Free Art Shop

Rydym yn falch o gyhoeddi digwyddiad arall o’n “Siop Gelf Ddi-dâl” – gŵyl o weithdai, sgyrsiau, a digwyddiadau trwy Zoom ac yn ein horiel.

Rydym yn falch o gyhoeddi digwyddiad arall o’n “Siop Gelf Ddi-dâl” – gŵyl o weithdai, sgyrsiau, a digwyddiadau trwy Zoom ac YB Ron horiel. Abertawe, 217 Y Stryd Fyr, gyda nifer gyfyngedig o weithfannau a fydd yn cadw pellter cymdeithasol, ac yn addas i ddau aelod o’r un teulu/cartref.

Os na allwch ymuno â ni, gallwn anfon deunyddiau atoch i’ch cartref, neu drefnu ichi eu casglu, ac anfon cyswllt Zoom.

Cyflwynir y gweithdy cyntaf hwn yn Gymraeg, ond caiff ei ailadrodd yn Saesneg yn ddiweddarach yn yr haf. Bydd yr holl ddeunyddiau’n cael eu darparu. Os oes gennych unrhyw gwestiynau, anfonwch ebost i info@galeriesimpsonswansea.com

Mae tocynnau am ddim ar gael ar gyfer 3 gweithfan yn yr oriel, gyda lle i 2 aelod o’r un cartref ar bob gweithfan. Mae 4 tocyn ar gael ar gyfer cyswllt Zoom hefyd, er mwyn ymuno yn y gweithdy o bell.

Bydd Abigail Fraser, cyd-gyfarwyddwr GS, yn cynorthwyo Tomos gyda’r gweithdy hwn.

Pleased to announce another event from our ” Free Art Shop”, a festival of workshops, talks, events, via zoom, and in our gallery.

Join artist Tomos Sparnon to create your own copper artwork! The theme will be Wales. This could include creating an image associated with Wales such as a daffodil, dragon, a Celtic symbol or sheep! If you live in the Swansea area, you might want to create something in response to Swansea’s copper industry, Dylan Thomas or the beautiful Gower scenery.

Your copper artwork could then be adapted to an item of jewellery, a greeting card, mobile hanging or a framed picture.

This workshop is truly 9 to 90, and can be enjoyed by all the family.

It will take place at GS Artists Swansea, 217 High Street, with a limited number of socially distanced workstations, which can host 2 family /household members.

If you are not able to join us then we can send you materials to your home, or arrange collection and send a zoom link.

This first workshop will be delivered in Welsh, but it will be repeated in English later in the summer. All Materials will be supplied, any questions please email info@galeriesimpsonswansea.com

Free tickets are available for 3 workstations at the gallery, each one can accommodate 2 members of the same household, plus 4 tickets availble for a zoom link, to join in the workshop remotely at the same time.

Tomos will be assisted in delivering this workshop by fellow GS Director Abigail Fraser.


Here at GS Artists we have taken a microscope to all the things we love about festivals and concluded that smaller is better! It is an unexpected benefit of the new normal, that social distancing provides us the opportunity to work on a more personal level with our community, whom we love so much. This means smaller groups and more one on one time which everyone deserves.

The amazing GS team have put their heads together with their 9to90 Creative Community and in consultation with Esther Ley, Arts Coordinator at Crisis to create the FREE ART SHOP, where we have developed our own style of workshops. Using all the tools we have to our advantage, so there truly is something for everybody from 9 to 90; bringing a bit of joy to these strange, often strained, times.

This series of workshops will run from August to October, and they take many forms making sure they are accessible to all, from Zoom classes to pre-recorded sessions, and for those who do not have access to the internet,  we have created safe, socially distanced workspaces for up to 6 participants to work with our professional artists in a wide range of mediums; including collage, lino cutting, collage, movement, and portraiture to name but a few! All this content will be free and available on both our website and YouTube channel. Also included, to those booked in, are art packs which are available in the post and can be picked up directly from GS Artists on High Street. We are very proud to be presenting some of these workshops in Welsh.

