No Thing ‘is’ Immediate - Geometric Sculpture Installations

Art For Wellbeing

Published 2nd February 2020

I’m extremely excited to share the news! I've been awarded an Arts Council England Project Grant to present: No Thing is Immediate Geometric Sculptural Installations.

Click on this link to find out more Chapel Arts Studios

My interest is to create an opportunity for people with neurodivergent disabilities incluidng dyslexia, autism and ADHD, to engage with art through their combined sense of sight, touch and sound. I'm therefore constructing five unique multi-sensory sculptures based on the forms of platonic geometry, that offer the possibility of positive emotional wellbeing. I will build the sculptures from reclaimed wooden pallets sourced from Southampton Wood Recycling Project, leaving as little a carbon footprint as possible for the main structure. Each sculpture, about 90cm in diameter, will incorporate therapeutic sound frequencies connected to its geometry. They’ll have accessible interior spaces that manipulate light and create visual-illusions of finite darkness, infinite reflection, colour etc).

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said:

“We are thrilled to support No Thing ‘is’ Immediate through our National Lottery Project Grants funding programme. At the Arts Council we believe that arts and culture has a positive impact on wellbeing, and this project achieves that through a unique combination of sculpture, light and sound. Through his innovative approach to inclusivity, artist Tony Spencer will enable more people to experience the great benefits that cultural activity can bring.”

The work will be presented in 2020 at five regional galleries, in collaboration with artists Maija Liepins, Christine Dodd, Kate Street and Terence Noble. The first completed sculpture an Icosahedron titled Nothing Would Disturb Me is due to be premiered at Sandham Memorial Chapel with a PV on 11th March. The exhibition titled Saturated Space is coordinated between Chapel Arts Studios, Andover and The National Trust. Accompanying events include participatory live-performance and therapeutic sound baths.

The title Nothing 'is' Immediate can be broken down into Nothing and Being are the same and equate to Becoming. Jean-Paul Sartre contends that nothingness relates to free consciousness and spontaneity. The ‘is’ relates to the limit and Immediate is now, the present.

Therefore, the translation is Free consciousness and spontaneity happens in the present moment.

No Thing ‘is’ Immediate is supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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Wonderland

Published 12th January 2020

For me, collaborating with other artists is the best way of constructing and sharing a collective dialogue about local and global issues. I am currently exhibiting in a group show titled 'Wonderland' presented in the gallery at Eastleigh Museum. The exhibition showcases collective work by four Solent based contemporary artists exploring our connection with nature. The title refers to Lewis Carol's  timeless classic Alice in Wonderland, as Carol's inspiration for the book came from Alice Pleasance Liddell (1852 – 1934), a little girl who lived for most of her life in and around Lyndhurst in the New Forest.

The work I am presenting is titled 'Dawn Chorus', an extract of located bird sounds I recorded at day break without the acoustic interruption from road traffic and other sounds generated from our urban environment. An interesting fact I was told is that we lose or naturally filter out 50% of our hearing by the age of 5 years and a further 8% at around the age of 20 years, otherwise the world would just be too loud!

'Dawn Chorus' is installed within a sculptural form of a Dodecahedron, one of the five platonic solids that make up the building blocks of nature. It is presented with reference to a bird box, and the sounds are triggered when a person moves in the room.

The other talented artists exhibiting are: Terence Noble, Julien Masson and David Mcdiarmid. The show is on from Saturday 11th January until Saturday 22nd February 2020.

The address is Eastleigh Museum, 25 High St, Eastleigh SO50 5LF

Opening times are Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm and Sat 10am - 2pm.

On behalf of all the artists exhibiting, I would like to thank Eastleigh Museum and Hampshire Cultural Trust for their support.

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# Flaunt It

Published 16th November 2019

I'm proud to present the second # Flaunt It exhibition of 2019, where I'm showing new work that explores self-image and the function of art in ritual participation, existentialism and a connection to our deeper conscious self (lightly served with wine and nibbles).

The project Flaunt It was conceived by Tony Spencer and Peter McGinnis to create a platform which brings artists together to foster collaboration, an exchange of ideas, an exhibiting opportunity and to offer a public event to enhance grassroots art in Southampton.

The first # Flaunt It exhibition took place on Friday 5th July 2019 and featured works by three Arches residents including myself Tony Spencer, Peter McGinnis and guest artist Jilly Evans.

Peter exhibited a set of extremely powerful portrait paintings, which he produced whilst undertaking a self directed residency at Eastpoint day centre for the West Hants NHS Trust. He explained to the viewers that he was exploring new ways of drawing and painting, describing the emotions of people, whilst reducing the mark making. The works were oil on canvas, and applied with a discipline that rendered oil paint with the smooth effect as with acrylic, whilst maintaining the rich vivid colours of oils.

