A new installation of painting, prints and found material.
Sat 10th November – Sat 15th December 2012
Thursdays – Saturdays 11.00am – 4.00pm
and by appointment
Admission is free.
Everything was as it should be. Pulling off the motorway and into the service station, she drove round an empty car park behind the petrol pumps, shop and American-style diner. There it was, just as the small photograph had shown on the website when she had booked the week before.
The architecture, whilst lacking in distinction, wasn’t strictly functional. The single storey building had a ranch-like quality, perhaps based on a marketing department’s concept of a motel as seen in some half-forgotten movie. It was domestic in scale and appearance and could easily have been mistaken for a community centre on any housing estate anywhere in the country. The feeling of familiarity offered by this first impression, whilst comforting, was accompanied by a faintly unsettling sense of déjà vu.
She went in and the door swung to behind her, shutting out the incessant noise of motorway traffic to which she had been oblivious until this moment of absence. A cocoon of silence enveloped her and, as her ears became accustomed to her surroundings, she thought she could distinguish muffled voices somewhere nearby.
There was no one about. The lobby and reception were deserted. A drinks machine stood in one corner, too large for the space. Its faux-wood facia matched nothing else. A plastic cup was placed in the cavity at the front in anticipation of dispensing beverages. She noticed a floorplan fixed to the wall next to the reception desk. She crossed the lobby, her footsteps leaving no trace on the course grey-blue carpet tiles which absorbed all sound, wear and tear. The faint murmur of voices continued, merging with the distant hum of machinery; perhaps a vacuum cleaner or air conditioning.
After several attempts, hindered by an irrational feeling of increasing anxiety, she let herself into room 301. The curtains were closed and there was a slightly musty odour, but the room appeared to be clean. The curtains, which were of a stiff synthetic fabric formed into pleats, covered the window area exactly with no extraneous material. Their blue-grey decorative pattern seemed incongruous, except that its grid-like motif was consistent with the spare décor of the room.
She checked the bathroom. It was brightly lit, in contrast to the dimmed overhead lighting of the bedroom. A small portion of white soap, wrapped in a cellophane pack bearing the company logo, was balanced on a pair of clear plastic cups upended on a formica shelf. The double toilet roll holder was reassuringly stocked up, thus obviating the need to call room service. The tiles around the bath shower cubicle showed the random traces of perfunctory wiping and a few droplets of water still clung to the shiny white shower curtain.
Back in the bedroom, she noticed a copy of The Bible in the half-opened drawer of the bedside cabinet. A cordless kettle and two white mugs stood on the dressing table work surface beneath a wide mirror, which effectively doubled the size of the room. On closer inspection she realised that one of the mugs was the reflection of the other. Next to the kettle, she found a small tray which contained four sachets of instant coffee, some sugar, two small tubs of UHT milk and a tea spoon.
She filled the kettle in the bathroom and boiled it for coffee. The sofa was too firm and not very comfortable, so she chose to sit in the white plastic chair and put her feet up on the bed. Gazing around the room she saw that the paintwork was shabby and that the walls over the radiators were slowly blackening from heat. Here and there, other indefinable traces betrayed signs of previous occupancy.
Her attention was drawn to a painting on the wall opposite the bed. From where she sat it reminded her of a painting that she had seen somewhere before in an exhibition, Altermodernism perhaps, but which she could not positively identify. The gestural brush marks in red and blue held her attention for several minutes as she tried to remember this other painting and where she might have seen it. As she drank her coffee she found she could not retrieve the absent painting, which surely existed somewhere in her memory. She got up out of the chair and walked over to inspect the canvas on the opposite wall. It wasn’t a painting after all, at least not as she had supposed.
The ‘Travelog’ describes a seemingly pointless journey, moving from one Travelodge hotel to another, recording the experience through a kind of visual diary; using printed lino-cut images to illustrate various aspects, which are familiar to these iconic low budget hotels.
Travelodge has become part of our social landscape. The memories we hold of these hotels are usually linked to other experiences; journeys for occasions, business, pleasure, holidays, love, death and sorrow. They are the functional stays of convenience, with the provision of basic needs and low expectation.
A room at a Travelodge provides refuge and anonymity.
