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Tonight I will be volunteering at Leeds based visual arts organisation Pavilion‘s event in Temple Newsam House.  Céline Condorelli will be presenting a newly commisioned site specific installation, Additionals, in the setting of Temple Newsam’s stunning gardens, landscaped by Capability Brown. Blurring the theoretical line between fine art and sculpture and architectural construction, this work will eventually form the set for a new film by Beatrice Gibson called The Tiger’s Mind, and will be exhibited in central Leeds from October 2012 to January 2013.

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If you are perchance interested in a visit and are not busy tonight, the tickets are free and can be booked online or by contacting linzi@pavilion.org.uk or calling 0113 343 2718.

For more information on Condorelli’s previous projects and future exhibitions take a look at her website.

Jason Ratliff

Jason Ratliff

Walking Shadows.

Something that has been playing on my mind since studying the feminist art movement of the 1970s has been the struggle for inclusion within an exclusive traditional art historical canon of craft processes. Fine art, described by a canon of movements led by male figureheads, did not have space amongst its ranks for the female and domestic processes that made up craft practice. The play of tension between arts and crafts was deliberately addressed in the philosophies of the Arts and Crafts movement of the 19th century. The movement, led by William Morris, sought to elevate the downtrodden decorative arts to the status of fine art. However, the rule of the traditional art historical canon lives on, even today.  Actually, I think the tumultuous history of craft and its relationship to traditional art forms has pushed progress within craft artforms in an exciting direction. Craft methods are progressing in an entirely different sphere from contemporary art practice, but all the while they refer back to it with the self-awareness and humour of which fine art can sometimes be bereft.

Stephanie Casper – “Sausages”
Image from stephcasper.com

Being forced to develop in parallel to, rather than as part of, the world of fine art has encouraged exciting originality in craft, especially in the world of textiles and knitting. Despite concerted forward-thinking efforts on the part of the curators of contemporary art exhibitions to promote craft practice as a legitimate form of contemporary art, the legacy of exclusion has left its mark.  Elegant wit and sharp satire infuses much of knitting practice today. Aware of its exclusion from traditional history, craft pokes fun at and rejects the tropes and themes of traditional art as it begins to make its own historical canon.

Lorna Giézot – “Before, During, After”, 2001
Image from http://www.lornagiezot.com

As well as scuptural forms, the process of knitting lends itself to wrapping; enveloping other forms and lending them a new significance. I’m not sure if one is meant to discuss votes for the Woolgather art prize in Leeds (www.woolgatherartprize.com) so I shall keep shtum about specifics, but one of my favourite works there was Karen Logan’s knit-wrapped gravestone.  The bold colours and concealment of a sacred shrine to a life lost may at first appear irreverent or disrespectful, but the series is in fact a documentation of her family tree. By covering the stones with her own knitting, she has innovated a new form of commemoration; these “cosies” create a monument to her “caring detective work” and her family heritage.

Karen Logan – “Krysia” (2011) from the “Close Knit” series
Image from the Woolgather Art Prize 2012

 

 

Karen Logan -“Marjory” (2009) from the “Close Knit” series
Image from karenlogan.blogspot.co.uk

Agata Oleksiak grabbed headlines last month with her knitted wraps of the Antony Gormley figures on Crosby Beach in Merseyside. In this work, Oleksiak is truly using the the neglected craft of knitting to take over the space in which figurehead artists of the fine art world have stood for so long, revered like gods. Craft is getting its own back, stitch by stitch.

Agata Oleksiak wraps the figures in Antony Gormley’s “Another Place” on Crosby Beach.
Image by Andrew Hoban: http://crosby365.tumblr.com

My mind has been reeling from all the work I put into my dissertation, but overall I’m very pleased with the product of all that hard graft. I feel like I’m a bit of an expert on Renaissance Italian Women now, which was definitely not a subject I ever thought I would have really delved into academically! My passion for contemporary art and design was kind of overrun by the experiences and environments of my year abroad. Ferrara and its artistic and cultural history inspired me so much and I had to take hold of that spark and run with it. I’ll will certainly miss the dusty section of the library where the literature on Renaissance art was hiding, but I have to admit I was glad to be studying femininity and modernity in art in the 20th Century as a bit of academic respite from the dissertation and its focus on a slightly opressive grand past. It was very interesting to juxtapose the two periods in terms of their effects on the lives of women and the art that was produced describing these transitional times…. Fingers crossed my tutor likes it!

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Domenico Veneziano
Portrait of a Young Woman, 1465
Tempera on Wood
Domenico Veneziano

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Cindy Sherman
Untitled, 1989
Color photograph
Gift of funds from Andrew Dayton 2010.23

Yes I’m very busy right now finishing off my dissertation, so here’s the visual equivalent of hold music…. I will be with you shortly.

Gorgeous surrealist animation from 1988 starting with an exploration of a Paul Delvaux painting and then moving onto other works. I’m entranced and meant to be working on a presentation and have been distracted… Oops.

Two things oh so very close to my heart, art and bikes. One delivered by the other… I think you should all know about:

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Papergirl Leeds started in 2011; a radical, non-commericial art project directly distributing art to the streets of Leeds and it’s people.

Art is submitted to Papergirl Leeds through an open call. Every single piece of work is shown in an exhibition before being rolled up into bundles and taken out on bicycles to be lovingly handed to passers by.

The art of giving art.

So, Papergirl are calling for new art to be submitted by 1st April 2012 to be included in this exciting project! If you are an artist or designer and want to share your work and also enrich our local community with incredible diverse art click here to get involved!