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.
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).
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’
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.
…..continuing the ‘hands on’ creative conversation we started in 2019 and with elements from our respective methodologies, we came together at the garage to play with movement.
The interior of the garage became the playground for us to move – with, within, between, amongst, beyond, and apart, with curiosity, respect, playfulness, care, compassion, openness, and time.
Bringing only one or two materials from our respective practices to assist with the process, we encountered a co-creation, collaboration, at times working together, and at times alone and with a sense of the spirit of each other.
At the start of each day, it was important to arrive. This became our agreed ritual.
Time to settle and be still, time to connect with our own body’s movements, and then to move out into the space, connecting to each other (if there) and then making notes. Sometimes these notes would be part of a focus to explore. At other times, arriving at the garage with an idea that had to be expressed before settling was possible. And at other times, ideas generated in the garage took shape outside, moving in life.
Listening to audio recordings, reflecting and thinking
conscious of every sense, including a psychic sense,
I can create/ generate temperature in the body just by being in a shape,
everything is available to work with, and pains and aches in the body, and projections …. when there’s an impulse to do something, what is it that stops me? anticipating a pain or stiffness, which has come from a previous experience when moving in a similar way, working through that was important…
distractions….. how we edit what we go with and what we don’t go with, this reminds me of having an intention and following that through, noticing the distractions- the glitter on the ground- and continuing with the intention, or following the distraction and noting that decision.
material transforms from its original purpose into something else…
…in essence this is a drawing, a movement drawing, we are moving it, as the pencil becomes a movement in space…
“very inspired by you”, “me too!”…………………
We took many iPhone videos, audio recordings and photos as a record of some of the ideas we explored. Processing and moving with the experience continues……..
With thanks and appreciation to Helen Aklam for creating the garage space to play in.
The three-week joint residency was used to build on research and documentation taken by Jessie Blindell and Mary Flower during a series of short stays together on Flat Holm in the Bristol Channel. Both artists produced work independently of one another but used the residency to explore connections and overlaps in their practices based on the shared experience of staying on the island.
Jessie and Mary were able to adapt the space over the three-week period to support different ways of working, using the tables and walls to spread out, discuss and share information, and the large, open space to test work practically on a larger scale.
Both Mary and Jessie invited a number of artists and researchers to visit the space during the three-week period to discuss their individual practices which was really valuable in helping consolidate ideas and identify new ways of working within the space. These conversations provided a really useful insight into how different themes within each artist’s work could be extended and how ideas were being articulated visually, in addition to finding ways to take the work forward in future.
The residency culminated in an exhibition and talk focusing on geology, movement and permanence, human and interspecies communication and the island as object.
The residency was a valuable opportunity to review my research and documentation of the island and begin testing ideas for new work. Having a dedicated period of time to focus enabled me to pull together research and explore new approaches to working, including testing ideas through a combination of ceramics, sculpture, writing and photography, with the work produced during the residency forming part of an ongoing series looking at navigation, systems of communication and interspecies relationships. Undertaking a joint residency with Mary was a really positive and productive experience in terms of both the conversations this model supported and the experience of physically making work within a space next to each other. Through ongoing discussion, we were able to identify areas of overlap within our practices and support each other in pushing ideas forward.
My approach to the residency was to be reactive to the experience of working in conversation with Jessie at the same time as responding to the material and data that I had collected during the short stays on Flatholm. The work I produced is part of a wider body focussed on the geology and geography of the area surrounding Bristol. My interest for this project was concentrated on a particular erratic stone on Flat Holm that evokes notions of migration, a sense of place and human narratives. The residency allowed me to develop new ideas within my practice as well as drawing on previous ways of working. The conversations between Jessie and I allowed us to explore the ways in which our practices overlap.
My time At The Garage was a short residency, which focused on the realisation and exploration of the visions encountered throughout my time using Astral Projection and Hermetic Guided Meditation to navigate my way through a period of deep grief.
I go through periods of time when my studio time is compressed due to teaching or working on other projects, so being able to set aside a full week to dedicate to the immersive visual exploration of subconscious and unconscious matter was simultaneously exciting and daunting.
I entered the space with a clearly defined idea of the work I would make. Perhaps predictably, this lack of spontaneity gave way to an almost instantaneous mental block, and I froze. I had to coax myself into a cycle of working, arriving every day at 9am, setting a to-do list, only to fulfil what felt like a daily arc of intention, painting, feeling pleased about the work I had made, followed by despair, feeling unsure of the work I had made, then lunch, a fresh set of eyes, a new direction, painting, and finally some sort of consolidation.