We are celebrating the opening of the FREE ART SHOP with that foremost godfather of free art, Gustav Metzger, the subject of our first talk – “The Man Who Ensouled the World”. This talk on Metzger is delivered by GS artist Jeremy Gluck, and is an opportunity to explore the life and practice of an art visionary and revolutionary, whose embrace of art as freedom and art for free plugs right into our new season of workshops. After the very informative talk Andrew Wilson, curator from the Tate, and Jane Simpson artist & GS Artists Director, will join for an in conversation when they share with Jeremy anecdotes and experiences of working with Gustav. To reserve a place please click here.

Anja Stenina brings her Eastern European roots to the mix with her dark, organic pressed leaf workshop, in which she will introduce many exciting techniques! Tess Wood and Claire Francis are working with small sets of movement, based around the idea of being in a space with people again, as we are all slowly emerging from the darkness and re-experiencing intimacy.

GS’s own art collective Axe Head, featuring the minds of Jeremy Gluck, Demian Johnston, Melissa Rodrigues and Alina Skorohoda, are poised to hit us with their workshop “Sticking stuff on stuff: Everything’s a collage”, that does exactly what it says on the tin and more, by providing a creative outlet as we live through history, where you can literally glue your face to the wall – as long as it is in line with our social distancing policy of two metres! Finally, we have Abigail Fraser and Tomos Sparnon working with readily available materials to make fluid 3D lines and animations. As well as practicing artists, Abigail and Tomos are also our Welsh speaking duo who will be providing their sessions in both English and Welsh.

*DISCLAIMER Please do not actually glue your face or any other body parts to the wall unless absolutely necessary.

This project is made possible by funding from the Arts Council of Wales, National Lottery Stabilisation Fund. From everyone at GS we would like to personally thank them for their help supporting artists and arts organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our passion is bringing art to our community, we are thrilled that this can continue. We have also been blessed with the support of two fantastic mentors, artists Tom Goddard and Rosie Scribblah, who have helped us build something truly meaningful and inclusive. Onwards!

GS Artists: Anja Stenina

You Know What I Mean – Installation walkthrough

The work of Anja Stenina is concerned with the agency of marginalised members of society within the semiotic authority of dominant culture. 

An interview with Anja Stenina

You know what I mean – Solo show by Anja Stenina at GS Artists Swansea 2020

In this installation, the artist explores the breakdown of communication between ideological positions. “You know what I mean” exemplifies the way in which discourse is broken, limited without elaboration or resolution. She uses metaphysical personifications of the Ages of Aquarius and Pisces to symbolise antithetical ideological perspectives at a point of impasse and physically locates the viewer within the grey area between binary standpoints.


2019 UWTSD Joint Mres Degree Exhibition 

What would Mother say?

The artist presents a range of vignettes exploring aspects of the symbolic abuse that resides within our everyday lives. Seeking the myth within the mundane, she playfully re-examines situations and stories that are generally taken for granted. Positioning her work within a child-like framework of fairy tales, games and song, Anja tests the resilience of symbolic expressions of authority and dominant culture.

(…) 

It’s not the large things that send a man to the madhouse. 

Death he’s ready for, or murder, incest, robbery, fire, flood… 

No, it’s the continuing series of small tragedies that send a man to the madhouse… 

Not the death of his love but a shoelace that snaps with no time left. 

(…)The Shoelace, by Charles Bukowski


The Mule 
1.8m video piece.

The silhouetted figure of The Mule in the video is quoting the story of Pinocchio when he tells his unfortunate tale of becoming a donkey and being sold to the circus and forced to perform for the circus owner:

“Know, then, that, once upon a time, I was a wooden Marionette, just as I am today. One day I was about to become a boy, a real boy, but on account of my laziness and my hatred of books, and because I listened to bad companions, I ran away from home. One beautiful morning, I awoke to find myself changed into a donkey-long ears, gray coat, even a tail! What a shameful day for me!

