Exchange: Now We Are Seven

Continuing our occasional EXCHANGE series creating opportunities for artists to share some of the rich and wide ranging knowledge and experience that exists within our arts community.

Blue Monkey Network artists Lyn Dale, Nikki Davidson-Bowman, Louise Michele Evans, Stephanie Grainger, Julia Mitchell and Katy Oxborrow take over our monthly event for March in order to share their experiences of an experimental project they devised and began early in 2016.

The 7 artists set out on an experimental journey: each artist made one piece of work that was then passed on to another member of the group.  Each month the work changed hands until each artist had contributed towards each piece.  It was a process of palimpsest where the work would evolve, be reused or altered but potentially still bear visible traces of its’ earlier form.  It was a step into the unknown. Only one rule was applied– all the work must be easily transportable.

Nikki Davidson-Bowman explains “At each meeting we would do a ‘big reveal’ with a ‘show and tell’ type format. It’s been an amazing experience – dealing with the issues and emotions related to destroying and changing another artist’s work and seeing what another artist had done with your work – for better or worse!”

The artists have been on their own journeys, during the year of the project experiencing changes and disruptions in the forms of relocations, separations, illness, loss and uncertainty and during that time have continued to work on each art work.  The result is a body of work that strongly reflects female identity, transition and diversity. The work includes, sculpture, collage, threads and installations.

The project will culminate with an exhibition, Change & Disrupt, at Martyr’s Gallery in Lewes in April 2018 where all the work will be on show. The group will also bring a selection of the final pieces to the Blue Monkey event.

The seven female artists have all become artists as second careers. Each artist follows their own path as well as exhibiting regularly as ‘Now we are 7’ and  taking part in monthly meetings to critique each others work, provide support to each other and explore development opportunities. 

In a time of political change and unrest, we are exposed to uncertainty in the form of changes and disruptions to our personal landscape. This informal talk will explore how we adapt and accommodate the unexpected, the unwanted or the unpredictable, and the benefits of artist collaborations.

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