2021
 

The Foundation for Art and Psychoanalysis

2020
 

Maplebeck Press

2019
 

NO PARTICULAR PLACE TO GO?

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Starstick Stephen Lewis

Beacon Bureau has partnered with the Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, to deliver:
No Particular Place to Go?
35 years of sculpture at Castlefield Gallery
Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Friday 6 September – Sunday 27 October 2019

Artists: James Ackerley, Sir Anthony Caro, Nicola Ellis, Ana Genovés, Lee Grandjean, Charles Hewlings, Hilary Jack, Stephanie James, Stephen Lewis, Jeff Lowe, Michael Lyons, Henry Moore, Jill Randall, Veronica Ryan, Laura White.

 

Established by artists in 1984, 2019 marks thirty-five years for Castlefield Gallery. The organisation actively supports artistic production and artist career development, providing artists with timely exposure whilst sharing their work with the public. Castlefield Gallery is often described as a home for artists.
Curated in collaboration with art historian Dr Clare O’Dowd and artist / curator John Plowman of Beacon Bureau, No Particular Place to Go? is informed by extensive research into Castlefield Gallery’s archives and exhibition history, exploring this history through the lens of sculpture
No Particular Place to Go? highlights the gallery’s rich history of engagement with British sculpture and the role it has had, and still has as a place for the ‘sculptural zeitgeist’. Pieces in the exhibition will date back to the gallery’s inaugural programme which included a solo presentation of work by Sir Anthony Caro (Castlefield Gallery’s ‘Artist Patron’ until he passed in 2013). Caro’s Table Pieces were a focus for the 1984 exhibition, the show running alongside a presentation of larger Table Pieces at The Whitworth, the museum and art gallery subsequently purchasing Table Piece XCVlll (1970) for their collection.
A few years later in 1987 Castlefield Gallery mounted a Henry Moore solo, the first exhibition of his work at a publicly-funded gallery following his death in 1986. The exhibition featured Moore’s smaller works, including five bronze maquettes. No Particular Place to Go? in particular foregrounds sculpture’s relationship to the studio / gallery / archive, as a way to reflect upon the ‘homelessness’ of the medium, the term ‘homelessness’ in relation to sculpture first used by Rainer Maria Rilke in his famous account of Rodin, initially given as a lecture and later published in 1910. Rilke described the sculptures he saw as he walked through Rodin’s studio as isolated, self-contained things, cut off from the world: ‘His works could not wait; they had to be made. He long foresaw their homelessness.’
The artists invited to take part in No Particular Place to Go? have all exhibited at Castlefield Gallery during the last thirty-five years, with the curators inviting them to return to a place that once acted as a temporary ‘home’ for their work. To this end No Particular Place to Go? welcomes Table Piece XCVlllback to Castlefield Gallery, on loan from The Whitworth. Much smaller and more intimate than Caro’s welded floor sculptures, his Table Pieces are indicative of the intimacy of the studio, as the ‘place’ where the Table Pieces were made. The exhibition takes Caro’s Table Pieces as a starting point, focusing on smaller objects, those made in the artists’ studio as an exploration of an idea, material, form, process, or simply a sculpture that could be at home on a table.
Sculptor Michael Lyons (1943-2019) wrote the catalogue essay for the Caro Table Sculptures exhibition at Castlefield Gallery, and his account of Caro’s working methods forms an important part of the thinking behind No Particular Place to Go? Lyons also exhibited at Castlefield Gallery in 1984, his work informing many future generations of sculptors, Lyons teaching at what was then Manchester Polytechnic’s Department of Fine Art from 1974 until he retired as Head of Sculpture in 1993. His much loved and monumental sculpture Phalanx (1977) has been a central feature in the grounds of The Whitworth since being purchased by the gallery in 1980 and remains on display in Whitworth Park today.
The intimacy of Caro’s Table Pieces is echoed in Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure-Bowl (1960), also on loan for the exhibition from The Whitworth, a small bronze that not only reflects on Moore’s working methods but is indicative of the five bronze maquettes by Moore shown at Castlefield Gallery in 1987.
Outside of the Caro and Moore loans, each artist participating in No Particular Place to Go? will exhibit a sculpture from the time of their original exhibition together with a more recent work, the show reflecting on the creative processes of the participating artists from when they first exhibited with Castlefield Gallery, to the present day.
For No Particular Place to Go? sculptor Charles Hewlings has been commissioned to work with Manchester-based sculptor James Ackerley. Together they will develop and exhibit a site-specificsculptural structure, one designed to house and display the other exhibiting artists’ works. Hewlings and Ackerley’s commission will extend across and throughout the gallery spaces, integrating with and challenging Castlefield Gallery’s distinctive interior architecture, giving the exhibiting sculptures a ‘particular place to go’.
The archival material that the curators have worked with includes press releases, installation photographs, exhibition guides and correspondence, none of which has been made publicly available before, and which the exhibition, public programme and a No Particular Place to Go? publication will contextualise and interpret. The exhibition celebrates the gallery at thirty-five years, marking the start of the organisation’s journey and programming towards Castlefield Gallery at forty years in 2024.

 

Event
The Making of No Particular Place to Go?
Presented by Sculpture Production Award 2019, Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre (London)6.30pm – 8pm, Wednesday 11 September 2019
Venue: Castlefield Gallery, 2 Hewitt Street, Manchester M15 4GB

Join Lucy Tomlins, Director of Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre in conversation with Castlefield Gallery Curator Matthew Pendergast and No Particular Place to Go? guest Curators Clare O’Dowd and John Plowman, alongside exhibiting artist Nicola Ellis.

Built around Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre’s commitment to making the making visible, this informal discussion event will reveal what goes into the making of both artworks and exhibitions, both conceptually and materially, takingNo Particular Place to Go? as a starting point for conversation. The event will explore links between current sculptural practice and the legacies of the more established artists in the exhibition.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

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AirSpace Gallery, 4 Broad Street, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 4HL

Open Thursday to Saturday 11:00am to 5:00pm Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment

RESIDENCY 5th-23rd August

Public Open Days
Friday 9th August 11am-2pm
Wednesday 14th August 2pm-5pm
Thursday 15th August 11am-2pm
Friday 16th August 11am-2pm
Wednesday 21st August 2pm-5pm
Thursday 22nd August 11am-2pm
Friday 23rd August 11am-2pm

EXHIBITION – 7th September to 13th October
Open Daily 11am-5pm

Open concurrently with the AirSpace exhibition is a two-screen projection at the Gladstone Pottery Museum that will relate the residency activities to the various processes demonstrated within this inspiring living heritage setting.

Gladstone Pottery Museum, Uttoxeter Road, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST3 1PQ

Open Tuesdays – Saturdays and Bank Holidays April – September: 10am – 5pm October – March: 10am – 4pm

 

At a time when digital technologies allow us to scan and replicate complex forms and gain instant access to a huge wealth of knowledge and information, the business of making by hand could seem to be unnecessary and nostalgic. This project focuses on the largely overlooked knowledge and skills of a group of local people and playfully revels in the dialogue between the eye, hand, intellect and material. In this way it sets out to celebrate the ingenuity and problem solving skills of these individuals, and to draw our attention to the importance and culture of ‘hands on’ practice.
The project begins with a 3-week residency at AirSpace, when the artists will work with a group of local volunteers who have agreed to step outside their individual comfort zones to participate in the making of the artwork. Each member of this group, including a dentist, hairdresser, masseur, blacksmith, boulderer, dressmaker, jeweler and design technologist, has their own unique 3D thinking and making skills.
Working with a custom made modular structure built by Dunhill and O’Brien during the residency, the participants will explore a range of terms and conditions for collaborative making, using raw clay, and employing experimental methods that test the limits of verbal and visual communication. The structure extending throughout the gallery acts as a working environment and filming device, where interactions will be documented during the residency.
For the exhibition, AirSpace’s main gallery will see the structure convert into a large-scale installation, incorporating and displaying the artists’ response to the objects produced, and the various processes and procedures captured by cameras and other recording devices during the residency.

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2018
 

THE COLLAB PROJECT

During the month of January 2018 John Plowman collaborated with Bernard Leibov, the director of BoxoPROJECTS https://boxoprojects.com, on a project that explored the dynamic of the collaborative process. Their rationale for engaging in this process was to interrogate and better understand their respective positions of artist and curator and to make and present work reflective of the collaborative process. The starting point of which was their experiences, of making, curating, presenting contemporary art and engaging with audiences in non­gallery spaces outside of an urban context. They were able to quickly establish a framework for the collaboration, one that enabled them to focus on studio production to produce work that explored a sense of place. Working together and individually they produced a range of artworks that were exhibited at an Open House event in the residency studio at the beginning of February 2018, images below. They made four films, Doggod’, Ganesh, ‘Bonjour Monsieur Courbet and ‘One, two, three’, that make up ‘The Collab Project Showreel’ they can be viewed here:   https://vimeo.com/254199858

INDIVIDUAL WORKS

The Collab Drawings 2018 Bernard Leibov and John Plowman
In the spirit of the surrealist artists Exquisite Corpse activity each of the the fifteen drawings have been worked on by Bernard Leibov and John Plowman. Initially working on half of the sheets individually before swopping over for the other to overlay their contribution. Each artist has contributed their own motifs to the drawings through a process of mirroring or shadowing that in turn becomes the key theme of the collaboration and can be seen across all the outcomes of the collaboration.

Voyage 2018 John Plowman
The form of this sculpture is a direct result of the series of drawings John Plowman made in his sketchbook throughout the collaborative process. Visualized as two vertical forms facing each the gap in between being the territory that needed to be traversed, explored, mapped out and reconciled by creating a bridge. The sculpture becomes a metaphor not only for the collaboration itself but also for the journey we all make through life as we enter the portal of new landscapes and opportunities.

Homestead 2018 John Plowman
Made from Home Depot wooden yardsticks it’s form could be construed as the doorway of a long abandoned cabin. Ostensibly the L shape refers to the first letter of Lincolnshire, the county of John Plowman’s home in the UK. However the combination of the measuring device and right angle also invokes ideas around mapping territory, building homes etc. The distressed surface of the sculpture is an evocation of the geological forces that have formed the desert landscape.

Desert Dinghy 1, Desert Dinghy 2, Desert Dinghy 3. 2018 John Plowman
Selected because of their more resolved boat form and comparative size they have each been placed on a circular metal reflective disc recalling the shimmering and hazy surface of the desert.

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Desert Regatta 2018 John Plowman
This motley collection of desert dinghies has been assembled from the flotsam and jetsam picked up by John Plowman on his daily run. As these boat shaped pieces of wood come into view they confound our experience of the scale of and expectations of the desert.