Tag Archives: Kate Murdoch

What Are You Prepared to Give in Exchange?

I Don't Suppose I'll Ever Go There, by Kate Murdoch

I Don’t Suppose I’ll Ever Go There, ©2011 Kate Murdoch

Kate’s work is a delicate balance of position, association, meaning and value – not necessarily in that order or with the usual expectations.  That is the beauty of Kate’s work; she presents slights which are out-of-joint and off-kilter familiarity which causes profound questioning of assumptions.  What you think you know is not what you knew and as a result memory slides sideways.

Jane Boyer: Tell us about the significance of memory for you and what role it plays in your artwork.

Kate Murdoch: At the heart of my work is an unravelling of memories; the desire to make sense of and preserve certain aspects of the past are a driving force behind it. I work mostly with found objects and the raw material for my artwork comes primarily from the vast collection I’ve accumulated over the years; both from my own life and from those of others. I use this vast mass of memorabilia to tease out and present my memories of childhood and family relationships, conscious of the distorted effect that time can have on real, authentic memory. I’m fascinated by what the objects we surround ourselves with say about us; steeped in social and political history they are a part of our identity, providing us with a sense of self and revealing our connections to the wider world.

JB: In your artist statement you say your practice is ‘a process of selection

Birdcage by Kate Murdoch

Birdcage, ©2009 Kate Murdoch

where you place familiar objects in an unfamiliar environment in order to challenge the viewer’s response’.  What about your own response, what is challenged for you when you reinterpret an object and change the context and significance?  Do you surprise yourself?

KM:  I think my piece Birdcage demonstrates how the placing of familiar objects in an unfamiliar environment can challenge both my own and an audience’s response to it. Though the initial placing of the brass bells within a cage was something I remember doing quite subconsciously, I was surprised retrospectively by the impact of doing so. The ‘ladies’ in the home of my Scottish aunt appealed to me very much as a child. They exuded an air of decency and femininity.  Their crinoline dresses and neat, sash-tied bonnets called to mind rather beautiful, Scarlett O’Hara kind of heroines – pretty and privileged. But there was a darker side as we know and placing these female figurines in a cage, albeit unconsciously, speaks volumes I think about the hidden aspects of these women’s lives – the repression, domination and dependency.

JB: In your blog Keeping it Going on a-n Artists Talking, you speak about value, both the perceived value of an object which you have made available for your audience to take (Going for Gold) or the associated value to exchange with something of similar value (10 x 10). It could be said the value we associate with an object is in relation to the depth of emotion we experience in any given situation.  Do you feel this to be true and what have you observed about this relationship through the interactive aspect of your work?

10 x 10 by Kate Murdoch

10 x 10, ©2008 – 2012 Kate Murdoch

KM: I’m not sure there’s a definitive answer to this question but in terms of my observations of how the majority of people have interacted with 10×10 so far, then yes, I would say it is true. The emotional attachment we make to any given object can determine its worth in emotional terms as opposed to its monetary value. The very act of bartering adds an emotional reality to the process of exchange that currency somehow lacks. ‘What is an object worth to you?’ is one of the main questions posed by 10×10. ‘How much do you want it and what are you prepared to give in exchange?’

I can give you many good examples of the varying degrees of value and worth; they are contained in the stories people leave behind when they give their objects up for exchange. The woman who gave up a genuine diamond bracelet at the launch of 10×10 for instance demonstrates a really good example of value and worth. On the face of it, the value of a real diamond was high; from her story however, it was clear that the bracelet, in spite of its monetary worth, had become of little personal value to her.

An exchange made by an international student at Lewisham College has an equally poignant ring to it. He exchanged a small candle stub for a larger, unused candle. Living on a very tight budget in order to afford college fees, this student told me that he was doing his best to avoid having to pay for electricity. It was a practical exchange, then on one level – a used-up candle for one with many burning hours – but in terms of value in this case, the new candle represented a kind of life-saver for him.

“The very act of bartering adds an emotional reality to the process of exchange that currency somehow lacks.”

Kate Murdoch

It's The Little Things by Kate Murdoch

It’s The Little Things, ©2010 Kate Murdoch, detail view

JB: Tell us about your piece It’s The Little Things.  You raise an interesting point in what you ‘think is worth preserving’, tell us about some of the things you’ve chosen to preserve in this piece and why.