The most successful work made during the week was made quickly, as if I was channelling some energy I had tapped into from the astral realm. Made in a trance-like state, a type of meditation in its own right, I can only describe it like magic coming out of the end of my fingers. This process, like capturing water from a natural spring, is what carries a tangible sense of energy in the work; a sense of being alive, of having captured a moment, of depicting real unedited truth.
The original plan was to respond to pages of writing I had put together following previous trips to an astral realm, however I found that working this way, was like re-tracing steps previously taken, so the imagery created was in some way flat, or already dead. I wanted to make work that effervesced with a sense of new unfamiliarity, and realising how to channel this, or realising how to differentiate between ways of working to enable myself to make this kind of work became a daily negotiation.
The work formed into alchemical chambers, maps of unconscious connection, drawings for plinths made of sound, portal after portal, realm connecting to reality, parts of maps and tunnels becoming people, and the embodiment of sacred guides. I painted the Spirits of The Stones, convened with guides, channelled intuitive working, channelled threads, and communicated with Thoth. A series of intense conversations in the form of studio visits made me consider the transformation of materials, thinking in 3D, caves, bricks, alchemy, transformation and Ursula Le Guin.
A really productive week working through a block. Being able to inhabit a blank space and having the time to dedicate to investigation and exploration. Using Astral Projection to retrieve material from my unconscious and subconscious minds and divining materials to work intuitively in an unencumbered way. I’ve been through cycles of feeling like it’s going well, followed by an existential crisis, followed by feeling alright again. I guess that’s just how it goes.
I am an interdisciplinary artist-researcher working across architecture, textiles and ecology. Currently I am writing a PhD at the University of Portsmouth. This residency was an element of my wider research which has the working title: Knitting Cultivation Forms for the Soilless Farm. I am recipient of the UK Textile Society’s Professional Development Award, and participated with this research in the Bio Inspired Textiles Maker Collaboration in 2021. I am a founding member of the Living Textiles Collective – a practitioner-led group focused on generative collaboration and knowledge sharing around rethinking habitable spaces as hybrid mediums for coexistence and the cognification of interacting with other species. In a past life I ran community scale experiments in sustainable food production and worked as a researcher at the Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems. I bring this varied background to my practice which enables me to interweave art, science, design and engineering.
360 view of the Knitting Nature Exhibition can be viewed here
Reflecting on my time At The Garage- working predominantly from home through the pandemic led to plenty of opportunity to work at a domestic scale in my practice. At The Garage first of all provided me with an opportunity to expand my view outwards to contemplate my practice at the scale of the interior and beyond. This enabled me to untangle myself from my domestic life and enabled focussed work – free from distractions. My work literally grows, so I needed a longer residency in order to enable the work to be more fully expressed. With 4 weeks ahead of me At The Garage I set out with the intention to fulfil my aspirations to make a larger scale of work. During the residency I had some bad news and the time became really a place for my practice to take on the role of self care. Whilst I was making, I felt transported, and was very productive as a result! In that sense the space ‘held’ me – there was something really containing about the room with its view out to the lane beyond.
I worked solidly for a fortnight and finding myself surrounded by my living works- works that needed the space to be possible. I took the opportunity to organise an inpromptu exhibition ‘Knitting Nature’ to fall at the end of my stay. I’m so glad I did as through the act of talking with people about the work, I learned unanticipated things about my practice.
The residency had a generative feeling to it. The first element of this was the relationship with the space, and the forms I made in response to it. This in turn influenced the seeds and their placements. The space also provided the locus for new / developing relationships with the other people that interacted with me during residency and influenced the work. In particular Annie Davies of Joey Pods who lent me a pod for the residency and helped me to think about my work in terms of ‘skins’ in interior architecture settings; and former residency holder Lou Baker who sat with me for 2 days and collaborated on a piece during the residency. Lou seemed to tease things out of me that I hadn’t been aware of and has a vast knowledge of the discourse around practice- so our conversations were so helpful. I felt very held somehow by her presence too! I was glad too that the residency created opportunity for new connections with those in the city and surrounding areas whose work had common threads – much better to let the practice speak for me!
