28 Feb 2010

'Bee Lines' exhibition

Bee Lines is a new work by Alice Forward: the site09 Darbyshire award winner (*). I was fortunate to go to the preview yesterday afternoon at SVA, 4 John Street, Stroud. Well worth a look in to see...

Photos: from the exhibition - starting with a giant varroa mite!

Exhibition dates: 27th February-14th March: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-3pm, Sunday 11am-1pm - see more details at: www.sva.org.uk

Before saying more about the exhibition I ought to mention Jesse Jowers of the Global Bee Project has a talk about bees with the Stroud Valleys Project this Thursday - phone SVP to see if any places left.

Anyhow here's what the press release says: ‘BEE LINES is a show of new sculpture, drawing and video which, according to the artist “is a series of ongoing explorations around the ambivalences in our relationship with the natural world, and about ideas of territory.” Following a period of fascination by and research into the history and philosophy of map-making, manifesting itself recently in the form of intensely fine pencil rubbings, a more recent interest; mans relationship with the honey bee, has found a place in Forward’s work. The artist cites the migration of plants, empire building, colonisation and the use of both maps and bees as symbolic tools as significant themes within her work.

A new project called BEE-LINE1 will also be launched as part of the exhibition. Two purpose-built beehives will feature and at the end of the exhibition these will be pressed into the making of a ‘Bee Line’ between Stroud and Bristol, helping to promote links between both places as well as highlight the worldwide importance of all pollinators. Documentation of the setting up and fortunes of the hives will take place and can be seen on the BEE LINES website.

I did get a chance to talk to the artist briefly - but was in such a rush that only got a chance to talk about plans for Stroud to become the first Bee Guardian town rather than hear more about the exhibition.

Born and brought up in Johannesburg, South Africa, Alice Forward studied fine art at Hornsey School of Art in London before training in documentary film-making and freelancing for BBC Television, ultimately returning to independent practice. Following further studies, directorships and setting up of initiatives, she won the Darbyshire Award in 2009, before taking part in the AIM Biennale in Marrakech and doing an artist residency at Joya, Andalusia. She is currently based at BV STUDIOS, Bristol.

BEE LINES Associated events

Photo: Poisoned bee by Alice Forward

Sunday 7 March 11am In conversation with Alice Forward and Tom Trevor, director of Arnolfini
Sunday 14 March 11am Talk by Paul Hand, Beekeeper specialist

(*) As the winner of the Site Darbyshire award, Alice Forward was offered an exhibition at Stroud Valleys Artspace (SVA) and the manufacture of new work from Darbyshire Framemakers. Beyond the presentation of a cheque, the award offers a mentoring service from Mark Darbyshire and SVA in the form of a dialogue with the winner, in order to realize work which previously could only have existed at the proposal stage. Darbyshire has quickly established itself as a leading framer and art fabricator,providing creative solutions through a process of collaborative consultation. This belief in creative collaboration has been at the heart of much of Darbyshire's work, and has attracted a range of high-profile clients; artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, commercial galleries such as Gagosian and White Cube, and public museums such as the Serpentine Gallery and the Royal Academy, as well as numerous private collectors including Charles Saatchi.

The Darbyshire Award was awarded to Alice Forward for her piece ‘Gold Label’, shown at the Museum in the Park as part of the exhibition of work by shortlisted artists. Forward transformed a puddle of her own urine on steps outside the museum into gold by drawing around it and laying gold leaf on top. Laden with social and historical references as well those as mark-making, poetry and alchemy, Forward says of the work; “it’s about playing around with ideas of status and prejudice.”

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