17 Oct 2017

Whitworth Wallis Artist in Residence Blog 2017 – Week Four

The last week as resident artists in Gallery 15 began with a strong focus to achieve much as possible prior to the residencies end, and an event scheduled to mark the end of our time here. Continuing with the development of ideas, we used this week to begin concluding concepts, narrowing down and reflecting, so that we could begin to cement and solidify intentions going forward. Much progress has been made in a short period of time, with several ideas being to really take form and evolve, heading towards becoming ready for production, where through discussion we decided to continue only with what we felt were the strongest of these. 

Gallery 15 - the studio

Early prototype designs were created and displayed for an open event ‘The Hidden Collection’ on the last day in the studio, intended to showcase our collated research & development to the public, peers and fellow artists. This would also present an opportunity to engage the general response to the emerging concepts, to use as a critique to assess strengths & weaknesses in form, content and context. Going forward, this will encourage an ongoing refinement of potential final works. There was a feeling of excitement & trepidation observing how designs were perceived and interpreted.


Preliminary works on display continued our exploration in our chosen themes, which included mapping & navigation, sight lines and the hidden collection – which describes the overlooked layer behind the backbone of the museum and art gallery, the depth where chance happenings & fleeting moments occur amongst oddities within the framework of the held collections on display and in the archives. 

Developing concepts included Suzie’s navigational drawings of separate CMYK generation layers combined; as well as large photographic prints featuring the documented interior space of the Museum Collections Centre, which Suzie noticed; “When entering the collections, we are told we can only view objects from the ground, as those placed higher up are inaccessible. Disregarding what’s on offer you look up with curiosity and intrigue, once again to be offered a restricted view”.

Navigational drawings

Large digital prints

In addition to film work, Tony also created large digital prints, which are a commentary via the restricted dialogue in visual language and the tension between material & concept (the thing & thought). While reflecting on how and why contemporary works are acquired by a museum and art gallery - in which they capture the visual culture of the present moment and decide what deserves a place in our futures past and written into a history - the work also describes a viewer’s place in time, the fluctuation in passing and a reminder of how time regulates our existence. Through interaction of the work each will equally impact on a given future, a now or a past.

Signs on wall saying Future / Now / Past

Presentation slide on screen

The event was installed for viewing for one day, which extended to three, and received a great positive response from board members, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery team & staff as well as visitors to the space. 

Coming from this, will be an intense period of analysis, finalising concepts and production over the next three months, preparing for an exhibition of the final pieces at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in 2018, applying all relevant material and feedback.

Visitors in the studio space (gallery 15)

Visitors in the studio space (gallery 15)

We’ve enjoyed our time as Artists’s in Residence with thanks to the Whitworth Wallis Trust and Birmingham Museums Trust for the opportunity given to us, loving every minute spent in Gallery 15 & in viewing the collections held. Thank you to all the staff for making us feel welcome and as part of the team. We look forward to returning next year……….

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