Week 6 and Album Listening Party!

Bearing in mind that I'm writing this almost a week after the end of the residency and album listening party, I can safely say it's taken a while for me to recover from both. I wasn't sure how I would take to being In Residence. I'm used to performing in public with bands, but I work in my artist studio alone. Making my art process and practice fully visible to the public was quite a daunting thing to do. I liked the idea of it being a performative residency and made sure that I was readily available as much as I possibly could be for people to talk to about the work. I have been overwhelmed by how enjoyable it was to speak to people and also how those interactions have given me a new insight into the way my paintings are or can be perceived by others. It's opened my eyes to new possibilities and changed the way I see my painting, photographs, prints and songwriting. I had a long and detailed conversation with Leigh Mayhew on the final day I was actually working at the gallery. We talked extensively about walking. Walking is the beginning of the artistic process for me. I'd like to see it as an artistic practice in itself, a means to its own end, but have struggled to do so without producing a final, finished piece as a direct result of a particular walk. As part of the residency I had a series of about 70 photographs taken on various walks in East Anglia, London, Sheffield, Devon and some from my time on tour with the band. It enabled me to see them all as part of a whole. A process of observation of the British Landscape and in particular the concrete structures within it. My obsession with Brutalist Architecture is not a new found, abstract thing. It's long standing and I would now also include concrete structures such as motorway flyovers, roads, bus shelters, Martello towers, garages, council estate buildings, lamposts and even bollards under that Brutalist umbrella. The photographer Tom Owens coined an appropriate term for Suffolk's concrete 'scapes, 'Agri-dustrial', which I hope to pursue, perhaps in collaboration with him in the coming months. In a broader sense though, the walking is so important because it forces me to look at the landscape slowly and in detail, searching for structures that don't necessarily belong in a rural context. This is a new insight, a direct result of the residency.
A couple of weeks ago Natalie and I were discussing the album listening party and what format it would take. I was panicking because I wasn't sure that people would be interested enough without some kind of live element. We toyed with the idea of playing an acoustic set in the gallery but none of my band members were available so it wasn't possible. I'm really glad we didn't. Natalie suggested that she and I do an 'In Conversation' at the start of the evening, followed on by the showcasing of my finally mastered album. This was an extremely daunting thing for me to do. I hate public speaking. I had an embarrassing public speaking failure at a 6th form debating event and have avoided it ever since. I didn't expect a big crowd, but there weren't enough seats in the gallery to accommodate everyone. Natalie made the conversation flow easily and I think and hope it was interesting as well as being relaxed and funny. I'm thankful to all those who came for making the evening so cool, to all those who asked me questions, especially my mum Lizzie for bringing things out of the conversation that others wouldn't even know about and I wouldn't think to say, and for staying around afterwards and listening to the album. I'm so proud of the record and the residency and I can't thank the staff at Smiths Row enough for making it happen. I love you all. I'm back in my studio at the Rehearsal Rooms now, preparing for the Autumn walking season!

2 comments

  • Tom Owens

    Tom Owens Ipswich

    Thanks for having a residency, the invite to the listening party and the opportunity to collaborate. I too am eagerly looking forward to getting back out there now the season is upon us. Now I shall be paying more attention to standing structures in the landscape as I extend my series.

    Thanks for having a residency, the invite to the listening party and the opportunity to collaborate. I too am eagerly looking forward to getting back out there now the season is upon us. Now I shall be paying more attention to standing structures in the landscape as I extend my series.

  • Laura Kidd

    Laura Kidd Bristol

    Hi Kate - I just read this and had to share the work of Richard Long with you - http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/richard-long-time-and-space I went to the Arnolfini exhibition and was struck by how he considers his walks to *be* the artwork, I found it very moving. Great to hear you've got new music on the way, I'm looking forward to listening. I still remember you being the cool older girl at the Monday night indie disco in Bury, I'm glad you're still all that and more :) Laura (She Makes War)

    Hi Kate - I just read this and had to share the work of Richard Long with you - http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/richard-long-time-and-space

    I went to the Arnolfini exhibition and was struck by how he considers his walks to *be* the artwork, I found it very moving. Great to hear you've got new music on the way, I'm looking forward to listening. I still remember you being the cool older girl at the Monday night indie disco in Bury, I'm glad you're still all that and more smile

    Laura (She Makes War)

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