Chats with Artists in Lockdown, is a Podcast of artists talking together. Discussing how the virus has impacted them and their work; the good and the bad bits, the conversation wanders between artist’s making and thinking and they share their strategies and experiences through this weird time.
Milly Peck and I talk about being back in the studio after what felt to her like an interminable long weekend. We talk about crazy paving and marking time by making paths with rubble. We talk about graphic gaps and borders around things and hating soil and ski gloves. We talk about drawing and Milly gets into the drawings she's been making as an opportunity to explore things she wouldn't in sculpture. We talk about playing with shadows and not still life. We talk about how Milly works site specifically and how she relies on using the memory as stand in for looking too much. We talk about her process of cutting things away, off cuts and graphic shapes and touch on how she uses paint, which came in handy when her mum spilled wine on her work! We talk about fake food, going through the motions and beveled edges. We think about the objects and motifs that appear often in her work - things with volumes that can contract and expand. We mention function, the genius of Alan Ayckborn and stage sets. We talk about the visual mind map on Milly's studio wall joining the dots between Edward Hopper, Mantegna and comics. We end on dogs keeping you normal and being good on your own.
Untitled. Drawing made in lockdown. a3 size 29 x 42cm. Coloured pencil on paper
Matt Ager and I talk about plodding along and where he should have been - in Aspen, and Mexico and Maine. Matt talks about being a fidgety person and being thankful for his studio, which he can still go to. We try to talk about Skowhegan, the Residency Programme, what it is and why it is so marvellous. We talk about being given permission to make the work we are making from the artists that have gone before us, and the ideas of content vs intent. Matt describes making feelings based works, relying on found objects and collecting textures. Matt talks us through his large box of stock materials that he is working through, thinking about simple gestures, waltz rhythms (1,2,3) and ideas of display. We talk about comfort and teetering between function and non-function. Matt talks about treating his work like a relationship and decided that he should date his work more often. We chat about the dowel, setting up problems to solve and disingenuous Tromp L’oeil. We end on cooking as a release and coffee rituals.
Easy Rack (2019) - Plastic, Ceramic, steel and dowel.
Louise Ashcroft and I talk about tourist yoga and embracing liveness as a strategy in this new less socially intense space of lockdown. Louise talks about faking liveness, walking tutorials and collage as walking - wandering the things she's wondering. We talk about sculpture jokes, pace and making things structurally unsafe so that things can come together unexpectedly. We talk about starting with writing, post it notes, expensive words and extending language. We discuss getting bored quickly, Frans Hals, and how to change the accent of a slogan. Louise gets into how art and comedy overlap, boring talks and using the argos catalogue and a residency in a shopping centre to build a narrative of what's really going on. We talk about joy and rage, about generosity and resistance and freedom as a muscle to be flexed. We talk about education, or as Louise calls it, 'utopia', about Alt MFA, making your own art school and working with and within an institution. Louise 'demonstrates' improvisation live(!) and takes us around the back of Asda, through her head and into ours. We end on cycling to ET and being perfectly primed to make something out of nothing.
GNIPPOHS (Backwards Shopping) an interactive performance at disORDER live art festival, 2020. Image: Antonis Maros.
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtO4g5E_v_MMpGuz2DOt7wA
You can see her new film 'Dead Relevant' at Frans Hal Museum:
open 1st june - 20th Sept, (1.5m distance between visitors)
and some works she's made in her kitchen for Open Space Contemporary a few weeks ago:
plus her new BBC Boring talk which is a humorous, personal story about breakfast cereals, identity and colonial capitalism:
Nicola Singh and I talk about how we are feeling 'without giving away all our gear'. Nicola talks about liking routines even though they're not cool and how she has developed routines from establishing them on short residencies. We talk about stretching and time got back from not being on trains. We talk about painting as a method to remember and capture and making big mad diagrams. Nicola talks about where she should have been and what she would have might have been maybe be making. We talk about lifting the lid on honesty and ideas of identity, ethnicity and race. Nicola talks about looking up at an idea and writing and collaboration. We discuss how to bounce of all the negatives of trying to teach under lockdown, remotely and without eye contact and question what liveness in lockdown might mean? We talk about going towards feeling and the tension between heightened interiority and disembodiment. We talk about dancing with your face and exploring the edges of expression. We touch on singing as a way to access the body and lifting weights in Wakefield. We end on friends and dynamic physical practise, falling into questions and sitting with all the jangly stuff without the red wine.
