Pick of the Week 2018

May's Picks selected by Lynne Dick

April 30 – May 6

Image Credit: Tapestry by Hannah Waldron, ‘Primary Traveller’

Select Festival 2018

Stroud Valleys

Until Monday 28 May

The annual Select Festival runs for a month in venues throughout the Stroud Valleys in Gloucestershire. Over 145 artists take part, with international names showing alongside emerging artists.

'I am particularly struck by the fresh approach that Hannah Waldron takes to tapestry and how she explores a mix of cultural influences on her work and the importance of placemaking. The Select Festival has always put textiles and materiality at the heart of its annual festival while being open to new ideas and attracting international makers alongside emerging talent. 

DIS/rupt symposium will be held on 6th May and is co-ordinated by Dr Melanie Miller.  An unparalleled chance to hear from notable speakers, including Alice Kettle, whose work I particularly admire and who advocates for craft and opening out craft as a collaborative and expressive practice which brings in new audiences. This symposium promises to unwrap contemporary textile languages and the role of textiles in politics, reflecting personal and social stories, from its communal value to its technological impacts. '

Guest Editor Lynne Dick

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May 7 – 13

Image Credit: Five artists reflect on their waning powers, by Paul Spooner

A Curious Turn: moving, mechanical sculpture

Thelma Hulbert Gallery

Until Saturday 19 May

A Crafts Council Touring Exhibition of extraordinary automata – moving mechanical sculptures which are brought magically to life through a sequence of cogs, cams and levers.

'It is a rare sight to see: Automata – where the art of movement and making join together in a world of sculptural storytelling. It is a folk art, a fine art and a craft. This is a one-time opportunity to view this fantastic exhibition in the South West.  

Involving extraordinary works, A Curious Turn celebrates the last 40 years of this art form – amassing a range of works from the macabre to joyously funny. From hand carving, shaped tin to the use of cogs, wheels and levers, viewers can marvel at the inventiveness and imagination which have inspired each work. Simple ideas come to life from "A Mule Make Mule” by Tim Lewis (2010) to “Five artists reflect on their waning powers” (pictured above) by Paul Spooner (1983). I will certainly be making time to take a closer look.'

Guest Editor Lynne Dick

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May 14 – 20

Empire Through the Lens

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Until Friday 31 August

'Bristol Museum and Art Gallery has opened up its archives to reveal a selection of photographs it amassed during the time of “Empire” from the 1880s to the 1960s. In a post-colonial age, I pose the question: Whose Heritage? This exhibition is bound to present a challenging view, as it shares the impressions of an invited group of 27 people who have chosen one image for their own personal or professional reflection. Commentaries range from personal perspectives to views on the aesthetics and academic standpoints. 

As the visitor peruses Empire Through the Lens, it is worth considering the context and asking why these photographs were taken. What role did the photographer assume and how much agency did the people have in these photographs? Who should interpret these images today? Whose story is this? What do these images really tell us about the relationship between “the voyeur” and “the other”? Will this exhibition change views or re-enforce stereotypes? Has the Museum succeeded in re-interpreting and re-presenting these photographs to provide a wider accurate historic context and to satisfy contemporary cultural truth? I don’t have any answers, which is why this exhibition is really worth a look.'

Guest Editor Lynne Dick

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May 21 – 27

Groundwork: Janet Cardiff, Forty Part Motet

Richmond Chapel, Penzance

Until Friday 27 August

Janet Cardiff’s acclaimed sound installation Forty Part Motet (2001) is presented at Richmond Chapel in Penzance, a former Wesleyan Chapel and Grade II listed building.

'For my final week, I was drawn to select a piece of work about setting and sound; where the visitor becomes part of the piece through movement. As Cornwall holds a cultural and familial significance for me, I chose this touring work by Janet Cardiff.

I have experienced Forty Part Motet twice in other venues and was equally transfixed by the physicality of immersing myself in the middle of a sound bath of the 40 pre-recorded voices (from Salisbury Cathedral Choir). The placing of 40 speakers, at first, can seem at odds with the venues selected, but it is the marrying of technology, location and the symbolic work by Thomas Tallis that brings this piece to life. Acoustically and atmospherically, this piece is about listening, pausing, breathing and moving through a void, in and around other people, hearing and reflecting on the individual notes and collective harmonies. Traversing from the edge to the centre, one absorbs the heart of this composition. A timeless, contemplative and alternative perspective on how voices and music can be encountered.'

Guest Editor Lynne Dick

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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

Jon England: Hour Hands

Market House Museum, 32 Swain St, Watchet TA23 0AD

Wednesday 27 March 2019 – Friday 08 November 2019

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: