For the past few weeks I have been in residence at OMT Gallery where I have been researching and working towards a solo show in the space opening 30th August. Attached are some images from my time so far in the area.
PRESS RELEASE Andy Wicks – Artist in Residence Occupy My Time Gallery
9th July – 29th August 2013
30th August -‐ 28th September
Throughout July and August Andy Wicks will be in residence at Occupy My Time Gallery, part of Enclave a new collective of project spaces on Resolution Way, Deptford.
Known for his painting practice which looks to the post industrial riverside of the Thames, Wicks arrives in Deptford with a hunger to submerge himself in its rich and varied past and strong community.
Moving away from a purely studio based practice, Wicks sees this as an opportunity to work in a site responsive manner, uniting an area of interest with his place of making. This union questions certain working habits developed over the years, offering a chance to investigate his new surroundings and how to respond to a self imposed change in circumstance.
Wicks’ investigation is often triggered by the written word, wide readings on subjects are then followed by a desire to experience first hand. In the case of his paintings of mooring structures the linear nature of the Thames set a challenge and physical duration to the project.
Arriving in Deptford with just a sofa, selection of books and a want to absorb all he could on the area. Wicks spent time getting to know his new neighbourhood on foot, tracing his movements and recording his discoveries as he moved through it. He describes himself as an urban walker, learning about a place by walking and repetition, absorbing the sites, smells and characters that inhabit it.
He has taken on the role of the collector; a collector of knowledge, detritus, images and data. By combining these discoveries and a heavily researched study of Deptford’s history we gain an insight into Wicks’ investigation and a hint to the work which will result from his time in residence.
Leanne Bell Gonczarow and Ian Gonczarow have spent the last 5 week in residence at OMT Gallery, part of Enclave in Deptford. Having just returned from living and working for the past 3 years in Moscow they have been using their time in the gallery to reflect on their experiences within a tough political and economic environment. The resulting work is now installed in the gallery until Friday 31st August.
Tuesday – Thursday 10 – 6pm and until 8.30pm Friday as part of South London Art Map’s Last Fridays.
Enclave UNIT 9
I have agreed to follow on from Ian and Leanne as 2013 Artist in Residence next summer. I plan on taking advantage of Enclave’s proximity to Deptford Creek and the Greenwich Peninsula to further investigate this raw and ever changing part of the Thames bankside. I’m looking forward to having a base from which to explore this area in more depth by foot and sail/rowing craft (TBC) to produce a body of work which will result in a solo show at the end of my time in the gallery.
Its been two weeks since the Florence Trust exhibition finished which signaled the end of my year long residency at St Saviour’s. Since then I’ve found myself in and around the studio quite a bit which while empty of my belongings, still had a hold over my time. After such a full on and immersive year it was sad to hand my keys back but as I move on a new set of artists arrive to start their own journeys.
I came to the Florence Trust as an artist looking to experience full time practice, to create time away from the constraints of paid work to see what I could achieve over the course of a year. The appeal of doing this at a residency such as the FT was the support network of fellow artists as well as the studio manager and director, something to ease me in to a new way of working, which isn’t usually available in large closed off studio spaces. On a personal note I’m happy with the shift i’ve seen my practice take in the last year and I believe this really is down to having consistency of thought from day after day at the studio, along with a heap of messing around with paint. But my overriding memories of the FT are the people and the space, being there really made me aware that I am part of lineage of artists who have been using the studios over the past 20 years. But is one dependent on the other? While the space is truly inspiring, beautiful and impossible to hide from, its the group of 11 very different artists coming together who made the experience. As a group consisting of multiple nationalities and artistic backgrounds it was our shared journey through the year that brought people together. Ongoing independent practice may consume the individual but the openness of the studios and communal areas created a schedule for dialogue and banter at lunches, tea breaks and social activities. The changes of seasons and the setting in of winter, while tough was a great catalyst for togetherness and a competitive survival instinct, demonstrated perfectly with varying approaches to polyethylene roof building. The end of winter and the start of spring brought new optimism to the studios with the gardens and wildlife becoming a bigger part of everyday life, our winter film club and pub quizzes turned to BBQ’s and beers.
The Basel trip while very near to the end exhibition came as a perfect remedy from possible studio blues and as we all knew each other so well by then was a fun filled trip away with friends. Once back we had two weeks of prepping the space for the exhibition, taking down the 3 central studios opened up the space and highlighted the architecture of the building, perhaps making a strong exhibition even more of a challenge. Thankfully in my opinion and those of many visitors it was a great success for which thanks should go to Paul Bayley (FT Director) for his problem solving and vision for how 11 different artist’s work could sit and read so well together. With a years worth of life on display I wanted to spend as much time at the show as possible invigilating. Talking with visitors about my fellow artists work opened up more readings of their work and created some interesting dialogue. I was happy with the response to my work, we had a huge opening night with far too many people to squeeze chats in with and delighted that a few of my works have now taken their place in a private collection in Italy.
Its been an absolute pleasure to have been able to spend time alongside each of my fellow artists, to watch their working practices up close and share their excitement over future projects and opportunities. If you want to keep an eye on the FT 2011 Artists you can find out more about their work and links to personal websites here.
So whats next for me? Well firstly a bit of a break is in order. Whereas before this year it was a treat to get time in the studio, now it feels like one if I have a day away. With the realities of life once again at my door I will endeavor to seek a better live / (art) work balance to move forward with. The cost of London living makes everything feel like a compromise but if I take anything from this experience its just reinforced my desire to continue doing what i’m doing as much as I can. In the short term I’m going to be sans studio with my paintings and studio packed safely in storage, however I have got some ideas for a series of prints which I will be experimenting with in the meantime. There are also tentative plans on a building which maybe made into studios for myself and a few of the FT 2011 artists, it has the potential to be an amazing studio in another interesting period property, but until more discussions take place I’ll say no more.
I plan to get my curating/organizing head back on and push forward a few projects which have been on the back burner this year. One of those, a 3 person show with FT2011 artist Adam Watts and Peter Ainsworth is coming together nicely and we’re now seeking the right kind of space to exhibit in. I’d also love to do a solo show with the new work some day soon and imagine that the prints could fit nicely with the works on canvas. I’m excited to find time to take in more exhibitions in London having been out of the loop of late, I was blown away by Piccadilly Community Center Christoph Büchel’s immense installation at Hauser & Wirth last week and I still vividly remember his show at the Coppermill off Brick Lane in 2007. Through writing this and summing up it all suddenly feels very final, but far from it, the rigour and dialogue of the FT is something I will be looking to keep with me for the next stage.
Its the last full week of studio time left of the Florence Trust, having started the year back in August its shocking how quickly time has flown by. Rather than an almighty rush to finish things off, I’ve found the last few days as more of a natural conclusion to my time here. Putting time into finishing a few pieces and reviewing the body of work I’ve created. The catalogue has been designed and is looking particularly sharp while somewhat progressive for those used to Florence Trust publications of past years. The essay is done and nicely sums up 11 individual practices, i’ll upload what writer Colin Perry put together for me once its been published next month. Its safe to say the catalogue will be a great keep sake and resource for any visitors and art enthusiasts that get their hands on it. As well as winding down and preparing for the show, we’ve also been keen to make the most of the studio gardens in the sun (this is our reward for surviving some cold cold months throughout the winter!) so we had a BBQ last week which did the trick. We enjoyed some special pork prepared by (Taisuke) Makihara which believe it or not will form part of his exhibition piece, so as well as eating some tasty meat we were also doing our bit to help with his work!
We’re all off to Art Basel next week, my first taste of Switzerland and one of the worlds biggest art fairs. Everyone’s excited about going and I can safety say, we’re looking forward to letting our hair down following some busy recent weeks and with more on our return. I don’t really know what to expect from Basel, I guess it’ll be like a bigger Frieze. Things to look forward to – LISTE, billed as the young art fair where all galleries are under 5 years old and artists all under 40. LISTE sounds like Zoo art fair which was always a refreshing change to the buzz and bluechips of its bigger brother. Another one i’m told to look out for is Art Unlimited which is a curated show within the fair dedicated to large scale installation, video, installation and performance. One of my fellow resident artists Annelore Schneider is half of Collectif-fact who have been nominated for this years Swiss Art Award, another exhibition which coincides with our trip. It’ll be great to see Annelore and Claude’s (Piguet) work installed amongst the fellow nominees and our fingers are crossed for them.
I’ll be writing a report on Basel which I’ll publish on my return. Once back it’ll be time to take the current studios apart and reconfigure the space for the Summer show. I’ll start to sort through my work to choose what makes the cut for the exhibition before getting on with tackling the hang. An early reminder for those interesting in seeing the show – the Private view is on Thursday 7th July (6 – 9pm) and its then open daily until Monday 18th July.
So the winter open (studios) came and went at the Florence Trust, it was an interesting experience and very different to previous open studios that I’ve been part of. Unlike other open studios it’s not optional, everyone takes part so the whole church is opened up to the public to explore, which also means all the junk and debris that’s been collected over the previous 5 months has to be stowed away. Since I have been working at a small scale at the FT my studio space has been very ordered with a few piece on the go worked on flat at the desk, and completed works on the wall. It didn’t take much to sort through but I decided to give the walls a lick of paint and hang the canvases straight and level.
A couple of days before the opening I received a tip off from fellow resident artist Alan Magee about a molding wooden tripod devise (see photos in previous post) stored round the back of the church. It just so happens thats its almost the splitting image of the subject of my paintings, with a bit of exertion and lots of mud and mold on my jeans I managed to drag it into my studio space for further inspection. It seems to be a sculptors stand with an adjustable height rotating top, after a closer look I made out the name of the previous owner, or at least the person who claimed it. It was in the care of someone who had been at the FT at least 10 years ago and for all I know could have been rotting away ever since. While it is extremely similar to my paintings I couldn’t resist using it as a floor piece for the open studio, I guess it may have suggested that the subject of the paintings could have been more of a domestic scale than they are in truth but its this kind of ambiguity within the image that I’ve been pushing myself.