'don't look so sad'
David Dale Gallery, Glasgow
Image Credit: Isoble Lutz Smith
Hannah and I start off nasal, due to hay fever. We discuss routine, the importance of moving and dust. Hannah describes enclosing herself in the work and making a complete environment in the spare room. We discuss negative space, temporary structures and continual transformations, using the crook of the elbow and the space between the knees as places of resistance. We talk about layering, sculpture, flatness, and using domesticity alongside the monumental. We discuss having the courage to dance when no-one can see you and touch on muscular shifts and language to talk about movement. We talk about Yvonne Rainer and points of connection and why the word illustrate is loaded. Hannah describes the balance of her usual life, working in a gallery alongside her art making and we talk about discipline. Hannah ends on hair dressing podcasts, being grateful and not wasteful and on corners and not columns.
Desk image. (Work in progress)
Material Immaterial publication curated by Rodrigo Orrantia is available soon: https://www.rodrigoorrantia.com/selected-projects/material-immaterial/
Bedwyr Williams and I talk about his ideal studio - a house - and how he is currently making work in his kitchen, bed, shed, and chair and angry morning and absurd evening drawings. We talk about his intsagram drawings and the characters and themes running through them. We discuss shoes and having big feet. We discuss embarrassment and feeling stupid, comic timing and swearing at yourself. We talk about feet far away from the mouth, jelly legs and collaborations. Bedwyr talks about the gallery as a place where anything goes and making work for self-satisfaction. We end on Michael Jordan and sleep, getting tucked in by a stone wizard to rain sounds and white noise.
Untitled instagram drawing 2020
Guy Oliver and I talk about taking advantage of being a full time artist for a while and this period as a time of transition. We talk about his film, 'you know nothing of my work' commissioned by Jerwood Visual Arts and Film and Video Umbrella. We talk about sincerity, the band Lost Prophets and ideas of disgrace. We discuss Woody Allen, American dads, the author and ideas of betrayal and disappointment. We talk about slipping in provocative words, collage as a methodology, about poetry and rhyme and about Guy singing, even though he can't. We think on justice and when it fails. We talk about Guy learning to ride a bike and his insecurity at being an adult. We end on Parks and recreation and the adaptability of humans.
"You Know Nothing of my Work", HD Video, 2020
Website - http://www.guyoliver.co.uk/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/guyjoliver/
Vimeo - https://vimeo.com/user7555362
Jerwood/FVU Award - https://www.jerwoodfvuawards.com/about-us/awards-editions/hindsight
Holly Stevenson, Charlie Gray and I talk about their creative environment and how it has changed in terms of their routine and what they are able to make. We touch on their son's cancelled GCSES and how they are as a family. They talk about what they are up to now, Charlie archiving and discovering gems in the process and Holly, treating it as writing residency to revisit her draft novel. We discuss Freud, jade green, ashtrays and cigars, light and a sponge bob square pants phone. Charlie tells us about going after characters that personally interest him to make shoots happen and how much of himself and his ideas are invested in these images. Holly talks about some of her postponed exhibitions and they both discuss the characters in their work. They end on the delight of dogs and birds.