Viewing the work I felt like he was reintroducing the people back into the world; each image depicted subtle movement and expression within the persons face. Peter talked about his experience of the residency, where he gained an empathic understanding of what each person was trying to communicate, despite there multiple disabilities.

Jilly presented traditional quilts with text which aimed to breakdown the historical notions of feminine politeness and linguistic taboos . Jilly integrated words within the pattern design, which were at first concealed from the viewer by the evocative complimentary colours and design. The work spoke about social identity and the use of slang and expressive language to address female empowerment.

The forthcoming exhibition features the same three artists, who will continue a visual conversation about humanity and their perceptions of the world.

Delighted to be exhibiting again, Jilly will present Bin Liner People, a piece made from sewn plastic bin liners.  The installation endeavours to comment on our current society, hoping to act as a catalyst for conversation on social change.

# Flaunt It takes place from 6pm on Friday 22nd November 2019 at Arch 4, Captains Place, Southampton SO14 3FE. The exhibition is free, and all are welcome to bring their positive vibe to the Flaunt It creative community.

a-n event link | vasw event link | artrabbit event link

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Let Us Dissent a CAS Associate Artist Show

Published 1st September 2019

As an artist who works within a socially engaged practice I really value being a member of CAS Associate Artists. I joined in 2019 and am thrilled to be taking part in my first group show Let Us Dissent an exhibition co-curated at SPUDworks, Sway.

For the show I created new work titled Flesh and Blood, presenting an artist statement describing the work as follows:

"The world is a state of mind where we have an ego, a story etc. However, we have to know who we are? In my work 'Flesh and Blood' I invite you to contemplate your emotional presence and natural wisdom, by engaging with a sculpture which creates friction between a spiritual act and an existential return to self."

The work is inspired by Robert Holden and Louise Hay, founder and author of Hay House, presenting notions of positive psychology. Drawing on their wisdom I used the method of pyrography to burn words into the wooden surface of a kneeling stool I made from disused wooden pallets. The words are presented backwards, and the only way to clearly read them is to kneel upon the stool and look into the mirror in front of you. This enables the viewer to look at themselves within the mirror and engage with mirror work, which Louise Hay describes as:

"Mirror work is the most effective method I’ve found for learning to love yourself and see the world as a safe and loving place."

So for me the notion of Dissent is to provide a space for people to take a moment away from the external issues in the World and journey within to confront a reflection of their true loving self and start with the deeper questions, such as "Who you really are?"

The exhibition Let Us Dissent is on at the wonderful SPUDworks exhibition space from 2nd to 17th September 2019.

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CAS Artist Tony Spencer talks about ‘mystical art’ and immersive sensory experiences.

Published 31st May 2019

I spoke with Tony Spencer earlier this month when he was exhibiting The Cube alongside artist Laura Eldret for ‘Acts’ a collaborative show at Bournemouth Emerging Artists Fringe Festival (BEAF2019). Tony is a visual artist and curator based at Arches Studios, Southampton. He investigates sound and light with sculptural installations, that transform space and effect elements of our consciousness. The sculptural forms are based on sacred geometry, which connect to science, nature and universal balance.

We talked about his self-managed residency in The Gambia, which involved setting up a traditional drum and dance troupe with locals, and his ongoing investigation combining sound and material to create a sense of sacredness in an immersive, sensory experience. His background includes training in ‘sound therapy’ using vocal sound healing techniques and instruments. Once a month he offers ‘Sound Baths’ on a Thursday evening at The Hilt, Chandlers Ford.

Click CAS link to read more

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ACTS at BEAF (Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe) 2019

Published 4th May 2019

I am delighted to announce that I have been awarded a successful commission to exhibit at BEAF (Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe) Festival 2019, and will be featuring work together with Laura Eldret in a two-person exhibition titled ACTS. Our combined exhibition considered ideas of sensory perception, ritualistic acts and feelings of 'wellness'.

For the exhibition I am presenting new work titled Cube, an enquiry into the human connection to intangible healing energy through sound and sacred geometry. Cube is a sculptural installation crafted from reclaimed wooden pallets and presenting an ultra-black internal space. The interior is accessible and incorporates natural light through inserted glass balls and sound designed to stimulate our sensory perceptions.

During the festival, as a qualified Sound Therapist I will be inviting audiences to participate whilst I enter the Cube and perform Metaphysical live Acts with sound which vibrates the Cube at frequencies encouraging wellbeing. There will also be an opportunity for viewers to participate themselves by entering the Cube and receive therapeutic sound whilst inside.

Laura Eldret will present Binder an enquiry into the haptic qualities of a library as a place for communal gathering, Binder explores books as a common sensory object. Libraries have political value beyond the content of books. Reading is known to have a myriad of mental health benefits (reducing stress and depression), and even making us more confident and empathetic. Binder abstracts the visceral characteristics of the book and customary acts of reading, bringing into question the potential for books to be an elixir for community and wellbeing.

Click link to find out about BEAF2019

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