Approved: 07.02.2007

Simon Woolham

Artist, Maker, Curator, Researcher, Gallery educator

Approved: 07.02.2007

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.

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

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    Biography

    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.

     

    At the core of my practice is the collaborative exploration and encouragement of hidden human details, collective, shared histories, stories associated with belonging and the relationships to specific places and spaces, providing a voice to often unheard narrative. I explore the realms between fact and fiction in narrative through both a studio based, and collaborative practice, an expanded notion of drawing through writing, Biro drawings, walking, performance and film. I expand this through a variety of ways, mixing new technologies and older, more traditional processes.

     

    I equally see drawing as walking and talking, as shared narrative lines, a performative act, drawing as a way of exploring both a psychological space and its narrative meaning, a way of walking through layers of one’s own memory, as well as connecting with others stories.

     

    In my attempts to unearth and perform this unpredictable and fragile process of generating narrative, I use biro drawings, paper interventions, hand-made artist’s books and stone-lithography prints. More recently I have made a series of works that focus on recurring motifs 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 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.

     

    My recently completed practice-led PhD project was focused around a collaborative residency, specifically researching how walking relates to narrative in physically embodied, virtual and psychological space. My practice-led research explored the relationship between walking (physically and virtually) and generating narrative around a particular place. This materialised as the website www.insearchoftheshortcuts.com which incorporates a live ‘outline’ version of Google Maps, appropriately situating and enlivening the practice. 

    CV & Education

    Recent practice Led PhD Research at MIRIAD - MMU Manchester

    IN SEARCH OF THE SHORTCUTS
    Walking and narrative in physical, virtual and psychological space

    Artistic programmerr at PAPER an artist run gallery in Manchester www.paper-gallery.co.uk

    One half of M4SK 22 with David Moss 

     

    Selected Solo exhibitions: 

    2016 - In Search Of The Shortcuts, Art On Paper, BOZAR, Brussels, with PAPER 

    2013 - The Wanderer, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe

    2008 - Dark Corner, Margaret Harvey Gallery St Albans

    2008 - The Invader, Chapter, Cardiff

    2008 - The Short Cut, Kings Lynn Arts Centre, Norfolk

    2007 - Our Place, BLOC Space, Sheffield

    2007 - Residency and Solo Show, Museum of Garden History, Lambeth, London

    2007 - The bridge was a good place to throw stuff off........, Leicester City Art Gallery (Offsite), Leicester

    2004 - Hanging Out at the Lamppost, The Lowry, Salford, Manchester

     

    Select Group exhibitions:

    2015 - Sound & Vision, PAPER, Manchester

    2015 - KÖLNER LISTE Art Fair, PAPER, Cologne

    2015 - We shape our buildings: therefore they shape us, London Art Fair

    2014 - Jonbar Archaeology, NN Contemporary Art, Northampton

    2014 - Unstable Ground, PAPER, Manchester (Curated by Simon Woolham)

    2014 - Soft Estate, Spacex, Exeter                   

    2014 - Soft Estate, The Bluecoat, Liverpool

    2013 - Fine Art Schools Group Show, Kunst Acacedmie, Dresden, Germany

    2011 - In Close Succession, Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich

    2010 - Re:Animate, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Powys

    2010 - The Great Outdoors, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth

    2009 - Celebration of Earth Day, The Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, USA

    2009 - In Between the Lines, New British Drawing, Trinity Contemporary, London

    2009 - Le Roman du Lievre: Marginalia, MTS Gallery (and Touring), Anchorage, Alaska

    2009 - Project Pigeon, Pictorial, Curated by Alex Lockett and Ian England

    2008 - Inside-Out, Wysing Arts Centre, Bourn, Cambridge

    2008 - The Golden Record, Collective Gallery, Edinburgh

    2008 - Wysing Arts Centre Group Show, Wysing Arts Centre, Bourne, Nr Cambridge

    2006 - Snowdomes, National Glass Centre, Sunderland Intervention

    2009 - TESTCARD Projeckt, Online, Online Residencies

     

    Residencies and Projects

    2015 - The Manchester College, Contemporary Art Practice, Artist in Residence  

    2011 - Interchange Flow , Fermynwoods Contremporary Art, 2 week residency on a narrowboat from Leighton Buzzard to Oundle

    2011 - Print Residency, Hole Editions, Newcastle Upon Tyne

    2009 - Urban Origami, Various Venues, www.urbanorigami.blogspot.com, Various Locations

    2008 - Severed, The Deracinater and The Isle, Animate and RSA Arts and Ecology Commission, www.animateprojects.org/films/by_project/stop_watch 

    2008 - Tatton Park Biennial 08, Tatton Park, Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire 

    2007 - Per Cent for Art Commission/Residency in County Wexford, Ireland, Per Cent for Art, Enniscorthy, Enniscorthy Projects

    2007 - Shreds of Evidence (Museum of Garden History Publication written by Danielle Arnaud and Lisa Le Feurve)

    2006 - Our Place (Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Creative Partnerships Publication)

    2006 - BALTIC/Creative Partnerships 'Artist in Residence', BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art, Newcastle Upon Tyne Public commissions