Artist Residency / Creative Partnership opportunity

Project Ability has a new opportunity for a visual artist to develop a creative partnership with artist Cameron Morgan, FRSA

Cameron Morgan is a prominent learning disability artist.  He has received a professional development award from Creative Scotland to support his continuing artistic practice.  He is based in Glasgow and works in Project Ability’s studio in Trongate 103.

Fee: £2000
Closing date: 25th August 2017, 5pm.
Interviews: 1st September 2017, Project Ability, Trongate 103, Glasgow, G1 5HD

This is a call for an artist to open their studio to Morgan and share their practice.  It’s a “residency”, in your own studio; a day a week over 12 weeks to reflect, create, experiment, and learn while collaborating, conversing and working alongside Morgan.
What you choose to do and the approach taken will be a conversation negotiated between you, Morgan and facilitated by Project Ability.  Possible project outcomes if new work is made is a shared exhibition or artist talk.
This is the first of three opportunities that will be offered over 12 months.  Your commitment to the partnership will be approx. 12 days, 60 hours.

Morgan has exhibited widely and received public and critical accolades for his work.  He is expert in creating temporary gallery installations; large scale paintings worked directly onto the fabric of the gallery and his humorous ceramic sculptures.  He spent much of 2016, in the studio working on his Glasgow International commission TV Classics Part 1 (http://www.tvclassicspart1.co.uk): Project Ability, April 2016 and Put Your Sweet Lips Closer to the Phone: Tramway, September 2016. 

Learning disabled artists are under-represented in every area of contemporary visual arts; their work is not held in national collections and it has little exposure in public galleries.  The work is seldom researched, documented or critiqued.  There are a few notable artists who are change makers.  Through their talent and determination and the expertise of their support studios, their work is reaching audiences.  Cameron Morgan is a change maker.

The project explores the nature of artistic collaboration, knowledge and skill exchange and works towards a more equal and improved integration of inclusive arts practice. Project Ability supports artists with learning disabilities to develop their artistic practice and contribute to the contemporary visual art landscape. 

Interested? Send a covering letter describing your interest in the project, your C.V. and 6 images to director@project-ability.co.uk by Friday 25th August. 

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Cameron Morgan - Arthouse residency Week 2

"A great second week with Cameron in The Arthouse, Wakefield!

We had 3 very successful days in the studio with the hugely talented Richard Marsden, finishing off prints and started 2 new ones.

The drawings Cameron made after our trip to The Yorkshire sculpture park was turned into a 5 colour screen print. Quite the task, but not only did Richard and Cameron manage to get the colours separated and screens made, they also managed to make many great prints from the screens. The colours chosen really worked well and popped.

Cameron now knows every stage involved in making screenprints, from simple 2 colour prints right up to a massive 5 colour print,and loved the whole process.

We also managed to have days out to The Yorkshire sculpture park, Barbara Hepworth museum and the beautiful city of York, I’m sure these will inspire many more pieces from cameron in the future. I must admit it wasn’t all so cultural as we also spent an evening watching Wonderwoman in the cinema and each morning started with a swim.

All in all a great week! So many new skills added and inspirational artwork seen."
-Jason Davis

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Cameron Morgan - Arthouse residency Week 1

Cameron Morgan is now starting his second week in residence at the Arthouse. Technician Jim Ewen spent the first week with him, and brought back many photos and many stories. 

Tuesday 20th June: we started the day meeting Richard Marsden -the screen printer- who would be working with us exploring the process. We jumped straight in, turning Cameron’s picture of the combine harvester into a 4 colour print. This involved quite a lot of preparation of scanning editing and colour separation on the computer. Printing the images onto acetate. Coating the silkscreens, then exposing them, and finally, washing and drying the screens. Next, Cameron mixed some ink and taped up the excess areas of the screen. Now we were ready to print and 10 sheets later we were done. The first colour of the combine was done.

We stopped for lunch and in the time we had left we made some experiments using tape. Set a shape with tape on the back of the screen and then use ink to make some interesting colour prints. We learned how the ink mixes on the screen and how to mask off areas like a stencil.

Wash up time and that was our first day with Richard. We had a break and then came back for the rest of the afternoon. Cameron worked on a new drawing of an agricultural windmill or water pump as they were used, and I made some experiments with paper stencils. We decided to make Cameron’s drawing into a stencil and started cutting it up. It felt good to be thinking up ideas and just doing it. Just a few hours ago we didn’t have the confidence to do that. Now it felt natural, like we knew what we were doing. And it worked, we got a good print from the paper stencil.

Wednesday started with the aim to complete the combine harvester. Another 3 colours to print. Because the ink was water based and because of the weather, the ink dried quickly so we could over print after about 40 min. The finished edition of 10 prints were just stunning. A major achievement in so little time.

In-between the colour printing, when Richard washed the screens or prepared the next one, Cameron got on with developing the windmill print. He traced on top of the print where highlights should go and then made another paper stencil. This time with a grey ink. It was coming on really well. We removed the stencil for the final print just to see what would happen- a ghostly image of the windmill appeared. Later on Cameron would draw on top of this print to create a fantastic finished piece.

After a very busy day, it was time for dinner. We tried the Thai Street Food Wakefield and it became our favourite restaurant.

On Thursday the plan was to do another of Cameron’s drawings. This time of a tractor ploughing a field. We were going to do 3 colours in just a few hours. With screen printing there are always test prints before the good paper goes in. we had built up many such prints and they were overprinted with each new colour. The result was a stack of chaotic and beautiful prints which could easily go into the coming exhibition.

The final edition of the tractor was finished just as the photographer arrived so Richard decided to make another colour experiment print. Making a shape with tape on the screen Cameron then literally threw ink at the screen. Almost got the photographer too! He made some great prints with bright, bright colours.

Again in-between printing the tractor we worked on the windmill print. Cameron made a third stencil for which we printed in pink. He also over drew another of the ghost prints. They turned out great, and with that Thursday was done.

Friday started early. It was my last full day with Cameron. I would be going home on Saturday and Jason Davis would be coming down to take over my duties. Richard wasn’t working with us today so we had to carry on experimenting on our own. Through the week I had been making experiment prints with paper stencils and then overprinting with an exposed screen with a drawing on it. My drawings and paintings are all based on an imaginary place called Zillerholm. It allows me to mash out lots of different places and cultures in one place. The prints I made tied into this as well. I was really pleased with them but I didn’t need to do anymore of them. So today, Cameron and I worked together, using everything we had learned, to make hybrid drawings and prints.

We started with some quality paper, Fabriano Rosapina, and using watercolour, graphite and ink, made some paintings which were all about mark making and colour. Then we tore them up. We prepared the screen with a landscape format and attached strips of tape. Cameron mixed some bright colours and then we started printing. At first on fresh paper and later on the torn up paintings.

We over printed some twice, and on some prints used Cameron’s tractor plough image as well. It was a really fun day and we got what we wanted -the happy accident. It turned up everywhere. The paintings we torn up were printed really randomly, however when we fitted them back together in 2s and 3s it worked so well. They were meant to go back together. We were really pleased, the creative gods were blessing us today.

We cleaned up the studio and as I sorted out all the prints we had done over the 4 days, Cameron started over drawing 2 of the prints. He created a couple of gems. And with that we were done. A nine hour day. My legs were aching. I needed a sit down and a cold beer. I got both. It was a real pleasure working with Cameron and I really enjoyed our chats in the evenings over food and beer. I’ll miss Wakefield as well, the Arthouse staff and the sun. Time to go home.

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Cameron Morgan - Arthouse residency

Cameron Morgan started his two-week residency in the Arthouse, Wakefield, on Saturday 17th June. Project Ability' technician Jim Ewen is with him for the first week; here he tells us what the two of them did during the first couple of days. 

"Seventeenth of June 2017, we arrived at the Arthouse Wakefield with real excitement and the beginnings of a Florida tan. We thought summer was over already. Two weeks in May is the same for everyone right? No, we’ve traveled 230 miles to a different climate and we’re amazed and scunnered at the same time. Cameron Morgan has been awarded a 2 week printmaking residency here in Wakefield and I’m his buddy, driver, assistant, fellow artist? It doesn’t matter, I’m the technician for Project Ability which means I do anything and everything and that’s why it’s a great job. This is going to be fun.

The Arthouse is a young, handsome, brick building. It comprises of a new build, born in 2009 and a refurb of a Victorian listed library. 50 studio artists work here now and two more live in the fantastically accessible flat which even has a socket by the bed for your essential pillow vibrator. A great deal of money has been spent here, the facilities are fantastic, the light floods in everywhere and just as a bonus the roof doesn’t leak. Odd for an artist studio.

The printmaking studio is kitted out with an auto-etching press, a laser-cutter, iMacs and silkscreens galore. It’s almost the Arthouse’s greatest asset but that has to be reserved for the workers here. The staff made us feel so welcome and Ian the cleaner made us laugh at 8am. Surrounded by bars, restaurants, the train station and The Royal Theatre, the Arthouse couldn’t get any more central. It seems the cultural quarter is important to this cathedral town. The Hepworth Wakefield is 15min walk from here. The Sculpture Park is the same by car and, oh boy do the people love that place! Heavin wi folk!

I visited Yorkshire Sculpture Park about 15 years ago when two friends married on the grounds. It was beautiful, but now, when Cameron and I visited it, it’s evolved and attracted the biggest names in international sculpture. There are new galleries, cafes, and installations all over the place (as well as plenty of sheep). People love it. The art, picnics under a tree, the walking. But the art - there is just so much of it now! It’s the first time I’ve seen work by Ai WeiWei. Twelve Bronze zodiac heads. Like totems to worship, and worship people do. I watched. Arms raised in adulation, a photo taken from every angle, data sacrificed. And then as Cameron did, the people bow and grovel in search of the best low angle shot. I don’t mind the selfies and wanting to record everything but I was wondering if this kind of human behavior was what Ai WeiWei intended all along? As Cameron fluttered around the zodiac heads, I stood back and watched the pilgrims.

After the long hot walk past the boat house with no water, past the lake with too much, we took a rest at James Turrell’s Deer Shelter Skyspace. I’ve always wanted to see this master’s work and it didn’t disappoint. Stepping through the door into the underground space immediately removes you from brea-ing sheep, crowds of people and constant heat. A space of contemplation and coolness where the focus is the square hole in the high ceiling. Bright cerulean blue square as perfect as a new watercolour pan, wetted for the first time with so much promise. The square sky doesn’t change today but I can still watch it forever. This is my idol, pure colour.

