Wednesday, 24 July 2013

AirSpace Gallery - Graduate Residency

Today we at AirSpace Gallery are happy to announce 2014's Graduate Residents.

Chloe Ashley is a fine art practitioner specialising within archaic and alternative photographic techniques. Recently completing her BA (Hons) Fine Art at Loughborough University, Ashley has exhibited frequently across the Midlands.
Influenced by artist such as Mariah Robertson and John Stezaker, her interests revolve around the notion of the uncanny; this is investigated through photographic distortion to discover the jarring from the mundane. Ashley’s current fascination with Sigmund Freud’s discussion of the Unheimlich as a ‘species of the frightening that goes back to what was once well known and has long been familiar’ (Freud, 1919: 124), has directed her exploration of the unfamiliar/familiar within the everyday. The focus on the contemporary everyday is due to its association with the familiar, alongside the cognitive dissonance that is provoked through the exploration of contemporary spaces and objects with archaic photographic processes.

In pursuing distortion through photography, a vast range of alternative processes has featured within the practice. Though at present, her focus on Collage and Bleach processes has occurred due to the level of distortion these can generate. The creation of the preparatory imagery occurs primarily with the use of a Houghton Quarter Plate Camera, manufactured in 1911, loaded with large format film.

Bob Catterall's practice starts off with narratives that are developed from his research, which has a focus on inequity and iniquity in current international political and social affairs. These narratives often have apocalyptic and dystopian themes, inspired by the unjust reality portrayed through main stream media. Like the media he filters the information available to the viewer to suit his intent, offering excerpts in descriptions and publications. 

From these narratives he constructs architectural models, sculptures and installations that illustrate the stories, giving hints to the morals behind them. Though he works in miniature scales, his interest in space and the way it is interacted with has lead to the production of several large scale pieces.

Into its second year, the AirSpace Gallery Graduate Residency Scheme has just got underway. Over the next 6 months, two 2013 Fine art graduates will be offered free studio space, regular monthly support meetings, and an interim and end-of-residency solo show, plus all the associated benefits of working within a studio environment and being attached to a successful contemporary art space.

The reasons for the scheme are two-fold. There is a sense of a yawning chasm greeting the newly graduated art student, faced with the trying to operate as an artist without the safety net of an academic institution. Through provision of a supportive and cost-effective artistic environment, this scheme seeks to offer our residents a chance to carry on their artistic endeavours and explore the possibilities of life as a professional artist. 

Secondly, Stoke-on-Trent, along with many other cities, has had a struggle to retain its arts graduates, as the bright lights and opportunities of bigger cities has proved too irresistible. Alongside other art organisations such as Grand Union and Eastside Projects in Birmingham and Many Studios in Glasgow, AirSpace is happy to provide an impetus and opportunity to work without having to relocate South.

Our 2012 Graduate residents, Adam Gruning and Adam Kelly, found their residencies rewarding and instructive, and only today we found out that Adam Kelly has just accepted a place on an MA course, something he attributes to the confidence he found from the 6 month residency here. 

Adam Gruning said of his time - "I would definitely recommend the residency to other artists looking for opportunities after University. The residency offers the valuable debut solo show opportunity artists dream of as well as a supportive artist community that makes the transition from University to practicing artist positive, productive and enjoyable."

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