We are pleased to announce the artists participating in our 2014 residency programme: Tom Crawford, Shannon Donovan, Lucy Hopkins, Stair / Slide / Space, Marinette Kaus, Michael Macmanus, Lucy Woodhouse, Jonathan Trayner, Marie Toesland, and Andy Best.
May – Tom Crawford
Tom Crawford makes large-scale poster works, videos, installations and paintings which consider the politics of urban development and class. As such, he is concerned with the values of individualism and competition that are perpetuated by Neoliberal ideology. His work aims to challenge our belief in the social healing powers of art whilst drawing upon the history of avant-gardism.
He graduated from Goldsmiths University in 2011, where he completed an MFA in Fine Art. Exhibitions include Detours: After Detournement, at Enclave, London (2014); Home Theatre at Baro Galeria, São Paolo (2013); Thrift Radiates Happiness at Birmingham Municipal Bank (2013); The Aspiration Factory at Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels (2012); Colloquial at Schau Fenster, Berlin (2012) and Other People’s Problems at PSL, Leeds (2011).
May – Shannon Donovan
Shannon Donovan is a visual translator who reinterprets everyday objects in clay and places them in new contexts. This transmutation of materials blurs the boundaries between outdoors and indoors, the refined and the vernacular, the industrial and the homespun, and craft and art. In exploring the decorative potential of everyday objects, Donovan seeks to question our expectations about ‘appropriateness’ and ‘good taste’.
She graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2006, with a BA(Hons) Design. Her work has since been selected for several international juried exhibitions. Her degree-show installation Living Room was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 2007, and her ‘ceramic wallpaper’ was featured in the 2009 edition of 500 Ceramic Sculptures. In 2010, she created a temporary site-specific installation for Philadelphia International Airport, and in 2012-2013, she was AA2A Artist in Residence at Hereford College of Arts.
May – Lucy Hopkins
Lucy Hopkins is a performer and an artist. The raw materials she works with are her human presence and her ability to connect with her immediate surroundings (ie space & audience). Lucy will spend ten days residing in Social Sculpture at Great Brampton House for an extended performance entitled Ten Days Being Exactly Where I Am And Nowhere I Am Actually Not or Holiday. The performance will begin on entering Social Sculpture for the first time on May 23rd and end on leaving Social Sculpture for the last time on June 3rd. All items that provoke connection to anywhere other than her immediate surroundings will be strictly limited. No phone, no computer, no books, no pen and paper. The performance will be explorative: deepening the artist’s understanding of presence, connection and the nature of performance and restorative: with a necessary emphasis on well-being.
Lucy Hopkins graduated from Kingston University with a BA honors degree in Fine Art in 2000. From 2004-2007 she studied corporeal mime and at the physical theatre schools of Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier in Paris. She is a performer, writer and creator of performance and has worked alone and with others across Europe and Australia. Since 2012, her solo show Le Foulard (Art Show) has been performed over 100 times across six different countries, winning awards and acclaim from audiences and critics alike. More information can be found here: www.lefoulard.eu
June – Stair / Slide / Space
Stair/Slide/Space (formed in 2012) is a collective of artists and curators based in Portsmouth. We create work in response to each other’s practice and the spaces we occupy. Recently projects include ‘You Have One Mile until You Have 6010 miles’ a publicly sited project in which work was re-appropriated and curated onto the streets of Tokyo, Kyoto and Portsmouth as temporary flyposts and performances.
Stair/Slide/Space also functions as an artist network and development group that works to develop an alternative artist-led forum for research and concept-led artistic practice. We hope to promote the benefits of consensus-based decision-making and collaborative processes, which we feel, are particularly pertinent in today’s arts-climate.
Stair/Slide/Space’s three core members are Jo Willoughby, Abigail Gilchrist and Letty Clarke, all of whom will be developing new work in response to Keiren Reed’s social sculpture, other artists works from previous residencies and the surrounding area. Letty Clarke and Jo Willoughby will each be spending a week in Keiren Reed’s social sculpture and creating the initial responses to the work they find. Abigail Gilchrist will re-appropriate images sent to her by Letty Clarke and Jo Willouhby from her home in Portsmouth, creating a link in which work gets transported from one site to another, exploring how the very different spaces give each work a new context.