Tony Cragg’s retrospective was simply stunning. Beautiful complex forms, with the maker in me trying to unlock their secrets of construction. The simple framed drawings which accompanied the sculptures were enlightening. Even the most complex of structures begin with a drawing. Drawing always comes first, and it’s what we’re doing today. In the Arthouse printmaking studio Cameron sits drawing his idea of a combine harvester. It will be one of many that will be produced today in preparation for tomorrow. For tomorrow we meet another of the locals –the screen printer- who will guide us through the cultural quarter and help us on the way to express the love of the combine through paper and ink.

And if it doesn’t cool down soon I’ll be dreaming of Turrell’s Skyspace, praying to the zodiac, and making plans for a pilgrimage to our temperate rainforest we call home all the while I’m topping up my Floridian tan."

Keep an eye on the website for Jim's second blog next week!

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ReSearch Residency August 2016 - Jonathan Kirkwood

Jonathan Kirkwood spent the month of August as Artist in Residence at Project Ability. Based in a studio within the main Project Ability workshop, Jonathan spent the month developing new projects. Here, he tells us about his experience:

"Having volunteered at Project Ability for a wee while now and then helping with the summer workshops over the course of July, starting my residency in August seemed like a natural transition from one thing to another.

I had used the summer workshops to try out a few small ideas with the Aspire group, doing little 5 or 10 minute kind of drawing exercises with them and it became really apparent that what really means the most to me is the people that attend Project Ability and the work that they create. So I came into the residency with the idea of bringing cameras loaded with film for everyone to create their own images of what Project Ability means to them.

Having done this a few times while studying at the Glasgow School of Art with my brother, I felt it would be the best way to capture what makes the studio environment so special. Carrying around a large digital camera and photographing those I hadn't fully met or communicated with felt like it would have been too invasive, so releasing my own control and allowing everyone else to create their own photographs seemed like the best choice. I've still to develop the film but I'll keep everyone posted!

As well as this, I began to create a body of work in collaboration with my brother. Jordon has Aspergers and being really close to him means that I have grown up within his magical world and have the amazing opportunity to get a really close and personal look at how he sees the world differently to myself. At least I thought it was different.

The freedom to explore areas of interest that I really haven't had time to do since being a lot younger made me realise just how similar I am to my brother. We share a vast amount of interests, most likely formed together at a young age as we shared a room and most of our things. The energy within the Project Ability studios really rubbed off on me and I soon found myself surrounded by bundles of prints and drawings that were created without too much thought.

I really can't thank everyone at Project Ability enough for the opportunity and being so welcoming. It's an experience that will always bring a smile to my face and one that was invaluable. I'm hoping to keep volunteering for just a little longer, I'm not ready to give up my slice of awesome, creative energy just yet!"

Thank you very much, Jonathan! You can see Jonathan's photo diary on our ReSearch Residency Instagram: @PA_Research_Residency.

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ReSearch Residency July 2016 - Ailsa Sutcliffe

Ailsa Sutcliffe spent the month of July as Artist in Residence at Project Ability. Based in a studio within the main Project Ability workshop, Ailsa spent the month developing a body of new work. Here, she tells us about her experience:

"The Project Ability Research Residency came at the perfect time for me in many respects. Having just encountered some unexpected personal hurdles, a month in the safe haven of Project Ability’s studios surrounded by enthusiastic, creative souls was exactly what I needed to get my mind and practice back on track.

Having a designated, light-filled space and the freedom to produce work of any kind, of any size, was incredibly liberating and I soon began to banish the self-inflicted restrictions I had placed on myself as an artist and illustrator.  Unwarranted anxieties about what kind of work I could, or should, make, started to fade and I quickly started to enjoy being more bold or ambitious than I usually am.

This enjoyment was perhaps due to my familiarity to Project Ability; the studios, the artists, the tutors. From volunteering and working at Project Ability for some time now, it’s become one of my favourite places in Glasgow and probably where I feel most comfortable outside of my own home environment.  It’s what made me realise that I wanted to teach, tutor and work with people and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities that it has given me.

I saw the residency as an opportunity to develop my skills in areas I wasn’t particularly confident in, improving my range as an illustrator and enabling me to help people with techniques I previously didn’t know much about.  Amongst various drawings, I completed two large canvasses for the first time, several drypoint prints and made some (wonky) ceramic bowls. For me, it was a pretty big achievement.

I have an infuriating tendency to freeze up and overthink what I’m making while I’m making it, and more often than not it goes in the bin before it’s even finished.  Working with the artists at Project Ability has definitely helped me eliminate (or at least reduce) that perfectionism and I found that working in the studios alongside them really improved my productivity and ability to make worry-free. There is a tangible sense of enthusiasm, talent and creativity in the studios that is infectious. You soak it up without even realising."

Thank you very much, Ailsa! You can see Ailsa's photo diary on our ReSearch Residency Instagram: @PA_Research_Residency

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Platform Residency - Week 6

This week was Project Ability artist Edward Henry's last week as Artist in Residence at Platform, Easterhouse. Over the past six weeks, Edward has been working from a studio set up at Platform one day a week, developing a body of new work with the support of artist Scott Lang. Each week, Scott has been updating us on Edward's progress.

"This week Edward made several sketches of the rooms we have been using during our time at Platform. He also made some sketches of the exterior of the building.

Edward then finished off his painting of one of the entrances by painting in figures. He used a previous sketch of some beauty therapy students as the basis for two of the figures. He added another couple of figures which are based on lecturers that he knows from the Glasgow Kelvin College campus next to Platform.

Once the painting was finished, Edward dried it with a hairdryer before applying two coats of varnish to give it a nice finish."

Thank you very much Edward and Scott! 

Click here to find out more about Platform, Easterhouse.  #madeineasterhouse

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Platform Residency - Week 5

Project Ability artist Edward Henry is nearing the end of his residency period at Platform, Easterhouse. He has been working from a studio based in 'The Bridge' one day a week, for the past five weeks, supported by artist Scott Lang. Each week, Scott has been updating us on Edward's process, and the development of his new work. 

"This week, Edward continued to work on his painting of one of the entrances to Platform.

After painting in the windows and doors, Edward added people using oil pastels. He used his earlier sketches of the beauty therapy students for this.

We then sat in the café area to do some sketching."

Thank you, Edward and Scott. Next week will be Edward's final week as Artist in Residence.

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ReSearch Residency June 2016 - Shireen Taylor

Shireen Taylor spent the month of June as Artist in Residence at Project Ability. Based within the Project Ability workshop, Shireen spent the month developing her practice, and new work. Here, she tells us about her experience:

"The artists’ studios at Project Ability are a wonderful place to work, with a welcoming atmosphere and a huge variety of activity. I came to the research residency with the intention of developing new sculptural directions in my practice, as well as using the opportunity to really get to see how the organisation worked for so many different artists.

It’s such a refreshing change to be in a flexible, open plan space, where any number of artists will take an interest in your work, and an even greater interest in showing you their own!  I spent much of the time making new drawings, and developing some of these into sculptural experiments.  My lack of expertise in some processes and the need to reinvent the work as I went on was treated with some amusement by some of the artists, but they were very intrigued by what I was trying to do.  

One of the tutors, Celine, took a small group of us on a walking trip to Pollock Country Park, which was a great chance to meet some of the artists not usually in on the days I was there. We visited the Giant Beech near the house, which formed the basis of a new drawing, and I took the opportunity to examine some of the ironwork and architectural details of the stables and gardens for the sculptural work I had planned.

Working in plastercine, wood and clay, I built some models for casting via silicon into wax, which will later be cast into metals such as aluminium, bronze and/or iron. I am really hoping that I might be able to invite some of the Project Ability artists to see this being done, as it can sometimes be quite a spectacle.  The finished works are intended to be included in an exhibition in the Project Room in Trongate 103 next year.

Working in the unique environment of the Project Ability studios has been an inspiring experience, and I really hope to get the chance to return and work with the artists I have met there. Thank you to everyone who I met during the residency for your friendliness, humour, and creativity. See you all again soon."

Thank you very much, Shireen! You can see Shireen's photo diary on our ReSearch Residency Instagram: @PA_Research_Residency

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Platform Residency - Week 4

Project Ability artist Edward Henry has now spent his fourth week as Artist in Residence at Platform, Easterhouse. During his six week rsidency, Edward has been working at Platform one day a week developing new work, with the support of artist, Scott Lang. Scott tells us about a new painting that Edward has been working on this week.  

"After wandering around Platform, Edward decided that he wanted to make a painting of one of the entrances to the building as he liked the shapes and angles. I took some photos of the entrance for him to use.

Edward started by painting the sky onto the canvas. He then drew the building on with oil pastels before blocking in the colours with acrylic paint."

Thanks Edward and Scott. We look forward to seeing more new work over the next couple of weeks.

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Platform Residency - Week 3

Project Ability artist Edward Henry is the current Artist in Residence at Platform, Easterhouse. Throughout the residency, Edward is working from a studio set up in ‘The Bridge’, and is being supported by artist Scott Lang. Below, Scott tells us what Edward has been working on in Week 3. 

"Edward had done some drawings at home in his sketchbook. He drew an area of the swimming pool and a tree outside the building.

Edward sat with the Art Factory group for the first 15 minutes to finish his painting of the Glasgow Kelvin College building from last week. When he had finished we walked about Platform to find some areas of interest to him. We found a small corner of the building, viewed from the library, that Edward liked. He depicted this using soft pastels.

Whilst drawing this Edward noticed the light fittings and columns in the library, and really liked the patterns they were making. He moved onto drawing this after completing his other drawing."

Thanks Edward and Scott!

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Platform Residency - Week 2

Project Ability artist Edward Henry is now in his second week as artist in residence at Platform, Easterhouse. Throughout the six-week period, Edward is assisted by artist Scott Lang, who, below, updates us on the residency so far.  

"Edward was still having a bit of pain in his leg so we sat with The Art Factory group again. He agreed that next week we should move to different areas of the building and do some sketching.

Edward had done some sketches at home of some of Glasgow Kelvin College’s vehicles and the wind turbine outside. He has made a painting of the Glasgow Kelvin College building beside Platform because he attends classes there."

Thank you, Edward and Scott. We look forward to seeing and hearing more about the residency next week!

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ReSearch Residency May 2016 - Florence Dwyer

Florence Dwyer spent the month of May based within Project Ability's workshop, as artist in residence. Here, she tells us about her experience:

"I had a great time on residency at the amazing Project ability studios. From the off, I was welcomed to the space by so many interesting and friendly artists and tutors, each enthusiastic and passionate about what they were doing. It felt like the perfect environment to be in, one full of positive energy and creativity.

Throughout the month, I found myself trying out lots of fabric painting - something I'd never really done before and didn't plan on doing. I think the diversity of the work being made in my surroundings, definitely pushed me in new directions and got me excited about materials I'd never even thought about before. Whilst I was painting, and talking with people, I thought a lot about my 'residency' and  position within the studios and how for that month, it felt like my 'second home'. I liked the idea of making objects and furniture for the home within an artists studio, and started to design and envisage some of the textile pieces I was working on, being scaled-up and transformed in to functional things. Since ending the residency, I've managed to work on some of these ideas, so I'm really grateful for that time of experimentation.

The project ability studio was never a lonely place. People were always keen to talk about what they were working on and sharing their knowledge on processes... something that's vital to the ethos of the whole studio. It was nice to have so many friendly faces coming up to where I was working, often asking questions and providing encouragement... something that I'll definitely miss.

I really got a sense of how valuable this space is to so many people and I feel lucky to be able to have experienced this. I wish it could have gone on a lot longer!
Thankyou Project Ability... really hope to be back soon!"

Thank you, Florence!

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Platform Residency - Week 1

Project Ability artist Edward Henry is currently undertaking a residency at Platform in Easterhouse. Over a six week period, Edward will be assisted by artist Scott Lang, and will work from a studio set up in ‘The Bridge’ one day a week. He will create work which will form part of our annual painting exhibition at Platform, which is currently on display and continues until 31 July.

Scott Lang tells us a bit about Edward’s first week at Platform;

“Edward’s leg was a bit sore so we sat with The Art Factory group in the den at Platform. He had been thinking about the residency at home and had decided that he wanted to draw some of the people he has seen using the facilities.

He drew some of the beauty therapy students, in their tunics, from Glasgow Kelvin College, beside Platform. He has also seen a lot of schoolkids using the building so he painted a couple of them in their uniforms, all from memory.”

We are looking forward to seeing more from Edward’s residency over the coming weeks!

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ReSearch Residency May 2016 - Scott Lang

Scott Lang spent the month of May as artist in residence at Project Ability. Based within the Project Ability workshop, Lang spent the month developing his practice, and new work. Here, he tells us about his experience:

"Having the use of a studio space for a month was great as it allowed me to focus on producing work. I also had the time and space to consider the direction my work will take in the near future.

It was fantastic just being back at Project Ability as this is where my journey back into making art started in 2009, but the best aspect of the residency is the people who use the studios every day. It’s inspiring being around so many creative people. People who aren’t scared to offer an opinion and encouragement.

Quite a few of the artists had stories about how Glasgow’s gang culture (the focus of my work) had affected them and their families which will feed into my own research. Hopefully my relationship with Project Ability will continue well into the future."

Thank you very much Scott! 

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Platform Residency - Edward Henry

Project Ability is pleased to announce Edward Henry as the 2016 Artist in Residence at Platform in Easterhouse from 14 June to 19 July. Following on from Jonathan McKinstry’s residency last year, Henry will be working at Platform once a week for six weeks.

Project Ability and Platform have explored collaborations in many forms since ‘The Bridge’ opened ten years ago. Our annual exhibition of large paintings by artists in our Aspire group is one of the highlights of our exhibition calendar. Edward Henry is a local resident to Platform, and a highly talented, long-standing artist working at Project Ability in the Aspire programme.

Over these six week Edward will set up studio in ‘The Bridge’ and create work which will form part of our annual painting exhibition at Platform which runs from 9 June to 31 July. He will be supported throughout the residency by artist Scott Lang. Edward’s paintings most often depict real life scenes and still life in his distinctly recognisable style. A small selection of his paintings can be viewed on his Project Ability artists’ page, http://www.project-ability.co.uk/artists/edward-henry.

We are delighted to be working with Platform and to award Edward with this residency. We will post updates throughout the residency of the work Edward creates. Watch this space!

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ReSearch Residency - April: David Roeder

David Roeder spent the month of April in residency at Project Ability, working on his own practice and interacting with our artists. Here he tells us more about his experience.

"Doing the residency at Project Ability was such a rewarding experience on so many levels. I met so many interesting and highly creative characters and I loved working alongside them for a while.

I saw some exceptional pieces being made and I had great conversations, but most of all it was the relaxed and inclusive vibe that I enjoyed, which suggested a more than valid alternative to the capital-driven and elitist forces that are so strongly at work within the sphere of so-called "fine art".

I have read and written extensively about problems of evaluation in regards to creative expression (with a focus on non-academic art), so the residency felt like a natural, hands-on extension of that field of my research. I was amazed by the high quality of what I saw being made in the workshops, pieces that in my eyes (and without hyperbole) can easily raise the bar to almost any museum collection or contemporary art show.

I also loved the feedback I got from some of the artists in the workshop - although at times very critical, it was always rewarding and made me question my work outside the parameters as suggested by most contemporary art education/writing. What more can I say? A great experience, I wish I could have stayed another four weeks (or more)!"

Many thanks David! You can see his photo diary on our ReSearch Residency Instagram: @PA_Research_Residency

Photos:
1: Cameron and Celine at the Cosima V. Bonin show at the Goma
2: A cat painting I loved but whose author I couldn't find
3: John Cocozza working on his sculpture
4: One of the paintings I did myself: "Stuff washed up on the shore"

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Research Residency February 2016 - Joanna Peace

Project A – warm. Full.

I had been trying to find a way back to Project Ability since finishing a six-month project with them in May 2015. Returning to the ReConnect studio as an artist rather than a tutor has been a happy challenge. A colourful puzzle. What is the magic that happens daily in those studios? I began by opening myself to the currents of the studio, how it works as a shared and individualised mesh of negotiated spaces and rhythms, and what my place within it, though temporary, might be.