I hope you will never experience one like it, dear Master. I was taken to the fair and sold to a Circus Owner, who tried to make me dance and jump through the rings. One night, during a performance, I had a bad fall and became lame. Not knowing what to do with a lame donkey, the Circus Owner sent me to the market place and you bought me.”

Quote from Pinocchio: The story of one marionette by C.Collodi

The story is told in the interwoven voices of a child, man and woman. The voices speak in a confessional, traumatised tone. The silhouetted, anthropomorphised figure appropriates the anonymous victims’ confession. The figure represents the marginalized members of society, telling a story of mundane symbolic abuse. 


Almost There…
1.35m video piece.

In this video piece Stenina looks into the disconnect of stereotypical cultural tropes with the everyday burden of living in contemporary society. She attempts to visualize the impact of the archetypical representations upon social identification. The artist explores the construction of the hero narrative and its effect on our wellbeing. Starting from performative sculpture, Stenina uses common figures such as the music box ballerina and drummer boy to present a narrative of contemporary conflict. In the video, at the first glance, figures appear to be static, but upon closer examination, the viewer can notice that the figures are balancing under tension in very uncomfortable poses. 

The soundscape accompanying the piece is a mix of the sound of a toy drummer boy,  the sound of a music box and the ambient sounds of the gym in the background.

The artist is investigating whether we are shaped by the role of the character or we have the ability to direct and step outside the story.


Congratulations!
2.29m video piece

The video piece displays the Buzzer game where a disturbing sound pops up if the ring touches the metal. In the video, an anonymous figure is playing the game, and upon the touch the buzzing sound appears with an authoritative voice (male, white, American) proclaiming:

Congratulations! You are no longer a virgin!

Congratulations! You’ve got the job!

Congratulations! You’ve got the promotion!

Stenina explores the symbolic authority of such phrases as “Congratulations!” and with the help of the toy adds tension to these phrases, highlighting their authoritative and ‘encratic nature’.


The Wheels of Abuse 
1.32m audio piece

The familiar nursery rhyme tune of the ‘Wheel on the bus’ is appropriated in the ‘Wheels of abuse’ piece, placed into a karaoke set-up. The intimate sound of a mother-like voice is singing the song with the lyrics changed into a ‘black comedy’ sketch.  The scenarios of ‘symbolic abuse’ that are commonly encountered in everyday life are sang out. 

The wheels of abuse go round and round

round and round

round and round

The wheels of abuse go round and round

all day long

The chivalrous man says let me help

let me help

let me help

The chivalrous man says let me help

all day long

The patriotic man asks where are you from

where are you from

where are you from

The patriotic man asks where are you from

all day long

The mother on the bus says boys don’t cry 

boys don’t cry

boys don’t cry

The mother on the bus says boys don’t cry 

all day long

The lady on the bus says isn’t she cute

isn’t she cute

isn’t she cute

The lady on the bus says isn’t she cute

all day long

The men on the bus say smile smile smile

smile smile smile

smile smile smile

The men on the bus say smile smile smile

all day long

The wheels of abuse go round and round

round and round

round and round

The wheels of abuse go round and round

all day long

Much of marginalisation resides in the inherent and implied, the assumed. Stenina analyses the structural relations of both inequality and domination that arguably reinforce social marginalization. The artist examines examples of ‘symbolic abuse’ within everyday life and applies Barthes’ semiotic analysis to a contemporary context. 


Jobseeker, 2014 – Jobseeker portrays the reality behind modern employment; the fear of uncertainty and the social and economic constraints on one’s professional potential.

