The Big Draw

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The world’s largest drawing and visual literacy festival and this year its theme ‘Drawn to Life’ celebrates and explores the benefits of being actively creative to make positive change and improve wellbeing.

The festival brings people together to champion the ever increasing evidence, both anecdotal and academic, that a more creative life really can improve your health.
At The Artistry House, Winckley Square, Preston. 
 https://www.theartistry.house
Saturday 12th October 2019 12 – 4pm

Live art sessions hosted by artists Fiona Candy and Atlantic Contemporary, will run informally throughout the afternoon. Join the Big Draw with the Friends of Winckley Square on Saturday 12th October for ‘HUMAN-NATURE’ at The Artistry House, 16 Winckley Square, Preston. The Artistry House doors will be open from 12 – 4 and you are welcome to pop in at any time during the afternoon to be inspired by art and explore the house.  You are invited to participate and explore your creative side with live art sessions on portraiture and inspired by nature.”

Please note art places will be limited and provided on a first come first serve basis.

For booking information see Eventbrite: here

 

A WALK IN THE PARK

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Avenham Park 3Avenham Park 1 copy

Join us for a companionable, creative group walk through Avenham and Miller Parks, for the Big Draw and Preston Arts Festivals.

During the walk we will introduce simple ways to tune in to and be inspired by our surroundings: the atmosphere and sensory qualities.  We will draw, write and make, as we trace our movement through the park, working together to experience and experiment, using materials provided.

Each walk lasts about 2 hours. Places are limited.

Walk 1

The Big Draw event info is here for Saturday October 5th 2019, 14:00 – 16:00  and book at Eventbrite here: here

Walk 2

The Big Draw event info is here for Sunday October 13th, 10:00 – 12:00 and book at Eventbrite here:

A series of other guided walks on a range of topics, organised by the Friends of Winckley Square, will wander and weave through the centre of Preston, during the first three weeks of October 2019 as part of Preston Arts Festival.

More information about all of these walks here

“An active line on a walk, moving freely, without goal. A walk for walk’s sake.” 

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 Image above, from:  ‘Memory of a walk’ © Fiona Candy, September 2019

 Quotation by Paul Klee, from his Pedagogical Sketchbook, first published in 1925.

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 Examples of pages from Paul Klee’s pedagogical sketchbook, above.

 Recently I’ve been drawing in response to experiences of walking through Preston’s city centre parks. On these walks I made my way intuitively, without any plan and sketched out routes and perceptual aspects as I moved along, using pencil line at first. I added to these very rough drawings later and made others from memory. I then combined elements and developed the drawings digitally.

I developed my own form of walking notation  – (see earlier blog posts for more detail) and use it to trace and transcribe the walking activities.

As well as the work of Paul Klee, music and dance notation have been strong influences.


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walk drawings

Above: small sections of walk ‘notation’ from my sketchbook

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Above; John Cage music score

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Above: a ‘Hornpipe’, an example of Baroque dance notation

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Above: ‘Wednesday walk’ © Fiona Candy, September 2019.

These drawings are not conceived as ‘maps’ or diagrams in a conventional sense: no relationship  to compass points or  the relative scale of pathways or other features encountered in the park were considered. Rather, the drawings are expressions  of spatial, embodied memories, of sensing and moving through ephemeral qualities of landscape.


avenham park walk basic map

Google Earth view of Avenham and Miller Parks

Equal & Opposite – the laws of motion

Newton’s 3rd Law of motion: When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion

The video above is a  raw edit of serendipitous moments captured via my iPhone when I attended an Instameet at ‘PEOPLE’,  a temporary,  ground level art installation by artists Low Profile. The PEOPLE artwork is part of celebrations to mark 50 years of Preston’s Bus Station, which was built in 1969 in the Brutalist architectural style.

The Instameet was organised by local curatorial partnership, In Certain Places. An exhibition called ‘Beautiful and Brutal: 50 Years in the life of the Bus Station’ will take place in the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, in Preston, Lancashire,  later in the year.

Time Warp

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Image above: ‘Because’

From my archive: a selection of digital images made following a trip to China, where I have merged antique textile finds with other moments and memories from my journey.  Blurring boundaries between time and place.

Boy in Summer Palace Beijing, wearing stitched applique tee shirt. Embroidered section of a Tujia woman’s garment from Guizhou Province, Qing Dynasty, early 20th Century. Shanghai Museum Costume Collection.