I had been lonely working at home. The days of January felt especially short with few human faces to fill them. The best thing about my cubby hole at the edge of the ReConnect studio was the empty chair that fellow artists would fill and offer stories, and advice, and recommendations for TV shows and books, and ask “just what is it you’re doing?”. Another best thing were the white walls onto which I could stick emergency yellow, baby blue and apple green post-it notes of thoughts lest they fly away and experiments in type and collage. Another best thing was entering the studios and having smiles met with smiles met with generous expanses of colour and line.

Gifts I received – Cathedral, a book of short stories by Raymond Carver. Yellow-topped mountains painted calmly into a Canadian lake. A raspberry ink box and a slice of spongy carrot cake.

Mostly it was words I worked with during this residency. Words heard and read and conjured then scattered to walls, to notebooks, to the floor, out of mouths and into the bin. With a big box of old Letraset I could stretch and repeat words into time as I rubbed them on to sheets of coloured sugar paper where they could then take up physical space (the further from my laptop the better). These words placed map-like across the wall formed patterns of meaning and attempts at order - a studio cosmos. “The cosmos … is a tingling in the spine, a memory of falling from a great height” – from Cosmos, written and presented by Carl Sagan.

 

Trust the triangle. Three points of contact was the genesis of a collaboration with Simon McAuley, ReConnect artist, photographer and friend. Simon used the climbing analogy of three points of contact to describe how he navigates the daunting task of a drawing. We decided to spend five days finding points of contact and passing, repetition and routine within the studios, and through writing exercises the architecture and objects we studied took on distinctive gestures, sounds and personalities.

‘That’s a funny story, Rita says, but I can see she doesn’t know what to make of it. I feel depressed. But I won’t go into it with her. I’ve already told her too much. She sits there waiting, her dainty fingers poking her hair. Waiting for what? I’d like to know. It is August. My life is going to change. I feel it.’  - from Fat by Raymond Carver. 

Murmer…crescendo…murmer. Rumours of cats are flying around the studio these days. Over the next few months I will be working with Luke Shaw and Project Ability artists on a publication of their writing and image-making. The launch of this will coincide with the opening of ‘Cats’, a group show in the Project Ability gallery.
-Joanna Peace

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Shop Item of the Week - ‘Black Duck’ by Lesley Nimmo

For Shop Item of the Week, we bring you another fine original artwork - this time by Lesley Nimmo. Lesley's 'Black Duck, an acrylic on paper piece, is another example of her unique style of painting, with the use of blocks of shape and colour to make up familiar images. Lesley's work is very popular in our studios and shop, and this example can be yours for £50. Buy online now! 

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Tanya Raabe-Webber on her exhibition at Project Ability

"I was really looking forward to coming back to Project Ability to see what they had done with the work I'd made during my residency back in March 2015 and I wasn't disappointed! The exhibition of the portraits I'd made of many of the Aspire Artists and of the artists and delegates who came to the International Learning Disability Arts Summit really reflect what a great time we all had sharing our art and culture. I love the way the exhibition reflects the many people I encountered and the different painting and drawing techniques I explored during my residency, including iPad drawings, eye dropper ink drawings, and acrylic paintings on watercolour paper and on canvas. Plus the work had been hung at a wheelchair height. Perfect!

My aim for this work was to watch and see how the artists at Project Ability make their work in a supported art studio and to create a portrait gallery that reflected this whilst also exploring new ways of creating my own work in collaborative ways.

What I truly learnt whilst on this journey was that every portrait is a collaboration!

So here I was, back in the Gallery surrounded by my portraits, about to set about making a new portrait commissioned by Project Ability. Only this time we decided to set it up in the gallery with a live audience and to live stream the event on Twitter Periscope. Both a first for me and for Project Ability!

Another groundbreaking pivotal moment to add to my collection! Thanks Project Ability.

Another first was that fact that this was going to be my first portrait of a couple, a married couple and a gay and non-binary transgender couple, disabled activists as well. A perfect combo! How excited was I! Meet the sitters Nathan Gale and Robert Softly Gale, a fine and generous couple with faces of such character I was looking forward to paint them.

Plus this was going to be a challenge to paint: a finished portrait of two people in two afternoons! Was I biting off more than I could paint? I'm not one to shy away from a challenge and I love pushing the boundaries!

I set about making Nathan and Robert feel at ease with the process of a live portrait painting event.  This portrait would be in front of a live audience, so by letting them know that they would also have input into the making of the portrait this gave us a sense of ownership. Heather and Berengere set up the iPad and cameras for the live feed in Twitter Periscope and we were off. Live across the globe! We even had viewers from Dubai!

Where to start on a blank canvas can be a bit daunting but once I make the first mark, I'm off. I asked Nathan and Robert to tell me a potted history of their lives as individuals and then as a couple. This gives me time to map their portraits out whilst being influenced on an emotional level through my brush. It almost feels like a piece of dance at times! I'm looking for their physicality, their identity as well as a slight likeness. I begin to feel the essence of them as well as see what I see.

After a while people began to join us in the gallery, some took to drawing what they saw, some just watched and some wanted to discuss my portrait painting techniques. Some people chose to draw me drawing the sitters and other's just drew the sitters. The audience commented on the sitting as having a great sense of humanity being portrayed! Then there was the live stream virtual audience who were watching on their pc's and mobile devices at home and all around the country. A strange sensation as we could not see them but they could see us! Watchers were responding on Twitter with comments and we even got a couple of drawings tweeted that were drawn from people watching the live stream. Another first!