'Robert De Niro’ + ’She’s Unstubbable’
Rose Wylie and I talk about moving the large wet work on paper that she’s making now, how difficult it is to get on with work when you have so much time to just be in the studio and how Rose is using this time to look up other artists. Rose talks about her love of sticking rather than stitching and how she's a staple gun freak. We talk about what Rose is working on and about her wonderful late night drawings. We touch on her show at David Zwirner Hong Kong, "Painting a Noun" and her passion for Coleridge's poetry. Rose talks about being hands on and the difficulties of this approach. We discuss skirts, feet, and body image. Rose tells us what characters she's into right now and why she was taken with Snow White (contrast) and Elizabeth Taylor (because she was brittle, had mauve eyes and was all over the papers.) Rose speaks about text and we consider humour and being serious. To end, Rose proposes a new colour, green without blue and tells us about renaming her cat, now called Pete.
Detail from the image discussed:
Bird, Butterfly & Worm
Oil on Canvas
159 x 548 cm
Katherine Bradford and I talk about where she is in Maine, which is where we met, and hear about her arrival there from New York (this is the last day of her 14 day Quarantine.) We talk about what Katherine is making, from the kitchen table and about the ideas of dry mediums, white paper and stubborn images! We discuss communities, talking about the residency where we met, Skowhegan, and reflect on our relative experiences of it. Katherine talks about how she wanted an artist's life and how she painted herself into it, both literally and in dialogue with her many peers. Katherine says "I don't fool around", and we explore this talking through her process, her interactions with her 'sick paintings' and her pace and we think on the ignored paintings and her editor, her gallery Canada. We talk about the themes in her last painting show in London and her distinctive heads. We touch on her show at Adams and Ollman Gallery in Portland, which can be accessed remotely via her son who filmed a video whilst calling Katherine, who delivers a personal walk-through. We end with her 'dead brushes' and simple pleasures.
Various Heads, acrylic on canvas, 80” x 68” 2019
The current show Mother joins the circus is available online at Adams and Ollman via this link with a short video made by Katherine's son and including her own voice:
In this Episode, Luke Burton and I discuss his residency in Cambridge at Girton College and the realities of true isolation. We talk about his circling of painting in work that involves a cartoon-like shorthand that withstands a lot of manipulation such as stretching,warping and flattening. We revisit his recent show at Picnic Gallery in Peckham, which was constantly opening and closing and showed stacks of sports equipment in graphic totems to the closing down high street and seem now in memory to preempt the closure of so many shops and the cancellation of all sport. We discuss Pandemic poetry, miniatures, problems of display and drawing and the ornamental, ending with thoughts on the decorative and snooker (Ronnie O'Sullivan.)
Image: Gene. Vitreous enamel on copper. 2020
Luke will be having solo shows at Girton College, Cambridge and Bosse & Baum, London in late September. Some of his enamels are on view as part of Preview London on the digital platform Artland (this show migrated from a physical space after Covid-19) at:
Picnic Gallery - https://www.picnicgallery.com/exhibitions/luke-burton-podium-sales
Link to Adorno's Minima Moralia - https://www.versobooks.com/books/3143-minima-moralia
Ronnie's fastest ever maximum clearance of 147 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3C7I5lRZII
Emma Talbot and I talk about drawing as a place to put all her thinking and entertain herself with and giving into limbo. We talk about Emma's figures and how they developed as large headed faceless portals and how Emma works from the inside, always asking, 'what's it like to be me, doing anything from the inside'. We talk about travel and where she was supposed to be with the Max Mara Art prize in Italy and her postponed shows 'Ghost Call' at DCA Dundee and 'When Screens break' at Eastside Projects. Exploring the prescient themes in these shows we talk about Keening and clapping for the NHS, ideas of landscape and interiority and Joe Wicks and 1984. We talk about the urgency of the arts as a narrative of our time, with a mandate to tell of, project, speculate and extend and we talk about Emma's text pieces, as that 'painting words that come to mind' .
We discuss her lockdown animations, tiny episodes about contending with a threat 'outside' and trying to survive.
We end on perambulation and getting up as if you might be doing something.
There is a glitch at the end of the recording where it sounds like we speak over each other but we didn't really! Even though we were both excited.