KM: The things I chose for this particular piece were largely an emotional response to the clearance of my Nana’s home in which she had lived for some 70 years. The items I salvaged were reminders of the many times I’d spent with my Nana as a child and the close relationship we had. I was trying to hold onto her history as well as my own through preserving them. The pastry cutters, the icing nozzles, the embroidery cottons, thimbles, darning mushroom and tape measure are all reminders of the many domestic skills my Nana taught me. The fun side of my relationship with her is reflected in the lipstick, powder and perfume which she sometimes let me play with at her dressing table. The ancient pocket Bible and the red poppy speak of the history of a woman who lived through two world wars and would engage me with her stories about the war as she taught me the rules of a waste-not-want-not life.

JB: We’ve spoken about the personal exchange and value inherent in your work; there is a sense of nostalgia for personal communication and connections underlying your work.  What are your thoughts on digital communications and the ‘faceless’ interactions which are commonplace for us now?  In a way, written communication has been reinvigorated through digital communications, but have we lost the personal connection or have we strengthened those connections?

Gentlemen by Kate Murdoch

Gentlemen, ©2009 Kate Murdoch

KM: That’s a very big question. But does it necessarily have to be face to face? Does ‘faceless’ communication lose any true sense of feeling connected with other people? I’ve certainly had a lot of face to face conversations where I’ve felt very unconnected with the person I’m speaking with – you just don’t connect with everybody – it’s a fact of life! I’ve had e-mail and twitter conversations, on the other hand where communication has been surprisingly personal and intimate when discussing certain matters.

I find forums like twitter and facebook working well for me because of my partial deafness; I find writing a more direct and clear way of communicating as it leaves less room for misinterpretation. I’m in close contact via email and twitter with a few people – mainly artists – who I’ve never actually met face to face. A lot of formality is broken down in the way people communicate via digital communications such as twitter and facebook which to my mind cuts to the chase and gets down very quickly to the core of good, open and honest communication. I know it has its critics, but I actually think you can learn a great deal about a person by the way they communicate on social media and I gravitate towards those who I believe share my own fundamental life values.


I’ve asked the artists to share a list of books they find informative for their practice. Follow the links here or visit the Bookshop to see all the books suggested so far. We hope you will see something inspiring for your own interests. Your book purchase made through This ‘Me’ of Mine will help raise funds for the project.

Kate’s suggested reading:

Evocative Objects: Things We Think with edited by Sherry Turkle
Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris by Leanne Shapton
Interpreting Objects and Collections  edited by Susan M. Pearce
Contemporary Art and Memory by Joan Gibbons
The Memory Box by Margaret Forster
Noah’s Compass by Anne Tyler
The Whale’s Song by Dyan Sheldon
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks
The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal

Jane’s Additions:

Color Photographs by Marie Cosindas
Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

If you enjoyed this interview, please follow This ‘Me’ of Mine by clicking the ‘follow’ button below.  You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook, those links are also below.  Pop in and see the great work our partners are doing too! Click on the logos below to go to their sites.

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Catching up with Summertime

Summertime is the time for fun in the sun – right?  It’s also the time for some great art activity and the artists of This ‘Me’ of Mine have been very active.  They’ve also been busy composing their thoughts in several new blogs, see the list below.  Here are the highlights of some of their recent and upcoming activity:

Annabel Dover:

'Marshall & Snellgrove' (c)2011 Annabel Dover

Marshall & Snellgrove, (c)2011 Annabel Dover, cyanotype on paper

Loss
Golden Thread Gallery
Belfast
http://goldenthreadgallery.co.uk/event/loss/

Royal Academy Summer Show
Curated and selected by Tess Jaray
http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibitions/summer-exhibition-2012/

Fringe Arts Bath
http://www.fringeartsbath.co.uk/lost-properties/

Santorini Biennale
Santorini, Greece
http://www.santorinibiennale.gr/thesantorini-biennale-of-arts-2012.html


Kate Murdoch:

