Transformative Matter Research Group.
Curated by Professor Siân Bowen and Peter Symons.
6 January-6 February 2020
Northwest Gallery, AUB
Mechanical Human Matter aims to explore complexities of material transformative processes within the human/machine spectrum using innovative approaches to drawing.
AUB Transformative Matter, Material Trace research group engages in practice-based research relating to innovative approaches to drawing. Operating within and across discipline-specific boundaries, it facilitates investigations into the capacity of materials to change or to be changed – and, in turn, to signify meaning, articulate ideas, convey knowledge and encourage reflective experimentation.
Activities build on the ongoing series of staff and student workshops, exhibitions and discussions, Collapsible Spaces; Places of Temporary Refuge, Camouflage and Ritual led by Professor Siân Bowen. Mechanical Human Matter takes place against a backdrop of increased interest in drawing as a means to understand processes of change and ever-shifting intellectual, cultural, and social landscapes – and to concerns relating to the materiality of form as an intermediary between the senses and the intellect.
Members of the Research Group engage with aspects of transformation through a wide spectrum of means ranging from the intimacy of direct touch to the almost total reliance on machines for creative realisation. Yet these varied means continue to extend concerns, which interrogate the unpredictability of the ephemeral and the impermanence of form and space.
This exhibition aims to explore complexities of material transformative processes within this human/machine spectrum. It has evolved from a project of the same title devised for the group by Harry Meadows and Dominic Shepherd in order to interrogate these questions through practice. Each member of the group, together with AUB alumni and MA & BA students, placed themselves on the human/machine spectrum in terms of the processes used for the production of their work. They then exchanged drawings in order to experiment how the work might be taken in new directions.
The exhibited pieces are thus the co-production of an object formed through layered processes, which have been implemented by different members of the group. The exhibition poses questions about roles of touch and mechanisation in artistic production and where we can collapse the human/machine binary.
List of exhibitors
Drawings produced during workshop, Human Mechanical Matter, led by Professor Siân Bowen, in the Drawing Studio, December 2019. Selected by exhibition’s co-curator Peter Symons.
Meet the curators
Professor Siân Bowen, Professor of Drawing, AUB.
Siân Bowen studied Fine Art at University of Newcastle and Edinburgh College of Art and spent four years in Japan having been awarded a Monbusho Scholarship to Kyoto University of Arts. Working across drawing, video and artist’s books, on-going interests relate to the transitional nature of material matter, light as an exploratory vehicle and boundaries between damage and the creative impulse.
As Resident Artist in Drawing at the V&A, London, 2006-8, she developed a body of site-specific works relating drawing to the multi-sensory nature of museum heritage – and which led to a solo show at the V&A. From 2010-12, as Guest Artist in Drawing at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, she examined relationships between materiality and the ephemeral: prints conserved after having been discovered frozen in the Arctic for three centuries provided the framework for a new body of works that formed a solo exhibition at the Rijksmuseum. In 2013 she established a unique facility, PSN, for research and teaching relating to the material and conceptual aspects of paper at Northumbria University, Newcastle where she was Professor of Fine Art.
She is currently producing a new body of work in response to rare plants in Oxford and Edinburgh herbaria and in their natural habitats – as part of this project she carried out an artist’s residency at Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary which is based in a remote area of the moist deciduous rainforest, South India. (Leverhulme Research Fellowship, Sensing & Presencing Rare Plants through Contemporary Drawing Practice, 2017-19). A major solo exhibition of these works, After Hortus Malabaricus, will be staged at Inverleith House, Edinburgh in 2020. Large-scale drawings and video works formed a recent solo exhibition in Changchun, China, and her work has been widely exhibited in Austria, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Slovakia, USA and the UK. It is held in major public collections including the British Museum, London; Stanford University Special Collections, USA; The V&A, London: National Libraries of Germany and the Netherlands and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
As Professor of Drawing at AUB, she has been developing a series of interconnected drawing projects with students and staff, Collapsible Spaces: Places of Temporary Refuge, Camouflage and Retreat. She also leads the AUB research group, Transformative Matter, Material Trace and is Director of Studies for two practice-based PhD projects in drawing.
Peter Symons, Senior Lecturer BA (Hons) Animation, AUB.
Peter Symons is a Fine Artist and currently a Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Animation Production course at Arts University Bournemouth. His work for AUB has included: Course Leader for the BA Animation Production course (11 years to June 2018), Visiting Tutor, Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of the (Creative skillset) Screen Academy.
He has been a practising artist since graduating from the Slade School of Art (UCL), and also has an MA from Wimbledon College. His practice includes film installation, painting and drawing and he has exhibited in the UK and abroad.
Peter has Chaired Panel for the Trinity Wharf Drawing Prize including panel members Professor Anita Taylor and Professor Tania Kovats, November 2018.
