Press Release: 2017/2018 Artist in Residence announced today by West Dean College

The Visual Arts department at West Dean College is delighted to announce the results of their recent Artist-in-Residence Open Call. The three recipients of the 2017/18 residencies are Gabriela Beveridge, Katie Schwab and Ross Taylor. The artists were selected from 113 submissions made during the three-month Open Call, which attracted entries from around the world. The selected artists will be resident at West Dean for three weeks, during which time they will not only develop their practices and deepen their knowledge of West Dean, but also work closely with students on the full-time Visual Arts programmes.

Born in Hong Kong, Gabriele Beveridge now lives and works in London. Since graduating from her MA at Slade School of Fine Art, Beveridge has had a series of solo shows and taught not only at the Slade but also as guest lecturer at Norwich School of Art, Falmouth University and Dubai College. Beveridge's work explores the "peculiar pleasures" and frustrations of contemporary life within a commodity driven world and is drawn to materials that hover between states of the real and imagined. For Beveridge, the residency at West Dean offers an opportunity to study in a unique environment, suffused with the rich history of the Surrealist movement. As well as the studio space, Beveridge envisages making significant use of other facilities, in particular the darkroom, Print Room, stone-carving workshop and Tapestry Studio: "I feel that the technical support that this residency offers would be a valuable and important catalyst for a shift into a new territory of sculptural work". Beveridge's residency will take place during the late autumn of 2017.

Katie Schwab first experienced West Dean College in 2015 when she undertook a weekend tapestry weaving course, sparking her interest in the relationship between woven textiles and sites of craft education. Since then Schwab has continued to explore the politics of and relationships between, art, craft, design and learning, with a particular research interest in histories of tapestry and ceramics education. Schwab, who will complete her residency during the spring of 2018, aims to use her time at West Dean as an opportunity to develop a new body of work exploring the relationship between ceramic glazing and textile dyeing, weaving and pattern-making. Splitting her time between research and production, Schwab is looking forward to working alongside the Master Weavers at West Dean, gaining a deeper understanding into their practices of dyeing wool, making cartoons for tapestry, and working on long-term, large-scale weaving projects. She is also keen to make use of ceramics facilities to produce large-scale slab-built pieces. West Dean College has one of the most acclaimed professional Tapestry Studios in the UK, as well as teaching tapestry and textiles at postgraduate level.

Since graduating from the Royal College of Art, London-based artist Ross Taylor has had a series of solo and group exhibitions throughout the UK. Taylor's work places emphasis as much on performance as writing and publishing books that explore ideas around form, image and the unconscious. For Taylor, the studio is core to his artistic practice and proposes to use the residency to create a book of automatic drawings that respond to West Dean's history - from the architecture to the Edward James Archive, from past residents to current students. He is drawn to the Surrealist heritage of West Dean and will split his time between research, drawing and interacting with students and staff. Taylor aims to use the Print Room, as well as dry point, photo-etching and binding facilities to create a new handmade book, with a larger edition to be circulated within the College at the end of the residency. Taylor states that the residency is "not just a chance to partake in a unique and concentrated period of making that is much needed, but also as an occasion to expose my practice, thoughts and research to the mix of discussions taking place within the Visual Arts Programme and the wider College".

Co-ordinated alongside the full-time Visual Arts programmes, the Residencies are designed to support contemporary practitioners in developing research- and studio-based practices. The programme is informed by West Dean's history of supporting skills-based making, as well as the legacy of its founder Edward James, widely celebrated for his support of individual artists and avant-garde collaborations across a variety of creative fields. Overseen by Dr. David Stent (Visual Arts Programme Leader) and Sarah Hughes (Research Assistant), this year saw residents selected via an Open Call for the first time. Hughes explains: "The standard of applications was extremely high and so we made a point of selecting artists who proposed to work with things that are unique to West Dean - such as links to Surrealism and Edward James' friendship with Leonora Carrington. Each of the artists will bring something new to the Visual Arts department and each three-week period enables them to become fully embedded in the studios, which the full-time students can really benefit from on a professional level".

The Open Call for Artist-in-Residence 2018 / 2019 is due to be announced in spring 2018.

Notes tor Editors

  • The three-week residency programme provides artists with full board accommodation, large and well-equipped studio space and access to a variety of resources and facilities, including the College's technical support, the historic House and the West Dean Archive and Teaching Collection.
  • West Dean College is recognised as a centre of excellence for Conservation and Creative Arts education and has outstanding facilities that support skills-based making, such as pottery, tapestry studios, forge, as well as departments dedicated to Metalwork, Furniture, Musical Instruments, Clock making and more.
  • Study options range from 700+ Short Courses per annum to Foundation, Diploma or Masters Degrees. The College is an affiliated partner of the University of Sussex

West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust, also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.

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