Sunday, 3 October 2010

Causing Chaos Symposium

Yesterday a group of people attended the Causing Chaos Symposium run by Fife Contemporary Art and Crafts. Accompanying the current exhibition of the same name at St Andrews museum, the day consisted of a pewter casting workshop run by Roddy Mathieson and his 'Alchemy' mobile foundry ( ), talks from Ceramicist Richard Slee and Sculptor Jane Simpson and a panel discussion with all the artists taking part in the exhibition.
The day was fun and informative, and thankfully the rain stayed off for the outdoor casting workshop!
There was much discussion of the interplay between the terms 'Art' and 'Crafts' and the need for makers to label their work or their practice. It was interesting to hear practicing 'artists' debate the preoccupation in this country with defininng art/craft practice. Jewellery and metalwork designer Shari Pierce commented on her own surprise at the level of importance the arguments around definition hold in the UK.
Richard Slee's talk gave an interesting introduction to his career. His decision in 2004 that he would not longer make a functioning pot has led him to create work which challenges the viewer to enjoy the 'futility' in his objects. He 'gentrifies' everyday objects, rendering them useless. The humour injected into his presentation has definitely made him an artist I'll be rtesearching a little bit more.
Jane Simpson's ice 'scupltures' were a point of much discussion. By using refrigeration units connected to existing structures, she creates disarming pieces of work which encourage the viewer to consider surfaces and textures outside their normal context. She showed images of a balustrade in an exhibition in Mexico that she had effectively frozen. It would be really fascinating to see some of her work live, to experience the 'moments of joy' she likes to produce.

The whole day was really enjoyable and I'm glad it was so well attended. Its great for Fife to be able to host events and exhibitions like these so people can have access to excellent international artists and art objects.

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