You know what you are getting, therefore there can be no disappointment.
Susan Slann 2012
Susan Slann is a resident artist at Crescent Arts, where she has been working from her studio over the past two years. Prior to this, her last solo exhibition was at Summit Print in Kirkbymoorside in 2008. Susan has participated in several recent group exhibitions including ‘Home’, Leeds (2011); ’53 Degrees North’ (2010) at Schoolhouse Gallery, York; Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le Hole (2010); Leeds Open (2010); Ferens Open, Hull (2008/10). She has shown new and collaborative work at Crescent Arts on a number of occasions, within group exhibitions including The Drawing Room (2011); Supermart (2012) and Soundings (2012). She was short-listed for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2007. She completed an MFA at Leeds University in 2010 following a BA Fine Art at University of Hull (2007) and Diploma in ‘Art in a Social Context’ at Dartington College of Arts (1983).
For further information please visit www.susanslann.com
Rachel Worthington and Steven Potter
Tuesday 23rd – Saturday 27th October 2012
Daily 11.00am – 4.00pm
Admission is free
Partimepare present an audience participatory piece exploring the notion of nostalgia through a playful, yet slightly sinister, story which evolves throughout the installation period. The work is a collaboration of two artists, Partimepare (Rachel Worthington and Steven Potter), working with paper cut and super 8 film to light up ‘The Dead of Night’.
‘The Dead of Night’ was the theme of Light Night 2012 in Leeds this October. Working with this theme, Rachel Worthington and Steven Potter were invited to take part in Light Night and in this context have developed new art work together. The two artists are working in collaboration as Partimepare and this is their first combined work. Rachel uses Super 8 as a medium, and incorporates aspects and elements of ‘the city’ within her work. Steven is predominantly an experimental paper-cut artist, who works with an interesting organization of paper, light and shadow. Their contemporary take on traditional mediums uses light produced from digital and film projectors to create metamorphoses of shadows and tales.
Their work explores (Leeds) city mythology, linked to the theme of ‘The Dead of Night’. For both artists audience interaction shapes the final piece, and they encourage visitors to really let their imaginations run loose. Torches, shadows, blankets, and your fertile imagination fuel Partimepare’s installation-event which invites participatory drawing, painting and shaping of Rachel’s film, while Steven’s paper cuts provide further inspiration to whet the appetite.
Rachel and Steven invite you to explore their work. “We greatly want you, the audience, to come and take part in the piece, as it will be shaped by your influence.”
Rachel Worthington and Steven Potter formed Partimepare following their graduation from Leeds College of Art in summer 2012 and subsequently were invited to take part in the renowned Leeds Light Night 2012. Steven is also a resident artist at Crescent Arts and has already exhibited his newest work in the ‘soundings’ exhibition this October.
Sat 22nd September – Sat 20th October 2012
Thurs – Sat 11.00am – 4.00pm
Admission is free
Collected recordings and audio works by:
Janet White, Susan Timmins, Karen Thompson, Susan Slann, Steven Potter, Jade Montserrat, Emma Miller, Adele Longstaff, Stuart Cameron, Dawn Brooks
Soundings presents a series of recordings and audio works which, as the word suggests, test out some of the possibilities of auditory or acoustic expression incorporating speech, language, music, and noise.
Recordings range from ambient sound captured in the course of work or domestic activity, to recitals, readings and performances of poems and texts written or selected by the artists. Several of these recordings emerged from workshop activities within Artist Writes, a continuing investigation on our part into the connections between visual arts, language, writing and text. Artist Writes is designed to encourage visual artists to explore writing and texts, in all forms, as a critical and creative element within their practice.
Earlier this year Jeremy Akerman and Eileen Daly led two writing workshop sessions at Crescent Arts, augmented by a live performance from artist Patrick Coyle (Beats I,II,III). The adoption of collaborative and performative strategies to generate, present and disseminate textual material and information led to audio recording as an alternative means of creating, sharing, experiencing and publishing ideas.
That the processes of performing and recording would make their own demands, and (for some) offer exciting possibilities, was inevitable. The recordings are not intended to suggest any shortcomings to the presentation of text on the page or screen; these offer their own challenges and opportunities for expression. However, lifting the text off the page, through transmission of a recorded delivery, makes for a very different experience for an audience to that of the reader or viewer.