June – Marinette Kaus
Marinette Kaus’ practice draws upon attempts to seize the meaningfulness of a Now, an anchorage endeavour ceaselessly defeated by its nature.
Marinette Kaus is a french artist based in London. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and Chelsea College of Art & Design. In 2012, Marie became the artist in residence at UCL department of Astrophysics. She was commissioned a work for the Dark Energy Survey that is on show at the University of London Observatory.
July – Michael Macmanus
Michael McManus’ works are translations of the collages he makes from collected archival material. His recent paintings respond to imagery where the space becomes a kind of stage for the objects that inhabit them. Through exploring relationships between man made forms and their surrounding environments he draws on landscapes attachment to past events. The spaces depicted are always empty, but apparently shaped by people. Physically they act in a similar way to the places they depict, as aging objects that change over time.
He was drawn to the Down Stairs residency because of the opportunity to respond to Kieren Reed’s social sculpture whilst working in an entirely new, isolated environment that provided a stark contrast to London. During his period on the residency he will reflect on the artist as a collector. Making a series of paintings on aluminium panels sourced from various dry plate photographs.
McManus lives and works in London. He graduated from Wimbledon College of art in 2012 with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art. He won the Prunella Clough painting prize and following graduation was shortlisted for Future Map (2013) and awarded the Lifeboat residency (2013) . Recently he has exhibited in UAL showroom space, been short listed for the Jonathan Vickers prize (2014) and Lewisham Arts House Residency (2014).
August – Lucy Woodhouse
Landscape Portrait(Screen shot 2014-04-30 at 23.17.26 (2014)
Lucy Woodhouse is interested in the systems through which social experience is presented transformed and consumed. This involves making work that is both inspired and created by exploring forms of locality and connectivity. She works across a variety of media including online technologies, live broadcast, photography, digital media, sculpture and performance.
During her residency she will look to online social and commercial sites to form specific ways of engaging with a completely unknown local area and connect with a new audience to form a unique discussion involving the Social Sculpture, Down Stairs and Brampton House.
Lucy Woodhouse lives and works in London. She has recently created performances for X-Operative at Wysing Art Centre, Cambridge and DKUK Salon at Ancient & Modern, London. She has had solo presentations of work at French Riviera Gallery and the Zabludowicz Collection, London.
August – Jonathan Trayner
Regardless of the exact outcome Trayner’s work is performative in nature and driven by the specific context in which it is produced. It contains a continuing thread of serious research being played off against performances that appear ridiculous; this is a response to the unresolved issue within art, of it being simultaneously a philosophical investigation into the structure of culture(s) and a form of entertainment as either spectacle or fetishised objects.
He was drawn to the Down Stairs residency programme because of the opportunity to work with(in) Kieren Reed’s Social Sculpture and the isolated nature of the location. For Down Stairs he will continue the Erlking narrative that he has constructed over a number of previous projects. This character is a somewhat degraded/abject manifestation of the Other God: the so-called Master of Animals, the god of hunting and the wild wood. In this case we find him living in a hut on the edge of a country park, drinking tinned beer and eating pot noodles dreaming of returning to nature and the wild hunt.
Trayner lives and works in London, where he is a regular contributor to the Communist Gallery and Propeller Island performance and screening events. Recent projects include Radioscopie: Medium as Metaphor, KARST, Plymouth (2014); Century City, ESA Showspace, London (2013); The (Im)Possible School, Tate Modern, London; Corbin Union Residency, Corbin BC, Canada, (2012); Cast and Figment, Soundfjord, London (2011); Sandarbh Residency Programme, Partapur, India (2010) and Pilotprojekt Gropiusstadt, Berlin (2009). He received an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2007.