'10x10' (c)2008-2012 Kate Murdoch

10 x 10, (c)2008-2012 Kate Murdoch

Coastal Currents Arts Festival
Stade Hall, Old Town, Hastings

Exhibition of 10×10:
19 – 21 September 2012, 4 to 7pm

Artist Talk:
19 September 2012, 7pm

Object Swap:
22 September 2012, 5 to 8pm
http://coastalcurrents.org.uk/whats-on/kate_murdoch_exhibition


David Riley:

sonnet 84, colouring shakespeare (c)2012 David Riley

sonnet 84, colouring shakespeare, (c)2012 David Riley

HEADLINE: 99 days of colour coding the news
Online Exhibition at: http://virtual.codedimages.com/headline/

SONNET: colouring Shakespeare
Online Exhibition at: http://virtual.codedimages.com/colouring-shakespeare/


Anthony Boswell:

Marker (c)2012 Anthony Boswell

Marker, (c)2012 Anthony Boswell

Reading Room
Little Berlin, Philadelphia, USA
Curated by Becky Huff Hunter
http://littleberlin.org/2012/06/upcoming-exhibition-reading-room/

Reside Residency
The Reside Residency is inspired in equal parts by the notions contained within Xavier de Maistre’s ‘Voyage around my Room’ and the founders inability to find a suitable residency for an individual with familial and professional responsibilities.
http://resideresidency.weebly.com/reside-blog-anthony-boswell.html


Hayley Harrison:

Portrait (c)2012 Hayley Harrison

Portrait (c)2012 Hayley Harrison

Hayley has been painting portraits at several art fairs this summer.  Here is a list of some of the fairs she’s attended:

 Faircharm Summer Fair

Dandy Lion Market

Mayton Street Festival part of Holloway Arts Festival 2012

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden part of Dalston Flower Show – Chelsea Fringe


New Blogs:

David Minton: It’s a Hiding to Nothing
Kate Murdoch: Keeping it Going
Sandra Crisp: Work in Progress
Anthony Boswell: ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ – Beyond Painting


The project is also starting to get some press attention. Anthony’s interview was mentioned in The Arts and Crafts Gazette in June. In July Perrick Senelaer editor of Art Pie invited me to be a contributor and write about This ‘Me’ of Mine. It gives me a unique opportunity to write about the project from a different perspective and I hope will offer further insights into issues surrounding This ‘Me’ of Mine. I have an article coming up for Art Pie on my interview with Shireen Qureshi.  Our interview will be posted here in the next few days,  so watch for that. And last week, @an_artnews mentioned me in a tweet with some other very exciting groups and individuals making a mark on the UK arts scene, I was very honoured. As a result the project has gained some new followers.

So if you are enjoying the developing content, help us spread the word. You can follow the project by clicking on the ‘follow this blog via email‘ button or the ‘follow@thismeofmine‘ button just below the list of tweets. Leave us a comment too, we’d love to chat with you. If you would like to support the project have a look at our BOOKSHOP for books which have inspired the artists of This ‘Me’ of Mine, commissions from book sales go to fund the project.

Thanks very much to everyone who is watching!

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Cathy Lomax and Kate Murdoch in Diamond Geezer at WW Gallery

Diamond Geezer
16 May – 9 June
WW Gallery, 34/35 Hatton Garden EC1N 8DX
Open Weds – Fri 11 – 6pm; Sat 11 – 4pm
WE ARE OPEN OVER THE WHOLE JUBILEE BANK HOLIDAY:
11-4pm on Saturday 2nd, Sunday 3rd, Monday 4th & Tuesday 5th JuneFree EntryCathy Lomax, Alex Michon, Dick Jewell, Sadie Hennessy, Boa Swindler, Siobhan Barr, Imogen Welch, Paul Kindersley, Enzo Marra, Deb Covell, Lisa Muten, Alli Sharma, Matt Day, Sardine & Tobleroni, Wendy Elia, Kate Murdoch, Chiara Williams.In commemoration of the Jubilee year, the WW Gallery are pleased to present ‘Diamond Geezer’, a group show of works responding to the imagery and iconography of the Queen throughout her reign.

For More Information go to WW Gallery

Note to editors:
Curated by Debra Wilson & Chiara Williams
For more information please contact Chiara Williams & Debra Wilson at wwgallery@gmail.com or Francesca Brooks at francesca.a.brooks@gmail.com.