Even the most cursory experience of radio will demonstrate its ability to evoke vivid, yet imaginary, visual sensation. The auditory experience, especially when recorded or broadcast, is capable of stimulating involuntary visual equivalence coupled with a strong sense of the temporal, spacial, and atmospheric, and extending to emotional response.
Of course the reading of text on the page can also elicit these qualities, but the response is perhaps not so immediate or direct. In either case, absence of visual evidence feeds and sustains the imagination, and it is questionable whether what we imagine corresponds to the author’s or artist’s vision of ‘reality’.
It’s a highly subjective and elusive experience which may only partially correspond to that of the next person. This seems particularly pertinent to recorded oral communication. The expressiveness of the voice draws upon our capacity to empathise whether invited to or not, and it is difficult to separate the disembodied voice from our mental picture of the person.
This in turn, will directly affect our response to what we are hearing or listening to. The physical presentation of these recordings at Crescent Arts also attempts to reflect the range of approaches by the artists and their engagement with the technology itself, whether expressing intimate thoughts on an intimate scale, using language more playfully, or creating broader landscapes of ‘abstract’ sound.
An exhibition of new work by ceramicist-in-residence
Sat 9th June – Sat 7th July 2012
Fri/Sat/Sun 11.00 am – 4.00 pm and by appointment
Admission is free
Karen Thompson’s exhibition borrows its title from a toy ‘model farm’ pack, the kind you might give to a child for rather worthy educational purposes. The artist translates elements of this ‘model farm’ to explore much darker aspects of a contemporary agricultural theme linked inextricably to the production, supply, packaging, branding and consumption of food.
The installation invites the viewer to share the artist’s concerns through associations implied by the arrangement of ceramic sculptural figures, drawings and photographic images. ‘Farm World’ is a deftly constructed installation which invites closer inspection and contemplation; all is not what it seems down on the farm, and the rural idyll becomes less of a reality than we’d like to imagine.
Inevitably the agricultural theme incorporates ethical and ecological concerns about the impact of current day farming methods and food production on the environment; genetic engineering of crops, use of pesticides, erosion of natural habitats and the frequently inhumane rearing and slaughter of animals.
These strands are suggested, hinted at darkly, and presented obliquely in the work. The figure of a ‘model farm’ worker, for example, takes on an ambiguity through the alteration of scale which creates a disturbing and threatening aspect to his role and identity. Decorative ceramic pots used to store eggs in millions of kitchens up and down the country translate into something far more ominous. The domestic takes on global economic and environmental ramifications.
It’s appropriate that ceramics is the primary medium for ‘Farm World’. We cook our food in ceramic dishes and eat off ceramic plates and bowls every day, without a second thought. Our choice of dinner service reflects our lifestyle, income and social aspirations. Karen Thompson’s ceramic figures are not, however, as reassuring as first impressions might lead us to believe.
Karen Thompson has been ceramicist-in-residence at Crescent Arts since 2010. She graduated with a BA (Hons) Ceramics from Bath Spa University and studied ceramics and glass at the Royal College of Art in 2009-10. Recent exhibitions include ‘Unbreakable’ at Goose and Moose in Malton,2011, and Showcase at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland, 2011-2012. She runs ceramics workshops at Crescent Arts and has participated in Scarborough Art Gallery’s recent workshops programme. Scarborough Museums Trust commissioned ‘Charmology Head’, a ceramic work for the current exhibition ‘Fears, Foes and Faeries’ at Scarborough Art Gallery showing until the 30th September 2012. Karen Thompson is happy to discuss further commissions.
North Yorkshire Open Studios 2012
Sat 9th / Sun 10th / Sat 16th / Sun 17th
10.30 am – 5.30 pm
Admission is free
SuPeRmArT expands the theme of production, packaging and consumption. All resident artists at Crescent Arts are contributing to this mini-supermarket-style installation. If you’re concerned about dubious pricing and bargain offers at some of the UK’s major retail outlets, you’ll need to be particularly vigilant if you’re shopping at SuPeRmArT. All packaging and no content? That’s for you to decide.