GS Artists: Alina Skorohoda

Alina Skorohoda’s artwork explores the notion of woman’s duty to the world. She responds to the feelings of obligation that haunt women everywhere, using domestic objects in her work; through altering these objects, she questions attitudes, fears and unwritten rules which have formed a hostile environment for women and their behavior within it, and the division between private (domestic) and public spheres.

She explores the problem of the lack of health warnings around the marketing of products dangerous to women’s health. Using heavy materials she creates a feel of heaviness to visually represent the heaviness and burden of wearing stereotypical women’s clothing and shoes. These objects are not everyday wear but the tools for social communication that are worn to impress, not for comfort.

Her work focuses on the unfamiliar term “topophobia” in relation to domestic space, referring to a fear of a specific space; in the context of this practice the fear of place is examined through feminist art practice which explores the power structures within domestic situations.

She employs the phrase ‘mental load’ as a means to describe the increasing pressure on female identity to strive for both equality and the feminine ideal. The phrase mental load has culturally been used to describe the mental pressures males experience at work and therefore appropriating this phrase becomes an interesting method to deconstruct this patriarchal association.

Skorohoda’s works use mixed media, video, installation, and everyday housekeeping objects to evoke the burden of meeting the expectations from others of stereotypical female appearance and behaviour.

Through Alina’s skillful work, particularly in photography and film, I can experience the feelings of being ethereal, unreal, ghostly, filled with foreboding, carrying strain yet barely existing, gliding through a world where everyone seems busy and there are so many tasks to do, so many places to go. Alienation and insignificance seem to be the lot of the woman, yet the connection to simple practical implements like brooms and mops anchor her in a world in which she barely belongs and from which she may not be able to escape. Like the women she portrays, who venture across urban landscapes, country roads and wide seas, I can want to yell out, to take my own power, to act on the environment. But bound into the muted silence of my own existence, I will find satisfaction in the spirit-life. Not sure if this is the way Alina wants us to see her work – I suspect it can bear being viewed through different prisms. I like particularly the way the sea comes into the foreground, the incoming tide resplendent no doubt with symbolic meaning.

Rhoda Thomas, poet

GS Artists: Claire Annabel Francis

Jam

GS Artists director Claire Annabel Francis‘s work examines the duality of binary structures within society and the ways of human thinking that often determines us as outside of, in opposition to or above our counterpart.

The primacy of the natural world is in many ways forgotten due to the meanings inculcated onto it, we forget that we are a part of it. For this reason, ‘nature’ features within the work as a metaphor, it is presented to the viewer with a multifaceted role addressing gender, space and place.

Hide is a current WIP taken from a previous undergraduate exploration which involves the deconstruction of a man-made fruit box, taking away its purpose and use within society. The material is pieced back together to form a hide or skin. The holes within the work are a mark of the industrial
process, joining nature and human together.

Jam is a body of work displaying assumed feminine objects (jam jars) containing ambiguous, chaotic and conceivably dangerous substances from nature, playing a subtle, sinister role within the work, disrupting the perpetuated image of the feminine as the caregiver e.g. Wife and Mother.
Footage is a section of video work documenting an experiential exhibition event which created a liminal space between the dualistic worlds of the ‘Man- Made’ and ‘Mother Nature’.

Footage – what would mother say – Claire Annabel Francis 2018 from Claire Francis on Vimeo.

A poisonous plant was deconstructed and displayed within large pods, in order to view the material visitors had to wear protective clothing. At any point, the natural element contained the chaotic potential to overcome the man-made safety equipment therefor becoming the dominant force, arguably turning the viewers into the liminal.

Refugees was an installation work looking at the notion of belonging in relation to space and place. These non-indigenous plants teeter on the edge of a precipice, leaving the viewer unsure of whether they are falling into the darkness emerging from it.

GS Artists: Tomos Sparnon

Mae gwaith Tomos yn archwilio’r hyn ydyw i fod yn ddynol. Trwy baentio, arlunio, cerflunio a dulliau eraill, mae’n archwilio perthynas dyn â’i gyd-ddyn, â’r byd, â gwrthrychau, â’i hunan ac â Duw. Ei nod yw dal y gwrthdrawiad rhwng y gweladwy a’r anweladwy, rhwng realiti a’r hyn nad yw’n real.