On occasion we would break and I would invite Nathan and Robert to look and respond to the portrait whilst encouraging the audience to offer their responses to the portrait too. I'm looking for their initial first responses so I can determined what direction to take the portrait. Of course they loved it every time we did a sharing and I think they were surprised how quickly the portrait developed and changed.

In two afternoons the portrait was made!

This live portrait sitting was a test run for a new live portrait project I've just got funding for coming soon.
#Portraits Untold http://portraitsuntold.co.uk/
Ambitious live portrait project with artist Tanya Raabe-Webber, exploring and celebrating our common humanity – the beauty and strength of humanity lies in the diversity of its people.

Exciting details of sitters, partners and venues to be released soon….Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Twitter @PortraitsUntold  #PortraitsUntold
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PortraitsUntold
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/PortraitsUntold/

But before this I'll be back to see you all at Project Ability in February to run a series of master classes with Create artists and schools groups. So if anyone wants to have a gallery tour with me of my exhibition I'll be around between 2:15pm - 3:15pm 15-20 Feb in the Gallery."

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Artist Research Residency Opportunity

Project Ability offers a programme of five calendar month Research Residencies; February – June 2016. This opportunity is open to contemporary visual artists working in all media.

Successful artists will have access to our accessible studio and fantastic workshop facilities Monday to Friday, 9 – 5pm for a calendar month; ceramic studio, glass studio, print studio, wood shop and digital studio and the opportunity to work alongside artists who attend Project Ability’s studio programme for people with learning disabilities, people with lived experience of mental ill health and children and young people with disabilities while gaining knowledge of workshop delivery from our team of highly experienced tutors. This is a voluntary position and a reasonable amount of material can be used from our stock (upon agreement).

The residency is an opportunity to cultivate new ideas through research and production and to access and explore an inclusive arts environment.

On conclusion of the residency each artist will be invited to present their work in a public lecture and there is potential at a later date of working with our exhibitions coordinator to exhibit work and work in progress in our gallery in Trongate 103. On completion of the residency you are invited to submit a workshop proposal to be delivered over 10 hours at a fee of £250 and subject to approval by the Artistic Director. Mentoring support may be given to help develop your workshop plan.

Application:
Letter of application max 350 words outlining your interest in this Research Residency Opportunity and indicating your preferred month February – June 2016. 
Up to 5 images no larger than 3MB

Please send your application to submissions@project-ability.co.uk by the 11th January 2016. 

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Kate Gorman in residency - reflection

After two weeks of travel around Scotland and England, then a flight home and back to work, my time at Project Ability seems both far away and just a few days ago.  I am glad that I was able to stop in before my flight home and see a few staff and artists to say goodbye.

The work that I started at Project Ability will be part of my ongoing series of drawings on linen that explore my family history through retelling and embellishing the bits and pieces of what little I know.  I was happy to get to the library at Airdrie to find out more about my Lithuanian ancestors who immigrated to Glasgow around 1900. Up in the Isle of Skye my cousin and I explored cemeteries looking for graves of ancestors.

When I left Project Ability, I traveled to the south of England to take a workshop with Rosalind Wyatt at West Dean College in Chichester.  There I learned an embroidery technique, duplicating handwriting with stitches.  I began to take my journal entries and embroider them on a shirt.

I am so grateful to have had the time and space to work on these pieces at Project Ability. I want to thank everyone, especially Elisabeth, Jim, Berengere, Stewart, Lisa, Tracy, Celine and Sandi for making my too short residency so terrific.  I really enjoyed meeting all of the artists in both rooms and seeing some of the amazing things going on in all of the programs.  I am looking forward to sharing my experience back in Ohio at the Goodwill Art Studio and Gallery.   I hope to see you all again!
Bye!
-Kate Gorman


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The Summit triptych is now completed!

"It was great coming back to Project Ability to finish my triptych painting of the International Summit which took place in March.

I felt I had to get to know my painting again after it been stored away in the cupboard for six months and it was a little strange at first. It was like visiting a long lost friend who I haven't seen in years, so I just wanted to catch up on all the gossip.

Once we got to know each other again, I began to see where the gaps were in the piece and began a process of painting, layering and standing back and drawing back into it to see how the three canvases were working together.

It was great to see so many familiar faces in the studio whilst I painted and on occasion people would come and join in the conversation about how the painting was coming together. I loved the way many of you as artists in the studio would join me to critique the work and admire my artistry whilst I carried on painting. A truly colaborative approach!

I feel like my painting of the Summit belongs to everyone who came to the International Summit and beyond.

I'm looking forward to seeing all the work I did during my residency on exhibition in January til the end of February next year.

And it doesn't stop there. I'm hoping that this work will travel internationally and visit some of the studios that came to the International Summit.

And some very exciting news is that I have just received funding for a big new portrait project coming soon! Keep it under you hat for now but keep watching my Twitter and Facebook to see what's happening!

A massive and thank you to everyone at Project Ability and I'll see you in January. Bye for Now."
-Tanya Raabe-Webber

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Kevin Cantwell in residency at Gartnavel Royal

Project Ability volunteer and ReSearch artist Kevin Cantwell spent four days in residency at the Summerhouse in Gartnavel Royal Hospital, where he used found material to create beautiful sculptures inspired by the Summerhouse's gardens.

On Thursday 15 October, he was joined by a group of participants: pine cones and leaves were turned into whimsical fairies, pine needles became hedgehogs and orange leaves were perfect feathers for a little owl! 

On Friday 16 October, Kevin was joined by his ReSearch collaborator John Cocozza, and the two artists started the frame-work on a squirrel. 

