THIS MONTH AT CULTIVATE EVOLVED – Do we actually need galleries? What are we doing this month? Walking it or just talking it? Does it matter?
This month at Cultivate Evolved, down on our corner in the middle of Vyner Street, things are as busy, and we’d like to think, as committed as ever. It is mostly about the middle of the street now, doesn’t look like much is going on at top, you need to brave the oil and street wreckage of the taxi garage, pass the seemingly redundant purple neon sign and get yourself down to where you find us, Hada Contemporary, Wayward, Wilkinson and the gallery spaces that are actually really doing it and such to find the art and the life and the things waiting to be explored (beautiful show at Hada this month, back on form again, so please go ring their bell).
We find ourselves looking around, seeing spaces locked on First Thursday, seeing places closed for most of the time, and asking what is the point of having an art space if you’re not going to use it? Surely it isn’t all about cramming it all in to soul-sucking three day cattle market art fairs, surely it isn’t all about internet sales and art reduced to interior design, there to match your wallpaper and your dinner party? You can’t really truly explore art on line anyway can you? Sure the web is a useful reference tool, a place to get a hint of a taste, to learn about an artist or a gallery, a place to start to engage, but surely there’s still a need for art spaces and galleries you can actually physically visit? I don’t feel I’ve experienced a painter until I have stood in front of their work for real, until I have breathed, until I can almost touch it .
Surely we need welcoming places where it still is about just having some space to experience the art? A space for viewing, exhibiting, exploring, showing, sharing? The emotion of exploring creativity? Sure, we all need to sell our art to survive as working artists, and yes, we have rent to pay, bills to deal with, material to buy, but surely it has to be about more than sell sell sell. As a painter i want people to really see my work, experience the texture, the colour, the layers, the energy.. I don’t want to pour everything in to a painting and then just hand it over to some internet salesperson to sell to someone who sticks it is a room never to be seen again, I want it to be seen first, I want it to breathe, I want it to be experienced, i want to share it, exhibit, not something that’s there only for those who can afford to buy it, not something to just be stuck on line or piled up at an art fair cattle market and then lost forever.
We’re fast loosing our East London galleries and working art spaces – gentrification, so called urbanists who talk it rather than walk it, developers – so it is particularly disappointing to see the nice big bright open gallery space up the street being divided up and converted in to small computer-filled office-like spaces, seeming turned over to the business of an internet art warehouse rather than a gallery to explore and experience in. I do hope it isn’t the case, but it does rather look like we’ve lost yet another East London art space. Meanwhile the space directly over from us, once a thriving gallery, now remains mostly locked for no explicable reason while the self-celebrating “urbanist” who bought it all up basks in the on-line glory of his space being named as one of the top five art spaces in the East End by some on-line magazine run by people who’s exploring clearly doesn’t take them much further than the computer in the corner of their room…. We’ve quietly watched for a year or more now, we’ve listened to the talk and waited for the walk, march First Thursday might just have been the last straw.
We artists are being pushed out of our East London spaces, priced out of our galleries, and this time around it looks like those involved in the business of art are the ones closing the spaces on us…. Oh the things we could have done with that big pace up the road rather than our poky little room.
And what of our poky room? We love our room, the walls may not be straight and the windows might be messy but we love our space, the energy might intimidate a little, but hey, like we’ve said before, this is not a room that lends itself to politeness. We’d love more space to spread out a little more… .
The gallery space is now very obviously split up in to ten distinct evolving spaces, this month, EMMA HARVEY has taken over an extra wall space for her month long International Women’s Day project. Following on from last year’s very well received Yeastie Girl celebration of Riot Grrrl, feminism, art and punk rock, Emma has packed one of the wall spaces with art, statement and literature of a feminist nature.. The wall of work went up ahead of March First Thursday and last Saturday’s International Women’s Day and will stay up for the whole of March at Cultivate evolved. Artists featured on Emma’s wall right now are AGATA CARDOSO, BERNADETTE LOUISE, BJORK GRUE LIDIN, CONSUELO CELLUZI, CONSUELO GIORGI, EMMA HARVEY, JAMES WARD, JO FISHER ROBERTS, KATRINE STOREBO, MARIE-LOUISE JONES, QUIET BRITISH ACCENT, ROSSELLA SPOTO, SHARON REEVES, STEVEN RAWLINGS, and SUGAR SKILLS, with more joining in as the month evolves…
For March we welcome two new in-house permanent artists to our creative fold – M.O.B is an artist we’ll maybe say something about Modes Of Being as things evolve – who knows what we’ll get – might include a trumpet, a voice, a photo, a painting, a sculpture, a discussion? We welcome back recent guests QUIET BRITISH ACCENT as full-time Cultivate artists – “Quiet British Accent are art and design duo Jason Gale and Sharon Gale. The couple like to play with the visual language of popular sporting culture across textiles, stencils, mixed media and low tech printing techniques”. Elsewhere in the room JULIA MADDISON, GARETH MORGAN, JESSICA BALLANTYNE and myself, SEAN WORRALL, will be evolving our walls with paintings, 3d pieces, triangles, leaves, EMMA HARVEY‘s SUCK installation will stay in place for March and… well come explore and see what we’re all doing. Been three months since we evolved the space and took the gallery in a new direction, we’re excited by it, we’re enjoying most of it… we don’t know how long we’ll hang on in our space, right now the people who run the business of art feel like more of a threat to our existence than the Foxton’s of this world. Whoops, getting distracted again when I really should be telling you about our next guests….
Our guest spaces are then taken up for two weeks by the graphic street art flavours of LEWIS BANISTER (AKA Jive Copymenot) and contemporary manipulator, JACK FLORISH – really looking forward to seeing a body of work from Jack on our wall. Both artists will be joining us from March 13th until March 26th Got some good things cooking up for April as well….
First Saturday was great, come join us next month, you just might enjoy it….all day long, musicm art, food, activity., involvement… watch this space, April 5th
Finally, In terms of artist calls, the guest spaces are now full right through until the middle of May, We are now looking for one more committed pro-active person to be a full time artist at Cultivate Evolved from April onwards. if any of this interested you please do get in touch, but before you do, please do check out what we’re about, have a read of the blogs and such – if you want white cube formality and carefully manicured boredom this is not the space for you, we’re not interested in carefully worded art-school artist statements or the established way of doing things, we’re interested in energy, excitement, creativity, pro-active committed art from artists who want to walk it rather than just talk it, we want you to excite us, we want commitment and we want it to really matter. If you want to get involved wither as a guest or a permanent member, then please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org .
CULTIVATE EVOLVED is a pro-active artist-run, maximalist punk rock art space – you either get it and us or you don’t.