QSS Studio Project 2021/22 with Gail Ritchie
Future Forward was QSS Studios Project 2021/22. I was paired to work and colaberate with artist Gail Ritchie. We found much common ground in a material led approach to work and had amny interesting discussions about objects and their signifigance.
About the project Conceived as a response to the pandemic, the programme paired 35 artists together to create experimental work, and to re-galvanise the studio community following the disruption of the past two years. The focus for this series of exhibitions is on representing artists’ working methods, of process and exchange, and the significance of creative dialogue.
Participating artists have worked closely with curator Jane Morrow since August 2021, through a series of over 80 studio visits, discussions and presentations, culminating in three exhibitions – two in Belfast, and one in Dublin.
The process of materialising objects as artworks is often a solitary endeavour guided by personal aesthetic decisions. Those artworks, once materialised, are usually only shown at the endpoint of their design or fabrication. In this collaboration, Gail Ritchie and Meadhbh McIlgorm paused in the process of making and any preconceived linier direction of production, paying attention instead to the materiality of objects not as artworks but as tools, artefacts and collected ephemera. Each is imbued with an aesthetic that derives in part from their function and in the tactitlity of their form. Rather than forcing these diverse objects together to create a singular form (based on their shared appreciation of materials), the artists have curated a collection of things which visually converse.
During studio visits our conversations meandered through lists of the things that we each carried with us over the decades, and the collections of ‘stuff’ that we keep, knowing its potential but not yet knowing how that potential will manifest. Whilst the works’ display feels taxonomical and final, preserved within a glass case, these objects’ significance is not just in their history, but also in their future. The accompanying text pieces give the work its title, ‘What Accumulates, What Responds?’, prompts us to think about our role in activating or re-activating these objects through touch and time and intention.
Text by Jane Morrow