Routes of Discovery
Our four artists who have been in residence at The Rodd for the duration of h.Art 2017 share their reflections of the experience. They are exhibiting their work this weekend, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m in the Grain Barn and Gallery courtyard. Please come and visit and talk with them about their process. They describe their experiences below:
Sandra Lane There is nothing more valuable as you set out as an artist than someone taking your work seriously, and providing you with a place to work, materials and somewhere to stay, for no other reason than they want you to immerse yourself in beautiful surroundings, and take the experience away with you for it to work upon your practice. This is what the Sidney Nolan Trust offers.
Coming to the Rodd is a very immersive experience, far from London in every way, the colours, sounds and rythmn of the days take over. It’s strange to share a house with new people - but only for a moment as you have such a strong common bond - I’ve had great conversations and a huge amount of laughing with my fellow residents. On arriving at the Rodd we were assured there was no pressure on us, the most important thing was to walk the land, to get the feel of the place, and that this is what had been so important to Sidney Nolan. And though every day is astonishing in its green goldness, multiple weather changes, strutting chickens and wonky horned cow, I get the feeling the most important effects of the residency will be subtler, and longer lasting and be having an effect for a long time to come.
I’d been making ceramic shoes planting them like a presence amongst my more abstract sculptures. I started here with a large elegant shoe. Since digging my own muddy clay out of the hills in Rodd Wood I’ve made a rustic boot and now a bare foot filled with earth and field plants. This last one interests me more than any of them. I don’t quite know where it will lead.
Lotte Scott I arrived here at the Rodd after an incredibly busy, hectic summer – finishing my MFA at the Slade, moving out of London to start a new life in Macclesfield and preparing for upcoming exhibitions this autumn. I was hoping the 10 day residency would give me time to reflect on my practice and immerse myself in a new landscape.
For the last five years I have made work about one particular area of the Somerset Levels, so coming to the Rodd for 10 days offered me the chance to explore a different way of working. Over the course of my Levels project, I was living in London but making work about Somerset, meaning I was constantly travelling. At times I’ve found this very frustrating, feeling that my subject landscape was out of reach, that visits to make work were highly pressured. Being here on the residency has been very different – it feels such a privilege to spend time in this beautiful place, spending every day out on the land. It’s developed my thoughts about what it means to make work about place, history and landscape – how a deeper a response relies on time spent directly experiencing place.
During my time here I’ve enjoyed discovering Rodd Wood most of all.
Halina Dominska Residing at the The Rodd has been an absolute pleasure, the support and care we've received from all the Sidney Nolan team has been faultless. The landscape the Rodd is set within has been a constant inspiration, surrounded by nature and uninterrupted views of the landscape seem to instantly open the mind to new possibilities and ways of thinking.
Engaging with your wonderful visitors has been a joy, I've learnt so much from them, discussing practice and residency research has enabled me to make further connections with my work.
Living with three UK based Artists with different practices and educational backgrounds has been invaluable. We've been immersed in artistic discussion, from discussions about our practices to processes to artist survival, the conversations have been endless. Where else would that happen for such a concentrated amount of time. We've all made connections with each other making the experience even more special.
What will I take away with me? Working in a concentrated way with the materials around me has enabled me to question aspects of my practice which may of taken a much longer period of time to consider, this has quickly highlighted further understandings about repeating themes within my work. On returning to my studio I intend to engage with my peers on a regular basis after the positive impact this experience has given me. New knowledge about Sidney Nolan, his artwork, interests and love of the Rodd and the Sidney Nolan legacy have given me lasting memories about my time here, ones which have helped shape my future practice.
Cowdinsky: Soon after being selected for the residency, I found that I couldn’t ignore Sidney Nolan’s centenary, along with his artist studio, that has recently been unveiled and opened to the public. It felt like the right time to direct my attention to Nolan’s practice. Research has played a consistent part throughout this residency, governing the materials, subject matter and technique, enabling me to formulate a story to manipulate what is believable.
My practice often encompasses subverting the conventional gallery space to create unexpected experiences, merging the boundaries between art and life. ‘The Incredible Solan’ is a performance piece influenced by Nolan’s 1963 Gorilla paintings, composed around an expedition to Africa with his second wife Cynthia in the Autumn of 1962. ‘Solan’ the gorilla, along with all his artistic materials is presented within a cage for the general public’s pleasure and amusement, deploying humour as a mechanism to suggest the resident artist being a zoo like spectacle; highlighting the tentative relationship between the artist and institution.
The residency has channelled me to become fully immersed in the rich artistic energy of the Rodd, embracing new experiences and challenges. The Trust has consistently been a fountain of knowledge for me to dip into, making the process feel shared and informed by staff, on-site artists and the public. Undoubtedly I’ve been influenced and stimulated on a day to day basis by the resident artists, we’ve lived together, shared the same space and ate the same bananas… time and environment have developed these connections making us in tune with one another’s specialities which is fascinating to be around! The Sidney Nolan residency has been invaluable, generating a pool of fresh ideas for me to explore and develop into the future.