‘In the Future …. How will we Create?’ took place from 9 November to 14 November 2021 at the UK Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai. The Royal College of Art is the Heritage Partner of the UK Pavilion, having a 170-year history of shared heritage with world exhibitions, going back to the first Expo, The Great Exhibition of 1851. The RCA’s contribution to the UK Pavilion will bring together a wide range of interdisciplinary projects from staff, current students and recent graduates. I developed and delivered ‘A City in a Day’ project as part of my ongoing research. Four local schools with approximately 20 students participated in an hour’s workshop, each hour a different age of the city’s development.
I am pleased to release the video of A City Seven Days project produced at FutureLab, Shanghai 2019.
FutureLab was an initiative from WestBund Art Center drawing together art and design educators from around the world. I was invited in my role as Head of Programme of Graduate Diploma in Art and Design at the Royal College of Art to create a project demonstrating synergies between degree level and primary level teaching approaches and methodologies to creativity in student-centred learning.
My ongoing creative thinking and learning research work with FunDrawing initiated the ‘city’ as a vehicle or model for creative engagement. The workshop investigates how creativity can be enabled through action-based teaching and learning approaches to embed and encourage creativity in the curriculum for primary and early secondary learners. The projects’s basic premise is based on the creative and imaginative potential of the humble cardboard box, focusing on proven alternative approach models to creative and trans-disciplinary engagement to provide an immersive experience and critical takeaways from skills-based teaching of art and design.
Port of Entry opened this week at the Sun Pier House Gallery in Chatham, the work on show is produced in response to travels and research around the nature of visual collecting and transcription from sketchbooks, from cultures and communities as diverse as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, London and Chatham. It looks at the nature of the language of man-made objects as symbols, both recognised and remembered or shared, in terms of agreed knowledge and narrative.
These initial observations and memories have been translated into a series of drawings which respond to the nature of visual motifs and metaphors commonly associated with home-spun shared knowledge embedded in the decorative nature of ceramics and textiles.
This has culminated in a series of commissioned cross stitch embroideries working with designer maker Linnet Hannan, transcribing the drawings in to a cotton, cross stitch language associated with both traditions of European samplers and rural embroideries from China.
The work will also be shown in October at the Eagle Gallery in Clerkenwell, London as part of Agency, an exhibition showcasing the work of artists who make up The Artists Agency.
I have a solo exhibition Port of Entry opening on the 9th August until 9th September at Sun Pier House, Chatham, Kent. Preview: Wednesday 8 August 6pm – 8pm
See the Press Release below for more information, written by Mark Segal at the
Artists Agency of which I am a selected artist.
Port of Entry is a range of new drawings, prints and embroidery by Gary Clough exploring architectural space and geographical locations, while challenging notions of the imagined, the remembered and the known. In addition Clough is shaping an individual response to the different cultures engaged within his travels through China and the UK.
The images emerge from the habitual practise of drawing that artists use to explore and process the world around them. These drawings, most often contained within the intimate and private spaces of the sketchbook, happen when no one is looking, a form of practice that keeps the muscles of the hand, eyes and imagination working together, constituting a speculative work of re- imagining.
The sketchbook is an intrinsic part of Gary’s practice, operating as both virtual and literal studio and collective cognitive landscape. The pages demonstrate how ideas are both generated and revisited in a constant process of analysis and reflection. It is driven by an innate playfulness and an ongoing discourse with the nature of the perceived, known and made.The sketchbooks innate mobility is clear in the pages as they document the artist’s journeys, stopping offpoints and destinations through geographical, historical and disciplinary visitations and positioning. For the first time, Clough has made new works utilising cross stitch approaches, borrowing from its tradition as a homespun practice for documenting personalised interpretations of the world and mirroring his use of the sketch book as a starting point for assimilating the made environment. The work plays with the notion and challenges of the transformation into motif associated with this craft tradition, combined with the blue and white pallet associated with rural Chinese embroideries.
The work in Port of Entry engages further with the notion of a shared entry, or starting point in the development of a repository, or archive of a highly personal genus of objects arranged and presented as sets, families and suites of images. The genealogy and heritage of the images draw from influences as broad as the pages of the Argos catalogue and the shelves of B&Q and Pound Land, to the Song and Tang dynasty blue and white Chinese ceramics, to the cotton indigo embroideries of 18th century rural China. Clough has focused on developing contemporary notions of patterns and symbols as visual metaphor, intrinsic to global traditions of shared and/or remembered narrative histories within the creative industries and its cultural currency. The work attempts to investigate further contemporary notions of and relevance to the use of visual metaphors, motifs and symbols generated in the traditions of the decorative object essential to the sharing and evolving of shared visual language over generations through mnemonic and cultural exchange and interaction.
The work displayed in Chatham allow Clough to develop new drawings and new ways of working in the context of the architectural spaces and this geographical locations. The project’s location in Chatham is essential as it directly engages with its position as a key cultural gateway and interface historically, for the UK which draws from an existing community who share the cultural heritage of the images, mark making, pattern and colour of the work. Chatham’s historical positioning as a key military and commercial port and literary and narrative heritage is a conscious influence and reference for the artist’s 20 year association with the location and communities. The exhibition also enables the engagement with the broader community of Chatham through national and international connections through the Universities and Education sector, supported by an artist talk and lecture.