“We are living today on a threshold between a history of alienated displacement from and longing for home and the possibility of a multi-centered society that understands the reciprocal relationship between the two,” writes Lucy Lippard in The Lure of the Local. “Most of us are separated from organic geographical communities; even fewer can rely on blood ties. We can only hope to find created communities--people who come together because they are alike on some level--or communities that are accidentally formed through place, workplace, and other more artificial means. Sometimes created places, based in dissimilarity, can be more vital and less isolating than unchosen ones. But most of us live such fragmented lives and have so many minicommunities that no one knows us as a whole. The incomplete self longs for the fragments to be brought together. This can’t be done without a context, a place.”
For artists, a sense of place or a lack thereof, poses a particular challenge when making art that speaks to a community. Lippard’s observation that “all art is regional” seems to contradict the idea “that there is no such thing as regionalism in our homogenized, peripatetic, electronic culture.” We see it differently; that the artist is uniquely situated to show and speak to place in a way that makes it seen, understood, and celebrated.
Collage Artist Residency: Scotland is a week-long artist residency designed for artists working in collage who seek to engage with place in their practice. Using the rural community of Sanquhar, Scotland as a laboratory, artists will spend a week making artwork; learning about the place, its people, and its history; and discussing how art can capture, share, reflect, comment, and otherwise engage with a sense of place. The goal of the residency is to develop an individual methodology for responding to place in one’s art practice and to make a work of art about Sanquhar that speaks to and about the people and land. Our hope is that artists will return to their home communities with fresh eyes and be prepared to see their communities in a unique way.
The residency will unfold over the course of a week. Each day the group will meet in the morning for a presentation or workshop. We will hear from guest artists and local historians about Sanquhar and faculty will make presentations about place in art and strategies for incorporating place into one’s practice. Designed for collage artists, professional development sessions focus on artist practice: topics include Collage as Artist Practice; Sourcing Materials, Copyright, Appropriation; Developing Materials; Collage in Presentation. In the afternoons, artists may choose to make art or take up an afternoon activity such as a walk to the River Nith and castle or a visit to the Tolbooth Museum or Saint Bride’s church or an afternoon trip via rail to Dumfries or Glasgow. Artists will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty. In the evenings, we will convene at the Nithsdale Pub to informally share the experience of our days.
During the residency, artists will make an artwork that will be exhibited at MERZ Gallery as part of “Mythical Landscape: Secrets of the Vale,” an exhibition by an international group of artists, all of whom traveled to Sanquhar to investigate a sense of place and make artwork that speaks to the rich history and folklore of the region. Artworks reference stories from the past (true or otherwise), consider the history of the region, and speculate on future myths and legends. An evolving exhibition at MERZ Gallery in September 2022 will culminate with the Festival of Folklore, 22-25 September 2022. The artwork will be the subject of a film by David Rushton and used to illustrate a forthcoming, abridged version of William Wilson’s 1904 book, Folk Lore and Genealogies of Uppermost Nithsdale.
The cost of the residency is £750 ($975USD). This includes accommodations for six nights at MERZ and one meal per day. Artists are responsible for their own travel to and from Sanquhar, additional artist materials, and additional meals. No artist will be turned away for lack of funds and the organizers will work with artists to build a financial aid package.
Space is limited and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Artists are encouraged to apply well before the deadline.
We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.