Bideford Black: The Next Generation

New art commissions to explore science, industry and society in local pigment project

Nine  artists have been selected to make new work for the Bideford Black: The Next Generation project ahead of a special exhibition at the Burton Art Gallery in October 2015.

Bideford Black is a unique pigment found only in Bideford. This project connects the heritage of the area with the tradition of using it as an artist’s material, commissioning and documenting its use by contemporary artists, developing a greater understanding of this rare material in a contemporary artistic context.

Caption: Images of Neville & Joan Gabie's research into Bideford Black in plastics production. With thanks to Hampton Plastics.  Copyright Carolyn Black

Caption: Images of Neville & Joan Gabie's research into Bideford Black in plastics production. With thanks to Hampton Plastics. Copyright Carolyn Black

On the 11th March, there will be an early opportunity to meet one of the artists at the gallery when Luce Choules will be presenting her recent alpine fieldwork project Guide74 in a special ‘performance lecture’. She will also introduce Seam, the new choreographed exhibition she is creating for Bideford Black: The Next Generation. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Choules explores physical and emotional geography through experimental fieldwork.

Selected by open call last autumn, all of the artists are developing new artworks either with, or about, Bideford Black pigment, for the Burton’s permanent collection.

Devon-based artist Tabatha Andrews works in a range of media including drawing and casting forms in paper.

Artist duo ATOI, based in Cornwall, are exploring the transformation of material from one form to another. The pair are experimenting with using Bideford Black in false diamonds and even as a surface for martial arts.

Inspired by Bideford’s historic industries and their workers, and society’s pre-occupation with the natural, London-based artist Corinne Felgate will set up a temporary cottage industry at a North Devon location. Using only local natural materials, Felgate will create 100 small objects for applying ‘Bideford Black mascara’.

Prompted by Bideford Black, and using a shared sketchbook, artists Neville Gabie and Joan Gabie are holding a ‘dialogue of ideas’ with Cultural Geographer Ian Cook (University of Exeter). Together, the artists explore the physicality, social and geological significance of Bideford Black, creating an artist’s film and drawings.

Lanarkshire-based artist duo Littlewhitehead are interested in the environmental processes forming Bideford Black: what would the Carboniferous period have sounded like? Their developing commission is tightly under wraps, but may incorporate experimental sound recordings or Bideford Black discs resembling vinyl LP records.

Lizzie Ridout will set Bideford Black within a new taxonomy – or story – of the colour black. Incorporating her research into the subject, the Cornwall-based artist will create a printed publication, presented as a sculpture, pieces of which audience members may be able to take away.

The final artist, Sam Treadaway is working with Bristol botanists to create a scent inspired by Bideford Black. The scent will be interactively transmitted into the gallery space using a bubble-blowing machine developed by roboticists from the University of the West of England.

Film-maker Liberty Smith is documenting the Bideford Black: The New Generation project. As well as filming the eight artists and artist duos as they research and create their work, Liberty will film the landscape around Bideford and the North Devon coast. Smith’s film will be premiered as part of the project exhibition in October 2015.

To get an inside glimpse of those involved in the project do join the upcoming talk by Luce Choules on  11th March at 7pm at the Burton Art Gallery. This is a free admission event, but booking is advised  -  tel 01237 471455 or email burtonartgallery@torridge.gov.uk.

And another date for your diaries, “Bideford Black: The Next Generation Exhibition” opens on 3rd October at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2QQ

 

 

The Art of Paper Cutting

Mix up a Saturday, 7 people, a pile of cutting boards, blades and a stack of black paper and you get the most inspired day doing something totally different.

I have just returned from a “Paper-Cutting” course at the Burton Art Gallery, Bideford, with the artist Caroline Rees.  Textile design student Caroline Rees has evolved her career as a sandblasted glass artist into a paper cut artist over the last few years and was in Devon to share her deceptively simply technique of making papercuts.

Photo credit: Simon Williams

So after the basic introductions, and the amazement that Caroline had travelled from Swansea to Bideford to run the course for us, we set to work practicing cutting out simple squares on a piece of black paper on the chopping mat, using the blade.  In no time, most of the class were ready to move onto working on an image.  For some, this was hand drawing an outline and being smart enough to work out how to simplify the image and block it out ready for cutting.  For the rest of us we found an appealing stencil in Caroline’s collection, outlined the image on black paper and then, almost in a therapeutic trance, cut around the multitude of lines to reveal a stunning image.

For me the appeal of paper cutting is that you don’t need to be an artist, in fact, you don’t even need to be able to draw.  The equipment will cost you less than a tenner (cutting board, blade and some paper) and the results are astonishing.  All you need is time, actually hours of time, to master the real art of cutting perfect, intricate, tiny shapes.  Trust me, I was in awe of the lady working alongside me who was able to cut out weenie circles to make the buds on her flower pattern (SO difficult).

Paper cutting – the beginners’ steps.

1)   Purchase a cutting board, blade and black paper.

2)   Think about what you want to draw.  For me it was tough to sit and really think about what image I wanted to create.

3)   Create an outline by hand or from a stencil.

4)   Break it down into small parts and work out how each part would need to be cut.

5)   Then have fun and start cutting out the image from the smallest parts first.  Be patient.

 

The draw? The desire to learn something new, something frivolous in Bideford.