He has also Presented academic research Papers including:
“Collecting from the Collectors” at the Salford University /MAF Educating Animators conference November 2018.
‘The continuing importance of collecting research through direct observational drawing on location in museums’ in June 2018 at the RAI/British Museum/SOAS Art, Materiality & Representation conference at the British Museum and SOAS.
Research and Scholarship Culture
At AUB our flourishing research and scholarship culture celebrates and enables original investigation; extending knowledge fields and developing new understanding within the arts.
AUB Research Conference
AUB staff present their research at our yearly conference held at the University.
Past Drawing exhibitions in TheGallery
TheGallery is a major resource for contemporary art and design in the South of England. Many of the exhibitions and artist commissions that have been produced within the Gallery since it’s opening in 1998 have received both National and International recognition.
We deliver an exciting portfolio of exhibitions, events, international exhibitions and commissioned projects, many of which have toured nationally and internationally, building upon the creative collaboration between the Arts University Bournemouth and external venues.
Some Drawing Exhibitions over the last few years have included:
Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2018
Curated by Violet McClean
22 November 2019 – 17 January 2019
The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize is the largest and longest-running annual open exhibition for drawing in the UK and has established a reputation for its commitment to championing excellence, and for promoting and celebrating the breadth of contemporary drawing practice. In offering emerging, mid-career and established artists a national platform to exhibit their work, the project has developed new insights into the role and value of drawing in creative practice today.
Positive and Negative Space
Curated by Harriett Mummery
An inside look into the artist studio with work from BA (Hons) Drawing students in response to the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2018 exhibition.
Through emulating an artist studio space within a gallery, the exhibition offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creative process and exploration of the fundamentals of drawing.
Louise Bourgeois, AUB
Curated at AUB by Elisa Di-Rosa and Thaires Vicentini
A Hayward Touring Exhibition from Southbank Centre, London.
Autobiographical Series (1994) captures some of her deepest thoughts and memories, whilst the set of 11 drypoints (all from 1999) brings these anxieties into more abstract territory.
Jerwood Drawing Prize 2016
A touring exhibition presented in collaboration with Bath Spa University, supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Jerwood Visual Arts.
Exhibition hang Curated by Violet M McClean.
The largest and longest-running annual open exhibition for drawing in the UK, this exhibition showcases the work of UK-based drawing practitioners, from student to established, helping to define a wider understanding of the role of drawing in creative practice.
Drawing Theatre: Pamela Howard
Curated by Rebecca Pride and Co-Curated by Sam Edwards
A text + work event
The Gallery welcomes ‘Drawing Theatre’ an installation of work by internationally renowned Director, Scenographer, Curator and Educator Professor Pamela Howard OBE, author of What is Scenography? a book that has become a classic text in contemporary performance practice.
A Stitch in Line
A celebration of drawing and stitch through Costume, Fashion and Textiles.
Curators Anne Chaisty, Anne Marie Howat and Rebecca Pride.
This exhibition seeks to redefine and examine the centrality of drawing as a conduit for creative expression in the work of textiles designers as well as fashion, costume and performance designers. We draw to discover and express ourselves. We use any manner of tools to do this; pencils, paints, a sewing machine, a needle or a CAD programme to solve and explore the puzzle that the work or creative problem forces us to examine and scrutinise.
Drawing with Light
An exhibition of work by Sir Peter Cook
Curated by Will Strange & Violet McClean
These drawings and models are working designs for AUB’s New Drawing Studio, designed by alumnus Professor Sir Peter Cook. From initial sketches to the CAD data produced for construction, drawing has been the inspiration for the building and an essential part of its development. This “Drawing with Light” exhibition explores the development of the drawing studio so far.
Drawing at AUB
Drawing is positioned at the very heart of contemporary creative practice – and is taught at AUB as an extension of thinking. Throughout our lives, we are all mark makers of one kind or another, and drawing is an essential and fundamental form of our need to communicate. At AUB we celebrate its diversity; from its capacity for directness of expression, conceptualising ideas through algorithms and data structures, mechanical evocations, to exploring Eastern influences, topographies, the behaviour and properties of materials, sound and light, to analogous and metaphorical narratives.
It exists equally as an autonomous and self-contained discipline with its own histories, theories and practices, as well as being positioned perfectly to explore the blurring of boundaries across disciplines. Contemporary drawing is concerned with the ways in which we relate as human beings to each other, to our environment, communicating and investigating the political, cultural, and historical, and our psychological and physiological selves.
Drawing can be handmade, manufactured or digital. It can be sculptural, physical, exist in real space or on a screen, it can be sewn, worn, it can move, it can be projected, it can exist on the body, the possibilities are limitless. However, what it must do is challenge and interrogate preconceived ideas, notions and traditions. It should make you think and question the world we live in.