Cathy Lomax, ‘A Taste of Honey’, 2008, acrylic on paper, 152x122cm
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No, No, No, Kate Murdoch exhibits with Shape Open 2012

No No No by Kate Murdoch

'No No No' by Kate Murdoch

Shape Open 2012

Kate Murdoch has been accepted to Shape Open 2012, a visual arts competition that asks disabled and non-disabled artists to respond to ‘disability’.

“I think the reason this exhibition might raise a few eyebrows is an element of confusion over the meaning of Disability Arts. To make Disability Arts within the Disability Arts Movement framework, you had to be making work about disability and the artist had to be a disabled person.

But disability arts outside the movement is a conceptual term and refers to the work having some sort of conceptual relation to the meaning of disability and this doesn’t mean you have to have a disability to be able to respond with validity to the subject. This is part of the reason why we opened the exhibition up to disabled and non-disabled people because this is a survey of contemporary disability arts and not a survey of the types of artists who made it.”

Ben Fredericks, Shape programme officer and co-curator for Shape Open interviewed by Trish Wheately.

The exhibition runs through May 6th at Portobello Gallery, Notting Hill W10 5XL.  Awards presented May 3rd at 6:30pm.


Rise Art Featured Artist

And I’ve been selected to be a Featured Artist on Rise Art!  Follow the link to see my work for sale – or rent it, and take it for a spin!

becoming (c)2010 Jane Boyer

'becoming' (c)2010 Jane Boyer

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David Minton reviews Beta Version 2.0 at Kaleidoscope Gallery and Kate Murdoch is interviewed by Artist Talking editor, Andrew Bryant

To Heal by Ruth Geldard

To Heal, Ruth Geldard, wax, found tree section

Beta Version 2.0

Kaleidoscope Gallery, Sevenoaks
19 January – 10 March 2012

In addition to blogging, David Minton has reviewed a number of exhibitions at the Kaleidoscope Gallery, Sevenoaks Library.

His latest review of ‘Beta 2.0’ is among those chosen by a-n guest selector Alessandro Vincentelli, Curator of Exhibitions & Research at BALTIC in Gateshead, to be featured in the March edition of a-n Magazine, Reviews section.

Ruth Geldard’s three pieces begin with verbs – ‘To smother’  ‘To Heal’ ‘To Secrete’. My male gaze lacks confidence here. To Smother? Smothering? (S)mothering? My mother?  Smother the mother? Smothering is a gentle art, but oh so insistent. Brings back memories. From a distance, ‘To Smother’ is an over sized confection on the wall. Get closer and it has the appearance of a section of tree-trunk overwhelmed by sweet pinkness; its enamel surface a contradiction. Invited by the artist to touch the work, my visual enamel is shattered by the shocking sensation of clammy skin. First reactions are of eye and hand reading different stories, but second thoughts suggest that the differences live through their associations. The eye touches more easily than the hand? My male gaze backs off a little…

Read the full review here.

Read David’s blog Dead and Dying Flowers on a-n Artists Talking.


Kate Murdoch is interviewed by Andrew Bryant

Hame by Kate Murdoch

Hame (c)2009 Kate Mudoch, courtesy the artist

And speaking of Artists Talking, editor Andrew Bryant’s latest blogger interview is with our Kate Murdoch.  They discuss art as a second career and the challenges and benefits of not going to art school.

AB: You are one of the few artists I know who hasn’t been through the art education system. Do you think that puts you at an advantage or a disadvantage?

KM: I think the short answer to that is a bit of both. My feelings fluctuate and I waver between thinking that an art education might be really worthwhile to wondering if I would personally gain all that much from it.

I’d say one of the main advantages for me of not having had a formal art education is that I’ve had the freedom to work organically and develop my practice at my own pace. I like to think that my art isn’t formulaic. I haven’t been taught how to make it; I work intuitively, so it comes from the heart.  I’ve heard some people speak about having the creativity knocked out of them through attending an art institution. I can’t say whether this would have happened to me had I gone, but I do know that as things stand, my creative flow has remained largely uninterrupted.

Read Blogger Interview: Kate Murdoch.

Read Kate’s latest post on her blog Keeping it Together, one she says will be her last.

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