Neurodivergent art exhibition coming to Chapel Arts Studios
By James Ashworth @JamesAshworth98 Reporter
An art exhibition designed for neurodivergent people is coming to Andover’s Chapel Arts Studios in November.
Neurodivergence is a term used to describe the variation in how the human brain functions, and is often associated with conditions such as autism and ADHD. The exhibition, Nothing ‘is’ Immediate, was designed to appeal to individuals with such conditions by artist and sound therapist Tony Spencer, who himself has dyslexia.
He was awarded funding by Arts Council England, and has used that to produce sculptures from reclaimed pallet wood based on geometric shapes and the classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Aether.
He will be joined by fellow artists Maija Liepins, Christine Dodd, Kate Street and Terence Noble, who will create new work “in response to the tangible and sacred aspects of the theme.” A series of streamed events, therapeutic sound baths, performances and poetry are planned, which aim to help viewers to engage through sensorial visual and audio elements.
Tony said: “I want to provide a multi-sensory experience for people who may not usually connect with art or a gallery. Geometry is accessible, it’s universal to all life on this planet. I’ve incorporated therapeutic sounds into each work, that are activated by movement in the gallery. This changes the function of a space, offering the visitor a positive feeling of wellbeing.”
Phil Gibby, area director for the south west at Arts Council England, said: “We are thrilled to support Nothing ‘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 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.”
Nothing ‘is’ Immediate is supported by public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
It will be on display at Chapel Arts Studios from Saturday, November 21 to Sunday, December 5.
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.
I will build a set of geometric sculptures based on the 5 platonic solids to inspire participatory live-art events during this project and future ones. Each sculpture, 90cm in diameter, will incorporate sound frequencies mathematically connected to its geometry. They’ll have accessible interior spaces that manipulate light and create visual illusions (finite darkness, infinite reflection, colour etc). A series of 4 exhibitions across 12 months, with events for neurodiverse and disabled people, will challenge perceptions of what art is by using the words sacred, wellbeing, and function.
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.
I'm currently exhibiting in a group show titled Wonderland, a collective presentation of work by four Solent based contemporary artists myself (Tony Spencer), Terence Noble, Julien Masson and David Mcdiarmid, who are responding to the theme of nature.
Date: Sat 11th January - Sat 22nd February 2020.
Venue: Gallery space, Eastleigh Museum, 25 High St, Eastleigh SO50 5LF
Opening times are Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm and Sat 10am - 2pm
The title Wonderland refers to to Lewis Carol's timeless classic Alice in Wonderland. 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.
I would like to thank Terence Noble for the opportunity to exhibit, Eastleigh Museum and Hampshire Cultural Trust for their support.
It features myself Tony Spencer, Peter McGinnis and Jilly Evans, presenting a visual comment on current society, disability, humanity, ritual, and positive phycology.
I will be presenting a new sculptural sound installation titled The seventh beatitude, that explores the function of art as a conduit for initiation, to self-reflect and contemplate the psyche.
#Flaunt-It is a project conceived by Tony Spencer and Peter McGinnis to create a platform, which brings artists together to foster collaboration, an exhibiting opportunity and enhance the grass-roots art scene in Southampton, Hampshire.
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.
Really grateful to be asked by Maija Liepins, Participation Manager if I would like to be the CAS Artist of the Month in May 2019 and conduct an interview.
Here is an extract, and the full interview can be found with the following link:
CAS Artist Tony Spencer talks about ‘mystical art’ and immersive sensory experiences. By Maija Liepins
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.
I am delighted to announce that I have been awarded a commission to exhibit at BEAF (Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe) Festival 2019. I will be presenting new work titled The Cube, presenting an exhibition titled ACTS in collaboration with artist Laura Eldret, Our combined exhibition considered ideas of sensory perception, ritualistic acts and feelings of 'wellness'. The Cube, will be an experimental enquiry to see if a space within a sculptural geometric cube combined with therapeutic sounds could have a positive effect on the participating publics emotional wellbeing.
The 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 new work titled 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.