Gellir gweld rhagor o waith Tomos ar ei wefan: www.tomossparnon.com ac ar ei gyfrif Instagram: @tomos_sparnon

Tomos’ practice is an exploration of what it is to be human. Through different media including painting, drawing and sculpture, he explores man’s relationship with his fellow man, with the world, with objects, with himself and with God. His aim is to capture the conflict between the visible and the invisible, between reality and what is not real.

More of Tomos’ work can be seen on his website: www.tomossparnon.com and on his Instagram account: @tomos_sparnon

GS Artists: Abigail Fraser

Abigail Fraser

My work is an ongoing investigation into the loving vulnerability connected to the memory of a space and a place. Through using materials such as LED Lights, old television monitors and oil paint, I explore themes of domesticity such as universally recognised objects and symbols of familiarity. For example, recreating the familiar patterns of windows or carpets spanning from universally significant architectural designs such as the Vatican to a Swansea student household. For me, my work is an investigation into the potential of using perception as a material, through manipulating light as a method of triggering memory. Challenging “How close memory feels to trespass” – Edward DeWall.

This collection of ink drawings was done in response to the current Covid-19 crisis as a documentation of personal and shared experiences in this challenging time. 

Anja Stenina Knows What You Mean: An Interview

By Jeremy Gluck for GS Artists

You Know What I Mean Photograph by Hywel Edwards

Anja Stenina‘s show ‘You Know What I Mean‘, appealing to the intellect but also evading it, is apparently cerebral. Posing many questions beyond its name, the show embodies a fundamental challenge: You Know What You Are? The latest expression of a body of work that is as engaging as it is deceptively elusive, its theatrical and performance elements are grounded in an earthy and even sometimes matriarchal matrix, feeding back life, love and an arch wisdom and insight into the human condition.

Stenina’s work, by turns literate, literal and articulated in popular tropes, in this case is cast in a low, blue light to emphasise its marine themes, and employing the renowned sea shanty, What Do We Do With a Drunken Sailor, as a platform for undermining and investigating assumptive perspectives. You Know What I Mean is, literally and figuratively, a delightful, compassionate and enlightened collision of ideas, light and Jungian shadows.

Anja, interviewed here, supplies context to what is a growing body of work deserving reflection.

GS Artists: Question one: What is question zero?

Anja Stenina: ‘What should we do with a drunken sailor?’ questioning the influence of the authority of collective judgement. The fundamental conceptual question is: how in control are you? It is a progression of my work in a wider sense that explores our relationship with society. That traces back to my BA Degree exhibition in 2016 ‘Are you in control?’, where I explored how power structures manipulate us quite blatantly just below the superficial skin of our everyday lives. In the installation I would draw out the stage directions to life on the floor, but using invisible ink which could then be discovered, piece by piece, by the audience using black light torches. I also wanted to present the physical metaphor of the whole process – that the audience is surrendering themselves to my authority when they come in, yet they are still entirely in control of their lives – they always have a choice – they can turn the torch off at any point, or simply choose to stop following the instructions.

The revision within the Drunken Sailor song is an exploration between different standpoints. It specifically raises questions of judgement and morality, how opinions are arrived at and how often do people actually consider where their opinions are coming from. The idea connects to Barthes’ idea of the encratic language of authority and to what goes without saying.

I employ a dialectical approach to create a reflective environment for the observation of shifts of perspective. I’m not passing judgement; I am just creating a space for the unpacking of ideas, locating elements of control.

You Know What I MeanPhotograph by Tomos Sparnon

GS Artists: What are the chief elements of control?

