This month we are looking forward to when Phoenix Art Space begins to open its doors again. In September we welcome our arts course students back into the building as a new term begins - discover our colourful selection of classes here. And in October we will be entertaining Photo Fringe 2020, who take over the main gallery with an exhibition of photography collectives.
In the meantime we bring you details of our latest projects, and an interview with new studio artist Chris Hawkes.
Our autumn term begins next month and tickets are selling quickly. We've got everything from portrait painting to basket making, and a selection of six-week, one-day, weekend and evening arts courses to choose from. Book your place now! Explore our autumn term.
Images: Ian Boutell & Platform Graduate Award
The team at Phoenix Art Space have been busy selecting artists for the upcoming Platform Graduate Award led by CVAN South East in partnership with Aspex Portsmouth, MK Gallery, Modern Art Oxford, Turner Contemporary and ourselves. The Platform Graduate Award is an initiative to support emerging graduate artistic talent to further their practice following graduation. The award includes a £2500 bursary and mentoring, and is awarded to an outstanding graduate from one of several participating regional higher education partners.
Visit Phoenix Art Space and other participating galleries from November 7 - December 13 for the Platform exhibition. An artist from each gallery will be nominated for the award, with the winning artist announced in November.
A big thank you to studio artist Geoff Hands who helped the Phoenix team make their selections!
Images: Chris Hawkes
Q&A with new studio artist Chris Hawkes
How would you describe your practice?
I mainly focus on oil painting, a little bit of mixed media stuff as well. In general, I see my work connected to the tradition of painting. I view the paintings as painted collages in a way, some elements figurative, some abstract. There’s never a scene being depicted, and I don’t sketch out the paintings first. The recognisable images I use more for their connotations, as references to things or aesthetics. Mainly I just play with different ideas, but these often centre around themes like gender, taste and the sampled image. There’s also an autobiographical element to my practice. It’s all a bit of a jumble really and I’m careful not to neaten anything out too much. I like the ambiguousness that’s partly abstract painting, partly autobiographical and theme based.
How have you found having your own studio space?
It’s been so nice having a studio all to my self at last. Although it’s all been a little surreal as I only moved in two weeks before lockdown. By the time I’d moved all my stuff and started to organise myself, Bam a pandemic! Obviously having this space during quarantine has allowed me to really use the time and continue practicing which might not have been possible in a shared studio space. Also, I had someone enquire about commissioning a large painting that I just wouldn’t have had the wall space for in my past studio so that was exciting.
What have you been working on during the last few months? Have you managed to stay creative?
Motivations been up and down over the last few months. I think that’s the same for everybody though as things get postponed or cancelled due to Covid. I’ve been working on this series of smaller paintings, testing out different elements I want to add to other paintings in the future. The extra time has allowed me to create just for the sake of it which is nice. I’ve also found time to start some sewing projects that I hadn’t got around to for ages but that’s not so much part of my practice as just for myself.
Studio artist John Varah is the lead artist on the latest project at Same Sky. As part of ‘Awakening’, Same Sky commissioned 12 of their key artists to make a new illuminated sculpture at home, with a limited budget. Find out more.
Anna Dumitriu - who explores microbiology, robotics and medicine - is currently exhibiting with the National Centre for Craft and Design, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave and Kunstpalais Erlangen. Find out more.
Thank you to the Phoenix Gardening Team, who have been working hard over lockdown to keep our front garden looking lovely - see below!