Venue: ArtHouse Gallery
Dates: 04/08/2020 - 22/08/2020
Times: All Day
SEPARATE YET TOGETHER
SCA Members’ Open Exhibition 2020
ArtHouse, Eastbank Street, Southport
4th – 22nd August 2020
This year’s eagerly awaited annual Southport Contemporary Arts Open Exhibition is rising to the challenge facing all artists during Covid-19 and will be, according to SCA Director Norrie Bewick-Calvert, “a celebration of the creativity that took place in an unprecedented time.”
She explains: “Although physically separated from each other, the SCA’s artistic network continued to bring people together through on-line creative projects and inspirations. The newfound time and space also gave many the opportunity to bring to life many of their innovative ideas and skills, old and new. In this year’s gallery exhibition we hope to share the wide scope of SCA Members work as well as the positive mental and physical outcomes of being Separate Yet Together.”
What began as a way of resourcefully staying connected, the combined Friday art class and various SCA members devised an on-line sharing project ‘Separate Yet Together’. Each week the artists would share their experiments at the SCA on-line gallery as a way to generate and feed into developing more new work.
SCA regular, Kate Tidmarsh describes the process: “Over the period of ‘lockdown’ our Friday art group kept in touch via zoom. We decided to share works in progress with each other and use these as either inspiration or physical components of our own work as a way of being together, while we were separate.”
Some of Kate’s mixed-media realisations will now also be on show in the ArtHouse gallery in August. “I became interested in the actual words ‘Separate Yet Together’ and incorporated them into a phrase that I recorded and used to make a voiceprint (spectrogram). This mixed-media piece incorporates digital fragments of other artists’ work echoing the superimposed voiceprint, on an underlying collagraph print.”
Retired Liverpool JMU academic and SCA Member, Martin Dawber, better known today for his many books on contemporary art and design practice, had to approach Norrie’s challenge from a different angle while self-isolating in Birkdale.
“Because of the temporary closure of ClayWorks as part of lockdown, I had to rethink my usual modus-operandi and so I swapped my customary clay for torn-up paper and created a Coronavirus cake out of papier-mâché. It was constructed from torn baking recipes pages from the weekend supplements and has American author, Dean Koontz’s maxim “Where there is cake, there is hope” inscribed on the cut slice.”
Long term SCA member, Jo Landy, has also been challenged by the self-isolation status working from her Ainsdale studio to conjure her thoughts into a series of creative embroideries.
“Three months on and I am thinking about the passage of time during this strange phase. I have used rusted fabric, left over a long period, and added slow stitch and then free-machine stitch to produce the 3D shapes representing the virus.”
Neil Prior, another long-standing SCA member who presented a on-man-showing at the gallery earlier in the year, took up his own ‘virtual’ brush to complete two new paintings – “Time to Reflect” and “Freedom” – both related to the lockdown topic – ‘Separate Yet Together’.
Neil explains, “Fortunately during the lockdown the SCA members were able to set up a regular zoom meeting once a week and a WhatsApp chat that was productive in sharing ideas and experiences and creating pieces of work correlated to the current state but was also a support mechanism for all those concerned so proved to be an excellent vehicle.”
Neil describes his submissions: “The two pieces speak for themselves, In “Time to Reflect”, the yellow boat is an indication that despite how alone we can feel at this time, we are all in the same boat and that we should use this slowing down of time to reflect on ourselves and those around us (represented by the clouds).”
He goes on to add, “The second painting, ”Freedom” is a very large canvas and probably my favorite piece over the lockdown as it was taken from a photograph that I took of a single Black Headed Gull in flight on Ainsdale Beach. I used the images of the gulls flight to represent our own flight path as lockdown relaxes and we seek some kind of freedom and return to normality.”
This unique and exclusive one-off showing shows that there is definitely nothing to stand in the way of committed artists. It is certainly not one to be missed. The SCA Members’ extraordinary artwork will be on display at the ArtHouse, Eastbank Street from 4th – 22nd August 2020. The gallery is open Tuesday – Friday 10.00-15.00. Saturday 11.00-16.00.
In line with Government advice, the SCA team have introduced strict measures to keep visitors to the Gallery as safe as possible: There will be a policy of 2 visitors at a time, with social distancing once inside, and hand sanitize dispensers at the door to use on arrival.