Anja Stenina: Fashion and style. The style of social protocols and social rituals that are dictated by the dominant culture. With the metaphysical personifications of the Ages of Aquarius and Pisces, I am presenting two fashions, two standpoints. The viewer, therefore, is free to try on each of the ideological perspectives. My show is, basically, a changing room.

You Know What I Mean by Hywel Edwards

GS Artists: And in that room, what changes?

Anja Stenina: Who knows? It’s a private space.

I would only hope that the fitting helps one to engage critically with the dynamic between opposing standpoints and that the naturalness/comfiness of a certain garment aka certain established social construction is reflected back to the visitor and perhaps the dominance of one style is questioned by the alterations of the new style. Dominant trends/positions can be switched to more transgressive standpoints. I’ve presented opposing cultural constructions for the individual to try on and I hope that, as with the dressing room mirrors, the reflective experience of the self ‘wearing’ the different forms can influence one’s value judgments.

My work creates a potential space for change, it is the viewer’s reflections in the dressing room that complete it.

GS Artists: What is this “self”?

Anja Stenina: The knower; the chooser of the outfits; the one that catches the reflection.

GS Artists: In the simplest language, starved of any elaboration, what is your practice and what is your art? Is it necessary?

Anja Stenina: I am a poststructuralist and semiotician in my process and I am a conceptual mixed media installation artist. I work with elements of morality. Is morality necessary? Necessity is a question for the critics.

Swansea artists picture Michael Sheen

Welsh film star Michael Sheen has been handed a new role as the subject for more than 100 Swansea portraits.

The resulting 140-plus images of Port Talbot-raised Sheen went on show in GS Artists Gallery on High Street, Swansea.

Pictures were submitted from a range of exhibitors from schools, colleges, support groups and adult learning groups.

Organisers of the 9to90 Creative Community Exhibition were GS Artists working with the Fusion Programme, a Welsh Government-funded initiative managed in the city by Swansea Council’s cultural services team.

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “The Michael Sheen part of this wonderful community exhibition really captured the imagination of artists from right around Swansea, from a rich diversity of backgrounds.

“It was lovely of Michael to give his backing to the project – and his parents joined artists and supporters at a celebratory event. “I’m told they were fascinated by the portraits of their son!”

The actor, filming in America, tweeted: “Wish I could have been there for it. My mum and dad surrounded by over 140 images of me! The art was phenomenal across the board. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

The 9to90 Creative Community Exhibition is in its second year.

It offers everyone the chance to exhibit their work in an art gallery regardless of age, style and experience.

This year’s activity attracted 279 entries, including crafts, photography, painting and drawings, poetry and prose..

This year’s portrait category was dedicated to Sheen due to him being celebrated for his philanthropy in the South Wales arts scene and his support for the Homeless World Cup. 

Jane Simpson of GS Artists, said: “Fusion gave us the challenge of creating a project that could open the doors of our gallery to reach the wider community, and the 9to90 creative community concept was born!

An open submission show open to all, which was free to enter and was advertised widely.  We added categories to respond to interest such as prose & poetry. Portraits are a fantastic challenge for all, and especially if the subject is loved as much as Michael, I’m already being asked who’s next! 

Over the last few months the gallery has worked voluntarily with Fusion who’ve enabled us to take the idea to a wider community by funding free creative opportunities.  These workshops partnered with local artists and creatives and allowed more than 80 people, literally 9to90, to create works almost all of which were entered into the show. 

Our ongoing partnership is dedicated to supporting creativity and artistic opportunities for a diverse audience.”  

The exhibition ran from  December 7th to December 13th.

Supporters included Crisis Swansea, Cover to Cover, Dylan’s Book Bus, Cinema and Co, Sew Swansea, Coastal Housing, independent artists, Gower College, UWTSD, St Helen’s Primary School, Gowerton Primary School, St Thomas Community School, Ffynone House School and local councillors from Castle ward.

More info: www.9to90creativecommunity.com  

The 9to90 Gallery: