I love the word glut, even though it’s harsh and ugly in sound and shape, it reminds me of the fecundity of autumn, lush and abundant with harvested produce.
It’s meaning is an excessively abundant supply or to satisfy fully.
The last weekend of September in Plymouth had an outrageous glut of arts and culture. Three different arts organisations included this weekend in their programmes.
Drawn to the Valley , straddles the area adjacent to the Tamar Valley. Predominantly featuring ‘Open Studios’ the work of just under 100 artists was available for 8 days, finishing on this weekend.
Plymouth Art Weekender also has some open studios , but it also features performance art, sound art and interactional art experiences over 63 venues all over the city. Events started on Friday evening and carried on until Sunday afternoon.
The Atlantic Project is three weeks of an International Festival of contemporary art starting on this weekend with sites both indoors and outdoors across Plymouth.
With so much to do and so little time to do it in the weekend passed quickly. Flashes of recycled plastics in a green and white funeral-like procession with discordant music. More discordant music and watery sounds. Amazing enthusiastic people doing their thing everywhere. It was a brilliant weekend. I could list the stuff I saw but that would be very dull. I’m going to write about three artists, one from each organisation. They happen to all be women but that’s a coincidence . I also saw some amazing work from men.
Drawn to the Valley- Jill Coughman Open Studio.
Jill was one of my art lecturers , she is inspirational. I’m drawn to her work even when I don’t know that she is the artist. Much of Jill’s work is autobiographical, it is emotional and evocative of both herself and her environment. Even tough subjects feel safe to explore through Jill’s response to them. I bought a print of Dockyard Blues. I love it.
Plymouth Art Weekender- Juliet Middleton- Batts
Juliet invited me to visit her group exhibition ‘Work In Process’
The group comprises both graduate and post graduate students from Plymouth University.
Juliet’s work was stunning. Her title Heroes gave no hint of the works definitive topic but a bike outside embellished with flowers and ribbons in the colours of the Women’s Suffrage Movement was a not so subtle hint. Inside her installation, 100 discs laser etched with the names of imprisoned suffragettes hung on fine thread . The discs represented the medals awarded to all of these women who had endured participation in Hunger Strikes.Illuminated, they cast typography shadows on the walls or flashed a quick bright reflection into the viewers eye. It was mesmerising to look for familiar names but also intriguing to catch the names of people not so well known. The small scale of the Perspex discs massed together as an installation were a fabulous representation of the power of combined and cohesive effort.
The Atlantic Project – Chang Jia
Chang’s work was the only one that made good use of the phenomenal setting that is the Melville Building at Royal William Yard. The other works in this building made no use of the industrial sized epic architecture. Such a shame for them . It would have been amazing to see work projected onto those beautiful walls. Thankfully Heavenly, Corrupted Landscapes has the scale and impact to drag my eyes away from the internal architecture . Her massive canvases owned the space. Referencing traditional Chinese landscapes from the Ming Dynasty the image is created using microscopic photography of the bacteria that is polluting four rivers in South Korea.
The Atlantic Project runs until 21 st October.
Art events like the three mentioned are not all about planning. Serendipity and missing things is also part of the experience.
I missed meeting Nikki Taylor www.nickitaylorscupture.co.uk . I’ve loved her mesh sculptures since seeing them in London and was thrilled to find out she works from a studio in Plymouth. When I popped into her studio she was knee deep in great conversations , so actually I got no closer to talking about her work than I ever have in London.
It’s always good to run into people unexpectedly, and really great when you can connect people from different parts of life.
I met a Fine Art PhD artist who was studying the seaweed of Devils Point. www.duncantheartist.tumblr.com that’s pretty specialised stuff but coincidentally I have another friend whose Biology PhD covered the exact same topic. Surreal things happen, in a good way,when you talk to strangers at art exhibitions. Apologies to Duncan, every photo I took chopped your head off.
To make amends for chopping off a head I will finish with some serendipity. a head from Nikki Taylor superimposed over a mural.I love this image of a mesh head in front of a mural by www.loci-collective.weebly.com
So there we are, a seasonal glut of art and culture. All showcased in great venues surrounded by beautiful scenery and radiant sunshine. Summer slipping into autumn with a huge creative Boom!