A new project that explores how contemporary art practice can be developed in the Western region of Dumfries and Galloway.
ROAM (West) is a new project that explores how contemporary art practice can be developed in the Western region of Dumfries & Galloway.
Led by artist-curator Jack Ky Tan, ROAM (West) will investigate the potential for developing contemporary visual arts in Western Dumfries & Galloway, while also providing space and opportunity for practitioners to connect, exchange knowledge and exhibit alongside one another.
A small group of artists with a specific interest in contemporary arts practice will work alongside Jack to explore questions about how contemporary art can be made in a rural context, what is needed to support it, and whether there is an audience for it. The group will meet regularly between October 2022 and August 2023 to share their works-in-progress, exchange knowledge & experience, and partipate in group exhibitions & public engagement events.
Throughout the project, Jack will also be conducting research to explore the potential of developing contemporary rural art practice through writing, curating, consulting with other rural visual arts organisations, public programming, and reviewing policy or other literature.
ROAM (West) sits within a wider programme of activities that seek to investigate, explore and grow space for contemporary art and experimental projects in our rural region, considering new routes to engagement and reflexive models of evalutation.
About the artist
Jack Ky Tan is an artist who uses law, policy, social norms and customs as a medium of making art. He creates performances, sculpture and participatory projects that highlight the rules that guide human behaviour. In Jack’s social practice, he blurs the boundaries between art, governance and consultancy in order to help organisations reform and revise themselves using artistic thinking. Jack trained as a lawyer and worked in civil rights NGOs before becoming an artist. Jack’s practice-led PhD at Roehampton University explored legal aesthetics and performance art. He has taught sculpture at the Royal College of Art and University of Brighton, politics at Goldsmiths and theatre at Roehampton University. Jack’s recent and forthcoming work includes a yearlong artist’s residency on the Board of FACT Liverpool, curating an exhibition on island life for the Salisbury International Arts Festival, and constitutional development for Transmission Gallery in Glasgow. Jack is from Singapore and lives in The Machars, Wigtownshire.
About the participating artists
As someone who finds it difficult to express how they feel, I tend to let my work do the talking for me. My work acts as a response to an emotion or place, trying to find a sense of escaping as well as creating a sense place by using metaphors and symbolism.
Growing up in Stranraer I found certain places help maintain my mental health – the sea helps calm my thoughts, while forests help distract me – and these places are what constantly inspire and influence my work.
The walk is the most essential part of my work, being surrounded by nature allows for breathing to feel easier and instantly calms the mind. The photography comes second, with images allowing me to revisit these places and feel how I felt whilst there, without having too physically be there.
Image by Savannah Crosby
Art is how I make sense of the world. I draw, paint, write, perform, make murals, graphic novels, animation, videos, songs, soundscapes. My paintings and drawings are often part of a larger narrative that ventures into the realm of imagination. I use whatever media an idea or project seems to demand. This is sometimes risky, but risk leads to discovery and growth. I believe in the transformative power of the arts to make life better and love working with people to unleash their creative potential. I often create collaboratively, interacting with communities and groups, researching, documenting and re-inventing the stories of people and places.
My practice encompasses more than a traditional definition of 'art'. Getting a degree in law (specialising in copyrights, contracts and other issues crucial to arts practice) was part of my larger vision of supporting artists and making projects happen. I've negotiated numerous project contracts, managed the fundraising, design and build of Castlefield Gallery (Manchester), advised arts organisations, development learning programmes and taught law and business for the arts in settings ranging from community groups to major universities and online workshops.
Website - https://www.hopelondon.com/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/hopelondonartist/
'Mother and Child' (2021) by Hope London
Frances Ross works with clay and fired materials to create sculptural works, tiles and architectural ceramics. Her work is grounded in the study of natural systems, the patterns of creation, and the forces that move them. She makes her work through investigations of material and process. Through experimentation, she learns from the energies of the materials and develops processes reflecting the dialogue between her hands and the material. Her work aims to create a sensuous connection with the viewer
Her making processes include liquid porcelain poured over specially made plaster moulds, to create an unrepeated and unrepeatable fluid movements. Each batch of porcelain slip has its own specific gravity and energy, and it always has the last word. Tiny quantities of oxides are mixed into the porcelain to create subtle shifts in colour. For stoneware work, Ross develops glazes that flow and foam over the surface of the ceramic in the kiln, and incorporates materials more usually found in industrial settings – such as refractory concrete and reinforcing metal needles.
Website - www.francesrossceramics.com
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/francesrossmakes/
'Square Dance' 4-4-2 by Frances Ross
I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2007 and now work as a designer and printmaker from my home studio in Wigtown where I create contemporary prints and artworks primarily inspired by found and vintage objects.
I have often found myself at a crossroads with my work and, particularly since lockdown, have questioned the possibilities of using my medium as a means of vocalising the things that matter to me most. As a mother of four, I am conscious of my children’s deepest needs for love, safety and assurance and have always been troubled that there are so many people in the world without these. Alongside my normal practice, I am hoping to create a new body of work over this next year exploring themes of belonging and the fundamental need for everyone to have a safe place to call home.
I have always been drawn towards projects that enable me to engage with audiences through the creation of interactive artworks and hope to do so again through this project, working with print to create artists books and three dimensional artworks as a means of engagement and enabling me to elevate my practice beyond the traditional printed page.
Website - https://sarahstewartprintmaker.co.uk/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/sarahmakesprints/
Image by Sarah Stewart
Anne Waggot Knott
Anne is a socially engaged artist and geographer undertaking varied, cross-disciplinary work. She splits her time between her own creative enquiry and a programme of carefully chosen, high quality engagement projects.
A member of the PLACE Collective and an honorary researcher with the University of Cumbria’s Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas, she has a broad, conceptual practice often focused on human-environment interactions, journeys, and peripheries. The connections between place, space and identity are recurring themes. Her work is frequently anchored in experimental printmaking, but she also uses film, 3D processes, creative writing and sculpture.
Itinerant around the border area and beyond, she sees ROAM as an exciting opportunity to meet other artists, spark off each other, make new work in a positive, supportive, forward-thinking setting, to be challenged and create something challenging - all in a unique rural context. Something communal and hyper-local but also novel and ambitious for each artist on a personal level. Something for everyone to build on.
Working and connecting ‘out west’ is important and she’s here as much on behalf of other artists who hover at the periphery of their geographies or demographics as she is for herself. Interesting stuff happens at the edge of things.
Instagram - www.instagram.com/knottintheoffice
Image by Anne Waggot Knott
After a long spell as an itinerant artist living, working and studying in Dublin, London and Glasgow and undertaking projects in Spain, Greece, Ireland, Canada and Alaska, I now find myself settling in Galloway. A large part of this settling process is the restoration and conversion of part of the old Bladnoch Creamery into a live/work space for me to settle into. My time spent working on and coordinating large scale
public art projects has allowed me to transfer skills from one to the other, project managing the renovation and doing a lot of the work myself.
Although it’s frustrating taking time out from making art to devote to the conversion, it is a necessary part of me being an artist. Although I’m not making ‘art’, I am making a place to make art. I find myself wondering if there’s a difference between the two? Most of my public work has had a strong community focus. My current work also has a community focus, me becoming part of the local community.
Website - https://www.delwhitticase.co.uk/
'Ring Fence' by Del Whitticase
Project funded by Creative Scotland.