Sunday, 30 September 2012

AirSpace Studio Show - featured artist #6 - Adam Kelly

The AirSpace Studio Show is into its final week, and the Gallery's second graduate resident, Adam Kelly,   helped Adam Gruning with the management of this year's studio show, and also produced two interesting paintings exploring themes of nation and identity.

First Provisional President of Africa

The work explores issues with nationalism, museums and history to evoke a spectator’s gaze on the past and look forward to the future. An imperial military regalia uniform identified to Marcus Garvey of Jamaica is shown on display against a magnolia/coconut background, with the clothing’s hat on a mannequin plinth. In this respect, the past is presented despairingly, and the legacy of leadership and duty behind the once respectable garments become disillusioned nostalgia. Although it was never official, Garvey’s oath of office as President of Africa was a statement against colonialist affliction on the continent in the past and then-present.

Enthused to explore the potential of self-identity, Adam Kelly’s work develops notions of history and ideologies. Kelly produces work ranging across various mediums including sculpture and painting. His characteristically Eurocentric work reveals his successes and failures to represent nostalgic memories that are both devastating and promising to communities and individuals.
Kelly’s compositions have an autonomous determination and often exorcising approach that links his oeuvre to modernism. The re-appraisal of avant-garde techniques for found and discarded items, and abstract thought construct new situations to comment on the farcical ideas of diaspora and nationalism.

AirSpace Studio Show - featured artist #5 - Adam Gruning

One of our graduate residents is the 5th featured artist in our annual studio show. As well as producing work for the show, Adam also took a lead in the show's management, producing the marketing material, and working hard to curate twelve disparate pieces of work. We think he did a great job.

Hand Drawn Can Repeat:

 Adam’s work proposes elements of design, placement and choice towards various spectacles in society, with his current concerns revolving around the display of imagery and visual communication. There are continuous gestures relating to permanence, existence, spectacle and language in his work, in some way questioning or re-addressing a relationship with it. It is most often through photography that he formalises his work, as it is a medium that seems to deal well with image, design and the dialogue of his subject matter most directly. In more recent developments GrĂ¼ning has developed work focusing on the consumer and designer, drawing comparisons and investigating a relationship that exists there.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

AirSpace Studio Show - featured artist #4 - Kate Lynch

Today's featured AirSpace Studio Show artist is Kate Lynch, investigating ideas of permaculture, growth, regrowth and repair.

Unstructured Material:

‘Everyday practice on the plot begins with Unstructured material; a piece of ground and a heap of sticks; a box of plants; packets of seeds; and a bundle of ideas of what might be done with them’
David Crouch, 2003

The tent brings together current research and visual inspiration within the context of the artist’s on-going research & development. Participants are invited to engage with the piece in a variety of ways; to retreat, research, explore and share thoughts and meditations on selected themes. The selecting, tracing and scanning of selected images is a meditative and thoughtful process where fragments of historical knowledge and lore, extracted from found materials and books, are revived & re-interpreted within a space that deals with current issues & suggests a desire to share, activate and inspire others. Digitally scanned images, tracings & cuttings extracted from the artist’s life, research books and sketchbook offers an insight into working process current research activity & encourages transfer of knowledge & skill sharing

Kate is also running the redevelopment of the gallery's outdoor space - and is hosting a series of AirSpace Yarden events, the next of which is October 6th.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

AirSpace Studio Show - featured artist #3 - Michael Branthwaite

AirSpace |Gallery's Studio Show is into its second week, and the 3rd featured artist is Michael Branthwaite. Michael's work is shown in the gallery's window space, so it can be seen 24 hours a day - the resto of the show continues until 6th October, open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-5pm.

Re-Boyz: A project investigating the sustainability of Leisure and Pleasure in economic decline.

This project Re-Boyz looks at how a society based on commodity and consumption can sustain itself and allow individuals to pursue 'me time' when finance and government support for ‘superfluous’ activity’s is being cut, and if press reports are correct will continue to be cut for up to a decade. At the core of the project is my interest in ‘Board Sports’ and in this case a specific interest in skateboarding as defined by the Zephyr Skate Team or ‘Z-Boyz’. The Z-Boys interest in new terrain and seeing the city ‘anew’ through the eyes of a Skateboarders where features outside offices and museums become playgrounds to explore new ways of experiencing our surroundings.
Taking into account my interest in the ‘economics of leisure’ I have set myself the task of making a Longboard that can be used to explore the city without purchasing any parts brand new or at the very least full price. This hits key concerns and lines of enquiry with in my practice: How the urban environment is conceived and built/ How the urban environment is interpreted and navigated by it users, and a deeper routed interest in the capitalist consumer system and how goods are marketed and how this relates to counter culture modes of subversion and identity.
I would like to give special thanks to the staff at Dazed for the generous donation of parts and advice.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

AirSpace Studio Show - featured artist #2 - Andrew Branscombe

Second in our series of highlighted studio artists, currently exhibiting in the AirSpace Studio Show '12 is Andrew Branscombe. The show continues Tuesday - Saturday until October 6th.