September – Marie Toesland
September – Andy Best
Our Thing (2010), lightjet print
Andy Best’s work explores the interrelation of direct and culturally mediated experiences. For his residency at Down Stairs, Best will undertake a reworking of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, as a series of works on paper. Written in County Laois, and set in a then unexplored longitude and latitude, Swift’s events take place at the same coordinates of Best’s childhood, on islands off the coast of South Australia. The artist’s version will combine autobiography, history, and literary and cinematic references – including Philip K. Dick, Dr. Strangelove, Mad Max, and other elements tangentially related to Swift’s book. The positioning of a ‘sister cabin’ by Best – at the other side of the world to Kieren Reed’s Social Sculpture - will assist the remote viewing aspect of this project.
Best was awarded an Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, and completed a MFA at Chelsea School of Art, London in 2007. Exhibitions include The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2009), the Tsagaandarium Museum, Ulaanbaatar (2012), the National Gallery of Victoria (2004), the Heide Museum of Modern Art (2007), and the Art Gallery of South Australia (2006).
Information on previous years’ Down Stairs artists in residence can be found here.
Information about the 2014 Residency Programme
Residents are committed to contributing to a dynamic and diverse residency program that is grounded by the idea of collaboration through the act of residing in Kieren Reed’s Social Sculpture (2012 – ). Artists or makers have been selected whom can spend at least part of, if not all of, their stay contributing in some manifestation to a more analogous dialogue between past and future residents, as well as ourselves and artist Kieren Reed by developing an aspect of the work, the area surrounding around it, or work in response to it.
Located in the grounds of Great Brampton House, residents stay in Social Sculpture a small building designed to accommodate one person. It is equipped with a single bed, duvet, blanket, linen and towels. There is running water that can be used for washing or food preparation, and a toilet. There is no power. Studio space and a workshop are located in The Stables, a converted stable block which also houses more extensive cooking and washing facilities.
This is an entirely self-sufficient residency, in a relatively isolated location. The nearest shop, pub and church are one mile away in the village of Madley. There is a bicycle for use by residents, but they are welcome to bring their own transport, or walk. The incumbent resident is reliant on the previous resident to have washed the linen, cleaned and tidied.
When we begun Down Stairs in 2011 the residency program was originally conceived to run in parallel to our exhibition program in the gallery spaces of Great Brampton House, occasionally converging, with small exhibitions at the culmination of a residential period, or residencies that lay groundwork for shows at a later date.
For visiting artists (as well as for ourselves) we created a studio complex in an old stable block, cunningly named The Stables, which feature both individual studio spaces and communal workshops with a basic set of tools and machinery, as well as a large living area with cooking facilities. Artists stayed in a small cottage on the grounds of Great Brampton House, or if that was being used, with us in the spare room of the house we lived in.
As time passed we began to realise that the interaction with artists in residence was the most rewarding, fruitful and beneficial aspect of what we’d created for all concerned. Although many member of the public visited and raved about (in both positive and negative senses) the exhibitions we mounted in the galleries, we began to examine what form we wanted Down Stairs to take in the future. Selfishly, we decided to focus on developing relationships and fostering knowledge more intimately through the residency programme, whilst experimenting with alternative ways to work with an audience.
We discussed with artist Kieren Reed the possibility of installing his piece Social Sculpture as the lynchpin of our residency. Practically, as a place for artists to stay, but more ephemerally perhaps as the woodland set idyl we ourselves had dreamed of when locating to Herefordshire to establish Down Stairs.
We installed the work during the summer of 2013. Adding the basics of running water and a toilet, along with minimal furnishings, Social Sculpture was then host to its initial two residents Elliot Burns, followed by Jonny Briggs.
Our 2014 residency programme is particularly interested in working with the parameters our collaboration with Kieren Reed has begun to establish.
Social Sculpture is a small tin roofed, timber clad building designed to comfortably accommodate one person. It comes with a single bed, one change of linen, a duvet and towels.
There is running cold water to a large butler sink, which can be used for washing or food preparation.
There is a flushing toilet in a small extension we added during initial instillation.
There is no power to the cabin. A solar powered rechargeable lantern is provided, as is a wind up torch, a battery operated Roberts LW/MW radio, and the more modern trappings of a bluetooth speaker set. Power for charging, general use, tools and the like can be found in the Stables.
At present there are is a basic gas camping stove in the cabin for use outside, and a fire pit with a grill stand. More extensive cooking facilities, along with a heated shower can be found in the Stables.