CRAB Drawing Studio, Arts University Bournemouth
The Drawing Studio was designed and completed by renowned architect, AUB Alumnus and Honorary Fellow, Professor Sir Peter Cook RA and his office CRAB (Cook Robotham Architectural Bureau).
Not only is it the first purpose-built drawing studio to be constructed at an art school for more than a century, but it is also Sir Peter’s first building to be built in the UK.
This studio celebrates light and provides a space to enable drawing as a focused creative activity. The situation of the structure upholds the four light-central themes in looking and drawing by the inclusion of; a principle north-light in the studio tradition, a rear clerestory that throws a softer light back from the rear wall, a discrete and even gentler light that filters from beneath a bench on the east side and, finally, a graded wash of light that travels along the curve of the entrance door.
This studio underlines the fundamental importance of drawing to the education offered at Arts University Bournemouth.
AUB Alumnus and Honorary Fellow, Professor Sir Peter Cook, RA
Professor Sir Peter Cook RA is an English architect, lecturer and writer on architectural subjects. He was a founder of Archigram and was knighted in 2007 by the Queen for his services to architecture and teaching. He is also a Royal Academician and a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Republic. His achievements with Archigram were recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2004 when the group was awarded the Royal Gold Medal.
CRAB drawing studio opens
On 3rd March 2016, we were delighted to announce the opening of our new drawing studio. Designed by alumnus Sir Peter Cook of CRAB studio, is the first of its kind to be built in the UK for 100 years.
AUB Drawing Studio Opened by Dame Zaha Hadid in 2016
Arts University Bournemouth opened our CRAB Drawing Studio on 3 March 2016. Designed by Professor Sir Peter Cook, RA, it is the first of its kind to be built in the UK for 100 years.
The Drawing Studio was officially opened by special guest, the world-famous Dame Zaha Hadid who closed her speech with “I simply love this building.”
This was her last formal engagement before she sadly passed away in April 2016.
BA (Hons) Fine Art
This course considers fine art in its widest sense, which means you can test out many different approaches or choose to specialise in one. Experimental workshops in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, video, digital media and sonic arts provide you with a solid foundation in testing the physical and conceptual potential of materials that you can then develop further.
MA Fine Art
MA Fine Art is an opportunity to look at the familiar with a fresh, perhaps oblique perspective in order to explore how “detour” permits “access” (Jullien 2004) to more subtle yet more complex interpretations. What constitutes a meaningful and useful research methodology in one culture may be considered unknown, unnecessary or redundant in another.
These differences are at the very fabric of the Fine Art course; establishing deliberate cross-cultural dialogues with students from International and UK backgrounds and providing a vehicle for highlighting differences in working practices and methodologies.
I am the space that I am
A collaborative project between BA (Hons) Animation Production; BA (Hons) Architecture; BA (Hons) Fine Art, BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design, MArch, MA Fine Art & MA Illustration
I am the space that I am presents a selection of works from an on-going project, Collapsible Spaces: Places of Temporary Refuge, Camouflage and Ritual, led by Siân Bowen, Professor of Drawing. The project invites AUB students and staff to explore the mutability of space and the ‘expanded field of drawing,’ through a series of interconnected drawing workshops, discussions, ‘pop-up’ shows and associated research
Drawing, the start of every practice
For some time drawing was thought to be a dying practice. Fortunately, this age-old tradition is making an undeniable comeback.
The Drawing Studio was officially opened on 3rd March 2016 by special guest, the world-famous Dame Zaha Hadid who closed her speech with ‘I simply love this building.’ It is the first purpose-built drawing studio to be constructed at an art school for more than a century, it is also Sir Peter Cook’s first building to be built in the UK.
The art of drawing: Sir Peter Cook completes first ever building in the UK
Celebrating the art of drawing – and teaching – the Arts University Bournemouth has just launched its brand new drawing studio, the first of its kind to be built in the UK in 100 years.
Drawing Studio / CRAB Studio
Archigram founder Professor Sir Peter Cook, RA has completed his first project in the UK, a vibrant blue drawing studio with a tilted oculus for his former school, the Arts University Bournemouth
TheGallery and AUB
TheGallery works with courses right across the university on a variety of exhibitions, events and projects. Mechanical Human Matter is another example of one of these projects that we have worked on with the curator. When working on a collaborative project, we provide advice and support for the curatorial and technical aspects of the exhibition, as well as advice on event and project management.
TheGallery provides a national and international public platform for the arts and these projects within the sub-region as we promote the University’s shared passion for excellence in education, industry and the sector. BA (Hons) Drawing is a clear example of this as they provide the students with key insights into the industry and develops their skills.
Main Image: Siân Bowen