Andrew Branscombe, Dross-Work #1

Andy says about this work: 

Dross-Work #1 is part of a new series of works that make use of the discarded and easily overlooked materials and objects. The work is both original and a by-product of the processes I have to go through as an artist and handyman. The selection of material for the piece conforms to a set of rules. 1. The objects must be of the materials that the other work is made from. 2. Tools destroyed during the process of fabrication are also to be included. 3. Tools created during the process are to be included. 4. The objects should be finished to an equal standard as the work from which they are created. 5. Dust particles or shavings created during the process should not be included as external materials can contaminate these. This work is an experimental piece and one that I am hoping will lead onto a larger series of works in the future, alongside a refinement of the rules and processes.

Dross noun

[mass noun]1something regarded as worthless; rubbish 2foreign matter, dregs, or mineral waste, in particular scum formed on the surface of molten metal

Thursday, 20 September 2012

AirSpace Studio Show - featured artist #1 - Behjat Omer Abdulla

This year's 12 artist AirSpace Studio Show kicks off on Friday 21st September, and over the next two weeks, we'll be featuring an artist and their work. First up is Behjat Omer Abdulla :

Man and His Bit of Paradise

Woman and Her Bit of Paradise III

Woman and Her Bit of Paradise II
All works are framed, graphite powder and pencil on paper.

As a mixed media artist working mainly with drawing, photography and video installation, Behjat primarily deals with people's lives. He uses art to listen to people's stories and tries to create a platform for debate. For Behjat, art is a way to raise questions about who we are and how we place ourselves in the world. It is a  way to be in touch with our responses to life and a way of speaking that allows viewers to translate, decode and change it to their own languages.

These three drawings are inspired by his father's old photographs. The project is still developing, with the digging into his family history, still in the early stages. Behjat says, "There were about 250 photo negatives. When I developed them here in the U.K., I was completely surprised by what I was seeing, as we had them all as negatives in the family for many years. I found the faces of relatives, young men and women, people we have already lost in the family, and the photos of my dad when he was in the army and when he was very young. The images are very important to me, politically powerful and I was personally discovering and going under a thick layer of family history. The most surprising moment for me was to see images of my dad and grandparents' identity cards, documents and birth certificate papers."

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

AirSpace Studio Show 2012

AirSpace Studio's annual show begins this Friday 21st September. After two years of external site specific shows - Common Ground in Hanley Park in 2010 and Kiss Me Quick in Margate last year - this studio show is returning to a non-themed exhibition of each studio member's current practice. 

As a group, we talked about the transference of our studio work into the gallery space, to give viewers an insight into what happens upstairs at AirSpace, and so the individual exhibits are generally not necessarily finished pieces but a presentation of works in progress. 

Our studio group is a broad church, and so while there are some common links, the show will comprise the full spectrum of contemporary art endeavour and themes. Exhibitors are listed below, and watch out over the next two weeks, as we'll be blogging about each artist and their work.

Behjat Omer Abdulla
David Bethell
Andrew Branscombe
Michael Branthwaite
Anna Francis
Janine Goldsworthy
Adam Gruning
Joyce Iwazsko 
Adam Kelly
Kate Lynch 
Pete Smith
Glen Stoker

The show this year also includes two workshops - Anna Francis will lead a Brownfield Ikebana session on the site of the old ABC Cinema on Broad Street, and Kate Lynch will run two Open Yarden events in the Gallery Yard, looking at themes of Perma-culture. Places for the Ikebana workshop are limited to 10 and should be booked through the Gallery, whilst the Yard sessions are open to all.

The first Yard session is 22nd September, while the Ikebana workshop and second yard event will be on October 6th.

The exhibition will run until October 6th  - Tuesdays-Saturdays 11:00-17:00 - admission is free.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

In The Window - Anna Francis, "Brownfield Ikebana"

AirSpace Gallery's new window exhibition is currently showing - Anna Francis - Brownfield Ikebana 
The work will be on display until September16th.

In Brownfield Ikebana Anna presents part of a new series of works, which aim to draw attention to some of the brownfield sites that can be found throughout the city, in the wake of various now defunct or collapsed regeneration programmes. The schemes saw the demolition of buildings and homes all over the city, but with the funding to rebuild seemingly swallowed up with the changing political climate, the interim period between demolition and development seems set to grow. 

Empty spaces are now populated by wildflowers and other wildlife, and in some places citizen activism has seen the local population scattering wildflower seeds, improving the environment in the intervening period. Brownfield Ikebana celebrates these impromptu wildlife havens, using the Japanese art of flower arranging, but replacing the vase with items of  rubbish salvaged from 3 brownfield sites close to the gallery  replacing the flowers with 'weeds.' 

Perhaps Brownfield Ikebana can act as a call for the council to nurture these sites, and see their potential in the short-term, rather than allowing them to become fly-tipping zones.

Anna Francis is an artist whose practice examines private histories, public space and civic languages; using forms of intervention, walking, drawing, mapping, performance, consultation and photography to investigate the impact that artists can have on their environments. Within Anna's practice she creates situations for herself, the public and other artists to explore places differently: often experimenting with leading and instruction by creating manuals, instructions,  kits or leading guided tours.

Anna Francis is course leader on the BA Fine Art course at Staffordshire University.
For more information and images of work please go to: