Friday, 23 August 2013

The Advocate - a residency with Natasha Rees

Natasha Rees was the successful applicant to AirSpace Gallery's first summer residency of the gallery's 2013-2015 programme.

It's now a week into her residency, and after a series of early mornings, late nights and a self-confessed Calvinist work ethic, the Gallery's residency space is filling up.

Natasha has had this to say about her first few days

Having come to Airspace with a few possible routes into the work I wanted to make for the two week residency, I came armed with materials to make collage, moving image and hand printed posters. 

In the first 2-3 days I have been wondering around the city a bit and familiarising with my new, temporary, environment, taking in the atmosphere and having a look at buildings in varying states of use and dereliction, listening to histories of the city and it's towns, watching footage of Stokes' industrial and cultural (particularly northern soul all nighters) past, and scoping local shops for possible materials that may inspire aspects of production. 

Within the work i have started to make here, i'm loosely considering some fundamental principles of dialectical composition in relation to the nature of language, and how this can be understood through soundbites, humour, ruminations and declarations. The sources are varied: conversations I've had since arriving in Stoke, reportage from the cities recorded history, Public information films, museum blogs and websites, as well as research that I have conducted in response to these associations and findings.
Having had some initial difficulties with delivery of materials (!) I've set to work placing various paper rolls and paper stacks within the space with some objects and sticky notes that are helping me navigate toward the idea of a 'final'  presentation. I have also sourced material for collage and done some print tests, but using things like graphite powder, inks, glue and spray paint to print with. I specifically didn't want to use only digital printing, but test the parameter of the medium in a simple almost "propagandist" way. The conceptual aspect of a material is for me, also very important...

Rather than advocating one polarisation in attempts to supercede or compete with another, I'm more interested in unpicking certainties. Trying to unravel some of the material that clothes our acceptance of things, and then perhaps burn the threads altogether - but not as an act of incendiary statement making, but more to empower the act of speculating and doubting to test the boundaries of the possible.

My initial idea for a subtitle for the show is 'lingua franca' - which roughly alludes to the movement within a further 'vehicular' language, a language that typifies a cross-understanding despite differing mother tongues. A way into bridging communication of ideas through art.

After a week of investigating and ruminating, coping with the frustrations of the local delivery services, it's going to be fascinating to see how Natasha will pull together her thoughts, experiments and findings. Here's a peek into how it's looking so far.

There will be a 1 week presentation of Natasha's residency findings opening at AirSpace on August 30th at 6pm.

Natasha was born in Caerleon, Wales, and lives in London, UK, working as an artist and writer. Rees has consistently exhibited in Asia, Europe and UK, over the past 6 years.  

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