November’s activities – Airspace Gallery Graduate Residency / by Naomi Harwin

My residency at Airspace Gallery is moving into its fifth month and getting ever closer to my Solo show which will be held on the 16th – 24th January 2015.

Trip to London

In November I spent a few days in London, during this time I was able to catch up with friends and visit a few exhibitions. I had been searching time to go and see the Anselm Kiefer show at the Royal Academy.  I was so pleased I could catch the exhibition; it was great to see so many works I had studied in books, and get to engage with the works on a much more personal level.  Although the exhibition had a great range of his painted works I felt a real lack of his sculptures and the paintings did not really give you an idea of the scale of his work.  However, this was seen in the Imagine program on the BBC that aired a day or so after my visit.  The program explored all three of his studios in France and Germany and made evident Kiefer’s process and the extent of scale in his work that was lacking at the RA. Anselm Kiefer is an artist I have spent a lot of time researching, I was drawn to his process of working and use of materials.  These processes are less relevant to my current work as it has progressed and developed into a much cleaner and precise format but Kiefer is still an artist I love to explore.

While in London I also attended a show at CHELSEA space, a friend on the MA Curating & Collections course at Chelsea College of Arts, with his peers had put together a series of works from various collections in response to the main show, Bob Cobbing: Bill Jubobe.   The opening was very busy and it was great to meet some new people.

Crowdfunding Launch

As mentioned in a previous post, I have been working on ways to fund my solo show.  I decided that the best route for my circumstances was to set up a crowd funding campaign.  I put together a video with a collection of photos and videos of current and previous work to illustrate my practice and communicate the aims behind my campaign.  It was a good process to go through albeit a little daunting, as I was unsure on how successful my campaign might be.

I launched the campaign at the end of November on the platform Indiegogo.  My goal is to raise £500.  So far the campaign has done well and I am so pleased and thankful for the support people have shown.  All the contributions make a difference, making it possible to make the works I envisioned.  I hope the show will give evidence to this fact.

Establishing the solo exhibition

Working towards my show I have established a number of ideas and works I wish to create.  This was further considered when writing my exhibition proposal.  My aim for the exhibition is to showcase the works I have made over the 6-month residency. The time has given me the opportunity to develop my practice while the exhibition itself has allowed me to be more ambitious with the works, giving me greater freedom to develop all aspects of the exhibition.

I plan to install a number of sculptural and wall based works. Each piece to be exhibited is made through a process of studying, extracting and deconstructing a selection of very small plasticine forms. Through this process-based practice, each sculpture, drawing and print reveals a snippet of information about the original object. The work functions best as a series of elements and collections, the dialogue amongst the works allows connections to be made, generating an understanding and awareness in the viewer of the original object and their relation to it. One of the main sculptural works focuses on the process of deconstruction, separating an image into layers of information, which then allows the possibility to construct new arrangements.

While I am very much in the process of making I am finding it hard to think about the other aspects of my practice, such as contextualizing it and pushing and developing the ideas.  I think this is understandable given the stage I am at with regards to the residency and the forth-coming show.  But in some ways I wish I were more able to consider these things, as I’m sure this would strengthen the work.  One other concern I have is maintaining and ensuring the quality of the work is high while I push to produce quite a number of works.  I hope that the works do not suffer because of my ambition to create all of these works.

I think this experience is really pushing me, the residency allows me to see how much I can really achieve and tests my dedication to my practice. When I’m not at work I am spending all of my time in the studio, often working late into the evening. This way of working is not something I can maintain on a regular basis but as I am working up to my solo show I wish to put as much of my time into the works as I can.  When the show is up I will know I did the best I could.

If you want to see what has been happening in the studio check out my Tumblr blog here:


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