Detail of painted hangings, 'When Screens Break' acrylic on silk 2020
Miriam Austin and I talk about her new home 'studio' set up, her PHD and her new rhythm and flow under lockdown. We talk about world building, languages of the body, aubergines and poisonous flowers and the powers of horror. We discuss her interest in story telling, collectively and in her performance and explore how other ways of being might be generated through storytelling. We consider Miriam's wide range of material and media and she talks about why these matter. We talk about how to hold onto our ideas and about Miriam's distinctive colour palette. We end with Middlemarch and meditation.
We were never under the same water (Undine), 2019. 195 x 60 x 15cm approx, Silicone, dried hawthorn, solanum, borage, agapanthus, scabius, campion, ivy berries, pigment, hair, thread.
Warning: This episode contains strong language.
Lindsey and I talk about her shows at Space Gallery and Eastside Projects that have both been postponed. We chat Wallpaper, productivity, mental health, collaboration, David Hicks and bad taste, Colour, dressing up, fashion and end on the power of a shower.
"I create a journey in which forms are always in a state of becoming, where the human merges with other bodies and where we have a chance to listen/experience a site from an altogether different perspective."
We dive into sound and take off our ears to listen to seedlings, objects and locations. We discuss notation of sound and how to make sound felt through language/instruction. We talk about how Foley has developed Rebecca's practise and she jams with some objects to hand in her makeshift studio (her spare room) with an empty feta tin, a baking tray and some dry spaghetti, to give us some ideas for how to create some sound at home. I try to make some tuneful flapping.
Sound: Listening Perspectives, Hydrophone, Regents Canal Autumn 2019
Image: Ear Sponge Breathing
Starting with a bumpy navigation of the digital media needed to have a remote conversation, involving moving rooms, switching devices and changing recording systems, Barry and I chat about how we are feeling and what's changed, about sharing space and his postponed Exhibition, 'Missing you already!'.
Discussing his interest in finding different ways to connect people and his magical power to make believe, we talk about his Radical Essex show, laughter yoga and his Sauna reading group and dive into his residency at the Oakwood Sun Club naturism and my memories from childhood from naturist holidays.
Themes of seclusion and visibility evolve into chatting about Barry's interest in pretending - the transition from fake to real - and how this might be helpful at present.
We end on a short introduction to laughter yoga where Barry leads me (us) in some easy exercises to get us all laughing (even if it's pretend laughter) at home.
Paul and I talk about how life has changed for him; usually he visits around 100 shows a month! We discuss the dangers and the pleasures of books. We talk about some words that seem to have come up during lockdown, such as touch - do we need it, why does touching decrease if you're married(!) and can we just touch ourselves? We Share poems that seem to resonate at the moment. And we end on a discussion around things that we are getting into such as box sets and Martha Graham’s dance piece Lamentation from 1930.
Image: William Cobbing: ‘Long Distance’ 2018. From Paul's new weekly column @worldoffad
Cobbing considers artworks in tune with our current state. @william.cobbing ’s seven minute performance / film demonstrates one way to ensure you keep an appropriate gap in place… It’s a development from his well-known ‘The Kiss’, 2004, in which the clay-heads are allowed to get a little closer.
Poem that Paul read: https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/stars-and-planets/
Martha Graham Lamentation video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klF8Ob8bRSE
A silent color film of Martha Graham dancing extracts of "Lamentation". Filmed in 1943 at Bennington College by Russian-born sculptor Simon Moselsio. His wife, who took still photos of the same piece, explained ""We used two movie cameras for the motion picture, so we could take the picture from different angles.... I had the still camera around my neck and made the stills at the same time." Lamentation premiered in New York City on January 8, 1930, at Maxine Elliot’s Theater, to music by the Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály.
Informal chat about where the virus has left us; what’s been postponed and cancelled and what’s been provided and relieved during this strange time. We talk about ghosts, being a blur, the importance of drawing and some of our strategies for coping and making.
link to the piece Tim was designing for Sadler’s Wells (Julie Cunningham’s piece)
and to the festival in france:
And Castlefield Gallery where Soft Bodies Exhibition was due to open: