Jonny Briggs – September 2013
Jonny spent his time in Herefordshire working on a new series called Close to Home “contradictingly made far away from home! They are montaged family photographs involving my Mum and her Mum’s face I made during my stay at Brampton House.”
These were shown as part of the Family Politics exhibition at Jerwood Space in October 2013 and were the subject of a text by Bridget Coaker. More work from the residency will be in a solo show in New York in February 2014.
All images are courtesy of the artist, apart from the install shot which is courtesy of thisistomorrow.com
Elliott Burns – August 2013
Elliot has written extensively on his time spent on the Down Stairs residency. Read some of it here.
Kate Pritchard – June 2013
‘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 practice 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.
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 www.missingpeople.org.uk; 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.
Eleanor Watson - February 2013
I spent much of the week battling with acrylics in the stable block to create sketches on paper. I made a lot of pictures quickly in order to work through the vast numbers of photos I had taken in the grounds and house, it also meant that the work remained very loose and experimental. There were key interests in relation to the house that I pursued, these included; patterns as a way of flattening the space, and the role of the object as a protagonist.
In addition, my daily chats with the chickens were hugely enlightening, as well as a touch of star gazing on my way home to Cosy Cottage every night. My fondest memory was the hour I spent under a table in the curiosity room with the resident cat Big Ears reading letters from wartime. Magical. Suffice to say I was sad to leave.
Eleanor recently graduated with a first from Wimbledon College of Art, and has exhibited in both Amsterdam and at GX gallery in London since graduating, with an upcoming residency in Chelsea London at the Foundry Gallery. Eleanor received the Hans Brinker Budget Trophy and was runner-up for the Prunella Clough painting prize in 2011, and the Jonathan Vickers Award in 2012. Currently living and working in South East London.
Kayley Gladwin - October 2012
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, 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.
Kayley graduated from the BA in Fine Art at Hereford College of Arts this summer, and is the inaugural recipient of the Down Stairs / HCA Residency Award.
Adeline de Monseignat - August 2012
“Heaven” was the first word I tweeted upon my arrival at Great Brampton Hourse, 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.
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.
Daniel Kelly – August 2012
Daniel spent much time sat in a studio, with a colourful array of sticky notes with mysterious quotes on, positioned in a timeline along the wall reminiscent of an A-Level revision session. In actual fact, he spent his time here preparing and writing a slowly forming, yet-to-be-named, stage play. As far as we can gauge, the play incorporates the discovery of the internet, alongside a parallel Greek tale, told through a myriad of quotations which Daniel selected himself. It is due to be finished September sometime. Oh, there was tennis too.
Emily Fryer – May 2012
Emily’s time here was spent talking UFOs and getting into gear for her residency exhibition Space, due to open September 2012.
Chris Barnes – January 2012
Chris has spent the last 10 days with us, very few of which have been in the studio we provided him. He’s spent a fair amount of time sitting in the gallery. And a fair amount of time scouring the grounds and local area for the substance of his residency show. Barnes has this to say about his practice:
To start, you have a something- a particular kind of thing. A thing you have found and put in your pocket when walking to the shop. Not a valuable or useful object like a fiver, mobile phone or set of keys, but more of a non descript but simultaneously noteworthy type of thing. Something that caught your eye or arrived in your path, provoked an examination; a gentle kick with the edge of your shoe.
This thing in your pocket is of the particular sort and the kind of thing you often find yourself stopping to inspect. It is one of those things that seems to exhibit itself in that certain sort of way. It is not especially out of place or necessarily unalike the other things around it. It is just a particular type of thing, the kind of thing you have developed a habit, an interest, a ritual for putting in your pocket.
Chris’ The good thing about sticks is they grow on trees is exhibited from 28th January – 4th March 2012 in the gallery.
Celia Johnson – January 2012
Celia Johnson spent a week in January in the studio working on sketches of the grounds of Great Brampton House. You can see the work from her residency and more on her blog here.
Tom Howse – November 2011
We came across Tom’s work at the Wimbledon College of Art’s Degree show in the summer of 2011 and liked it. Then we bumped into him on Goodge Street in London when he was doing tech work at a gallery round the corner and reminded of his winning ways with painting invited him to come up and stay for a while to make some work. We liked it so much we offered him the opportunity to mount a major show of his work. Tom is pictured busy working in the studio preparing for his January solo exhibition at Down Stairs – Fantastic Salad. Tom has been shortlisted for the Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4′s 2011 New Sensations Prize, and is a Catlin Art Prize finalist. We published a catalogue to accompany the exhibition.
Mark Houghton – October 2011
Making works in situ at Great Brampton Mark Houghton is pictured preparing for the exhibition Upstare which consisted of works conceived for, and made in response to the huge flat roof area of Great Brampton House and built using the facilities offered as a result of a residency in The Stables.
Bigtoe Group – August 2011
We were provided with studio space, workshops, cottage, village gossip, a duck, chickens, housekeeper, big personalities and the opportunity to change the world.
As recent graduates we approached the residency as time to work with our definite ideas and vague plans for new performances and films. Relocating,allowed us to apply our interest in public spectacle and traditions, rituals and behavior to the context of Great Brampton House and its history and surroundings.
With characters and settings in place the residency allowed the material, people and presumptions we brought along to unravel over a two week comic drama through pragmatic decision making and last minute focusing, with only the show as a predetermined end point.