Following an intuitive process of thinking-through-making, I knitted swatches and larger cultivation artefacts by hand and machine with support from computer aided design. I painstakingly seeded and germinated these, then tended them as they germinated, transformed as the plants take over the textiles. Rhythms and rituals began to occupy the space as the artefacts emerged. I wayfared from object to object, make, seed, tend – and then making my way around the room, watering all the growing seeds twice a day. So a new way of moving and interacting accompanied the artefacts that was unique to the space.
The artefacts I made involved increasing the technical sophistication of their making – so starting from hand felting seeds into sheep fleece and working purely by hand through to commissioning bespoke yarns from a wool mill in Dorset and working with a knitting machine and CAD. The space lent itself to a deconstructed making, working with the rawest of materials. Raw daggy fleece rich in ammonia – welcome here. I trod it into felt on a tarpaulin on the floor. Dripping works were accommodated by the epoxy floor. In this way the space enables so much more than I could have attempted at home where my works are confined to ‘over-the-bath’.
At the point of opening the doors of the space up to welcome visitors to the exhibition, I appreciated how great the lighting is and how little effort I needed to put into casting the artefacts in a ‘good light’. Given my work photosynthesises this can’t be under spoken! Practically speaking everything was there that I needed to suspend the work and to host guests. The space took different forms depending on the task at hand. Fold out chairs held us in conversation. Day and night created different feelings. So the space moved from studio to gallery seamlessly.
My gratitude to Helen for sharing this space and for the generous amount of time I was able to work there – long enough to really experience the fullness of my practice. I am looking forward to continuing the conversations I started with Helen which feel like little seeds waiting to grow. This was the first time I had the opportunity to work my practice in this way (in an undirected residency space that was to use as I pleased). It is already opening doors and has given me a taste for this way of working and I hope that I can continue!
Click and drag below to view the studio as a panorama. Select the menu icon to view other panoramas of Alice’s residency:
Endings and Beginnings
My gut feeling was to use this week to look, think and consider, at a time of heat and upheaval.
I’m about to move away from what I know, socially and geographically. It’s a wrench to leave the familiar and with no studio I’m contemplating what this will be and how it’s going to work. How will it enhance my life and work? Will it enhance my life and work? Why do it? Well I suppose a nagging feeling of wanting something new, a challenge which is at the same time restorative.
Literally a new horizon, acknowledging the fact that there is absolutely nothing to stop me (except myself).
That was quite a lot to bring into the space. I wasn’t sure what would happen when I brought in some work in progress: a series of hanging objects- strange shapes which moved in the breeze to their own rhythm. Each had its momentum. Some were ponderous and cumbersome and moved slowly, others jerkily in odd almost-but-not-quite circles. One in particular took on a complex slow unfolding movement. I had not had the space to see them all together before and was mesmerised.
These objects were always to be ephemeral. Made of different weight fabrics they hold pigments derived from the earth. Each piece has a personal resonance of some sort, either through the previous owner of the fabric or the geographical location. There is an inherent contradiction in them: the weighty earth lightly and gently moving in a tiny gust of wind on a scorching day.
But they are part of this life- the one I’m leaving- so they have to end. I was going to destroy them by ripping and cutting but that didn’t somehow feel right, and anyway they defeated me. As with this whole spontaneous process of making, the answer presented itself. As I cut them down, stepping and lying on them to flatten them, they shifted and arranged themselves into a series of collage pieces Not quite 2D to 3D to 2D, but almost (if you discount the lumps and bumps, the
sharp edges and sticky-out bits of their inherent resistance).
I think it’s a fitting end. Perhaps I will show them to an audience somewhere with photos of the making process, videos of the movement and the final pieces up on the wall. Who knows? More
importantly they have given me more to explore, more to develop, more to try out, and the time and space to look and think.
I am so grateful to Helen for the use of the room, without which none of this would be possible. It’s a very special space, lending itself perfectly to reflective experience. Thanks too for the conversations and messages from those of you who gave me feedback, and the lift which saved me from another long walk in 33c heat. Much appreciated, and hopefully we can keep those conversations going.
It is a beginning, after all.
