The Concordia Gallery

As part of my job at BUA I am in charge of the lovely little gallery space held at the Concordia just around the corner from our office and studio – since August 2012 I have been responsible for the organising and overseeing of the three exhibitions that began from January 2013.

It’s not always an easy job but it has been a lot of fun so far!

As I’ve already mentioned since January we have held three exhibitions; the first was with Jaswant Flora – an illustrator who graduated from University of Northampton in 2012 with flying colours, her work showcases intricate designs that make the viewer question the content and broader meaning, drawing on her Sikh upbringing and love of all things street art the work is truly unique and completely gorgeous!

Image

 

Next up we had Jane Neal, a more traditional artist working in water colours and producing some of the most stunning landscapes that I have ever seen!! Her work went up in the gallery in March and she sold several artworks in her eight week run!

Image

 

Come the end of April it was time to take down Jane’s work and introduce Zac Cummings droodles to the gallery space. Zac is in an incredibly talented young man who is still at college whilst making these colourful, quirky and full of character artworks. We extended Zac’s exhibition for a month so that Hinckley’s German twinned town Herford could see the work on their upcoming visit at the end of this month!

Image

 

In the coming months we have a further three artists’ works to look forward to – all like me have just graduated from De Montfort University and all produce amazing art that has had me awe-inspired for the past four years; they are, Miriam Duffield, Kerrie-Louise O’Donnell and Gemma Neilson.

Image

Miriam Duffield, 2012

Image

Kerrie-Louise O’Donnell, 2012

Image

Gemma Neilson, 2012

Their works vary hugely and I’m really excited for the gallery to host works showcasing colour, form, architecture and the habits of young girls on the internet in this “selfie” generation. Miriam’s work will be installed from July 29th until September 16th, Kerrie’s from September 16th until November 11th and Gemma’s from November 11th until January 6th!

 

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in exhibiting at the Concordia in 2014 here is all you need to know: you get to exhibit your work for eight weeks to the theatre’s staff and visitors and we don’t charge a penny for hire or commission on works sold – it is a great opportunity for emerging or studying artists to get their work and name out there! If you’re interested please email me at caitlin.beautyandutilityarts@hotmail.co.uk to get the ball rolling!

 

 

Caitlin

Guest blog – Deborah Bird

I hope you’ve all had a fab Christmas and are currently relaxing in the limbo bit before New Year’s Eve!

Over the next week I’ll be posting some guest blogs from participatory artists Beauty and Utility Arts has had the pleasure of working with over the last six months. Deborah Bird starts us off, writing about a creative workshop for our Friday Arts and Health group …

‘Christmas Birds’ workshop

On Friday 30 November I visited the Beauty and Utility Arts studio to deliver a workshop with the ‘Points of Interest’ group.

In 2012 I visited the Grand Canyon National Park as artist in residence for the US National Park Service and came to the group to share my experiences and do a creative activity.

During the workshop, I took the group into the Creative Hinckley gallery space at the Atkins, where I have an Arts Council funded exhibition called ‘Grand Canyon 2012’ and gave a brief talk about my experiences in the canyon and my work; which involves the use of paper sculpture and ice photography in the landscape.

During the ‘Christmas’ themed workshop, the group made and decorated paper birds using some of the techniques that I uses in her work.

We had a great afternoon. My own work tends to be quite abstract so I designed a project using paper, 3D and inks that we could all enjoy. Everybody really got stuck in and between us we produced quite a flock. And of course with a surname like ‘Bird’ this has to be one of my favourite topics!

Deb Bird workshop POI 2

Deb Bird workshop POI 7 Deb Bird workshop POI 4 Deb Bird workshop POI 3

Guest artist blog – Jo Dacombe

 Seeking the Land Unknown in Hinckley

I once read a book by Lucy Lippard called “The Lure of the Local”, about returning to places that she knows and how people have relationships to places. So when I set out on a walk with the Friday group from Beauty & Utility Arts, to explore the local area in Hinckley, I was intrigued to see how they might look at their local place and how I, as an outsider, might see it.

Before I came I sent the group a map of the area around the Atkins Building, our starting point, with suggestions for several walks that they might like to do. I asked them to choose one. I was hugely encouraged when the message came back that, no, they had not opted for exploring the picturesque or pretty parks or gardens, they had chosen to go through the Industrial Estate to a brook intriguingly named the “Battling Brook”! At that point I knew that this group were true explorers after my own heart!

And what an adventure it was! We had a road map to guide us, but if you look on the road map the area that we were interested in was a big blank space, no features mapped there at all. We talked about how, when the first maps were being drawn up and areas of the world remained undiscovered, early mapmakers would leave huge areas blank and simply write “terra incognita” there (meaning “land unknown”). We were in search of our own local terra incognita.

It was tricky to locate the exact area of the terra incognita. Many old factories stood there, the old sock factory, and behind it an impressive radio tower which turned out to be part of the National Grid. We had a brief run-in with National Grid’s security who were not amused by our attempts to photograph the tower, and we had to delete the pictures! Feeling rather excited by our new status as agents of espionage, we then went on to explore: through a hole in a fence a vast concrete wasteland, spying a bridge in the distance; we admired a campervan for sale and dreamt of the freedom of the road; we followed a path along a hedge of blackberries promising good foraging for the autumn; and finally located the brook, with tales of boats, one of us had a lovely tale about a boat he nearly bought but returned to find it half submerged, where he believes it still is.

Having found the Battling Brook and speculating on how it got its name, we continued by following our noses to find a way back. Katherine was adamant that we must make a circular route and not go back on ourselves, so we wound our way through alleyways (more naming games here, should we call them jetties, passageways, alleys or cut-throughs, and what’s the difference?) and around houses, past a beautiful old church and a dilapidated building with broken windows and rusted panels, until we made it back to the Atkins Building.

Going through our photos we started to put together a map of where we had found all these “moments of beauty”, which I hope the group will continue to work on.  We discussed the idea of beauty and how different people find different things beautiful. We had found beauty in nature, decay, industrial structures, old buildings, water, fences, stories… and all within less than a mile of our starting point! It just goes to show that, when you look at the world like an artist, trying to find those “moments of beauty”, even what you thought were familiar surroundings can reveal surprising richness and an astonishing amount of interesting detail.

There is so much more to explore in Hinckley! We hope to do some more walks in the future to further explore the “lure of the local”, and I look forward to that… what will we find next time?

Find out more about joining our Points of Interest group by contacting Katherine on 07908 750187 and find out more about Jo Dacombe at http://jodacombe.blogspot.com

                             

A couple of things …

Beauty and Utility Arts has now moved to new premises at The Atkins building in Hinckley where we continue to offer a range of Arts and Health projects.

At the moment we have six weeks of Arts workshops with Fine Art student Caitlin Woodfield. Sessions are 2 till 4pm each Friday (see calendar for details) and cost £2 per person. Booking is required.

Tonight also sees the return of the BrightSparks: Comedy Asylum X rated show!