New Blogsite

As this project draws to an end, so also will this blogsite. I am pleased that I have this comprehensive documentary of my journey over the past 10-months. But fear not, I have started another blog to document what happens from here at: www.nataliedowseart.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Plugging away!



Bear, is this any better? Am I getting there?

The weekend just gone I had my first visitor. I had survived three weeks on my own until this point. However, in terms of the project these three weeks alone have been invaluable. I have been here long enough to have formed some ideas, but it was perfect timing to run them past someone. I think it is important to bounce ideas around at the right time. Too early and you can get influenced and pushed off track – too late – well that could be a disaster!!!!! I know we have to trust ourselves as artists – but it is sometimes handy to have some reassurance.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I've been playing



I have settled into my studio and have started experimenting. After a brief conversation today in my studio with the Head of Art & Design a conclusion was reached. It was suggested that perhaps 'experimenting' was too 'scientific' and what we do (or should do) as artists is play. I agree with this - so yes I have been playing. This is 'playing' with freedom - but NOT without thought. So far this experience has given me the opportunity to explore, take a few risks and focus. Perhaps this 'playing' has been missing from my practice for a while, due to tight deadlines and lack of time.


Derby Cathedral

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

First residency exhibition dates confirmed

The dates for the first exhibition are Saturday 28th June 2008 to Sunday 24th August 2008 at Gallery 1, Derby Museum and Art Gallery. I met the curator today (Andrea) and took some poor quality pictures on my phone of the space between shows:



This is it - all 44.5 linear metres of it! Better get going...



... well to be fair, I have started my research and have some loose ideas forming which I am very excited about. However, I think I am going to avoid actually posting the work up on this blog until the end of the project. Just trying to encourage people to come to the show! It's nice and easy - Derby's the middle of the country don't you know.



Without wanting to sound too sentimental and saccharine, I am really grateful and very happy that I have this opportunity. I feel that I have waited a long time for a chance like this - and so far it is fantastic. It has given me the time and space to think and breath.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What does it mean to be a stranger?



A person who does not know or is not known in a particular place or company - being unaccustomed to a feeling or experience.

SENSE OF PLACE

I start with the nucleus of the city - this is immediately on my doorstep and I've got to get my bearings, and I've got to function, and I've got to live. As time passes the nearby streets become familiar, I begin to traipse the same paths over and over. As my footsteps wear the pavement - the route becomes etched in my mind. Gradually my 'mapped' network gets larger.

The unfamiliarity of the place can be resolved with investigation, repetition and habitual tasks. However, this is only one side of being a stranger. The other is not knowing anyone and not being known. I am surrounded by busy shoppers, people at work, people travelling and socialising - going through their day-to-day activities and routines. There isn't much chance of being recognised here - well not yet at least! All these people, my eyes skimming the surface of their faces - watching, observing and not knowing. We can feel this at anytime, in any place - but for a very short time I am an alien. This is a strange feeling - but also very liberating. Perhaps you get more of a sense of place in this situation - more observant and self-reliant perhaps?

Friday, September 14, 2007

I now have my White Cube!



I now have my studio and it's great! I feel very welcome in the University and have had the grand tour of their brand new building, the faculty of Art, Design and Technology. I am only a stone's throw from here in my new den. I was able to select my furniture from the store and have now unpacked my stuff. Now the fun begins!









Yikes........


Even more yikes!!!!!!!!!! (Think Scooby-Doo!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

QUAD, Derby



This is QUAD a new £10 million centre for contemporary art, film and media being built in Derby city centre. It is due to open in spring 2008, so it will be interesting to see how this building develops over the next few months. Hopefully it will open on time, so that I can benefit from its existence. It sounds very impressive.

Visit to Surface Gallery, Nottingham



Yesterday evening I went to a PV at the Surface Gallery in Nottingham with another artist I have met up here, Steffie Richards. The Gallery is an independent space run by volunteers. It is an interesting space set in a basement. The exhibition 'Working Together' is an exhibition of seven artsits who have completed a residency at The Florence Trust in London: Elle Pickering, Gudrun Haroldsdottir, Jessica Tsang, Kristin Cross, Rossella Emanuele, Sarah Jane Hender and Will Clifford. I really enjoyed the exhibition and thought it had some excellent work.

I am starting to visit cities I've never been to before. I also visited Leicester this week for the first time to see the MA Fine Art show at De Montfort University on behalf of Axis artists' database.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Caravan Gallery hits Wirksworth, Derbyshire



On Sunday I took a trip to the Wirksworth Festival. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew I was going to see some familiar faces, Jan and Chris of The Caravan Gallery from good old Pompey! This first opening weekend began with the Art Trail which included 150 artists exhibiting in 70 venues. It astonished me how many visitors were here and it puts all of the arts trails I've ever visited to shame. The Caravan Gallery had more visitors here than outside the Tate Britain! The artwork was mixed, but the whole town was buzzing and the atmosphere had a certain excitement. Many people had opened their houses for artists to exhibit their work. These people must be very trusting to let so many people traipse through their homes and across their cream carpets and suchlike. Wirksworth is a small historical town surrounded by beautiful countryside. It is situated about two miles to the south of the Peak District National Park boundary, 13 miles north of Derby and four miles from Matlock.

Two previous winners of the Vickers Prize were invited to exhibit here. Lewis Noble and Helena Ben-Zenou. I was able to meet Lewis and discuss his experience on the residency. Although it wasn't possible to meet Helena it was great to see her work in the flesh. Now I just can't wait to get my studio here - which should be tomorrow!

Thank you to Jan and Chris for escorting me to the pub at the end of the day - cheers! This is a very hard thing for me to do on my own!









Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I have arrived!



On 1st September 2006 I was moving into the Artists’ Union of Latvia building; it was to become home for four weeks. Little did I know that exactly a year later I’d be moving to another new place? I am once again a stranger in a city that needs to be explored. My immediate city centre surroundings are become more familiar to me with each passing day as I recognise the local landmarks, cafes, shops and restaurants. It is a very different experience to being in Latvia. Here there is the familiar amongst the unfamiliar, the high street chain stores easily recognisable – each city and town having the same clothing and window dressing. However, it is their location that is different amongst the unknown street map. A trip to the ‘out of town’ ASDA store illustrates his point. I needed to use my sat-nav to get me there (sad I know), I arrive, the layout of the car park is unfamiliar but the logo, colour scheme and identity is instant and unmistakable. Once inside the store I could have been in any ASDA in the country – roughly the same layout – it was easy! Out to the car park – it is then that I realise that I can’t find my car amongst the fake familiarity. After nonchalantly walking about I find it, once again I use sat-nav to get me home.

This is all very obvious – but I find that being in this situation makes me become a more of an observer. I find myself noticing more through fresh eyes as I work hard to find my way around. Being alone compacts this further.



Derby Evening Telegraph, Wednesday 5th September:

Headline: DOG DIGS UP HUMAN HAND
Page 16: Art ‘rebels’ hail success
Back page sport: RAMS WINDOW SHOPPING