The open studio was also the first time I’ve showed a couple of new pieces i’ve been working on which will be unleashed to the world in a couple of weeks time, so for all those that couldn’t make it I’m afraid I’ll have to leave it at that for now. Except to say it’s given me an opportunity to work in a different way to how I have previously and the results are superb. As part of it had to do a video interview at the studio yesterday which will compliment these pieces and give a little tour of my studio and new works. After my initial worry about looking silly or not being able to “perform” for the camera I’m pleased to say it went far better than I expected and hopefully with some magic editing and airbrushing its be a nice polished piece of film. (I did ask if we could motion capture my movements and get a voiceover artist to read from a script but unfortunately the budget wasn’t there)
As with any exhibition opening there was far too many people to speak to, some faces i’ve not seen for ages as well as interesting chats with some new ones. The feedback was very good and it’s been an excuse to stop what we’ve all been working away at and really look over it and take stock of our progress. Since the open studio I have slowly got back into my routine and made some adjustments to my studio, I’ve moved my desk, brought in a carpet and suddenly it feels very homely so much so that I’ve had a week of long days and evenings making myself comfy and ready to make some more work.
Part of this preparation was making some new canvases from the many old ones I seem to take from studio to studio. I’ve chosen a few sizes which have come out well recently, perhaps these will become a standard for me? 10 x 8″, 10 x 14″ & 20 1/2 x 14 1/2″. Many of my new paintings are on a fantastic smooth polyester which is primed 6 times in the factory so it barely has any tooth (grain) however its massively expensive which has meant i’ve only been using it on smaller canvases. I used to work on cotton priming it with acrylic which won’t take the resin ground as well as the polyester probably as its too coarse and absorbent. For Christmas I brought myself some rabbit skin glue, oil primer and thixotropic alkyd to attempt to get a smoother and thicker surface which would solve my dilemma with the large canvases. A job that I would have previously found tiresome, actually became very relaxing despite the extra effort – applying two coats of rabbit skin glue followed by two of either oil or alkyd, so much so that it became a bit of a production line. Its always nice to have canvases ready and waiting, although perhaps I went a bit too far as I now have over 20 waiting in 4 different sizes but at least I won’t have an excuse not to get started. If these small tests work then hopefully I will be able to work at a large scale with confidence if I decide to do so again in the future.
When I started the residency I decided that I wanted to produce a large coherent body of work from the year, something which I wasn’t able to do in my previous studio working a full time job. Each painting seemed to differ from the last and they didn’t sit as well together, where as now I can view all my paintings together and consider them as a series. I think that I’m on track and the more I produce the more fussy and selective I can be with whats come before. As we’re at the half way point its a good time to cement the ideas which have worked and also test out some new things, I’m also considering making some sculptural pieces as a companion piece to the paintings perhaps inspired by the rotting sculptors stand?
Its been almost a month since I moved into the Florence Trust studios and time has flown by. With August traditionally being holiday season its been a quieter start to what i expected with some artists away or finishing off commitments, without any holidays planned and with deadlines looming I’ve tried to throw myself straight into studio life, which ontop of getting used to not working a full time job has been tougher than I thought. The day to day practice of painting everyday has been fantastic and I’ve been constantly shocked about just how much can be achieved having day after day working on something. The thing I have found more of a challenge is scheduling my days without having a set time to get up for work, mornings slip by quickly with my typical studio hours being midday to 9/10pm – a much more civilized existence in my mind.
My studio space is huge compared to what i’ve been used to on Vyner Street, already I can feel the benefits of having perspective on my paintings in progress and the possibility of viewing a series of works together from the luxury of my new Ikea chair (the most comfort you can get for £10). In my first couple of days I painted and built some new walls as well as installing some shelves and making a rather splendid chipboard painting storage rack with reclaimed wood (see below).
The last week has seen a much busier studio with people finding their rhythm. The other artists work across a spectrum of art practices and we’ve already started to form our own work habits/ working hours/ tea + lunch breaks outside to warm up (churches even in summer are not warm!) as well as Gin & Tonic club (no names mentioned) . A couple of the others have shows coming up and its really good to be in an environment where everyone has different exciting things going on and are all motivated to push on with their practice. You can see examples of everyones work HERE.
With my groupshow Superunknown opening on 6th October I’m current working on a new painting which needs to be finished by the end of next week for print deadlines. Once that’s done it’ll be a case of selecting and collecting works from the other artists in time for installation. While the PR machine will be starting so we can hopefully get some attention during a busy month with Frieze Art Fair and numerous gallery shows to co-inside.
As part of my residency I am giving people the opportunity to invest in my year at the Florence Trust by sponsoring me for a months studio fee in exchange for a painting of your choice from a selection of pieces. For £250 you can not only support my adventure and assist with the creation of a new work but also get to own an original painting at a bargain price.
For further information and a selection of the available paintings please email me firstname.lastname@example.org