An Art Line for Margate

Diverse Artist Strand: Artist Studio Space

Woman in Progress was an exhibition alongside Oliver, an opportunity to showcase our individual processes and identities as creative people, whilst sharing information about our collaboration and our upcoming exhibition. 

So far our collaboration has developed as sister projects, with the same heart and core interests - people and process, community and honesty, whilst developing in different formats. As though the "room" these things exist in has the same story, told in film, photography, audio, visual and physical from each of us and our collaborations with the hidden voices of Margate.

The exhibition itself was a great offering and opportunity, as the first time I have shared my personal works without representing an institution. 

I found it had me questioning ideas of responsibility, privilege and duty as well as considering what the pressures and aims should be. 

Did this need to be finished pieces?

Did it need to offer ideas, make people think, shock or suggest?

Did it need an aim at all?

Did it need to be controlled or not?

Who was I speaking to, if I was speaking at all?

In the end it came through that this would be an offering that developed from seeds that had been coming together over the year, as the first attempt at sharing where I am at in a larger creative process; Looking at the Woman in Progress that is me personally, is young woman to woman in our society, and woman that was, in archetypes and in legends of England, Ireland and Wales, lands that have seen my ancestors.

The process of completing the pieces was instinctive and natural, but, when it came to installation, I wanted to see what would come up with a loose plan.

This shed light on some key areas to consider for the exhibition in November;

  • My painting was too heavy for the false ceiling so couldn't hang as I had hoped - planning visits are crucial!

  • The location of the window space means many people feel uncomfortable stopping outside to take it in - I would like to think more on how to make it so people can stop, can take away a piece of the exhibition, or to find a space which invites pause.

  • The need for a backdrop, or a method of installing that takes advantage of the space and the distracting huge background should it be the same windows.

Woman in Progress 

The flames in this painting represent the burning rage of the outside world and the stillness and power that can be held within themselves. The need to let things burn off and away, in readiness to stand in the ashes of that which is no longer needed. 

The poise hopes to show the inner strength that can exist while being engulfed by constraints, burdens, duties and restrictions that find us via society, family, conditioning and histories.

 

This is purposely unexplained as the power of the image may speak to different experiences depending on the audience. 

Personally the painting here represents a present woman. The items in the right hand window represent the past, and the left represent the future.

So the window may be read as a story told backwards, from future to present to past.

 

The right hand window shares artifacts in a paper and plastic holder, a dry cleaning bag found in an old family suitcase. These pieces I found while working on the painting, at my Mum's house, kept in a hat box, treasures from when me and my sisters were young. They are an old wishlist from a birthday, a homemade badge "small change big difference", and a letter; "To, I LOVE YOU". These offer a small insight into a girl full of innocence and love, susceptibility to influence and openness to good. 

These are hung beside painted bark and branches, showing body parts and skin painted onto sticks, thinking about our natural selves, our relationships to nature as was so instinctive to me as a child, which was taken over by influence and information overload as I grew. One painting is on the back of a catholic poem about how the hope is that in various ways, our life experience keeps us humble, quiet and easy to deal with, belonging to my Grandma.

The left hand window is a poem written as an offering to anyone who needs it, a calling to release condition, contracts or blocks to being, something which has repeatedly come up in my work with young people, my discussion with artists within this curation, and within circles of women I gather with and work with in my own journey.

The pieces are shared hanging from branches and string, with a bunched group of gull and pigeon feathers, all found around Thanet, pieces of quiet and constant nature which offer an alternative place to be informed on how to be.

This exhibition became part diary and release, letting out of my grasp things which I have held close, part offering of hope to women who might see it, part warning to young women who might come across it.

Oliver was privileged to be granted the use of a derelict Primark building in Margate high street  for a week to display some of his recent works.

 

He chose to to display a video he created during lockdown about his experience of Covid 19. Oliver wrote a song and the music video was projected within the window display. 

 

For his arts commission Oliver Seager will be producing  a documentary around lockdown art, this documentary will show the impact that Covid 19 has had on local artists and showcase art created during this pandemic.

Oliver Seager is usually a music producer and songwriter he comes from a songwriting and performing  arts background.  Oliver found creating a widow display about his project refreshing & fun.  He was forced to step back from his usual arts discipline and  this  has given him a chance to focus on the importance of how things look visually when displaying art  as opposed to focussing on how things sound as Oliver comes  from a music engineering background .This process for this widow display raised some questions…

What is it that Oliver wanted the ongoing public to think when displaying his works in the window display?

How will he engage his audience ?

 

What information should  Oliver provide in the widow display? What reaction if any does he hope to receive?

The Documentary Oliver has  been creating for the diverse artist strand celebrates the importance of creativity and showcases exceptional talent in Margate  and its Regional areas. The documentary explores art created in lockdown, it also provides a platform for local talented performers to express themselves during these challenging times. Thanks to this commission artists have had the opportunity to collaborate and new works have been created as a result of this project. The documentary provided a platform for the featured artist to  share their art and their experiences of Covid 19. The short film demonstrates  the  impact that  art  has  had on our wider community. Oliver has witnessed  the role that art  plays  in bringing people together and this documentary is an example of this.

Self evaluation and concept

 

Does their need to be an outcome? or the fact that people engaged in the display was that simply enough?

You never know what your audience is going to take from an experience. The same exhibition when looking at a piece of art can be interpreted in many different ways. Oliver feels when displaying art visually there are similarities with music  performance. As a professional performer Oliver feels that when performing being relaxed and performing without feeling pressured is fundamentally important and that often the “ less is more “approach  generates better quality results. Oliver took a similar strategy for his window display.  Dependent on Covid 19 restrictions Oliver hopes to showcase a  live performance within the space.

Oliver is used to engaging audiences with performing music so stepping back from his art practice and looking at how people can be engaged visually made him realise that you can be very subtle with the placement of objects, the colours used and even the distances between objects  all of which depict a mood and raise a sense of awareness and association with the objects within the display.

 

Install Approach and learning 

 

In music a certain chord can make you feel a certain way. The  rhythms  of a song can lift ones mood  and a chord can make you think a certain way.  Oliver had worked with visual arts for cd covers and for music videos however set design was something new. He  has very much enjoyed the process. 

 

Reflection 

The Display Gathered interest from locals and  people asked Oliver about the project and  this sparked discussion with strangers which is always nice experience .This is another example of how art forms communication between people. Oliver was lucky to be given contact details of local residents who wanted to feature in the documentary, people from other towns had randomly seen the display so on reflection the window display raised awareness about the project.

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