Photo: Simon Woolham in Manchester, North West

Simon Woolham

Artist, Maker, Curator, Researcher, Gallery educator

My work is concerned primarily with occupied spaces and the narratives that unfold in them. My drawings of school playing fields, junked underpasses and the like often contain text with the tone of dialogue. Through these glimpses of speech the dilapidated environments come to life in a skint version of enchantment: a tree stump or a broken fence are filled with the meanings of the events that go on around and about them. In my attempts to unearth this unpredictable and fragile process of memory, I use biro drawings, paper interventions, animation, video and text. More recently I have made a series of interventions, films and animations and text that focus on recurring motives that often feature in the work, ditches, unofficial dumps and breached security fences.

My series of Pop-Up drawings inhabit the space between two and three dimensions, transforming folded paper into emotive sites for memory and recollection. The films bring to life a series of landscapes that are digitally manipulated, coloured and made to move. Before each scene a title screen announces a name for the landscape, outdoor scenes are then modified to show some minor action in repetitive motion. These subtle movements such as a falling roof or clicking fence humorously draw attention to the minuscule, the enhanced sound of each action dramatising life's kinetic force. A recent series of moving image films 'Severed' a landscape in peril, coughing up its own blood 'The Deracinater' a tree trying to communicate and uproot itself and 'The Isle' a whole landscape under threat, heighten the human impact and presence on our landscape, both social and ecological.

The work is unassuming, quite often made from simple materials and with seemingly modest aspirations. It is their quotidian qualities, however, that charges them with emotion, not that those emotions are easy to identify. It is not that these works are personal or autobiographical that obscures their emotional content, it is the fact that they are irreducibly, irrevocably unsettling. These sites are the scenes of humiliation as well as innocent play, of rejection and failure as well as fantasy and adventure.

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Location Manchester, North West
Activities Lecturing, Practice-based research, Residencies, Participatory projects, Curating
Artforms / type of project Animation, Book Works, Drawing, Film & Video, Text
Tags drawing, PhD researcher, gallerist, books, animation, text, film, music, PAPER

News & Events

  • Unstable Ground

    Unstable Ground at PAPER, curated by Simon Woolham Annabel Dover - Laura Oldfield Ford - Reece Jones - David Miles George Shaw - Stephen Walter - Lisa Wilkens - Simon Woolham

  • PAPER Industry Commissions

    PAPER at Barnaby Art Festival 2014 16/06/2014 – 29/06/2014 Grosvenor Shopping Centre, Macclesfield. SK11 6AJ PAPER Gallery transform an empty unit within the Grosvenor Shopping Centre.

  • Spirit of Theatre


    An online project with MMU

    Find out more

  • Soft Estate - Spacex, Exeter

    'Soft Estate' has now toured to Spacex, Exeter