Tag Archive | elsecar

Winter

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I Just haven’t got the resistance to comfort-seeking I used to have in aid of achieving what I had to do. Every day 5 years back, at the back end of 2010, I would go down to my studio (Elsecar, South Yorks), straight after my job, 2 train stops or 2 bus rides from where I live, in the one of the coldest snaps I have experienced in my life. In aide of what? I was working on 2 drawings that were meticulously thought on about how to describe the world we were drifting into; I knew already that Tory rule would mean a intensification of all the things we needed to veer away from to avert future disasters, socially and ecologically. It really did feel like the dawn of a winter, and on the eve of 2011 I felt like I had to be prepared for this more than at any other point. This more intensified slotting of work-making between job and sleep, felt almost like a drill, or something compensatory for the coward I always feared I’d be when pushed came to shove, for whatever one may be shoved into. The studio was so cold the pipes froze and burst around Christmas time, and with my finger-less-gloved hands I’d have to hold my pens with one hand whilst holding an hot water bottle with the other. I miss the sincerity of the devotion to getting these works done, I really do.

What music reminds me of this? In Bluer Skies, Echo and the Bunnymen

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The early stages of the ironically-titled drawing, Global Ghetto, 2045, Marks The Centenary of The Defeat of Fascism

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The early stages of ‘I Want None of This’

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Who Would Want To Listen To This? (2011/2012) Biro on paper, 130X100cm

Who Would Want To Listen To This? (2011/2012) Biro on paper, 130X100cm

Who Would Want To Listen To This

The piece is called ‘Who would want listen to this?’ because such big threats of an ecological collapse which would cause unimaginable disruption and destruction are often too frightening for us to think about (only previously seen by our eyes on cinema screens), so instead we pretend that ‘someone will sort it for us when push comes to shove’ or we even coax ourselves into believing that it can’t actually be happening (I’ve heard people, who once agreed that climate change was being caused by humans, go back on themselves saying ‘how can one species do so much damage to such a big planet?’ – comforting lies). We would rather not listen to it when a friend in our company starts talking about it, or when it is on the TV.

But we are not to blame for feeling so powerless to do anything.

As well as causing this problem, the human system of capitalism makes it seem impossible for us to do anything to stop climate change. It relies on competition between the most powerful nations in the world, rather than cooperation. And these nations are sewn together with the biggest corporations in the world; and corporations, by and large, don’t want us thinking that things such as climate change are happening, because to take any action to stop it would be bad for their business. And being the richest most powerful in the world, they get their way. As things stand THEY are in control of the direction the human world takes.

So we feel powerless, and try to focus on smaller thing instead, we try to forget. Climate change just adds more and more weight to the feeling that everything is out of control and feelings of powerlessness to do anything about it, which is the reality of living under the global capitalist system. So focussing on smaller things, focussing on how to get through life, day to day, in the most bearable way is what most of us find is the only thing we can do.

In the drawing every figure is wearing headphones. This relates to trying to block out the sound of things that are upsetting to us. It also relates a lot to the living in a time where we have access to so much technology to keep us entertained, or distracted, from the real world. I have mixed feelings about technology; I think what the internet offers to us as a species is amazing, and it could be said to be one of the greatest inventions ever. Yet accessories such as mobile phones, Facebook can throw us into a continuous detachment from what’s really happening in the world around us, distracting us, as we are constantly in trying to get other people to speak to us and like us through them, as the popularity of these accessories means people are increasingly alone, communicating from box rooms and lonely bus rides, and lonely people feel insecure and continually seek company. These figures, who are blocking their eyes to the problems around them, aren’t bad people, but are finding themselves more and more consumed in a technological world, that promises so much but never really fulfils.

The people behind the speaking booth-like things are the political/capitalist class. They are equally wired up, with head phones, communicating through cyberspace. They believe in the fantasy that capitalist ‘growth’ can go on forever, and they chase growth like addicts, smiling with Cheshire cat grins when they say the word ‘growth’. They are ‘supposed’ to be the people to lead the citizens to safety and better lives, but they are desperately clinging on to hopes that become more impossible every day. Feeling powerless, we leave it to leaders of governments and capitalism to guide us, but they are even more detached from the real world than everybody else, and they guide us towards a dangerous future. The need for distraction and denial of the truth keeps growing.

