with the Turps Banana Studio Programme. This experience has provided me with a renewed sense of purpose and direction. It has been a time of growth, experimentation, and rediscovery, and I carry the lessons and insights gained here with me into the next chapter of my artistic journey.

Thank you Helen Acklam, and everyone that joined me over my time at the Garage.

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Garage Residency Artists

Sarah Rhys and Anne-Mie Melis

Sarah RhysSarah Rhys:

Sarah is a multi- disciplinary artist living and working between West Wales and her studio in Spike Island Bristol. She completed post graduate studies at both at Bath Spa University and The University of the West of England. She is interested in material landscape, the rural and the more than human world.

Reflections on the residency at The Garage:
“It was a beneficial opportunity to be in a neutral space with Anne- Mie and to have the opportunity to place works in relation to each other and to develop conversations and evolve work around these. We made some recordings of our Ffyngau Incantations”

Sarah’s interest in using fungi in her work developed from Holobiont a collaborative project in partnership with the National Botanic Garden in Wales. She displayed her installations there in an exhibition called Cryptic Landscape in 2021-2. The project related to locally gathered lichen and moss and to the herbarium at the NBGW.

Last Autumn she attended a fungi cultivation course on the edge of Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) and has since grown Oyster mushrooms at home, some of which she has used in her work.

Having recently been involved with some work with a small herd of horses, Sarah brought into the studio a horse’s tooth to reflect on the slow growth and the geological layering that is expressed within it.

Sarah made several spore prints from gathered black fungi known in Welsh as Pelen ddu (Daldina concentrica) with it’s English folk name is  King Alfred’s Cramp Balls (also known as King Alfred’s cakes).

 

For more information please go to https://rhysstudio.org/

Insta @sarah.rhys

 

 

Anne-Mie Melis:

Anne-Mie Melis is a visual artist based In Pontypridd, Wales. Her work is diverse, multi-disciplinary and has included droplets of tar black flowers intervening in the workings of a colliery, stop motion animations of future plant hybrids as well as photography, drawings, and sculptural installations. Throughout, Anne-Mie considers human impact, both political and ecological, past and present, on the natural environment.

She is keen to explore art as a possible tool for its potential to instigate social and environmental change and regularly collaborates on projects with other people. Momentarily she is part of a research and development project NATURponty, the Pontypridd is a Nature Reserve project (supported by ACW Connect and Flourish Fund)

The residency for me was a reflection on materials that I have been using in my practice before and with the fungi and sculptural mycelium work I’m involved with at the moment (I’m researching the use of colonised hemp substrate with Reishi (G. Lucidum) cultures to grow sculptural pieces). Having found common ground with similar aspects of Sarah’s practice it was an opportunity to spend time with her in the space and to progress for Holobiont2 the ‘Ffyngau Incantations’, sound recordings, using Latin, Welsh, Flemish and English naming of a variety of fungi species found in the natural surroundings of where we each live in Wales. Our conversations were around language, materiality, collaboration, the evolutionary aspect of slow growth, ‘Tanddaear – Underground’

 

Anne-Mie Melis
http://www.annemiemelis.eu/
http://www.chicoryflexine.wales
axisweb.org/artist/annemiemelis

NATURponty – The Pontypridd Nature Reserve

http://naturponty.eu/

 

The week joint residency was a valuable opportunity to be together in the space and to scrutinize the process of collaborating. Anne-Mie and Sarah discussed their individual work and explored common threads in their practices. The idea of using the space originated after attending a fungi cultivation course together on the edge of Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) in autumn 2022. Individual works were brought into the space as a starting point and through conversation and being there they experienced how it was communicating with each other; it/they/we/us, our voices, the specimens, the materials, the concepts of ‘Tanddaer – Underground’ and slow growth.

 

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