Kevin Cantwell will be back in Gartnavel Royal Hospital on Friday 23rd October to present the work produced during his residency and for a quick artist talk: 1-2pm, The Summerhouse, Gartnavel Royal Hospital.

(Photos by Simon McAuley)

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Kate Gorman in residency - Week 3

Textile artist Kate Gorman is entering her third week in residency with Project Ability and updates us on her process.

"Today I will be getting out the fabric dyes and seeing how my piece will come together.  I have had some ideas for changes in the drawing over the weekend, and I will try to resolve the parts that aren't satisfying, but for now I want to experiment with dye and get a bit messy. Here is a bit of the unresolved section I am working on this week.

 

 

My trip to the Tenement House was really informative and useful. I am sure that the Tenement House was grander than my Gram's housing when she lived here in the early 1900's, but it gave me an idea of how she lived.

 

 

I started stitching last week on a large piece that I brought from home. My train trip on Friday to Mallaig and the ferry over to Skye gave me plenty of time to sit and sew. It was hard, because the scenery was so lovely, and I kept wanting to take photos! I am so grateful for the excellent train service here in the UK. Back home I drive everywhere, no multitasking there!

This is a small section where I have started to stitch.

 

 

And here is a bit of island scenery.... The Quiraing on the Isle of Skye. You can see why I didn't get much sewing accomplished!"

 

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Platform residency - Week 4

"Today was great and I feel it went really well!

I started by blocking in what was left of the remaining large areas with colour.

I had to make some tough decisions about colour and the final composition. A few important things really needed to be resolved for the final composition to work but I think I’ve managed to do that. It’s all about trying to achieve balance and harmony which isn’t easy.

It was a frantic race against time but I got there …at the ‘eleventh hour’.

I’m really looking for to seeing all four panels displayed in situ, in their entirety at Platform on the 24th of October".

- Jonathan McKinstry

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Kate Gorman in residency - Week 2

American textile artist Kate Gorman has been with us for a week now, and is settling well in her studio.

"I can't believe how fortunate I am to have time and space to work in this wonderful setting. I have met many of the regular artists here and I look forward to seeing their work as I continue to work on my own piece. 

The piece I started last week, featuring my great-grandmother at her sewing machine, has started to come together, but I think I need to visit a few local museums to get a better feel for the time and place (Glasgow tenements at the turn of the last century),  so I am headed out this afternoon for Coatbridge and the Glasgow Tenement House. 

Here is a preliminary drawing of the piece that will be drawn with dyes on fabric.

When I am not in the studio, I have been stitching and drawing and looking; trying to take in all of this wonderful city and country."

Kate Gorman will give a talk about her practice on Thursday 15 October at 12pm noon. Everybody welcome.

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Summerhouse residency - Kevin Cantwell

For this year's last residency at Summerhouse in Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Project Ability volunteer and tutor Kevin Cantwell will use the flora and fauna in the summerhouse and walled gardens to create sculptural works inspired by the theme “Passion” which is the theme for the 2015 Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.

Kevin will be in residence in the Summerhouse on the 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th October returning on the 23rd at 1pm for an artist talk.

On the 15th, there will be an open workshop for people from all walks of life to join in and on Friday 16th he will be joined by Project Ability artist John Cocozza.

Work made during the residency will be displayed in the summerhouse.

Kevin Cantwell will also see his work made during his ReSearch project exhibited in the Project Ability gallery from 5th November (more info coming soon). 

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Platform residency - Week 3

"This week has been all about colour. Mixing up large quantities of acrylic paint and blocking in the larger areas and trying to define the background and foreground.

I think I’ve managed to achieve Ultimate Warrior’s skin tones but will leave his colourful trade mark make-up for next week, that’s when I’ll start to focus on the finer details.

I’ve found a really great paint brush to work with. It’s big and holds tons of paint but it’s also really accurate for getting strong precise lines and edges too.

Its particularly sunny today and the colours are unbelievably vibrant in the sunshine.

Next week will be a real challenge as I try to pull all the elements together. Can’t wait!"
-Jonathan McKinstry

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Kate Gorman in residency - Week 1

Kate Gorman, an American textile artist from Ohio, will spend the month of October in residency at Project Ability. Today is her first day, and we are delighted to have her with us. She will be writing a weekly blog about her experience with us, starting today with a bit of background information.

"I am very excited to be starting my residency here at Project Ability. It is a quiet and rainy day for moving in. I am looking forward to working in my studio here and meeting students and artists when classes begin tomorrow.

This is my new studio at Project Ability. I'll post again, when I start working. It will not be this tidy again!

I have tried to stay open about what I am going to be doing for the next month. I have an idea of where I think I should be going, but I want to stay open to the ideas and influences I get from being in this new space surrounded by new people. 

Back in Ohio, I work at a studio similar to Project Ability, the Goodwill Art Studio and Gallery.

Pictured here are Jeff Meadows, studio artist  Charlotte McGraw with Staff Artist Cody Miller.

My own work is in textiles; I  specialise in drawing on linen. Above (top) is a photo of a piece I did about my Grandmother from Glasgow.  It is called "A Keeper Of Secrets and Parakeets"

I will be working on a piece specific to Glasgow and my family history.  My Grandmother grew up in a tenement in Glasgow and immigrated to the United States via Canada when she was 18.  I have a photo of her mother sitting at a sewing machine in their tiny apartment around 1910.

I am really looking forward to seeing where this month will take me!"

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