I wanted the entire landscape to look like a rock in an empty space, a bit like planet earth in space. But I want this rock to look to have a similarity to a human hand; a human hand that is veering into the dark, into a void, into non-existence. The closer one gets to the fingertips of the hand, the more the landscape is being destroyed, being torn to pieces. This represents two different moments in time; the moment which are at now, when it is the poorest people in the world who suffer the most from the effects of climate change, largely caused by the richest parts of the world (and the most power institutions which come from these places), and a future moment when this becomes the reality for all of humanity, if we don’t change course – direct the human hand away from its route into non-existence.

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Photographs of Ill-Equipped and Making a Mark exhibitions

Making A Mark
Featuring 5 Barnsley-based artists whose work revolves predominantly around the practice of drawing: The artists are, Richard Kitson, John Ledger, Jade Morris, Mikk Murray and Louise Wright.
Daytime openings: Friday 22 July – Sunday 14 Aug
Opening days Thursday – Sunday, 12-4pm.
Hive Gallery, Elsecar Heritage Centre, Barnsley, S74 8HJ
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John Ledger
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Global Ghetto, 2045, marks the centenary of the defeat of fascism (2010/11)
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Mikk Murray
A dog’s life

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Jade Morris

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Louise Wright

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Richard Kitson

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Photographs from Ill-Equipped, an exhibition @Access space, Sheffield

A thanks to the people at Access Space for giving me the chance to put this show on. It’s been really good to see these works behind an active environment. Access Space is located on Sidney Street, just a few minutes walk leftwards out of the Sheffield Train Station.

“Access Space is an inclusive environment. As well as working with artists, academics, creative technologists, programmers, other professionals and students, 50% of  the participation in Access Space’s activities are from people in danger of exclusion and on the margins of society, including: people with disabilities, homeless people, ex-offenders, asylum seekers, refugees and people with mental health issues. Through Refab Space, Access Space engages with self starters and entrepreneurs as well. One of the strengths of Access Space is that it brings people from different backgrounds together.”

The exhibition was named after the drawing Ill-Equipped, a work that deals with the affect on subjectivities in an world where almost every aspect of life is becoming penetrated/mediated by cyberspace technologies, leaving us ‘always on’. But more crucially what does to our ability to truly develop an understanding of the big issues facing us in the 21st century.

Ill-Equipped

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My cramped studio

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 One of the reasons why there is more writing on this blog than artwork at present is because the place where I make my work is so cramped with old works that I can hardly move. I have provided truthful photographic evidence of this, for anyone bored enough to be interested in such A NON EVENT of me telling you that “nothing is happening”. There again, I kind of like the look of the studio when it looks like a trove of all the stuff in my head – but there again I would wouldn’t I? because it’s my head.
So here it is a post about NOTHING IN PARTICULAR. But at least I’m not posting pictures of my every last carbohydrate being used up,to put on Facebook. If my studio continues to get more cramped – I’ll probably turn to this in a week or so. Sorry to waste the time of anyone who’s time is actually important.

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The Sprawl – exhibition at Hive Gallery, Elsecar, South Yorkshire

The Sprawl

Drawings based on the land of people
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This exhibition is a ‘installationalised’ selection of drawings covering the social landscape; the urbanization and takeover of the natural land and the methods of control over its inhabitants. The centerpiece is The Sprawl, an expansive paper drawing; incorporated around the shape of half of my bedroom (hence the unusual shape) colonizing all workable surfaces in the manner of a expanding city. An expression of a how the city becomes one giant super organism, although separate and hazardous towards Earths working life systems. All the inhabitants, their cars and trains are like the blood running through the veins keeping the city alive.

The Sprawl

The Sprawl (1697x2400) IMG_3523 IMG_3524 IMG_3914 IMG_3902f

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  Waking Up (Part of The Sprawl installation)

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Central Bombardment

Central Bombardment (2009) - biro on paper

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People Factory

people factory (close up 1)

Three Tiers of a Sinking Ship

three tiers of a sinkings ship (2000x1412)