How great to get acquainted with my work in this way… two readings with an audience in the Garage space, visitors throughout the week, and a chance to lay out all my drawings and collages at my feet and gaze at them… result: I thought a lot about my childhood and adolescence and how it never stopped !… the people who have shaped my life for the better have been those bold enough to redirect me back onto that path, one that appeared between the ages of 7 and 14…. everything here is simply ‘variations on a theme’…
I sit in the Gallery space and read the recently published book (‘Peking’, printed at Bathtub Press) and realise that I am forever ‘channelling’ my experience of being alive into some sort of 2d / prose collage. I’m beginning to think that a good hook upon which to hang my work generally would be ‘adolescence’, not to mention ‘protracted adolescence’ in my case…my work looks, to me anyway, gloriously adolescent. This is a society that has lost the power to shape and harness and celebrate adolescence, a society which distrusts and cannot handle its youth, perhaps because our so called adults are in a state of arrested development. Look around you, who after all do we know in ‘adult society’…ourselves includrd… who could truly be considered wise…where are the true elders?… not much Saturnian know how around as far as I can see. Thank heavens for gurus*.
Thus I have attempted some mind-mapping to explain my work…beginning with the pre-adolescent sexuality I experienced and which rushed to the fore aged 10 to 12 years (before it was supposed to, apparently…) by the age of eleven I was selling ‘pornographic’ drawings at school and running down to a ‘Private Shop’ near the Bristol Royal Infirmary to gaze in the window. I had already discovered my father’s Mayfair magazines and his collection of slides of naked ladies in stilettos, presumably ordered from the back pages of Men Only or Club International. Remember, I am a sixties baby, never underestimate the power the top shelf had over our young minds…Likewise my pre-adolescent fascination with horror, the horrors of history for a start, at least horrors I somehow thought belonged to history, executions, war, atrocities (how I loved and lingered over my History books, L Du Garde Peache’s illustrations, the arrow in Harold’s eye, the burnings and hangings… and the television adaptations of The Three Musketeers, The Last of the Mohicans, and Great Expectations, all of which I now own on DVD… or my father’s books on The Bog People, Nero’s games, and a book of 1920’s photojournalism)… again this precipitated drawings, drawings of the aforementioned horrors that I executed secretly and had to hide from my parents and their friends.
I started buying records aged 7, but in my case my interest in pop was fed by, again surreptitiously, having to purchase Jackie and Fab 208 magazines because I coveted the colour pictures of pop stars… More controversy, those were girls magazines. More ‘weird’ pictures… more drawings. At least I liked boys stuff like football with an equal passion (an understatement, I was obsessed, still am, at least with my local team… obsessed ), not that I could play it.
The surge of photojournalism in the late sixties and seventies, largely featured in Sunday Supplement Magazines, meant the sudden shock that the horrors I have outlined also existed in my own time… I will never, ever forget coming across illustrated articles on the famine in Biafra, war in the VietCong. Come the mid seventies and it’s all kicking off in my head, international terrorism, a fascination with the hard left, autonomia etc … then the intoxication of real adolescence, my fantastic peer group lurching from heavy rock into punk rock with it’s forrays into extreme imagery, sex and violence. Political extremism. Drugs and alcohol. By 1978 I was producing collages for The Pop Group, a seminal highly politicized outfit, this meant pasting hard core imagery over national music papers. Collage, I knew not to be too precious about it, but it still demanded a weird sort of precision, Graham Sutherland once said that ‘Form is a dense arrangement subject to nervous preference’… that’ll do me…it’s a bit of a mystery. The singer of aforementioned ‘Pop Group’ had an elder brother, Paul Stewart, who was at Art School… I had no idea such a life was possible, I followed his lead, off I went and rested my poor head for 4 years in the art school and in the pub, enjoying a good colourful feed at the trough of the history of painting. I enjoyed the writing about Art in journals such as Artscribe… I remember one piece on Julian Schnabel’s ‘Head for Albert’ replete with exciting literary and historical references… but any dry theory on aesthetics etc etc…that spoilt it, unbearable, surely this nonsense is what gave rise to so much short changing of art lovers and gallery goers… all that hopeless ‘art world’ watered down conceptual networking. Determined not to follow a false trail I avoided all such scrutiny and drank and lived in squats instead. I became virtually destitute.
I semi got it together and started a family and joined a rock band, which would have proved a false trail had we taken it at all seriously, which we failed to do, thank heavens …life continued to happen to me for a few years. I had always written things down, always enjoyed writing in bursts of prose. Now I was writing song lyrics as well. At the turn of the millenium myself and Gareth Sager were joyfully incarnated as Pregnant, a four piece avant rock band, that was about as successful commercially as our first band, Head!. Then I became Don Mandarin and made a collage albums with mates such as Patrick Duff and Mike Mooney. One was called This Was Quo Country. I collaborated with Rat on an album called Teddy has stopped breathing… I think at this point my writing was reflecting the ‘real me’…I was well and truly off the drink and seemed to grow up a bit…became a teacher in a Steiner School, discovered Anthroposophy (which sets great store on wild flights of fancy, huge historical perspectives, occult leanings)… identifying with this and my newfound gainful employment made it easier for me to get some sort of self worth. No longer penniless I suddenly realised that, apart from keeping a journal, I had all but stopped ‘doing my art’.
