Sunday, August 29, 2010

Out Yer Tree Walk and Talk

Yesterday saw me at the Walk and Talk event for the Out Yer Tree contemporary art exhibition at Coombe Abbey Country Park near Coventry where I have three pieces of work installed.  Come with me as I drag you round my work....

Following on from my original Suspended re:Purpose work at the Out Yer Tree art exhibition at Lickey Hills earlier this year I started working on similar pieces using cassette tape.  The same friend who gave me the massive stash of video tapes gave me a goodly amount of cassettes too so I set to dismantling them and claiming the tape.  One of the good things about cassette tape is that it comes in both black and brown, the brown yields a good variety of shades too.  The cassette pieces are constructed in the same way as the video but I used a variety of found objects to attach the tape to.  I had two old style metal doodads that cover the top of stench pipes which are a great shape, a plastic drip tray from a bar, part of a decorative copper dish, a metal bangle and two random metal rings unearthed from the debris on my studio workspace!

On installation day I wanted a smaller more intimate place for Suspended re:Purpose 2 (yep, I named that uniquely didn't I?  lol) and I chose a lovely cedar tree facing a large open grassed area containing three other artworks. The cedar had a ready made aperture with beautiful criss crossing branches and I hung some of the smaller pieces outside of that area, hopefully leading the eye into the pieces hung in the interior. 

On reflection I wish I had created more than the seven pieces I used but I was happy with the placement and the way the work looked.  When we checked the work before the Walk and Talk yesterday I was disappointed to find one of the pieces had disappeared.  One of the others had been tied in a not too.  In the 40 minutes between checking the work and getting back there to talk about it another of the pieces had been tied in a knot too!

I have to admit I really don't mind the knotting (although we did later unknot them before we left), the pieces are there to be interacted with so I have no complaints but it's disappointing when the work is just ripped down.  One of the exhibition organisers, Taz Lovejoy, had one of her pieces pulled down and thrown in the lake within three hours of it being installed and it was hung 5m up in a tree, they're very determined artwork wreckers apparently!  It's the risk you take hanging work in a public space though and it won't deter me from exhibiting again although I'm considering creating a piece using barbed wire!  lol 


Suspended re:Purpose 2 was the first of my pieces that I had to speak about at the Walk and Talk.  It would be fair to say I was so nervous at the prospect of talking to the crowd of 40+ people that I wanted to turn tail and run away!  I have no idea what I said and I think I probably gabbled my way through it somewhat but I did it!  ;o)

Next up was my original Suspended re:Purpose piece which I rehung for his exhibition.  I chose a lovely plane tree to hang the piece in this time, it has nicely overhanging branches and the pieces are hung relatively low so they can be got amongst and interacted with.  Taz told me a lovely story yesterday and I'm sure she won't mind me sharing it with you... on Friday when Taz was at the park a lady with a new born baby was in amongst my work and was moving her baby in and out of the video tape.  ;o)  If  all the pieces get yanked down and wrecked it will all have been worth it just for that moment.


Two of the pieces had to be rehung since installation day and on our pre check run yesterday we discovered one had been pulled so hard it was hanging on by a thread so that was rehung too but none have yet disappeared as they did at Lickey Hills.  There's evidence that several have been seriously hung on ~ stretched video tape rolls itself into a fine tube, I was quite pleased to discover this and am planning some pieces with purely stretched tape so I can at least thank the wee vandals for that if nothing else!  ;o)

I took a video of Suspended re:Purpose on installation day and, ably assisted by my lovely daughter, have edited it and added some music.  The work doesn't look like this now because of the rehung pieces but this is what it originally looked like.


I think it's a great idea to video work in situ like this especially if it transpires to be the only record of how the work looked when first installed!  I will definitely try to remember to capture any future work hung in public spaces.


My third piece in the exhibition is Pods re:Versed.  I got quite caught up in the idea of constructing natural forms from unnatural materials recently and decided to create some cocoon/pod like structures to hang at Coombe Abbey.  These babies are a little more unfriendly than the other pieces in that they have some pretty sharp edges so I wanted to choose a location where they wouldn't be too accessible as I didn't really relish the prospect of anyone lacerating their hands on them!  I eventually settled on hanging them in a beech tree overhanging the edge of a lake which is behind a sturdy fence.  On installation day I had my poor husband with one side of the ladder in the water reaching as high as he could whilst wobbling about looking in danger of plunging in at any second!  Meanwhile I stood behind the fence giving him "Left a bit, right a bit" style instructions!  ;oD 


This location is quite gloomy which to my mind suited the whole concept of the piece.  I will definitely continue to explore this theme, I'd like to experiment with more open pods.  Nests also appeal to me, I can just picture a massive video tape nest structure high up in the trees.  ;o)

At the end of the afternoon, as we trolled back to the visitor centre, the heavens opened and we got absolutely soaked!

Even the downpour didn't dampen our spirits though!  ;o)  Despite my nerves I really enjoyed the Walk and Talk.  It was great to hear some of the other artists talk about their work and I think it was a very successful event.  There's a great variety of excellent work in the exhibition and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.  The exhibition runs until 17th September, please do visit if you can!