Image below: ‘Cryptic Messaging’

My immortal

Communicative and mysterious English language texts seen on teeshirts – a mass fashion phenomenon. One written in 1812 by Ludwig Von Beethoven in Teplitz; worn, read and photographed on The Bund, Shanghai, more than two hundred years later. Buddhist symbols on Qing dynasty woven textile from Shanghai Museum.

Time Warp 2Image: ‘On weft to Hangzhou’ 

Photograph of motorway, taken from the train to Hangzhou. Qing Dynasty woven textile.

Future Memories

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Continuing my time travel: I made a selection of visual experiments, aiming to trigger comparisons to social attitudes, opportunities and expectations of young people, past, present and future.

Images merge found photographs of late 19th/ early 20th century cotton millworkers in US, with components taken from recent media coverage of 21st century protest.

Thanks to Lewis Hine for his memories of doffers, spinners and scavengers…

make America Great again North Carolina

 

 

Love trumps

 

 

We the people

 

 

Spinner save the world

Exhibition in Beijing for Chinese new year of the pig

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‘An Economic Animal.’

Commemorating an epic struggle between power, wealth and democracy.                                (© Fiona Candy, 2018). 

Included in ‘The Pigs Come In’, a group show at the Shareall Gallery in Beijing, during January 2019, to mark Chinese New Year.

Below are views of and from the ‘Shareall’ Building. The exhibition was installed on its top floor, making it the highest gallery in Beijing.

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A small selection of works exhibited by other artists at ‘The Pigs Come In’ new year art event.

Click on each image for larger view.
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In The Shadow

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/24671

Image: ‘Venus Rising’

Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”

C.G. Jung, 1938.

Through his study of the unconscious, the psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung defined the shadow as the unknown, dark side of personality: part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, perceived shortcomings, as well as instincts,  creative impulses and sources of renewal. He considered that the shadow side can be positive or negative and is prone to psychological projection, where people may see their own insecurities as flaws in others. Jung believed these projections can both protect and damage individuals by acting as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world. Some Jungians maintain that the shadow also holds the shadow of society, fed by neglected and repressed collective values.

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Image: exhibition views: a timeline, looking forward and back…

I developed a series of digital images as interpretations of Jung’s theory of the shadow. I exhibited a selection of these at University of Central Lancashire in May 2018, following an AA2A residency. 

shadow exhib mask, smallImage: ‘Persona’

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Image: ‘Maiden’

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Image: ‘Instinct’

I selected photographic portraits found in late 1940’s fashion publications, and interpreted their vintage aesthetic as links to past lives, to experiences of war and the period of optimism and creativity that followed. Using Photoshop technique, I added and altered, to juxtapose components in surreal montage. I drew on other Jungian archetypes as well as the shadow, such as: the ‘apocalypse’, ‘heroine’, ‘trickster’, ‘mother’ and ‘maiden’. Jung suggested that archetypes are inherited potentials: universal patterns, or models of people, behaviour, personality, that can be triggered within the psyche.

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Image: ‘Trickster’

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Image: ‘Apocalypse’

Envisioning the ambiguous presence of the shadow side, opens up perceptions of its existence not just within individuals, but on an exponential scale within contemporary cultural phenomena. Social media, News, Big Data, surveillance, democracy, globalisation, consumerism, are dynamic, mass channels where the collective unconscious is both active and susceptible.

shadow exhib audio 2shadow exhib audioVisitors could use headphones to access the audio component. Reference to selected popular American songs, once sung by female style icons of the era, crossed the senses to convey bygone ideology, emotional mood and atmosphere.

The song lyrics infer connections as well as subtle differences between ‘now’ and ‘then’ in personal relationships, social values, attitudes and aspirations.

Particular examples from the era can be seen and heard at YouTube:

The 2018 centenary celebrations of women’s suffrage brought a timely context in which to review the ongoing female r-evolution: to reflect on progress in the realms of gender equality, social relationships and individual purpose.  I aimed that the merging of temporalities would provoke reflection and ensuing conversations around the ways that personal and social lives have changed – and are still changing.

Is there a possibility to assess the darkness of the 21st century female’s shadow: our collective veil of illusion? Will there continue to be nothing but blue skies, from now on? If we use imagination to reach across the boundaries that define the passage of time to ask questions, what might the young women I have pictured, born in 1920’s and 30’s, most value, dislike, or fear about life now: if they were still young  today?

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Image:  ‘Blind Eye’

 

No light without shadow.

Alchemy of atmosphere …

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These are digital collage experiments referencing the perception of landscape and the mutability of atmosphere. The series employs alchemical glyphs, the geometry of viewpoint, direction and interconnection. Outcomes range from digital prints to experimental forms.

A selection is shown below:

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See more about the development of this project at AA2A here

The NOW Project: time, space and place.

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Extracts from a recent landscape art submission to Morecambe Bay Partnership.

During October 2017, I undertook a programme of site visits and detailed research, in response to an open call by Morecambe Bay Partnership for permanent and temporary landscape art commissions, at sites around Morecambe Bay. The commissions are part of their ‘Headlands to Headspace’ Project (H2H), and their brief called for artworks inspired by the landscape of the Bay that will celebrate and aid people to engage in, its cultural or natural heritage.

The importance of opportunities for local communities to take part in the development of artworks through activities such as public consultation or workshops, was emphasised, to develop a sense of ownership and inspire a new connection to local heritage and heritage sites.

By tapping into the genius loci – the qualities or spirit of this place, I developed several interrelated concepts for community participation and landscape art interventions.

A proposal, The NOW Project was submitted to Morecambe Bay Partnership at the end of October 2017. 

Please note that images used in this blog entry are concept visualisations, only.

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Background

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Morecambe Bay is a large estuary in northwest England, just to the south of the Lake District National Park. It is the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand in the UK. The rivers Leven, Kent, Keer, Lune and Wyre flow into the Bay, and their various estuaries form a number of peninsulas and islands and create an eternally changing, elemental landscape. Morecambe Bay has long drawn artists and writers who gain inspiration from its sensual spell, which has recently been described as one of co-existing opposites, where experiences are of:

…past and present, then and now, buried and unearthed, permanent and transitory, real and unreal.”

Andrew Michael Hurley, 2016

The tidal flows, rippling, shining sands; estuaries, headlands and farm lands, sacred sites and places of work, merge the enduring and the ephemeral, connect human and non human worlds.

The Bay’s register of historic assets is unprecedented, including historic promenades, follies and lookouts, Iron Age hillforts, a Bronze Age stone circle, the railway, and areas of industry. It holds a unique cultural richness; nationally important for its maritime and WWI and WWII heritage, with exciting archaeological finds, a concentration of ritual and religious sites and a traditional fishing heritage that is unique to the area.” http://www.morecambebay.org.uk/BaysPast

The creative approach and concept was inspired by the character of the land itself and the many layers of connectivity that can be seen and felt in this magical and uniquely beautiful, time swept landscape.

Here is a selection from The NOW Project. Each item/component has been designed to connect in time and space, to create future facing legacy, that is responsive and sensitive to the area’s heritage.  I wanted to stimulate intrigue and participation, and prompt fresh new stories that draw on local history and heritage.

In this blog entry I’ve included some of the core ideas from the submission, but not all, and added in some others, for good measure.

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Muchland sign 5

I learnt that ‘Muchland’ was the name of a medieval manor in Low Furness on the north coast of the Bay. Today, the name seems to summon up a land of plenty. Once the seat of the Lords of Aldingham, Muchland incorporated the rocky promontory called Birkrigg Common, near Ulverston. From the Common there are stunning views all around the Bay, over Furness and into the Lake District National Park.

In Birkrigg’s Muchland I proposed vintage road signage to reveal interwoven threads of myth, legend, history and memory. The signs are deliberately ‘out of place’ with an archaic, puzzling presence, as there are no roads or any need for traffic rules in this area of common land.  Although the destinations on the signs relate to actual sites and histories, place names are intentionally cryptic. Through this blurring of fact and fiction, an atmosphere of  ‘magical realism’ will be fostered to open up imaginative interpretations, detective work and exploration, creative writing, map-making or story telling by visitors.

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So, for example, some of the cryptic directions on the vintage signpost illustrated above, refer to the following:

‘S5374′

is the unique number of the flush bracket or benchmark, of the Ordnance Survey triangulation station on the Common, whose National Grid Reference is precisely known. Trig points are slowly disappearing from the UK countryside as their function has largely been superseded by aerial photography, digital mapping, and the use of lasers and GPS.

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The example shown, is one of several suggestions to repurpose the trig point by cross-referencing it with a weather vane to sense and evidence the direction of the wind. The design integrates the silhouette of a traditional “nobby”. These inshore sailing vessels have been used as fishing boats around the coasts of Lancashire and the Isle of Man, since the 1840’s. With the addition, the trig point is transformed into a ‘shrine’ to the wind.

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Birkrigg trial 5 xImage: genius loci, the ‘Spirit of Birkrigg’ (2017).

According to Norse mythology, ‘Sol’ was goddess of the sun. The digitally created image above, is an imagined portrait of Sol that I made after walking around and experiencing the area. I adapted a Google satellite view of Birkrigg Common, by digitally adding simple elements and shadow. I placed Sol’s ‘eye’ at the Druid’s stone circle, from where networks of ‘neural’ pathways radiate. The ancient sites higher up on Appleby Hill and the limestone ridges, became her ‘forehead’ and ‘cranium': where memories lie beneath the surface. The OS trig point is situated towards the rear of the ‘head’ land. Sunbrick lies to the southwest of her ‘ear’ (see ‘Muchland’ map pins below). Bardsea can be seen to the northeast.

Birkrigg trial 5 with red map pins

This attempt to envision the ‘spirit of place’, has been influential in the approach to the project.

 

 

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‘Eye of Sol’ 

Like other standing stone configurations in Cumbria (and indeed throughout the world), the Bronze Age circle at Birkrigg exudes an ancient mystery and its functions of ritual, alignment and communion with universal elements.  

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This proposal involves the fabrication of a  temporary geodesic structure, whose geometry is derived from the dimensions of the ancient circle, to encompass the inner ring of stones. A system of small mirrors or simple heliostats placed around the apex of the structure will allow  a moving ‘sun spot’ to form on the ground within.

geodesic birkriggDepending on the angle of the sun overhead, the movement of the spot of light around the twelve stones will draw attention to the Earth’s rotation, and convert the circle into a kind of clock or sundial, or a ‘temple’ to the light.

 

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Engaging with the present moment: mindful activities

Mindfulness is the practice of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. Research has found that when people intentionally practice being mindful they feel less stressed, anxious or depressed.

(e.g. see http://bemindful.co.uk).

‘Bay Day’  is a proposal  for an innovative art led survey to be mobilised in Spring 2018. The NOW team, made up of a group of artists with specialisms across a range of methods and materials,  will work alongside members of volunteer networks, special interest and resident groups, to collect moments and memories experienced during a single day around the Bay:

Bay Day Logo 1

On ‘Bay Day’, participatory workshops and playful art making, employing drawing, craft and map making, story telling, photography, making collections of found objects and materials, audio or video recordings, will reveal ways that this unique environment shapes people’s lives.  Symbolic communication, cross-reference and geometric alignment will be additional generators of process.

The NOW team of artists and community volunteers will continue to work together to distill the Bay Day material, turning heritage into art. A series of linked exhibitions will present the resulting artworks  at unconventional venues around the Bay, indoors, outdoors, and online, during the H2H summer festival in 2018. The exhibitions will convey a multifaceted, kaleidoscopic ‘moment in time’, by sharing contributor’s experiences, collected on a single day, here, and NOW.

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‘NOW’

Taking a lead from the ancients and from recent research into mental health, a new, permanent landmark is proposed, whose legacy will be to celebrate the NOW Project’s ethos of mindfulness: of being more fully present in the moment.

Referencing the area’s geology of limestone, sandstone and slate, three stone monoliths will be placed in geometric alignment to specified locations around the Bay, to create a contemporary earthwork, or henge (images below). One of the stones will bear the deceptively simple inscription ‘NOW’, expertly carved into its surface by a local mason, once in situ. Via a process of creative engagement, a story or message will be devised by the local community, about living NOW. Together, we will create an ‘alphabet’ of expressive symbols to communicate the message, which will be inscribed into the other stones.

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The monoliths, each standing over 12 feet high, and their site, will become catalysts for multi-context observation: a landmark from which to make new connections, both spatially and metaphorically, and to engage with the poetics of time.

They will also act as reminders to passers-by, to be mindful and to more fully  inhabit  the present moment. Especially those who may be feeling weighed down by the past or fearful of the future. We intend that the ambiguous sense of alignment, the awesome size, weight and enduring qualities similar to those of ancient standing stones, will activate inventive readings and contemplative, spiritual encounters.

By embodying both transience and permanence, the landmark will become an enduring memorial to the present moment.

In the concept sketch above, the location is a National Trust area close to the summit of Arnside Knott where there are views across Morecambe Bay in one direction, and the Kent estuary in the other. Soft, sunken landscaping referencing archaeological dig technique, emphasises the geometry of the site. A winding, paved pathway, incorporating the three types of local stone in a series of stepped sections, will lead up to the site.

The example below, indicates how the community inscription,  made up of bespoke symbols – contemporary ‘hieroglyphics’ – will have the potential to connect over thousands of years, and convey an enduring message celebrating life, in this place, NOW.

Now stone visual with text 1

(NB: the symbols used in this visualisation have been chosen at random, to give an indication of the scale and possible style of engraving, only)  

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