One to Twenty, Yoevil Town Centre, Barber Swindells, 2012

The project created a series of new visual arts commissions, exposing enigmatic or unknown aspects of Somerset. The project aimed to attract new audiences through bringing new and dynamic work to the region, and through a series of associated events.

The project asked artists to find and respond to something about, or that happens in Somerset that is not generally known about. It could be an activity, a hidden landscape, a little known community or industry. It could be a pleasant or an unpleasant discovery.

SAW appointed Guest Curator, Karen Gaskill to support the overall delivery of the project. We worked with Karen to select and deliver new commissions, exposing enigmatic or unknown aspects of Somerset, by three international artists, Karen Guthrie (R+D only), Barber Swindells (Claire Barber & Steve Swindells) & lluminos (Matt & Rob Vale).

Also we worked with international artist designer collective, Konvertible (Lisa Cheung & Sammy Delgado Escobar) to deliver a collaborative project with local artists and makers, Cafe Konvertible in Art Weeks 2011 and Hip Hawker in December 2012.

As part of the project, we supported the process of research and development of artists and curatorial development. We  commissioned critical writings on the new commissions and published Creative Endeavours: A curatorial guide for artists in Somerset.

Maximum Exposure was supported by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts Funding Programme. The project has supported SAW in developing curatorial skills within the organisation and the county’s wider artist community. The funding offered SAW the opportunity to develop new commissions, to work with a Guest Curator and to develop a curatorial toolkits for artists in Somerset.

New commissions across the county of Somerset

Working with Guest Curator, Karen Gaskill, SAW commissioned the following artists to develop and deliver new work based on their vision and originality.

Karen Guthrie (Research & Development) 

Karen Guthrie is an artist and film-maker based in rural Cumbria. For Maximum Exposure she wanted to create a video work about the context and culture within and around the prison, HMP Shepton Mallet. Prisons are often positioned near rural, often-affluent communities for whom the institution creates ambivalent and complex feelings, with care often being taken to conceal the presence of the institution from tourists and locals. Guthrie’s work would explore the duality and connection of these two worlds. Due to unforeseen circumstances this project could not be completed.

‘Taunton Stop Line’ by Ilminos

lluminos are a lighting designer and film/installation artist brothers. Using website, archive, projection and endurance, for Maximum Exposure Illuminos created a unique video projection event along the Taunton Stop Line. Built during World War II, the Taunton Stop Line consists of hundreds of ‘pill boxes’ – military bunkers designed to stop a potential German advance from the west. Between Friday 24th February & Sunday 4th March 2012, the pillboxes were illuminated and projected upon in turn, using imagery and iconography from the structures original usage. For more details www.tauntonstoplinelive.co.uk

Click here to read Critical Review by Sally O’Reilly

‘One to Twenty’ by Claire Barber & Steve Swindells

Claire Barber and Steve Swindells form the artist collaboration Barber Swindells. For Maximum Exposure Barber Swindells responded to the history and current industry of glove making in Yeovil and the surrounding district. Their final commission focused on work wear manufacturers Southcombe Bros who make 80% of fire crew gloves used in the UK. The work launch in June 2012 at Foundry House at Yeovil and placed outdoor during SuperSaturday event in Yeovil in September 2012.

Click here to read the Critical review by Sally O’Reilly 

‘Café Konvertible’ by Lisa Cheung & Sammy Delgado Escobar

International artists group Konvertible (Lisa Cheung and designer Sammy Delgado Escobar) used a 1970’s classic VW Camper Van as a mobile, collaborative design studio. The studio toured venues around Somerset, inviting participants to attend free craft workshops on the theme of café life. Café ‘Konvertible’ worked with more than 200 participants, amateurs and professionals, using found materials to create objects unique to each area for Somerset Art Weeks 2011. Cafe Konvertible is co-curated by Lisa Cheung & Zoe Li.

Hip Hawker by Lisa Cheung & Sammy Delgado Escobar

Konvertible visited Somerset again in December 2012 to work with artists in Somerset, Fiona Campbell, Sarah Conway-dyer, Gary Dickins, Liz Green, Fiona Hingston, Leah Hislop, Lucy Lean and Tracy Nesbit to construct an imaginative, unique pop-up kiosk called, “Hip Hawker” to display products from Cafe Konvertible. The kiosk exhibited in Taunton Library from 11th to 29th December 2012. 

About Karen Gaskill

Karen Gaskill was appointed as guest curator for the project. Karen took an overview of the commissions and work closely with SAW Team to create the project’s overall identity. She also worked with SAW team to commission critical writing for the new commissions and co-wrote the Curatorial Toolkit for Artists in Somerset.

Karen Gaskill is an independent curator and freelance researcher based in London, UK. Karen works nationally and internationally across independent venues and commercial gallery spaces. Recent exhibitions include Constellations at Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester, co-curated with Michelle Kasprzak; the co-curation of the FutureEverything 2010 arts programme, and Save Us, Macclesfield, July 2010. She has a PhD in Social Curation, an MRes in Fine Art and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Textiles. www.occasionallysomewhere.org