Artist in residence: Kate Pritchard

DSC_0001‘It’s the first time I’ve worked in a white space for a year, and great for refreshing and deleting old images still stored in my memory.’  ‘We came to Herefordshire almost a year ago, having left London to try country living – I won’t lie it’s not been easy, not helped by the fact that it has a very sparse population, and experienced one of the worst winters since 1962.  However it is a stimulating environment, not least because one has room to think without being bombarded by people trying to grab your attention, as in the ‘Me, Me, Me!’ urban environment.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Great Brampton House, and been given the freedom to try different things without fear of recrimination, even the weather has mostly been accommodating.  My art practise is currently going through a minor redirection and much of it is now time based in its intention; be it in the actual material used in the work, or related to the subject matter in some form or another.  The drawings I did at Brampton were directly onto old paper made roughly around 1927, however the images themselves are taken from a more modern era, and the notion of something being ‘obsolete and/or objectified’ is underpinning the whole concept, be it in the paper, image or even in the rendering of the art itself.

katepritchard_only time will tell_3D printing machine

The second work I did was under the title ‘Babes in the Woods’, and relates to a painting I produced earlier in the year, where an evident fear of being lost in a wood was conveyed by two children in the image. I wanted to create a physical manifestation of this concept in the trees near Great Brampton House, and explored the real time phenomenon of children who are regularly reported missing in this country.  ‘A 2010 report estimated that 140,000 people under the age of 18 go missing in the UK each year (The Home Office, 2010: 5)’, according to; and the children pinned onto the trees here have all been registered missing by this organisation, going back to 1959.  Pinning information onto trees is a practise used widely in Herefordshire to alert others to local happenings. The intention is that as the weather ages the specific details of each child, their presence will start to fade from view until they are finally lost to the wilderness forever.

kate pritchard

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Eleanor Watson and the Down Stairs’

In February, on the eve of her first major exhibition at GX Gallery London, Eleanor came and spent a week at Great Brampton getting away from it all. Read about what she got up to here.

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Artist in Residence: Kayley Gladwin

This week we’re pleased to be having Kayley Gladwin to stay. Kayley graduated from the BA in Fine Art at our local art college Hereford College of Arts this summer, and is the inaugural recipient of the (snappily titled) Down Stairs / Hereford College of Arts Residency Award. The award is given to a graduating artist based not just on the work displayed in the final exhibition (although Kayley’s final piece was an exemplary work), but also from us seeing students practices via our collaborations with the college through off site projects, tutorials and lectures. Kayley took part in a project at Great Brampton House this time last year entitled Field Work, where her subtle approach to materials and their environment really shone through. We look forward to exhibiting work by Kayley at Down Stairs in 2013.

Kayley’s work is about the body as an organic vessel – the fine lines between life and death, survival and decay, fluid and solid, thick and thin, inner and outer; she use’s her work to communicate the impermanence of life, the remnants and traces that are left behind. She has often worked with found, emotive materials for their fragility and unstable qualities, for the tension that they can create – paper, textiles, latex and wax (thus relating back to the body). The processes she uses are also highly considered – she is interested in deconstruction; removing a material or object from its stable points of reference, and presenting it as a new form, suspended between perishing and flourishing.

Her work has diverted towards film and performance as of late; using the physical body as my material, rather than merely representing it – she feels that my message is conveyed more immediately in this format. Kayley is undertaking various projects that fuse concepts of temporality and varying degrees of emotional, physical and mental states with contemplated acts, often involving endurance. She expects to respond to Down Stairs and Great Brampton House on a very sensitive level, via exploring their historical contexts and surrounding areas; her ideas frequently challenge social constructs and the boundaries of humanitarian subjects.

Kayley describes her art practice has always been of paramount importance in her life: “I lived in a hostel when I was sixteen years old, just to pursue my early art education at Derby College. Although I was accepted into Falmouth’s College of Arts eight years ago, I declined the offer in exchange for some further life experience. It is since finally completing a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art (at Hereford College of Arts), that I have discovered what my practice is constructed around; the inescapable thread between two extremes – life and death, lost and found, elation and sorrow, etc.; the uncomfortable yet intriguing moments in life that cannot be fully explained, or denied. By bringing these subjects to the surface, acknowledging them and presenting them to others, I am attempting to reconnect with what often seems such a desensitised world. My research often includes obscure objects or methods of travel (vintage ‘Housewife’ annuals, for e.g), but also spans across history and philosophy – from Duchamp to Hesse, Serra, Bourgeois, Beuys, and (Karla) Black; more recently I have been inspired by Abramovic and Viola. Aside from continuing with my art investigations, I expect to study further; a PGCE or MA in Fine Art, based in the South.”


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Arthur’s Stone

Curator William Cobbing has selected artist Martin Newth’s work Arthur’s Stone to be the lead image for the forthcoming exhibition The Stone of Folly. Describing how, and why, he came to create this work, Newth says:

“It is just a large cardboard box, but it has a very large lens on the front  (a process lens) which is very bright and very sharp so I can get a lot of detail – the texture of the rock etc. Instead of using photographic film I pin (hence the pin shadows) sheets of normal colour (c-type) photographic paper inside the box. The exposures are quite short – about 20-30 seconds. The red is due to the filters I use, which are designed to make the exposure (base colour ‘temperature’) reasonably constant – the principle being that I could make positives from them.  I’m not going to.  Instead I am showing the actual negative image that was made there. For me this relates to ideas about the material nature of photography and allows some echo of the process and, compared to the way photographs might normally be viewed, slows down the reading of the image.”

Here’s some images of the camera and Martin creating the work a couple of weeks ago.










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Adeline de Monseignat has left the building

Recently we’ve had Adeline de Monseignat in residence here at Down Stairs, and she’s written us a rather nice notes on her time here.  So lovely, we couldn’t resist sharing them here:

‘Heaven’ was the first word I tweeted upon my arrival at Great Brampton House, and first impressions did not let me down as the days went by. Where else are you given your own cottage, your own studio and your own bike, all free to use at your own discretion? Not to mention the loyal relationships I have developed with the Great Brampton House chickens, who have never failed to provide me with my daily dose of fresh eggs; the perfect finishing touch to my salads made solely with home-grown vegetables and lettuce. This isn’t just self-sufficiency, this is luxury. In London, long days of making work, drawing, experimenting, reading, writing and researching in my studio get occasionally interrupted by quick tea breaks that come with shortbread. At Down Stairs, they come with short tennis games.

‘Surreal’ was the word I should have tweeted on a daily basis, as the experience of wandering around the property is one of a kind. Martin Miller, the owner of Great Brampton House and the gallery, is an avid antique collector and an artist himself. Abundant inside the house and strewn around the gardens, there are enough antiquities mixed with contemporary artworks to feed your mind for the rest of your stay, and beyond. It isn’t so much that there are cabinets of curiosities at the house; it is that it is a curiosity in itself. So much so that on the sixth day of my stay I was asked to attend a televised Murder Mystery dinner (as one does on a Tuesday night).

All in all, the residency at Down Stairs is one like no other, like landing in Surreal Heaven, with Craig and Dmitri for angels inviting me to Set Sail for Happiness. Just make sure not to get tempted by the exquisite sin of Miller’s Gin.

P.S. I did work hard.   Info and images about my latest works to be found here

The Creapture Project that emerged while at Down Stairs Residency is currently ‘under construction’ and is looking promising. It will involve making creaptures (creature-sculptures) that will ‘live’ beyond the constraining gallery space, inside the homes of people of my choosing, including artists and academicians, for a given period of time. Stay tuned.

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Student Visit to Down Stairs

This week we had a nice bunch of A-Level student from Hereford Sixth Form College come along for a visit to the gallery, along with their Head of Art, Nick Samsworth.  If you haven’t already made it to see his work alongside his son Dominic’s in our current exhibition, WE ONE ARE TWO, you’ve only got one more week to make it.  It’s been our first father and son exhibition, and it makes for a very interesting show.  Simple click on the “Visit Us” tab on the top panel to get directions, bus timetable links etc.

Here’s some snaps of Nick and his students at the gallery this week:

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Dominic Samsworth

We were having a moment browsing the internet and found this image of a work Dominic Samsworth made for our Change The World Or Go Home exhibition last year. It’s taken from his website. We’re looking forward to seeing what he brings to exhibit as part of the forthcoming exhibition WE TWO ARE ONE, a two person show with his father Nick Samsworth.

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Chris Barnes – artist in residence

Here’s a nice one of Chris preparing for his show with us by sailing onto our lake using the upturned roof of our recently deceased pick up truck as a boat.

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Artist in Residence – Tom Howse

Our current artist in residence, Tom Howse has been working in the studios preparing work for his January show:

Find out more on our Artists in Residence page.

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Cardiff School of Art and Design visit

Fine art students from Cardiff School of Art and Design come down to visit the gallery and hear Mark Houghton talk about his new show on the roof, ‘Upstare.’

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