Pick of the Week 2014

November's Picks Selected by Vickie Fear

December 1-7

Ryan Curtis: Procession & Nick Davies’ Intention/Invention/Convention

Exeter Phoenix
Until Saturday 10 January

'Although listed as two separate events on VASW I can’t avoid reading the current exhibitions at Exeter Phoenix as a two-person show. Both Ryan Curtis’s Procession and Nick Davies’ Intention/Invention/Convention are dominated by the artists’ attempts to re-enact or re-interpret a walk.

'For Curtis the journey is rooted in a filmic reference but perhaps also the neverending search of a sculptor seeking out their next monument (by the way Ryan, it’s behind you). Curtis though is self-aware and just as his Django routine, dragging the stand-in sarcophagus, is subverted by the cardboard object itself reappearing in the gallery, the very walls to divide the space and support the projection screen are the chipboard you’d usually find behind the scenes of the stage set.

'Across the corridor, Nick Davies’ documentation of a grand expedition is enjoyably self-depricating. Never quite fulfilling his eureka moment, Davies has returned, dragging his trundle wheel behind him and re-pitched his tent in the middle of the gallery. The ultimate discovery is not what we see presented as the outcome here within the white walls, it is of course somewhere between Brixham and Minehead, the artist’s journey itself.

'Curtis is inviting anyone to join him on one of his walks this Saturday around Exeter and, I think here I need to apologise for a sneaky plug, this weekend art/walking enthusiasts really are spoilt for choice with an artist walk also offered by Hamish Fulton in Plymouth.'

Guest Editor Vickie Fear

Find out more here and here.


November 24-30

John Russell: The Good Shepherd

Until Sunday 14 December

Snorkel, the celebrated Plymothian Loggerhead turtle, features in a new large-scale cinematic installation by artist John Russell. Washed ashore near Land’s End in 1990 the rare marine reptile cannot be released back into the wild due to poor eyesight and buoyancy problems.

'Before you read why I think you should go to see The Good Shepherd you should decide when you are going to see it. You have until the 14th December and you need to go on either, a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

'The Good Shepherd includes Russell’s new work Aquarium Proletarium, the back-projected centrepiece of the show, combining text and animation in a long, looping, complex and multi-layered video. Although starring Plymouth’s treasured resident, blind Loggerhead turtle Snorkel, this is not the follow up to a family day out at the Aquarium. Russell’s work, as you should expect, is a visceral and prickly tangle of sex, religion, sci-fi and Bruce Willis. Sally O’Reilly once wrote in Art Review*,

“Russell’s overriding methodology, its sticking point and its pivot, seems to be: if a way of picturing can be pictured or imagining imagined or theorising theorised…chuck it in.”

There’s a lot to absorb and the other pieces (which are stunning) are equally challenging and demanding of your undivided attention.

*June 2007: 151, “John Russell, Ocean Pose”.

Guest Editor Vickie Fear

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November 17-23

Artists' Talk: plan b

Plymouth Arts Centre
Tuesday 18 November, 6pm
£3 PAC Home members, £6 non-members
Booking recommended

plan b (artist's Sophia New and Daniel Belasco Rogers) have been working together since 2001, making performance, audio, durational and participatory work.

'My Pick this week has to be plan b’s talk at Plymouth Arts Centre. I have invited Sophia New and Daniel Belasco Rogers over from Berlin, whilst their work is being shown as part of Walk On in Plymouth and I’m really looking forward to hearing them talk about their collaborative practice.

'A number of plan b’s previous projects have playfully utilised new technologies such as smartphone software, SMS messaging and GPS tracking. They’ve invited audiences to participate in the work by riding tandems, taking a video-guided walk through Leipzig airport, recalling memories in a hotel room and even climbing into bed with them to sing songs. Although fun and disarming many of the projects are simultaneously gathering copius amounts of data from either plan b themselves or the participants.

'PAC Home talks are £3 or free for PAC Home members and programmed to reflect the varied interests and practices of the artists, writers and curators working in the city or nearby. To find out more about PAC Home and how to join visit plymouthartscentre.org/pachome.'

Guest Editor Vickie Fear

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November 10-16

Artists in Conversation

Back Lane West
Saturday 15 November, 4pm - 8pm

Booking recommended

Convened by Rachel Hindley, hosted by Back Lane West. Introduced by Daro Montag - Co-Director of CCANW and leader of RANE.

This event marks the beginning in a series of talks and discussions titled Artists in Conversation to be developed further in 2015.

'Firstly, what a fantastic idea to hold this event in Redruth and help to promote artist-led residency space Back Lane West.

'CCANW’s Soil Culture Project sounds very interesting and of particular interest to me are the Soil Culture residencies, with venues across the South West (and Kew Gardens in London). The ten-day residencies are offering a rare opportunity for artists to have full support in developing new work, ahead of a touring exhibition.

'Residencies are such valuable and productive experiences for artists and to also offer accommodation, a materials budget, travel budget and an artist fee is excellent. Artist Jonny Briggs, selected for the residency at White Moose in Barnstaple, will be taking part in the Artists in Conversation event. Briggs’s work revisits his childhood by restaging family photographs and taking a performative role both in front and behind the camera. I’ll be keen to hear about the work he’s been developing and the difference that this level of support has made to what he has been able to achieve.'

Guest Editor Vickie Fear

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November 3-9

Tempting Failure 2014

Tempting Failure at The Island
Monday 3 November 2014 – Saturday 08 November

2 main performance events:
Friday 7 & Saturday 8 November
£15 - £30
Click here for tickets on sale now

Tempting Failure is a not for profit artist led initative. It will play host to around 50 artists from the 3-8 November with an extensive programme throughout Bristol, including FREE workshops, performance, talks and more.

'Aiming to “broaden the horizons of what live art, performance art & noise art can be” Tempting Failure has a packed and challenging programme, involving a number of people I have great respect for.

'I missed out on a chance to see Thomas John Bacon perform in Plymouth earlier this year when a performance was mysteriously pulled at the last minute. This has made me even more intrigued by his work and Bacon’s idea to create a platform solely for risky work is a brave and brilliant one.

'Ana Cavic’s A floral tribute on the Friday is on my schedule; Ana is also half of Ladies of the Press*, who we at Counter have been following with great interest. If you haven’t seen Hancock and Kelly before they are an absolute must-see, though I’d suggest reading up on what you’d be letting yourself in for before blindly booking a ticket for Gilding The Lily. Also part of the programme, the incredible performance duo VestandPage are leading a 24 hour workshop, which will undoubtedly be intense and game-changing for everyone taking part.

'I’m really pleased to see that an event like Tempting Failure has been supported by Arts Council England and the Live Art Development Agency and even more pleased to see that they are also paying all of the artists presenting work in support of the a-n #PayingArtists campaign.'

Guest Editor Vickie Fear

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What's On

Family Saturdays

Aspex Gallery, The Vulcan, PO1 3BF

Monday 01 October 2018 – Thursday 31 October 2019

Craft Workshops

Various Venues

Friday 08 February 2019 – Tuesday 31 December 2019

Life Drawing Classes

Lostwithiel , PL22 0BP

Thursday 14 March 2019 – Sunday 08 March 2020

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

Supported by: