EM:16 Uta Feinstein

Uta's art is very focused, very skilled and very human. As we discuss how her art speaks of order and chaos, how good and bad bleed into one, I find myself at home in her work, as I think many will. Uta herself seems born to paint, her love for the craft shines through and her knowledge is extensive.

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a 'graduate show' as opposed to creating as a student?

Working independently on my own project feels similar to the student experience at the University of Nottingham, but a bit less directed and without assessment pressure. The time frame seems much tighter and challenging as I use the medium of paint which is a fairly slow process. This allows less time for experimentation or creating a final piece and can be a problem if things go wrong and paint has to dry before you can continue. We got an insight into a different studio environment and gallery situation. It helps confidence and that there are people out there interested in your work after graduation.

With the group name Pulse, how do you relate it to your work?

In my current project work the regular pulse and rhythm of the grid merges with the irregular flow of the net, they become intertwined - the regular and irregular aspects, in various states of tension. Or sudden external pulse disrupts the predictable, flowing rhythm.  The grid’s geometric structure and the less predictable line or melody-like flow of the net. I am interested in the building up of suspense between random, free flow, the net, and structure, predictability, the grid. Creating this rhythmic exchange between opposing elements and their suspension in a tempo­rary, precarious balance. There is a joint rhythm, underlying structure, but simultaneously it becomes disrupted by free flow and fragmentation and elements of mutual exchange or even inversion. This also questions simple dualistic juxtaposition, as the net is just a distorted grid. But in their elementary states, they have different physical and metaphorical qualities, they become opposites in many respects. However, they can transform into each other - their ambiguity is intriguing.

'Side Impact' (2016) Installation View.

'Side Impact' (2016) Installation View.

Tell us about your primary medium of painting and what got you into it?

I always enjoyed painting from childhood, we did a lot of pavement drawing with stones, clay. In the 70’s, finger paint was something new and in Germany lots of people have cellars so we had this window and we were allowed to finger paint against it and I always loved that. It was there for years. Painting has been always natural to me, I explored different mediums but I came back to painting. I love the whole history of it, the naturality of paint, just this pigment and you create something out of it.

And how did you get into using things like nets and grids in painting?

We all know practical uses of nets or grids and their metaphorical potential like interconnectedness, social nets… I confronted the geometric grid with the reality of its imperfect, distorted, organic ‘derivative’, the net, that diverges from the grid’s angular logic. I question ideals confronted with reality and its imperfections. I try to get people to question perception, ideals, illusion against reality. I explore forces pulling in different directions with tension and release reflecting various states of being. The scientifically–minded viewer may think of space distortion, dimensions, gravity, communication between distant particles, their effect on each other. Others will relate it to their own life experience, to inner /outer conflicts, dualities, emotive tensions and struggles.

Tell us a little about your project, what we’re going to see on Opening Night

I will show a couple of paintings, with some elements stepping outside the traditional canvas frame format. The inclusion of more tangible elements in surrounding space makes the works more physical. The images of flat squares suddenly becoming real, tangible 3D objects. I try to engage the viewer through a sense of tension between image and actual object. Wandering/floating squares move in indistinct space, but in an irregular, unpredictable way. I want to trigger an emotive, intellectual, physical response in the viewer; to relate the image to their own experience – what is out-of-rhythm here? What could it mean? Challenge expectation, perception – something unexpected happens; about uncertainties, tensions between antagonistic forces, physical and metaphorical – life events - conflicting emotions or desires.

I hope that my work can convey the sense of tension and uncertainty,  of being out-of-rhythm and viewers bringing their their own experiences. Personal tension, interrupted rhythm of life. My grid lines may look straight from far but show imperfections/inconsistencies from up close. This reveals actual physical tension - small interruptions to seemingly smooth lines, it is more about the concept of a grid than a literal, perfect version of it. Relating to the pulse of life, most situations are not ideal, we are not always in control of our situation, things happen.

Side Impact (2016) Angle View

Side Impact (2016) Angle View

What do you want to get out of the residency?

The residential offered me a chance to bridge the gap between graduation and professional practice, to meet other graduates and gain an insight into a local gallery and the supportive network there. What I also found appealing was the chance of having group crits and a ono-to-one session with a local artist and have access to the gallery’s light-flooded, spacious project space. It enabled me to discuss my work, ideas and incorporate issues arising from critical feedback and discussions into my paintings. The chance for a final show, to share the residency work with the public and interaction with the community in a workshop is exciting – to get feedback or have discussions, get to know new people interested in art.

How are you finding sharing a space?

We had to share limited space as students, so I am used to sharing space and not expanding too much. It’s a large, well-lit space and everyone arranged themselves with fellow graduates to share the space for larger displays. It was unproblematic and [we] enjoyed each other’s company and exchange of ideas or feedback. Having regularly shared space and worked alongside other students over the last years, it can help to make you feel less isolated than working at home on your own all the time. The practice after graduation can feel quite isolating - unless you can afford a studio space or your work gets accepted for lots of open exhibition etc.


Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images courtesy of Uta-feinstein.com

EM:16 Dave Dent

Dave Dent is not where art meets science because he doesn't seem them as opposing forces to be joined, he sees them as seperate paths to the same destination. We discuss his intentions with art to reconcile faith and science, the differences in metals and ancient Egyptians. It was great.

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a ‘graduate show’ as opposed to creating as a student?

It is nice in some ways to be doing a project that isn’t assessed but I am actually doing an MA. This is part of the practical work for my MA so it is actually being assessed! I’m in a very odd position.

That is quite an odd one, one of the things most people have said so far, is they feel quite free being away from the assessment side of things. Do you think you’re missing that?

I’m trying as hard as possible to think of it as not being assessed. The fact it’s an MA I do have a lot more freedom and you build up a freedom through your degree so it’s an extension of that... But I can’t completely divorce myself from the fact [it is assessed].

Yes, I was naughty and asked if  I could touch them all

Yes, I was naughty and asked if  I could touch them all

What made you want to do an MA?

It took me a long time to start doing my art degree. Before I started my degree, my last formal art lesson was in 1973; I didn’t do, what was in those days, O-levels Art. I went into sciences and didn’t do any formal art from 13. I trained as a microbiologist. There’s an Einstein quote that says all religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree and I’ve always viewed that [they’re] an exploration of the same thing. It’s a way of trying to interpret and understand reality, or at least that’s how I see it. I suppose through art I am trying to reconcile my spiritual and scientific understanding into a coherent… (laughs) It’s not coherent by any means because it’s too complicated but I’m working on it. It’s a work in progress. But, going back to the original question of why I’m doing an MA, I have just loved the process. It’s been something that’s been with me for many years but having started formal training in it and education, I don’t want to stop.

That learning style must be quite different to a Science degree?

Yes, it is, but my approach to art is very systematic, very methodical in lots of ways. My degree piece, I actually planned, I mean, it was in May but I’d planned it from April the year before. I had the idea while I was putting up my end of second year piece and basically worked towards it. I mean with this, I decided pretty much before the residency what the outcome was going to be, it has changed a bit because it’s not on the wall anymore, but I have to order the glass so I have to decide how much glass, how many.

With the group name Pulse, do you relate it to your work at all?

I’m not sure it does but it also doesn’t jar with the work. To try and come up with a title for such a diverse range of work... Trying to come up with a title for our degree show, it didn’t quite break out into warfare (laughs) but we had a vote and in the end it was ‘Derby University 2016 Fine Art Show’. [Pulse is] a good title; it’s succinct. There’s suggestions of being contemporary and on the pulse so it works well on the title.

Tell us about how you got into this form of glass painting, with layering metals? It’s not necessarily what you expect if you hear glass painting

It started in my second year, we had to do a response to something in Derby Museum and Art Gallery and I picked Joseph Wright’s ‘The Alchemist Discovering Phosphorus’. I did a piece based on alchemy, I basically produced three panels, the first panel represented lead, the third gold and then in the middle I did a philosophers stone which was actually a bronze panel. A scientist called Glenn Seaborg, used a particle accelerator to actually turn lead into gold. Only a few atoms but still, you could do it! Basically by firing protons into a nucleus and making it bigger. All three panels were square, and I coated bronze onto [the philosopher’s stone]. Then, there’s a thing called the feynman diagrams which represent the interaction between the particles for the reaction; I carved them into the surface of this bronze panel, of the transition from lead to gold, so that was my philosopher's stone. So that’s really what got me into coating metals onto glass and then I thought, there’s quite a long way I can go with this. I started playing with various other metals and materials; I got very interested in the concept of art as alchemy. Artists take basic materials and hopefully transform them into something that is valuable, something beautiful… Well I mean, beauty is an odd concept but, we take base things and transform them. Artists are alchemists.

So it flows back to what you said, art, science, spirituality, being from the same tree,

The earliest alchemy came from priests in ancient Egypt and the mummification of bodies; alchemy grew out of that, through the Middle Ages and again a close relationship between alchemy and priests. Then a lot of the experiments that alchemists did in the search for gold produced the particles that artists use. Eventually alchemy grew into modern day chemistry. I think because knowledge is so vast these days we have to break it down into understandable chunks but by doing that I think we lose the connection quite often. I think artists make connections and it’s about inviting viewers to make connections.

Tell us a little about your project, what we’re going to see on Opening Night?

There has to be something about the work, and I hope there is, that invites them to engage with it because if they don’t engage with it, on an aesthetic or a tactile level, they’re not going to think anymore about it. It’s got to be engaging in some way to invite the viewer to wonder, is it about something? If it is, what is it about? To engage with it as much or as little as they want to but there’s got to be something there, an access point of some form.

What do you want to get out of the residency?

Tthe experience, working with a different bunch of artists, exposing my work to a different audience and just sort of an opportunity to do some more exploration, mostly outside of university. (laughs) It’s a different challenge, a different way of working and I guess if I have future residencies I’ll be a bit more reckless and not plan so much before I go in, try and sort of break away from being too controlled.

How are you finding sharing a space with everyone?

It’s just great coming in and  you chat sometimes, you get on with your work and there’s been no sort of, artistic differences. It’s a big enough space, it’s a great studio space,


Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill

EM16: Pulse 4

The project space has begun to empty as our resident artists move their work downstairs and take over the main gallery space. There’s a monster in the middle of the room, black drapes dancing from the rigging and a lace table, that isn’t quite a table, by the stairs… It’s hard to believe that all this has been created in only four weeks. It's harder to believe we're almost at the end of those four weeks! Our artists have shown nothing but dedication and love for their work but it’s not just their exhibited work; they’ve done their own press release, designed their own catalogue and really taken every opportunity to make this their show. At Surface, it’s been a pleasure to watch their work grow and to help in whatever ways we could. I think they can also feel very safe in the knowledge they have some huge fans in all of us (especially me, I can never stop gushing after each interview how excited I am for opening night).  It comes back to what Jane and I talked about, Surface very quickly becomes your home and I think we quickly take in our artists are part of our Surface family.

So what’s next? Well, opening night is the 4th November 6-9pm and we would absolutely love to see everyone there. It’s a celebration of learning, a celebration of growth and just looking at some interesting art. Plus, we have some cracking local beers and I don’t think there’s a much more satisfying Friday night than wandering around Surface with a Roaring Meg. 

After that we have an artist talk and tour on the 12th November at 2pm where you can follow after the artists and ask everything you didn’t get to read in our interviews. You can engage with their work and question their motivations or you can find out their favourite flavour of crisps.

There’s a whole two weeks to explore and enjoy their art and then you can always keep up with them online

Tracey King - traceyking.com / Uta Feinstein uta-feinstein.com /

  Jane Smith janerosesmith.wordpress.com / Tayler Fisher taylerfisher.com

Connie Liebschner  connieliebschner.com / Dave Dent davedentartist.com

Miriam Bean miriambean.comEllysia Bugler ellysiabugler.com

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill

EM:16 Jane Smith

Jane doesn't sit during our interview so neither do I, she's got an energy you can't help but bounce off. You instantly feel at home, which makes it especially warming when she says she thinks Surface of a home from home as well. As she talks of communities being pulled down only to build themselves back up again and using negativity to build something positive, you do feel a little more chipper, a little stronger, a bit ready to do something.

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a ‘graduate show’ as opposed to creating as a student

I’ve just finished my Masters [and] I was by myself a lot of the time because I was the only person doing that particular MA. I had my own show and I was up in the metal workshops, down in the plaster workshops, then in the studios, all to myself, no one else around so it was really nice to come into the residency and have other people. It’s marvellous to go, ‘what do you think of this?’ These guys are great because they’re giving loads of input and that’s why my work has changed so much. I was interviewed for the project and I came up with this idea that I wanted to work around [Sneinton] market and have feedback from the people of the markets. I found this book, ‘A Walk Through Town’, so I started researching and it’s all stories from the markets, people from the market, and all the backgrounds and this area. There’s actually clay underneath [the market] and it used to be a brickwork. Well I’d started working on a little idea of my own of casting bricks with plaster hands inside because I work in fragmentation, the whole idea of wholeness and fragmentation, and I thought I could do something with that. I decided to make the bricks here; I decided if I’m going to be here in a residency, I’ve got to do it here. I’d rather be here making it.

With the name Pulse, how do you relate it?

We all sat down in the first meeting and came up with three words, mine were fragmentation and wholeness and body but then I was thinking I’m working with the idea of community and there’s a pulse in community. Pulse is absolutely ideal for me because the whole concept of my work is community all coming together and the hands that built that community, that are still building this community, because the fragments are still there. This market has been taken down a few times and built up a few times; that’s the idea of the wall, it’s not to keep people out, it’s to remind people it may be knocked down but it’ll always be rebuilt and there’s part of the people inside there.

When did you get into sculpting?

I came to Derby 27 years ago from Belfast, I’d done my foundation art at Ulster University and then I worked in the YMCA for a year doing art for them, designing logos, that kind of thing and then I came to Derby. My university tutor kept contacting me saying “there’s a new course starting at Derby, a HND in jewelry design, and I think you’d be perfect for it” so I came and did jewelry design and I was taught to be a jeweler. I did that, and when I finished, life happened, you have to get out there, get a job, so I got a job in a jewelry shop, became a manager of the jewelry shop, worked there for quite a few years. Then I had my little girl and I started working in a gym as a personal trainer, but the shifts were just… I didn’t see my family, I didn’t see my husband, I didn’t see my daughter, what’s that all about? Where’s your life going? So my husband said why don’t you go back to uni? Then I went to my Dr. and he said, ‘you need to change your job, this job is killing you, it’s getting you low, you just need to get out there, go back to uni.’ Everyone’s telling me to go back. So I went for a look around the Derby University degree show and I thought okay, bit different. Fine art, I thought paintings, you’ve got that thing in your head. I had a chat with Carl Robinson and he took my email and when I got home I had an email from him saying come in for an interview, come for a chat, so I went for a chat and by half seven that night I was in on the second year. I was like oh god, going back to uni then! I started in year 2 which was quite amazing because it was full on, head down, hit the ground running and for my degree show I won the Derbyshire foundation community award. I discussed with my tutors perhaps doing the MA and they had a little chat, yhup, we think you’d be ready to do the MA so the same day they said yeah, we’ll deal with the paperwork but you’re in. That was an experience because they’d never dealt with a 3-Dimensional artist before, it’s always been 2-Dimensional. They were going you’re a pioneer! It was a bit tough sometimes.

Were they really supportive or were there growing pains?

They were supportive, it was new for everybody. The tutors and me, we were in the same boat because obviously, they weren’t set up for this but y’know, we did it and it’s laid the basis for other people doing 3-dimensional work at Derby which is good. They did talk to me and say how can we fix this? how can we help other sculptors?

We’ve talked about it already, with this sense of community and building it up, but what should people expect from your work on opening night? Will your work continue to express community to the audience?

I like to think so, I worked at a residency in Derby Arboretum, with Artcore, last Summer and it was 175 years since the opening of the arboretum; they asked artists to put in proposals in so I put one in and I based mine around the fountain that’s in the middle and they took it on. That was community based, I was doing a lot of workshops, almost everyday. I was going into the park and kidnapping people because I was inviting them to draw on this massive 8 metres of material. They were drawing on it, doing tags on it, they could do anything, write in their own language, they could just stamp their hand. It was open to everybody. Then I ripped it all up into shreds and made a spiral out of copper and wrapped it round. I got asked, “when you wrapped it, did you have it set out how they were going to go?” and I was like “No, I mixed them all up,” they said “oh I love that”. That was the idea, communities are mixed up, we’re not all the same, we’re so diverse. There’s so many different elements that everybody is overlapping and that’s beautiful.

Is that where fragmentation comes into it, because that’s a word you mentioned earlier you relate to your work, but we’ve mainly talked about bringing things together?

I think I do, I think because of coming from Belfast; Belfast has the most lovely people you’ll ever meet in your life, beautiful people but the society is fractured. It’s such a beautiful country and such a beautiful place but the people are broken and although we kind of look at it from the outside, things are still happening there. My family all still live there but I live here and it’s something that sticks with you. I always think being born in 1966, you will always be known as a child of the troubles, because they started in 1969, and you carry that. I wouldn’t say it’s a cross, it’s not a stigma either, it used to be, but now I carry it more with a sense of pride. Yes I am a product of that but look where I am. That’s why I like getting into community things and getting amongst the people because I like to say look it doesn’t matter, what religion, what colour, what creed, it’s about community. It’s about you and that’s what makes the world stronger.

Why did you apply for this residency, was their something about Surface for you?

I think it’s something I like about Surface to be honest, it’s the diversity of Surface and it’s where it is. I think it’s sort of on the cusp of really getting somewhere and I think having something like Surface attached to your name is a big bonus to you. I’m dead proud, I think because you put so much into it, you put a bit of you into it. It’s your art, it’s such a personal and private thing and you’re laying yourself out there, laying yourself bare but… It’s okay because it’s warm and soft in here and it’s okay. It is like a home from home for art. It’s starting to really get up there, it’ll be nice to be up there.

How do you like sharing a space?

It’s marvelous, I love talking to people, and I can talk. Do you know what’s lovely as well? Seeing everyone’s work progress and change, it’s gone one way and then it’s gone another, that’s the beauty of a place like this.  And that’s good, that should be happening! As an artist, you never should stick to, I am making this and it’ll only be this way, if you’re doing that, what are you doing art for? You need that bit of risk. You need that element of surprise.

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Image by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill

EM:16 Tracey King

Tracey's work reminds me of Alice Through the Looking Glass; it seems to be one thing until you look a little closer and notice a skewed perspective, something a little off about a table and a delicate lace print you can only see if you're really looking. Tracey's work resonates on a variety of levels, having returned to the East Midlands from years living in Cornwall, she's trying to find that pulse here again. Many of us in Nottingham find that from the other side, waking up to realise Nottingham is home and the pulse isn't quite as strong where we grew up. We're just on different sides of the mirror.

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a ‘graduate show’ as opposed to creating as a student?

It’s less prescribed in a way, it’s a real mixture for me because obviously there’s new people in a group which is nice and it’s a bit like university because you’re bouncing off each other. It’s very familiar as well because I’m working next to Dave [Dent], we actually sat next to each other at uni, our spaces were adjacent!

So it’s almost like you’ve bought a bit of university with you?

Yeah, (laughs) I think the main difference is that you don’t have the workshop facilities at your fingertips because in the past I could go hmm, I’d like to do that in the porcelain slip and fire it. I perhaps would have done that with some of this work and although you could probably source that I’m kind of challenging myself to do what I can with the equipment available.

How do you think that’s impacted your work?

I’ve had this battle with myself in a way, some of it looks cruder maybe than I would normally do; just because of the different material I’m working in. I might have done something, like say, rather than soaking it in plaster I might have done it in porcelain, fired it and it looks finer and differently made. After the tutorial with Christine though, I’ve come to think actually this does say what I’m trying to say more. I’m trying to let go of the fact it’s crafted nicely. I’m seeing something different in the work. I’m quite excited about it now.

With the group name Pulse - how are you connecting to it?

It’s this pulsating city center. It’s busy, there’s life and yet, with my work there’s a lot of severed hands, without wrists; that’s the strongest part, where you feel your pulse, and it’s all cut off. It’s that sort of feeling I’m trying to get across, an unsettled feeling. This is my hometown, I used to live in the city center and be a part of everything but I feel a bit disconnected. I’m at a different part of my life and I’m doing something completely different. Because of body parts and wrists and almost a pulse that’s not there.

It’s that feeling that nowhere quite feels like home because I’ve lived away for a long time. I lived in Cornwall for quite a few years and had my children there and we’ve got very close friends there and we do go back. I feel as though that’s my home too but here still has family there and I’m kind of, at the minute, at that stage in my life where I’m trying to decide whether to stay.

When did you get into sculpting?

When I started uni, I’d never done sculpting. When I went to an open day and we were shown all the equipment… We were shown the welding bay and it excited me. I think that’s what it was, the welding bay and then when you first start you have little inductions to say woodworking, metal working and showing us all around the workshops and I don’t know, it quite excited me, casting was the thing. One of the first pieces I did was with a carnation and I cast it into bronze. I like that, it’s magical and that got me into sculpting.  You can make something that looks real, or is a normal everyday thing, but you can completely change it into something else. Present it in a different way.

This sense of feeling unsettled and a bit out of place, is that what you want your audience to experience on Opening Night?

I’d like them to see it and question it. I want them to look a bit closer to see the lace print you can’t see at first, see how the pieces react to each other. Hopefully they'll get this unsettled feeling. No one’s going to know how you feel, your history and why you’ve made it like this but there might be something… I try to use recognisable things, familiar objects and forms that anyone would know, you know, a hand, an egg or a glove but why’s it like this? Why does it make me feel like that? An emotive reaction I think, that’s what I always want to get.

What do you want to get out of this residency?

It’s that confidence really, because it’s quite hard working on your own without any feedback when you’re new, isn’t it? To suddenly not have any critique or feedback. It was that side that appealed to me because I like the idea of working in a smaller group, You get to know each other quite well and there’s the group critique [with Diana Ali] and the one to one tutorial with Christine [Stevens], whose work I absolutely love, so that was a bonus.

Did you find the one to one helpful?

Really helpful, that made me move on from ‘I’ll do the casts again, see if I can get it more precise’. I was actually in this real indecision about it and she gave me her take on it, I think you need those bits of reassurance. We were looking through the old catalogues and I was thinking I really love this piece, because she did EM13, and then Jez said ‘oh that’s Christine, she’s doing your critique!’ That was amazing.

How are you finding sharing a space?

Really good and positive. I do really like it, like I said, Jane I knew and Dave I’ve worked alongside him for the last two or three years… We work really, really different. It’s nice to have someone who knows your work and what you’ve done.

Do you find he works reacts to your work differently to the rest of the group who aren’t familiar?

I think he understands what I mean more because he’s seen what I’ve created before but it’s nice to have fresh eyes on your work too. Especially when it’s something a bit newer that you’re trying to do so you’ve not necessarily had any feedback on that type of work. You get some really different ideas from other people.  


Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Image by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill


EM:16 Pulse 3

It’s hard to believe we’re already three weeks in! It doesn’t seem like long ago we were taking down the last exhibition and prepping the project space for our EM16 residents to arrive. Already the depth of work is fantastic and there’s still two weeks to go until opening night on November 4th. As Connie said in our interview, the project space is an inspiring one. Every time I pop into the project space, I see the work grow, new additions being added and refined and I’m more excited for it to be shared with everyone on opening night.

This week finishes up our series of critiques sessions, the group crit being led by Diana Ali and individual sessions led by Sumiko Eadon, Shelley MacDonald, Christine Stevens and Bruce Asbestos. All the artists seem to have really responded to the chance to get feedback from established artists who have experience in a gallery setting. Everyone seems to have used it to develop their work, as can be seen in my interview with Connie (here) and as I discussed a bit in my interview with Dave Dent (which you’ll have to wait until next week to read). My main worry about opening night is how we’re actually going to carry everything down, specifically a certain metres high monster.

Our workshops so far have been a great success, the volunteers have even been fully taking advantage to grab a space on one whenever they can. It might even be leading the way for something special from Surface in the future… It’s given our artists a chance to try something new in the creative field; that’s the beauty of the residency, and Surface in general for our volunteers, it’s about trying something new and finding what works for the individual.

While I mainly poke around everyone’s work, and I’m only a bit ashamed to admit, ask if I can touch it, our artists have been doing the real heavy work: designing posters, writing press releases and deciding what to do with that lovely big window of ours. Miriam has put countless hours into the poster design and Dave Dent worked on our press release; it’s nice to be able to get involved in every aspect of their graduate show to really have the control over how they present themselves. When they discussed design ideas, the concept that was constantly returned to was shedding the student skin and becoming artists in their own rights. The designs definitely do this - they’re bloody lovely, you can even read the press release and get a sample of the flyer here.

One of the things I’ve especially loved during my interviews is finding out why the name Pulse resonates with each artist and why they came to Surface because despite their work being so diverse, there is a theme that pulls them together. Life, movement, transition, change, and whether it’s come at from a confrontational or reflective place, it has all been about growth. That and me following them around with coffee asking for quotes.

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images 1 and 3 by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill

Image 2 by Surface Gallery

EM:16 Connie Liebschner

Reams of Connie's black fabric hang down from our skylight, it takes the middle of the room and the rest of the work exists around it but also as part of it. Where the fabric falls here, you notice how it frames itself around a desk and draws you to the notepad left on it, where it climbs up to the ceiling you notice how lovely the light falls through the arch. We sat down to discuss drawing attention to what's actually around you and enjoying the smaller moments.

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a ‘graduate show’ as opposed to creating as a student

There’s a difference between setting your own goals comparative to the goals set on a degree course; it’s nice to have that freedom to be able to do something without necessarily having to tick boxes or jump through hoops so you can justify what you’re doing. It’s nice not having to stop the flow of continuous creativity to stop and document those moments. You can be really in the flow of doing something and it’s really working and you’re inputting something you’ve read but you don’t have to stop and go ‘right i’m going to evaluate why this happened’; even though you do that naturally in your own head. Liberating is the way I’m looking at it but it’s also slightly daunting because you don’t have that cushion of being an undergraduate. You’re establishing yourself as an artist and thinking well this is one of the first pieces to come out after [graduation] so there is some pressure but more from a personal point of view.

What does Pulse mean to you, how do you connect with it?

I think Pulse symbolises something alive and there was also a jokey irony like we’re all still alive, we’ve survived and we’re still wanting to do this. Because financially it’s difficult and there’s a lot of things that say why on earth would you do that kind of thing, despite doing a degree in it, so i think it’s nice to… There’s sort of that thing that we’re still desperately trying to pursue that avenue. We’re still alive, we still love it and there’s that kind of side of it.

But also, in my own practice, I like to do stuff that’s with the here and now and where I am at that moment; it’s about the light-space interaction but it’s temporary and it’s a personal moment and that only happens when you’re alive in that moment. I think Pulse is relevant to everyone’s practice in some way, but that’s my personal take on it.

That personal moment you mentioned - is that something you want your audience to feel, some personal moment with your work?

I think it’s a reflective moment, there’s a personal association for me; a lot of my work is based on observing the everyday and taking a moment to think, yeah actually, that’s really beautiful, that’s really aesthetically pleasing. You look at something in a slightly different way and I think that’s really nice to stop and be reflective on this process. Sitting in this space, it’s been an inspiring space for me because it is interesting architecturally but also being amongst new, creative people. I’m trying to use the space as part of the work and it’s specific, what I’m feeling at that moment. I’m thinking, right i’m going to observe this, I've not really done stuff like this before. It’s really interesting because I'm personally interacting with the space - drawing people’s attention to different parts of the space, maybe slightly differently than how they’ve seen it before. In answer to your question, I guess that’s what I’m trying to get across.

How did you get into using light and space as a medium?

Throughout my degree, I really spent my time documenting the everyday and so, I use a lot of stuff within my own house and this idea of moving and every time you’re remaking a space and after a few months it becomes like home.. Exploring that, I used several different mediums, I was painting, I was photographing, I was printing and all the time the house became like this installation piece. It was quite funny because we’d have group crits and people wouldn’t necessarily know about my work beforehand and they’d say ‘oh is this a set design, have you set this up?’ None of it was ever set up it was all just things I was observing as time went on but because people don’t stop and look at the everyday you assume it’s some beautiful show home type thing where the light’s coming across and everything’s really perfect and it’s not. It’s just you’re in that moment and you go ‘I want to photograph that’ or ‘I want to paint that really quickly’. I think a lot of the time artists are searching to find out what they’re interested in but actually it’s all around them all the time.

There’s a little extracting formula for it as well - like what do all these images have in common because often it’s very visual. There’s often lots of similarities between the images so you’re thinking is it a tonal thing? Is it the light? Is it an angle that keeps repeating or the window? What is the formula to that moment? Because everyone relates to that same moment. I remember somebody saying to me, it’s really strange because you’re putting this out there and then everyone else is relating to it so then this solitary becomes a group thing.

I know we’ve touched on how you want to draw people to what they don’t really notice but how will you use the space - what do you want people to get from it?

We were discussing this with Diana Ali, [in the group critique] and I was saying I’m really inspired by this space up here and how’s this going to translate downstairs because it’s a very different space. I think the idea is I’m going to respond to it quite spontaneously not too far beforehand because I think then it becomes a bit forced.

The interesting thing about the space downstairs is it’s an exhibition space so there’s remnants of that everywhere - there’s hooks and hanging points you can see, the nails in the ceiling where people have hung stuff before and I think that’s kind of interesting because you can draw attention to the history of that space by attaching and reusing those kinds of fastenings or whatever and I’ll play on that. I want it to be about the space not just about what I’m putting into it so that will kind of dictate where the fabric will go - where it will be hung from. it’s kind of exciting but also a bit scary because i’m usually very much, i know exactly what i’m going to do and i’m coming out this from a very different - much more spontaneous angle.

It must be quite difficult though because you’ve got a lot of fabrics set up here - in the space - and it will need to move down to a new space.

I’m always changing it, that’s the thing about it. I’ve been using these chairs [to position it] and I like the idea people can then sit in the chairs. Originally I wanted it to be really clean and I was going to drill bits into the floor so I could do fastening very discreetly. Because I’m experimenting, I don’t want to do anything that will risk the fabric for the time being so I’ve just been attaching them to the objects that have been up here but actually the chairs work really well - if you go sit in the chairs you get a completely different angle from each one and it pulls you into certain points in the ceiling which I think is really interesting so maybe i’ll end up using chairs in the space.

Diana advised us to go with it and literally a few hours before opening just set it up and i was like oh god, i’m not sure about that but i get what she means, it’s a very spontaneous approach to something that could become very artificial. Like a bit pre-planned and rigid and what works about it right now is that it does feel fluid. I don’t mind if people move the chairs, it moves the dynamics of the space and that’s the fun - I can just take it down. Each time I take it down and put it back up it’s turned out completely differently.

Why did you apply for the residency?

I think it’s very difficult at the beginning to create by yourself with no input - it’s almost like you get so much freedom it’s overwhelming. The first few weeks after my degree I was really into the flow of it and I was really excited about what I was able to do; I started printing again and started doing things and really enjoyed the making aspect. I applied for the residency because I thought actually it gives me an opportunity to be experimental but within this sphere where you’ve still got other people's input - all these new artists, and everyone at Surface, that I’ve never met before and that’s really helpful because everybody has come from a slightly different perspective - so that’s an interesting dynamic for the group. We’re all very different in the subject matter, I was hoping that would be the case because it gives you a completely different input so i think the residency is really helpful because it’s that transition point.

So you’re enjoying sharing the space with other people?

I like the feedback because what you like doing, you can get very stuck in a certain route and you keep doing the same thing over and over again. You don’t have anyone to say oh what do you think of this - it’s really nice to have a new set of people to say should I make it interactive? Do you like these photographs ? It’s even really nice to have someone say I don’t think that’s working. People don’t often say they don’t like things - it allows you to question yourself a bit more.

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill



EM:16 Tayler Fisher

I was looking forwards to Tayler's interview because I'm fond of the morbid and grotesque and Tayler's work is very at home with both; what made it more fun was how enthusiastic he is for work, even spilling tea everywhere once or twice.

Have you felt much of a difference creating as a graduate opposed to creating as a student?

I’d say no because… I got to third year, and especially mid way through third year, I already felt like I was kind of ready. I tried to stop thinking of myself as just a student because I think, you hold yourself back, don’t you? So no, in terms of that, not a lot different. Going into uni … I knew I kind of wanted to explore this area to get my work out there in this way. So yeah, it’s just carrying on. It’s just a mental thing, [if you think] I’m just a student, it doesn’t matter. You have to own it, your work is never going to be what it should be if you don’t own it.

With the group name of Pulse, how do you connect to it to your own work?

The work that I’m creating for this is a big dying creature so, straight away, pulse, heart beat life. This work came off the back of packing up my degree show. I had to pack up some work and there was this one piece I knew I had to get rid of but I didn’t want to; I was just like right, stuff this, pulled it down to the ground and it’s this huge 2 metre thing so it comes down with some force, its leg snaps and it’s kind of laying there... It was just this genius moment of ‘this actually looks better than it did stood up’ and I started thinking about it more and that mixed with the end of uni and having to get out there. You think it’s the end of something and then that becomes the challenge and the reason to carry on. I realised, through showing something as dead, it almost gave it more life than it being stood up. I realised, maybe they’re just sculptures so through killing something,  you’ve almost given it more life. So when somebody mentioned pulse i was like right yeah, that fits.

I think, I’m, in terms of pulse, I’m trying to confront people It’s kind of more exposing the mortality of life, of pulse, rather than exploring it.

When did you get into sculpting?

Not until third year, I’ve always drawn and painted since primary school, I knew I was gonna do art, it was all I ever did. But when I was at uni, all my friends were sculptors. I was constantly around sculptors and a lot of their work was getting me more excited than what I was doing at the time. Everyone was saying I should make [my work] 3D and I was a bit reluctant but I was like stuff it, I’ll try it. Literally the first thing I did I was like, I’m so happy, it’s so good and then I did a couple more and knew I had to do more. Come third year, I just started trying out more and more and before I knew it, most of the third year was devoted to owning the 3D. I always painted so I knew where I was with that; throughout uni I was always experimenting and trying to find new ways of painting and stuff like that. That’s why I ended up using spray paints, because it’s different from what I’d been doing but yeah, materials has been an important thing. And doing sculptures, you have to think about materials more and then those materials tell you what to do with the shape of the work.

We’ve touched on it a little bit, but what should people expect from you on opening night? Confrontation?

Yeah, I suppose a little bit, I always try and get that across in my work to some extent, whether it’s intimidating through the size of something or the slight grotesque nature of the materials. For example, I use a lot of sheep wool and it’s completely raw, straight off the sheep. I’ve just had this new lot in and it’s really dirty, so y’know, if you’re presented with that in a gallery space, people are gonna be kind of like put off from going into it straight away; but what i’m showing in the actual space is a really big dying creature, it should be laid down on the floor and you kind of capture it’s dying moment. It can’t gather the energy to get itself back up so it’s a similar aesthetic to previous practice, a lot more fur and wool. I mean I had sound in my degree show but that was more played into the room as a soundtrack to give a landscape to the work but this time I’m going to have to have sound coming from inside the work. A bit of howling from the head, breathing from the chest, that sort of thing. I’m hoping to use a speaker, take all the housing from the speaker and use bass frequency to make it twitch a little bit, like it’s breathing it’s the last breath.

Have you done physical movement before?

No, I thought it’s something new I’ll try out on the residency. I’m hoping to do two to three hour tracks so every time somebody walks in they’re experiencing something new. I think that was an element that worked in my degree show because I had a three hour loop so literally every time somebody walked in they were having a different kind of experience with the sculptures. Yeah, (laughs) I can’t even remember what the question was now.

It was a good answer though, it was what to expect from you on opening night

Right! Yeah! So big dying creature, bit of sound, hopefully a bit of movement and I’m doing it big in the sense I want it to be confronting the space in some way if I can so y’know, the audience has to walk around it to get though… It’s to impose the space, I want people to be confronted on that level because all of my practise is about, if you can effect the audience they’ll begin to contemplate on the work and realise it’s maybe a comment on them, a comment on us. It’s my way of effecting them.

What made you apply for the residency?

It’s good to have an opportunity to carry on ideas straight away because I mean the degree show, for people who’ve just graduated will be, well it should be, the biggest show they’ve done so far. It’s the biggest bit of feedback you have and as the show’s going on, you’re having more and more ideas of what you want to do so it’s good to have the opportunity to carry on those ideas. I’ve got a sketchbook I only started a few months ago and I’ve already saved up a load of ideas.

How are you finding sharing a space with 7 other people?

It’s good sharing a space in terms of having new outlooks and people to bounce off. It’s good to have Miriam because I didn’t really know anybody who was into sound, in my degree show besides accompanying video I don’t really know anybody who used sound as a work so that’s good to bounce around and she’s doing cool stuff.

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill



EM:16 Pulse 2

The planning and progress meetings are a great to keep up with what’s happening but they’re also just a great excuse for me to go have a nosy at how much the Project Space has already transformed. As Dave Dent reminds me, four weeks isn’t actually that long and we’re already a week in. On the way up the stairs, the formings of, what I assume is, the head of Tayler Fisher’s creature is the first thing to greet me. It’s quite charming in all its monstrous glory and I’m excited to see the thing grow.   

Connie Liebschner's work progress

Connie Liebschner's work progress

Black fabric flows from the skylight and reminds me of the blue sea of fabric that had swam down only a few weeks ago as part of Celine Siani Djiakoua's 'Deep Sea', especially with her medusa like wall painting still large on the wall. It makes you realise that as quickly as the gallery can move between exhibitions, they all leave their lasting impression on us.

When we do start the meeting, conversation is rapid and trying to cover everything as quickly as possible. We discuss opening night, whether or not we need music, especially alongside Miriam Bean’s creative soundscapes. The most important question though, do we need to offer food? And if so, what? (My sore throat meant I didn't have enough voice to offer up the obvious option, themed cookies)

Diana Ali offering the group critique

Diana Ali offering the group critique

This week was the group critique session with Diana Ali and it seems to be something everyone looked forwards to. Uta Feinstein says how positive it will be to have a fresh pair of eyes looking at her work. It bridges the gap between independent work and the kind of creative feedback anyone who has done a creative course is used to. It also gives our resident artists a chance to meet many local talented artists and draw on their expertise.

On our side, as we look back through previous graduate programme catalogues it shows us how far we’ve come; while each year has been brilliant, every year we’ve been more prepared and able to add to the previous year. I’m so looking forwards to sharing it with you on opening night.

Turning it up to 11

Turning it up to 11

Keep an eye on the blog Sunday when we will have another interview with some of our resident artists.

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images 1 and 3 by Gavin ‘Urban Shutterbug’ Conwill

Image 2 by Jez Kirby


EM:16 Ellysia Bugler

As when meeting with Miriam, the micro element of 'Micro Interview' went out the window. Ellysia explained how she got involved in adding the unique twist of scents and wax to the otherwise traditional medium of drawing, finding her own space at university and what spices may be best to avoid...

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a ‘graduate show’ as opposed to creating as a student? 

Even though it’s only been a week, I can notice the difference. It’s still self-directed in your third year but the flexibility here is different because they sort of dictate through your last year, why are you doing this, what’s your reasoning, put in a theory, put in this and link it to so many things that the kind fun goes out of it. A little bit, not that much, but just a little bit. It’s nice to sort of just do something because that’s what I really want to do.

Do you feel it’s a little freer, not having to justify why you’re doing things?

I do actually, because I know I will have to when I do it but just based on what it is. So I do think it’s freer - I don’t know why because it’s quite similar process but it is.

So, you’ve decided on the name Pulse, what does that mean to you?

I think you can sort of apply, because I’m drawing sort of not plants but, foliage and berries and brambles and tree lines - you can associate living and pulse with that. I’m gonna try and put a smell on it as well so for example, the one now - it’s gonna be sort of dipped in wax a little so that’s what will smell - hopefully. So I think you can sort of see links there, with the word pulse, I don’t think really, really literally as in breathing or something but just the loose theme of life and light as well. If I can get some light through it. I think you make your own mind up what Pulse is to do with.

Ellysia's Engaging the Senses Workshop

Ellysia's Engaging the Senses Workshop

Tell us about your primary medium of drawing and what got you into it, especially with the additions of scent?

Because I’m quite stubborn and actually, on my course they had three or four pathways, you know, painting, sculpture and print, lens based - none of them were drawing so I was like ‘I want to do drawing’. They didn’t really cater for that but I just sort of thought that the first few years were so much experiment and do what you want and don’t focus too much and I’m quite controlled with drawings - I found I was too bogged down with - painting I had to get everything correct and I don’t know, I wasn’t really loosening up. I thought I’d try different experiments and stuff but it didn’t really feel right, I know it’s good to be loose and free but I think I get a lot more out of making something I like the look of.

How were your tutors about that, you said they don’t really accommodate for drawing? Were they supportive or didn’t know what to do with you?

I think the second one, slightly. I had a really nice technician and he helped me so much with getting the sense of smell on the things and using wax and that side of things… In terms of the drawing - I did a huge massive drawing made up of all little bits and he was like - cut it up and get it framed and we’d just go down to the shop and get it framed and it was so painful after all of that. That’s when I decided nope, I’m gonna put it in wax and put a smell on it.

What got you interested in smell?

Well I picked herbs to do because my dad imports herbs and so it’s always been around, he just come back with big batches of herbs - they’ve got like his and hers allotment patches. So it was quite a natural theme to pick when there’s so many themes you’ve just got to pick something quite personal and it was due to the fact that I wanted to elevate and not just frame. That’s why smell came in and it was always sort of loosely there because I like to draw from observation so I’d set the herbs in wax so they’d last longer and they’d go all wrinkly and preserved basically so that was interesting to do. As you set it you’ve got this wash of smell. I didn’t pick the right herb in the end though, I picked Methi for my main piece which you put in curry so my show stank of curry which wasn’t so good. But then obviously I’ve got this residency I can hopefully not do a curry smell.

Have you chosen your scent?

I’m using essential oils instead. I’m not going to go for literally using natural things because I don’t think the point will be put across - I think either the smell will go or y’know, it’ll be too, not very nice I don’t think.

With something like essential oils - do you think people will feel a familiarity with your work, because it’s a smell everyone knows?

Maybe, maybe subconsciously that’s why I’ve chosen to go that way - I like essential oils and all the candles and all that stuff so probably, and my mum does too, they’re all round the house.. You don’t realise it until someone points it out.

Tell us a little about your project, what we’re going to see on Opening Night

I really would it to smell nice, that’s a main factor and I’d like them to get a sense of something because I know the drawing on it is so literal but I want them to think or feel something else. And I want- I don’t know - I’m putting a lot of hours into the drawing but that’s not what I want the main thing to be. I’ve sort of got to get this out the way in order to get the soaking and smell right. So I’d like them to focus on the senses. If it doesn't work out I’ll say - just look at the drawing. (laughs)

What do you want to get out of the residency?

Bit of confidence. I don’t know, because after graduating I had an internship and this, that and the other, a couple of small jobs just to fill in the gap because I don’t know if this is definitely for me, I want it to be but I’m quite realistic. It’s just a case of, this is such a good opportunity, use it and see what comes of it. But be quite like, open minded about the outcome, I think it’ll be really good if you can continue doing what you like doing.

How are you finding sharing a space?

Yesterday I had the whole thing to myself so it was great. I just dragged my little heater behind me and it was really nice. Tayler, he’s doing that big monster but he’s got his own area, no one infringes on each others spaces and I don’t think people have properly started yet - I know there’s some casting and sculpting - I think it’ll be nicer. Two of us missed the first Saturday so I think that was the free-for-all go grab your space so the window spaces were taken up but I think people actually missed out on being right in the middle. I like where I am. I can’t wait for everyone to get started because it’ll be more like, I’ve got a question, what’s your opinion, sort of bounce off each other a bit more.

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill 

EM:16 Miriam Bean

The EM16 Interviews are something I've been really looking forwards to. As all our artists are sharing the same space with the same time frame and creating something wildly different, I wanted to mirror this in our interview. I came to each interview with the same six questions and a cup of something hot and let the conversation flow naturally to really let them show off their own personality and charm. Before the interviews, I did say they would be 'micro interviews' with them only being six questions, the problem is they're all too bloody interesting so you get a treat with something a little longer.

 Miriam Bean's Noise Maker Workshop

 Miriam Bean's Noise Maker Workshop

Have you felt much of a difference creating for a ‘graduate show’ as opposed to creating as a student?

The atmosphere is completely different because at uni even though it’s the first steps into doing art in a gallery sort of setting, and that’s brilliant, it’s not a real gallery. You’re in a bubble at uni, which is not always a negative thing, it’s not all scary all at once so it builds you up to something like this. This has been just great to meet like-minded people who are all wanting the same sort of thing. Last night, when I went to the [Julian Rowe ‘It’s Too Soon To Say Opening], just to be introduced to people who are doing art, they’re going out and making it in the real world.

So, you’ve decided on the name Pulse, what does that mean to you?

Because I work with sound, it’s a very physical thing as opposed to visual art, when it’s a static object you don’t really interact with it directly, it’s a very separate thing to you; whereas sound, sound waves, are really strong, you feel the vibrations and they kind of pulse. It’s kind of about the physicality of sound in that sense - I’m interested in people’s perceptions of sound and what our preconceptions of sound are and just the variety of opinions that can arise from engaging with a piece of art that has sound in it.

You’re a sound artist - what influenced you to get involved in Sound as your primary medium?

I come from a really musical background but I always wanted to kind of rebel. I didn’t want to be a musician so originally at uni, I did some painting and kind of dabbled in other mediums, like video, but overriding was always this influence - like i’m such a massive music fan and everything I do, I was kind of analysing. Why do I like this so much? Why do people hate this so much? It was from that that I was like, why don’t I make art about people’s opinions of music, it’s such a gut reaction. People have arguments about music quite easily, oh I hate this band, I love this band but with art they’re a lot more tentative and they’re not sure how to judge it. So I wanted to kind of bring the two together and have art people feel comfortable enough about to just be like ‘oh it just makes me feel like this’ without going am I meant to think that?

Do you find it’s easy to connect with people who do music and art in a more traditional sense or do you feel in between?

Sometimes I feel like I can relate to both and sometimes I feel completely like an outsider. I don’t always feel like I have a right to comment on a painting and I don’t always have a right to kind of comment on the composition of that piece because they’re the experts and I’m sort of a hybrid.

So what should we expect out of you on opening night, tell us about your project?

A lot of what I’m doing recently is kind of looking at the physics of sound, in a very light sort of sense not all the mathematical equations, nothing like that; just pure sound waves and how they act in the space because they act quite differently to recorded sound because they’re waveform is so rounded it sort of bounces about in a weird way and you go to different parts of the room and think that sounds odd. What I’ve been looking at is how to transform sound energy into light energy and then back into sound again so it’s kind of more about… the thing is, it’s a very technical thing I’ve never done before but I’m taking a risk.

If you’re going to take a risk though, your debut graduate show is the place to take it.

It might be a bit more subtle. Other work I’ve done has been quite big and because it’s a group show I wanted to tone it down and, it’s subtle in terms of its sound but it'll hopefully be really intriguing at the same time.If it’s kind of in a corner it’s ooh what’s that? You’ll just want to go over and investigate it.

What do you want to get out of this residency?

I think mixing with other artists and having a base to be creative because y’know, no matter how hard you try, when you’re at home you just don't want to work, you get distracted and you go off and do other things so it’s a great space to be focus.Hopefully discover some new things as well, talking to other people, discovering what their influences are and just learn a bit more.

I suppose everyone here has such different mediums as well -

We’ve all come from different unis so we’ve all got a different set of experiences too.

You’re from Uni of Lincoln, are you a local to Lincoln?

No I’m from Leicester, well Loughborough originally, then Leicester

Do you think there’s something special about the East Midlands for creativity?

It’s growing - say Leicester for example, compared to Nottingham, it’s not great for the arts especially - it’s not got many venues but I can see it creeping up - there’s more and more places that are wanting to do the arts and involve the arts. I want to be there when it all kicks off.

How are you finding sharing a space with 7 other artists?

It’s quite a big space for 7 people but I’ve found it’s, so far, it’s only been a week I suppose so it’s hard to know but we’ve all got on so well considering we don’t know each other at all. You’ve just got to go for it.

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin 'Urban Shutterbug' Conwill

EM:16 Pulse

It’s one of the most exciting times of year at the gallery, not only is Halloween just around the corner but the East Midlands Graduate Programme is finally beginning its residency. Our eight resident artists have been chosen for offering a style and project our committee was genuinely excited to showcase; and this year our artists cover a wide variety of mediums and influences so it promises to be a varied and exciting show. There’s something incredibly special about the first project created after graduation when you are beginning to label yourself as an artist without the adage of ‘student’. We’re excited to be part of this transition and hope you are as well.

    Connie Liebschner, Uta Feinstein, Jane Smith, Dave Dent, Tracey King, Ellysia Bugler, Tayler Fisher, Miriam Bean

   Connie Liebschner, Uta Feinstein, Jane Smith, Dave Dent, Tracey King, Ellysia Bugler, Tayler Fisher, Miriam Bean

Our first planning meeting, this Monday, was the first time we’ve all met in one big group; this could be an incredibly awkward experience with lots of drawn out introductions and ‘ummm’s but everyone’s instantly bonded. We’re all there for the same reason, to create something great. and besides, we don’t have time for nerves, there’s too much to do.

                      The Group Discussing Ideas

                      The Group Discussing Ideas

Our main aim this week is to discuss flyers and names - how the group want to brand themselves and present their debut. The recurring idea is that the design, and name, needs to say ‘Artist’ not Art Student’. The name settled on is Pulse, and the flyer, well, you’ll have to keep an eye out for that.

This week, the group was happy to meet with John Mitchell, of WiT Partnerships, who is conducting an independent evaluation for Surface to follow the residency; it plans to see what the artists hope to gain from the residency, what their plans are and then will reflect back on this once the exhibition has actually begun. John describes it as “more about learning than evaluation,” and it promises to teach us at Surface as much as it does the artists.

Next week, the artists will be having their critique sessions, which was mentioned in our October newsletter. Local artists will be meeting with the graduates, based on their experiences for individual critique sessions, as well as a group critique. Look forwards to reading more about this next Wednesday, when we look back on what’s happening and how the group are feeling for their sessions.

                                                       The Artists known as Pulse            

                                                       The Artists known as Pulse            

This Saturday kicks off our first EM16 workshops, the ‘Noisemaker Workshop’ led by Miriam Bean and ‘Engaging the Senses’ with Ellysia Bugler. I’ll also be publishing some interviews with them on Sunday so make sure to check back and find out how it went!

Written by Lucinda Martin for Surface Gallery

Images by Gavin ‘Urban Shutterbug’ Conwill