The attraction? A skill that requires no digitization, just the work of the human hand.  And Caroline Rees – like the art of paper cuts, is enchanting.

The result?  A huge sense of personal accomplishment as the image emerges from blank piece of paper revealing something I can hang on my kitchen wall with pride!  And the relief that I now know what I am going to get everyone for Christmas!

So if you fancy having a go at paper cutting, and you missed this course, there is a small selection of paper cutting books on sale at the Burton Art Gallery shop.  But if paper cutting isn’t for you, then Caroline’s limited edition paper cuts are also on sale at the Burton.

For details on upcoming workshops at the Burton Art Gallery visit: www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Venue Contact Details:
THE BURTON ART GALLERY & MUSEUM, Kingsley Road, Bideford EX39 2QQ
(e) burtonartgallery@torridge.gov.uk   (t) 01237 471455 (w) www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm.

Artist Contact Details:
CAROLINE REES, Studio (by appointment), Ty Glas, 2a Overland Road, Langland, Swansea, SA3 4LS

(e)info@blastedglass.co.uk  (t)01792 447 547 (w) www.blastedglass.co.uk

 

 

Lucy Goaman

Contemporary Art in the Countryside

ARTIST ROOMS On TourRichard Long  4th October 2014  – 10th January 2015 Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Bideford, Devon

The Burton Art Gallery and Museum, is proud to present a public exhibition of works by the celebrated land artist Richard Long, as part of ARTIST ROOMS On Tour.

In a career that now spans nearly 50 years, Richard Long, has tested the boundaries of art by creating a substantial and varied collection of work in which he has taken nature as his subject but also as the source of his materials. Credited with being closely associated with the emergence of a new art form, Land Art, Long won the Turner Prize in 1989 and is one of Britain’s most significant artists, living and working in his beloved West Country.

Richard Long’s work is deep rooted in his affinity with nature, developed often during walks around the British countryside. Walking repetitively in a line, making a circle of pebbles, arranging sticks in their hundreds, using mud as paint and piling up stones are just some of the many ways in which Richard Long has interacted with the landscape.  He was amongst a new generation of British artists who wanted to extend the possibilities of sculpture beyond the confines of traditional artists materials and he began to use natural materials such as clay, pine needles, driftwood, slate, mud and stones in his work. Long is renowned for documenting the experience of his walks with photographs, maps, wall drawings and printed statements, revealing patterns and observations with beauty, creativity and inspiration.

As a student in 1967, Long completed ‘A Line Made By Walking’ – a photograph of a field edged by a wood showing a narrow strip of grass, flattened by the action of him repeatedly walking it. Richard Long has stated “I have the most profound feelings when I am walking, or touching natural materials in natural places.” Paradoxically he states that his work is a portrait of himself in the world, his personal journey through it and the materials he finds along the way.  ‘A Line Made by Walking’ is alongside other pieces in the exhibition which have a relationship to the South West; ‘Cornish Slate Ellipse’, 2009, and ‘Three Moors’ are included within this exhibition.

The works on display at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum are taken from ARTIST ROOMS, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland through the generosity of Anthony d’Offay with additional support from funders, including the Art Fund. The ARTIST ROOMS tour programme, now in its sixth year, is showing at 18 museums and galleries across the UK in 2014. The tour is made possible thanks to the support of Arts Council England and the Art Fund.

Warren Collum, Exhibitions and Collections Officer at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum said, “Right from the beginning of being involved with the ARTIST ROOMS programme, one of the artists I had in mind for The Burton was Richard Long. Many of the works in this exhibition have a direct connection to the South West environment. In particular, the works ‘Cut Slate Ellipse’ and ‘Three Moors’ will resonate strongly with our audiences encouraging them to connect with the materials that make up our environment, but in a totally different context – the gallery space.”

Miranda Clarke, Visual Arts Manager at The Burton added, “We are delighted to be an associate partner as part of ARTIST ROOMS. This is a significant moment in the Burton’s 60+ year history, bringing the Richard Long exhibition to The Burton supports the original remit as set out by Hubert Coop and Thomas Burton, the founders of The Burton, in 1951. Recently on a visit to Tate Modern, travelling up the main escalators I glimpsed the 12foot high map of the UK, which shows where all the ARTIST ROOMS venues are this year. It was incredible to see ‘The Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Bideford’ pinpointed. It made me proud of Bideford and of The Burton.” 

Richard Long’s work is a celebration of wild places that often lie hidden, just off the beaten track.  He is an artist who has had a lifetime of joyful exploration and simple pleasures, exploring the relation of man and nature, expressing, in new ways, the beauty and fragility of this relationship.

The Burton Art Gallery also hosts regular art activities for children and teenagers, allowing them the opportunity to discover their creative side and get artistically active themselves. Visit www.burtonartgallery.co.uk for further details.

To find out more information about ARTIST ROOMS On Tour please visit www.artfund.org/artistrooms.  To see the full ARTIST ROOMS collection please visit www.tate.org.uk/artistrooms and www.nationalgalleries.org/artistrooms

Venue Contact Details:
THE BURTON ART GALLERY & MUSEUM, Kingsley Road, Bideford EX39 2QQ
(e) burtonartgallery@torridge.gov.uk   (t) 01237 471455 (w) www.burtonartgallery.co.uk

Opening Hours:

Monday – Saturday, 10am – 4pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm.

Lucy Goaman