A turning point came when I started recording onto cassette tapes at home in an attempt to recreate the spirit of the experimental music sessions me and my mate Dom Whiston undertook in his garden shed when we were (again !) about 14!!!!!… we were influenced by the Faust tapes (49p). Then I discovered Facebook, Youtube, and the Noise and Obscure Black Metal Communities. Again, ‘extreme’ imagery… but I realised I was still at the trough of the fine arts, writing and pasting and drawing in a way that satisfied me, dare I say it, aesthetically… it was always thus, but figuring out the science of that pleasure, it’s objectivity/subjectivity, is beyond me for now… I collated many years of notebooks haphazardly into prose form.. I arrived on this non commercial, under the counter scene as intact and confident as I’ll ever be. Ross Bum Tapes and Fat Paul handle my material, the first book is published, a collaboration between myself, Ross Bum Tapes and Ryan Broom the Viking… The first public reading I did was very recent… I think I enjoyed it as much as any ‘gig’ or ‘art show’ I’ve ever done…and I remain in the throes of….
Saturn and the Adolescent.
*Mine are Andrew Carmichael, Ita Wegman, Eva Hesse, Henk Kort, Mark E. Smith, William T Vollmann, William S Burroughs, Brendan Behan, John Cowper Powys, Antonin Artaud, Sandy Denny, Kathy Acker, Paul Stewart, Chogyam Trungpa and Thomas Weihs.
We had been talking over Zoom and had decided to make a collaborative piece on our shared experience of the lockdown. I(Prerna) had been in the Garage before to test out ideas for my installation. So, when we as a group decided to meet and were looking for a space, it was instantly the solution to meet at the Garage.
The Garage was the perfect space to meet in person, bounce off ideas and find common threads to weave our work together. The blank walls and the well-lit space allowed for thinking and reflecting undisturbed. The week-long residency gave us the space to play, to spread out and chat, get to know each other better. Afterall if we were going to collaborate, we had to know more about each other’s work and our strengths and weaknesses.
At the end of the residency, we had decided to start a private Instagram page PR_10 to post updates on work-in-progress. PR refers to Peter Reddick as we three had each been awarded this bursary by Spike Print Studio. This is what brought us together.
We brought in test prints, wires and hanging equipment to work out how we would install our prints. From the last residency we had gone away with a vague idea of a spiral and had exchanged work-in-progress over our private Instagram account. It was time to check if it all worked and bring in Emma Gregory to give us some feedback. We also had David Robertson to support us in installing the piece.
The three days flew by with so much to cover. We had a To-Do list and started working our way down. We needed photographs to submit proposals for exhibitions. The empty space in the garage was just the right size to mark out a floor plan for our exhibit. We could see the effect of daylight and artificial light on our prints, the shadows playing on the walls and understand better about the experience we wanted our audience to have. This residency has given us the confidence to materialise our ideas and see them to fruition. It’s now time to get printing and have it ready for next month.
Martyn Cross is a visual artist and painter based in Bristol. His paintings draw upon mythology, the medieval and ideas of metamorphosis, where landscapes are personified and living things share matter. Martyn’s work has been shown nationally and internationally, most recently in the solo exhibition Earth Hymns at Ratio 3, San Francisco in 2021.
This year his paintings have been included in the group show Myths of Observation at Hales Gallery, London, and he is currently working on a solo exhibition at Hales for winter 2022.
For my time at the Garage I was looking to work in ways that differ to my regular studio practice and to spend time reflecting upon the process of painting itself. My own studio has fast become a place that physically announces 10 years inhabitance – I’m surrounded by stuff – so to have the generosity of empty space at the Garage was a revelation but also a necessity.
There was a need to spread out, make larger work and to actually enter into my paintings as much as is humanly possible. Over the two months of the residency I worked in isolation but would regularly accept other artists to the space to discuss works-in-progress and also wider painting practice as a whole.
The culmination of the residency brought a much needed shift to how I normally work, pushing me to view my practice from angles that had hitherto been unseen.