Last Saturday saw the Allotments in Tonbridge rd open its doors, great turnout of local people and pool arts members. What a great day had by all the weather was kind to us. Along with wood fired pizza we had live acoustic music from bird to beast. Part of the event was a guided tour of the other allotments. everybody had a great time. The first photo includes pool artist Alison Kershaw and the pool arts shed housing members art work. The second picture is an image of gardeners home ground prize vegetables.
But like Eddie, it was the detail that caught Chris’s eye. Beautiful horses, symbols of untamed freedom; iconic creatures of America and the Wild West: here used as a method of control by the police in the city square that day. In her delicate piece How The Myth Was Won, she traces the mythical spirit horse through coralled horses – a repression of the spirit.
Alison Kershaw’s The Lost America Of Love (after Alan Ginsberg) and
Akinmyemi Oludele’s Statue of Liberty echo a similar idea; an America that exists in the mind, in art – but is tarnished or corrupted – Ginsberg describes the tawdry, dark and self destructive seams of urban USA in his poetry, but in A Supermarket in California, he laments the America that Walt Whitman believed in, full of hope, optimism, possibilities, beauty and solidarity.
In James Bloomfield’s piece I Hear America Singing, Whitman is evoked once again and the contrast and connection between the ceramic pistols baked using a fire pit, a potent relic made useless through the most basic of traditional materials, and the shiny red Nike sneakers box speaks of a wastefulness of objects destined for the landfill.
In her video True Stories, Penny Arcade performs some the complexities and politics of advancing capitalist western democracy, through the lives of the individuals who survive its harsher effects and whose voices add to the richness of the culture in a film of her performance True Stories NYC
Penny Arcade was invited to inspire Pool Arts whilst they were individually researching the theme of New York. Artist Nicola Smith has been a long time fan of Penny , and created a video performance: There’s Only One Penny Arcade which she sent to Penny herself. In response, Penny agreed to visit us here in Manchester to meet the artists and exhibit alongside them.
Pool Arts is excited and honoured to host one of the world’s pioneering performance artists – who has spent over 40 years honing her skills and expressing a powerful political stance, positively promoting queer identities and offering a fierce defence of civil rights.
Penny Arcade was one of the original Factory Superstars in Andy Warhol’s pop art empire. Pool Arts are keen to hear what it was like to be part of that powerful art scene, when New York was the go-to city for artists, musicians, performers and political movements. Simon Mawdsley’s work highlights the involvement of the CIA in the promotion of American contemporary painting in the 1950s as a weapon in the cold war, spreading liberal values of “Freedom” in Europe and Russia. His enlarged portraits of the agents – also significant board members of MOMA – peer out from the upper windows of Horsfall Space with knowing gazes.
Meanwhile in the mini-reproduction of his installation The Long Leash, Simon’s map of Manhattan shows the locations where the artists developed their abstract expressionist practices, part of a counter culture that rejected traditional technique and figurative representation and turned their focus inwards, no doubt oblivious to the manipulation of their work on the world stage.
Another map is employed by R.M who invites us to take up the Situationist activity of a Derive through Manchester’s streets, using a map of New York as a guide…turn right, turn left, straight on – see where you end up! We’d love you to tweet us the results @poolartists Or Why not place yourself in New York for a selfie? Dave Speers invites you to Get Inside Central Park using a trick with a mirror….and don’t forget you can get a tour of the exhibition with Traë England-Shortt in her performance Conversations with A Hot Dog
America, the land of iconic artists, towering twentieth-century-people-products. l. Baron creates surreal brightly-coloured pictures of imagined characters whose features melt into graphic shapes floating in space. Surrealists of the 1930 and 40s influenced the culture in New York where they fled to from Europe. Marcel Duchamp, gave up art to play chess whilst influencing John Cage, Merce Cunningham and countless others. Baron has created an homage to his hero: Elvis Presley in New York floats against a kind of chess board and floating squares. Jade Richards and Annette Ebanks have created expressive drawings, prints and paintings based on the architecture and culture of the city.
Dee Cee acknowledges the 1930s New Deal programme in America that sought to put the unemployed to work – it has inspired many a government programme both in the States and here in UK. Her wall hung memorial piece based the image of a Rorschach Test and cast in jesmonite, is titled Callum’s List: The list where welfare reform is alleged to have some culpability… See http://wowpetition.com/calums-list/ that refers to people in the UK in the 21st century
In Birdland, Manchester born RuQia (Artiste) has chosen to give us a selection of infamous Jazz singers who she resonates with as a vocalist. Their repertoires portray aspects of their personal soul journeys, a medley of moods representing the jazz and blues of oppression, pain, passion, glory and glamour. As a singer herself, Ruqia has placed her own image (with typical Mancunian cheek!) alongside those of just a few of her heroines – she identifies not only with their music , but also the way in which they presented the public image of themselves in studio shots, and how their raw emotions can not help but spill out in the more spontaneous photographs from their performances.
About Pool Arts:
Being a small self-run, charitable organisation, that includes artists who may be excluded and marginalised through mental health needs, Pool Arts asks why they should not have the best artistic experiences? Why not visit New York – even in our dreams? Why not have a decent studio? Why not exhibit in good venues? Why not have support to continue our practice? This is the raison d’être of Pool Arts.
“Pool Arts is a work of art in it’s own right. Constantly adapting and shifting with it’s changing membership” says artist Alison Kershaw, who has worked with Pool Arts for over 12 years. “Together, we are creating new platforms for artists, asking who can be an artist, what is collaboration and what is art for?”
With notions about the potential of art practice influenced in part from the legacies of conceptual and relational art, and with a nod to activism and community practices, we are looking at art as an environment; art as a social organism; art as an organisation. Together, we question the nature of co-production and co-curating between artists contributing to the world of art by offering models of art that work both inside and outside contemporary, critical art readings.
Pool Arts hosted Penny Arcade, Andy Warhol’s original Factory Superstar and a collaborator with the father of performance art Jack Smith, last weekend in a series of unique events in Manchester.
Penny Arcade attended an Afternoon Tea Party in the yard at Horsfall Space at 42nd Street where she met with Pool Arts members and friends. Her video work True Stories NYC was shown in the exhibition Dreaming Of New York at the same venue. Later there was a special Dinner with Penny Arcade at Manchester’s coolest new venue HOME, followed by performances by local artists and Penny Arcade in Person performing.
We also welcomed honoured guest David Hoyle and both he and Penny Arcade are keen to support Pool Arts and their vision of a more inclusive art scene.
Our AGM will be held at 4pm on Thursday 3rd July at Federation House Studios (5th Floor) All Welcome – please contact us if you wish to attend.
The business of the day will be to present the Annual Report / Accounts and election of Trustees.
We have been successful in securing Heritage Lottery Funding for our latest project – Furiously Mad – 300 years of Legal Insanity.
In 1714, Parliament passed a law that for the first time allowed for the legal detention of people ‘Of little or no estates, who by lunacy, or otherwise, are furiously mad’. Pool Arts wish to commemorate this event, and subsequent milestones in the history of mental health care, mainly in England and Wales. We would aim to do this in two ways – by presenting excerpts from this history in both graphical and textual forms. Alongside this, we would, as individual artists use various media to explore the issues raised by this history. This would include responses informed by archival research as well as personal experience in this field.
The exhibition will open at the People’s History Museum in April 2014 and run until the 30th June 2014. Watch this space.
Becoming an artist can be a powerful way to express yourself raise questions and bring purpose to life #Iwantyoutoknow