North Yorkshire Open Studios 2012
Dawn Brooks, Jade Montserrat, Susan Slann, Karen Thompson
Once again it’s that time of year, and an opportunity to catch a fascinating glimpse of the inside of artists’ studios across the North Yorkshire region. Four of the artists at Crescent Arts are opening their studios to visitors and will be on hand to talk about their work. Printmaker, Dawn Brooks, is a longstanding resident artist whose work has been exhibited across the UK and in international print shows. Jade Montserrat joined us recently and is establishing her practice working with text, paper and book making. Susan Slann is a painter and printmaker whose work is well known across the region, and Karen Thompson will be happy to show more of her work and talk about ‘Farm World’.
There’ll be an opportunity to purchase work, at very reasonable prices, directly from each artist’s studio.
Friday 18th May from 6pm -10pm Admission to Crescent Arts is free.
The Crescent is the place to be for Museums at Night on Friday 18th May.
Crescent Arts presents an exciting programme for Museums at Night coinciding with Scarborough Arts Gallery’s Delight Night, which means you can imbibe a heady cocktail of art, films, books, workshops, music and more, all in one place.
Future Shorts Festival
The first ever global pop up film festival showcasing exciting short films from around the world arrives in Scarborough. Filmakers, audiences and festival partners come together to create the next generation film festival with a worldwide audience of half a million in 147 cities and 55 countries.
Crescent Arts will give a continual screening from 6-10pm of the Future Shorts spring programme as part of Museums at Night.
The programme, which runs for 80 minutes, features:
Bear – dir. Nash Edgerton (Australia 2011)
Quadrangle – dir. Amy Grappell (USA 2010)
Venus – dir. Tor Fruergaard (Denmark 2012)
The Arm – dir. Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos, Jessie Ennis (USA 2012)
Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die By Your Side) – dir. Spike Jonze, Simon Cahn (France 2011)
Love You More – dir. Sam Taylor Wood (UK 2007)
L’Homme Sans Tete (The Man Without a Head) – dir. Juan Solanas (France 2003)
Please note that the Future Shorts film programme carries 18+ certification.
Admission is free.
Artist Writes combines many of Crescent Arts’ activities in one programme; exhibitions, events, talks, workshops and professional development for artists.
Artist Writes starts with The Portable Reading Room from Leeds-based Wild Pansy Press, open to visitors at our studios in Scarborough 14th April – 19th May. We’re offering poetry readings, talks and events and invite you to participate in ‘But…’ a live text-work.
Workshops in writing, printmaking, paper making, marbling and book making add to the theme of books and writing. See the current workshop pages of our website for more information about these activities.
The Wild Pansy Press
Saturday 14th April – Saturday 19th May
Opening times: Fri-Sun 11.00am – 4.00pm and by appointment.
Admission is free.
Events: dates and times as advertised below.
The Portable Reading Room acts as a mobile bookshop, gallery and project space, and will be installed within Crescent Arts’ gallery/project space as a form of social sculpture, creating a space for reading, viewing and exploring the book as an expressive medium. A range of publications will be available for sale during the exhibition. Wild Pansy Press publications will act as a focus, and the Portable Reading Room invites participation and social interaction.
The Wild Pansy Press is the brainchild of Simon Lewandowski and Christopher Taylor, artist-curator-publishers, who define their work as a collective art practice using publication as a way of making and distributing art.
The Wild Pansy Press catalogue comprises books and projects which challenge and extend the usual notions of the book format and publishing. The Wild Pansy Press Book of Rainy Day Activities exemplifies their approach; a compilation of instructional projects focusing on self-organisation, distributed as four A2 sheets which fold into a 64-page book. Wild Pansy Press seek to blur boundaries between literature and art and to extend our understanding and appreciation of these forms.
For more information about Wild Pansy Press visit
We’re hosting a series of events and participatory activities within the context of The Portable Reading Room and Artist Writes.
Help us to create the ultimate pot boiler. Stray thoughts and peripheral visions encouraged. Multi-dimensional literature written by you, to occupy an entire room over five weeks. Each contributing author receives a complimentary unexpurgated published copy of ‘But…’ at its random point of completion.