Curio•sea•ty is an artistic collaboration between Lorna Barrowclough and Hondartza Fraga. Our project will explore human relationships with the sea, using objects that help shape our experience of it as a starting point. The notions of the sea's identity, distance, survival and physicality of the sea will be used as the framework on which to question common associations with the sea and its role in cultural imagination.
The project will start in May 2014 and will culminate in an art exhibition at East Street Arts Project Space in 2015. We will use an initial research period as an exploratory time for experimentation, knowledge and skill exchange, as well as for attending conferences and visiting collections. We are especially interested in the transatlantic relationship and plan to visit museums in North America and Europe. This will be followed by a production period to make the new works and mount a public exhibition.
Using the themes 'identity', 'distance', 'survival' and 'physicality' as the research framework, we will identify certain objects that inspire us for their potential to engage with more than one of these aspects of human-sea relationships. The object then becomes the catalyst for analysis through practice-based artistic experimentation.
As individual artists, we both currently approach the notion of the sea from two different contexts and with different methodologies. Traditions, heritage and superstitions are the drive of Lorna's work, with more recent focus on the maritime; scientific and cultural interpretations and the identity of the sea are recurrent elements of Hondartza's practice.
Through our conversations we have realised that there are overlapping interests but also contradictions, challenges and tensions in our works. These contrasts will feed each other's work and help our practices develop further. This project will also provide the dedicated time to experiment with new ways of working and to learn from each other's skills and knowledge and from the evaluation of our peers. Through collaboration our work will evolve in unexpected ways that would not otherwise emerge.
The opportunity to visit collections will allow an invaluable focus for our practices and the research theme, and will help to realise our work's potential. Although we both have been involved in small-scale collaborations, this will be the first collaboration focused on the creative process and not on the final product. We have reached a level in our careers where we need to dedicate time to a substantial period of research, and the financial support to develop this project will enable us to realise it fully and without compromise. The collaborative nature of the project will add the diversity that we know is critical in its development.
We are both based in Leeds, where we have our studios, so most of the time we will be developing the new works in our studios there. When we travel to research locations our journeys will be documented and shared out online, alongside sketches, videos, interviews and photographs.
We will share our progress from the beginning through our blog as well as peer-to-peer and open studio sessions. This way we hope we will open our process to anybody interested in the sea and its exploration through art. Curioseaty.wordpress.com
Please get involved and support this new stage in our artistic careers!
About our work
Lorna Barrowclough is a visual artist working predominantly with sculpture, collage and photography. Her work is inclusive and experimental and whilst there is a respect for the traditions of the techniques, she endeavors to offer a refreshing open approach to the materials and methods that might be utilised. Her site-specific pieces have engaged with objects and materials that have particular place meaning; a process of importing a history, to export it back out to the place in reference. To either reinforce an already acknowledged site or industry heritage to the viewer; or reawaken a heritage that should be remembered. Her recent use of shells and molasses in various installation pieces explores the precious nature of the 'jewels' that the sea discards and for which it is plundered for, in particular the Oyster trade (past and present). lornabarrowclough.com
Hondartza Fraga uses drawing, photography, animation and video as her main mediums to explore our individual and collective relation to the world around us, the different ‘distances’ between ourselves and everything else: spatial, temporal, emotional, cultural and imagined. Featured in her work are model ships, maps, earth globes and other domestic objects that evoke an idea of travel or faraway places. In the work, these objects act as links between home and elsewhere, questioning the meaning of both terms and our position in-between. The sea is a constant reference for it represents and aims at everything that is remote to us, the unknown that because of its uncouthness is promptly romanticized. Her most recent work explores whales, whale carcasses and the place of these great mammals in the human imagination. hondartzafraga.com
Risks and challenges
As artists we find it difficult to afford research trips to the locations that we need to inform our work. We balance our creative careers with other sources of financial support and this leaves also limited time to fully dedicate to research.
These are difficult times for funding in the arts and the competition is stiff. We have worked out the budget on the minimum it will require for us to develop a high quality artwork exhibition and to carry out the necessary research to create that new work.
This would allow for a series of trips within the UK and abroad to visit key collections and museums, to spend time reading, learning and documenting the objects, places and people that will inform the project’s outcomes, and to offer a minimum fee for our time in creating the final works.
As independent artists we are also resourceful and are continually looking at ways to match fund any amount raised in order to allow the project to grow and be as ambitious as possible. In order to ensure the project is able to go ahead we have set the funding level at the basic minimum needed to ensure a a project with a professional and high quality finish.
We have already secured some funds from East Street Arts to cover some of the travel costs for the research trips, East Street Arts will also support our project with resources and the exhibition space, allowing us to reduce the amount of funding we need to raise. We have also submitted an application to Grants for the Arts - Arts Council and this funding, if successful, will helps towards the costs of our time and expenses.
We are fully committed to this project, and very excited to begin! The main challenge we face is the funding necessary to achieve it at the scale it requires!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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