Thursday, 3 July 2014

Opening night - the dance, music, and film collaborations.........

The Recital Programme:

A Manner of Thinking:

Elise's dance performance begins the evenings recital with an introduction from Dance tutor Kate Monson. 
James' photographic montage film throws evocative landscape imagery and rippling light on her performance whilst Daniel's audio recordings add a further layer of sound imagery.

Y Step:

We all move out to the main foyer to the area where Stephani has chosen to perform a site specific dance.
She uses the closed off area behind the glass doors as a kind of captive's cage and we are prompted to consider human incarceration behind social or self imposed barriers.  It is a powerful and moving performance. 

Time Erosion:

Kate introduces her own choreographed piece about the effect of time and natural processes on the landscape. The two dancers,  Elise and Nicole are accompanied by the improvised sounds produced by Daniel, Nate and Stuart. This work also includes the spoken word which Nicole delivers with energy and passion through out the performance, it is a statistical mantra of the losses and changes suffered by the land. 

(Un)Natural Sounds:

We move location to the really impressive Madsen Recital Hall and wait with great expectation.
Scott is waiting in the darkened wings off stage and a light illuminates the slightly ajar door.
 We don't see him, then he begins to play a plaintive and beguiling saxophone. It is a beautiful and reflective piece and it transports us to a place in our imaginations.


Nate and Jay worked together on this edited film and music piece. Jay's film was an impressionistic layered montage of the landscapes we had visited in Yellowstone and the Tetons. We watched ourselves become blended into the colour and light of these places and Nate's slow and elegiac piano music prompted the strong emotional response which had many of us brimming up. How did they do that? 
It worked extremely well.     

A Trail to Explore:

It was so good to see so many of our WMC group volunteer for this dance piece, they were more than ready for any potential embarrassment! This piece mirrored our own actions and behaviours that we had increasingly noticed in ourselves during our Yellowstone trip. It got to the point where we became highly self-conscious of our habitual responses to point and photograph, to capture and collect information.  
Nicole and Stephani's dance piece perfectly captured this and it was great to see that aspects of our performance challenge had been incorporated into the work. 

Our opening night - the artists' books

The Western Wilds project has incorporated art, music, dance and performance and involved 53 artists. With so many ways of interpreting the themes we had discussed over the last two weeks we were all excited to see just what everyone would produce. I was especially interested to see how my students had worked in collaboration with the music and dance students, but first the artists' books took centre stage as Joe opened the evening in the main 303 Gallery in the Harris Fine Arts Centre at BYU.
Michelle Rowley

And here are the Wirral Met books to start with:
Sarah Romano WMC
Jay Chesterman WMC

Scott Rule WMC

Lottie Millington WMC 

And Lilah Carrol!

Michelle Rowley WMC

James Bowman WMC

Susan Leach WMC

Rachel Perry WMC 
Bernadette McHugh WMC

Clare Flinn WMC

Claire Holtaway WMC

Bill Fletcher WMC

Yvonne Davis WMC

Over the next week we will post more of the books and include more information about them and we will show you the performances works too..................

Exhibition installation - Saturday morning

At 10am on Saturday morning we started off by identifying where all the audio works, the film screenings and the special lighting requirements would be sited. After all these areas were settled the plinths were arranged and the shelves were installed. As the books started to get placed on the plinths, some as soon as they were finished and that included mine, it stated to look really interesting. During the week everyone had been working hard on their individual book works and now the works were revealed for the first time and it was great to see how inventive everyone had been.     

The space starts to become an exhibition as the works come in. 

Clare and Sarah carefully install the text pieces generated by
Sunny's Challenge on our journey back from Yellowstone.
And here is Sunny working on another text.
The most fiddly part of the exhibition was the job of transferring all the vinyl text pieces to the gallery walls. There were five in all and also the exhibition information and it took a long time to get it right. But when we were done we left the music guys to work out their sound installation and film projections with Joe keeping an eye on technical matters.
Michelle Rowley

Friday, 27 June 2014

Exhibition plans.............

Joe called a meeting this morning to discuss our exhibition plans and began by showing us a film he had made with all the photos he had taken of all the activities we had taken part in and all the places we had travelled to. It was a nostalgic look back at the last week and gave everyone a laugh too.

Jo's Quick Time film plays on the screen in the base room.

We then went to see the 303 Gallery downstairs in the Harris Art Centre to  check out the space and think about where we would like our work to be shown and how it might be displayed. 

Steve and Joe explained the variety of mixed media that would be part of the exhibition. There are four  collaborative sound pieces, a projection and dance piece as well as all the artists' book and there will be a recital in the space upstairs and a dance two dance performances outside the gallery entrance in the main foyer of the building. its a lot to consider. To help Joe understand what everyone needs he bought in a big white board and asked us to pt our names to the various display methods and we all got in line to sign up.

It the end of the day it looked like this, but there was still a few missing requests.

Brandon's Lithography Project

Brandon has begun his project. Using the method of lithography he is focusing on the horizons we saw at Yellowstone Park. As a group collaboration he asked various students to paint on to the stone tehir images of skylines. All of us were very excited to be part of this as none of us had experienced the lithography method before. brandon was up against the clock to get all the stones printed and even though everyone else was busy they all got involved and watch his progress.

Friday deadline.............

As friday afternoon came round everyone was really busy trying to get last minute printing done and anyone that could help was assisting someone else to complete their books.  In other studios around campus the dancers were rehearsing with their teams and the sound and music groups were completing their sound works and editing film pieces.

Sam is helping Claire to assemble her drypoint book and has suggested she use a copper wire binding.

Scott has a three tier cut out book to assemble and it looks like Michelle has the job to help him out.
Jay puts the finishing touches to his book with Yvonne's help in planning where he needs to insert end papers.

Michelle gets her cyanotypes into a sequence and only starts construction at 4pm. its going to be a late night for her and Yvonne!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Thursday pressure..........

Today has been a set of challenges for me. I am so glad that we have 26 letters in the alphabet as by the end of my printing session I was at plan E!!

Yesterday I mono-printed my pages for my book and today was the day I was going to print my book cloth for my front and back covers. Throughout the week at Yellowstone I had been collecting flowers and various leaves. I love looking at nature and the intricate patterns.
I started off by trying to use magic foam that I had brought from home. The instructions told me that I only had to heat up the foam and then press my desired object into the hot foam. After trying multiple times of heating it on the hot plate and burning myself I resorted to using a hairdryer. Another disaster was about to strike. I had forgotten that my image was inverted so that when it was printed, it printed the image but also a square of black as well. This is not what I wanted.

Practice prints on newsprint
Plan B then came into action. I started to trim the foam into my desired shape. When cutting it, I found it hard to cut it into the shape around the print. I printed it again. However I found that because the room was warm my image had started to reshape into the original foam. After lots of frustration and grunts I decided to give up.

The foam printed shapes were still not working!!

Another plan. Another letter. Plan C. Still wanting to use my collected foliage I had the idea of printing with them on to my book cloth. The colour of my book cloth was a tan colour. I wanted something quite subtle. Practicing on newsprint I found it really difficult to use them as I had kept them in a bag for over a week and some of the leaves became very fragile and were hard to handle. Trying both a brayer and a paintbrush to paint them it became impossible with getting ink everywhere and not getting the delicate prints that I wanted.

Plan D came to a head. I spoke to one of my tutors and asked for her advice. She suggested that I roller a glass paint with ink, place the leaves, flowers, etc and put them through the press so that they were evenly distributed with ink. I tried this and worked really well. However I was more inspired by the relief prints that the leaves, etc had made on the glass plate. I had the idea of using these relief prints on to my book cloth. However when I printed on to the book cloth, the brown ink on to the tan coloured book cloth didn’t work as well as I had hoped. I re inked the glass plate again with a darker shade of brown and tried again. The outcome was better but it was still not what I was looking for.

Plan D - relief printed leaves
The final plan arose. Plan E. I had tried everything I could think of from printing with the leaves with both negative and positive shapes. None of it worked how I wanted it to. I then resorted to doing a mono-print on to white book cloth, using another image from my previous Photoshop work.

After all the trials today, I am looking forward to constructing my book tomorrow. 
Rachel Perry

Whilst Rachel had been suffering her trials, Brandon the print tutor from BYU Idaho has spent yesterday regraining some litho stones for a collaborative lithographic print. This is a laborious process, but everyone is eager to have a go and see how it works. Today he is ready to let us make our images on the stone and he has asked each of us to draw or paint an horizon line that we remember from the trip last week. Clare is one of the first to have a go.......


Clare was the first to have a go with the lithography painting and drawing media.

More of the group's drawings on a much bigger stone.
Clare, Sue and Jane working on their remembered skyline landscapes for Brandon's Lithograph

Brandon explaining the sequence and many procedures in the production of a lithograph. 
The images having been painted, Brandon worked late into the evening preparing the plates for printing tomorrow. 

While most of us were busy in the print areas Bill was getting Nathan's help cutting steel hinges in the metalwork area of the sculpture studio

Clare wanted to use 'Letterpress' for the title page of her book and Michael was able to take her to the Letterpress area and explain and assist in producing what she wanted. 

The finished title page in Letterpress type.