Monday, March 24, 2008

Newcastle, a few more choice spots

My last, and much delayed, post about Newcastle concerns 3 organizations I had the pleasure to visit. The first, Waygood Gallery and Studios, is by far the most complex. I've had its history explained to me a number of times now, and still don't really have a handle on it. What is clear to me is that they are renovating a former factory space in the center of town. It will contain studios, a gallery, a café, and a shop. Waygood's past always included studio space. While the renovation has been happening, the studio space has been housed in a huge, warehouse-like building in an area of town called Harker. My visit there showed me a warren of small spaces in a vast industrial building. I was told that as many as 50 artists had workspace there. It seemed a remarkably vital and creative space. Harker however will not survive. It is already slated for demolition. The new downtown space does not have room for 50 studios, so some artists will be left to look for new studio space. I saw the work of a number of intriguing artists, for example Michael Mulvihill and Jock Mooney. At least in the moment in which I saw it, Harker/Waygood seemed another example of the collective artististic environment I alluded to in previous posts. It is an enviable community of creative work. I don't know how the new Waygood will manifest itself, but I hope this communal core will not be lost. (

Rashida Davison is the heart, mind and soul behind Globe Gallery. ( Like most of the art presenters I met in Newcastle, she has a long and devoted past tied to the cultural life of the area. Aside from the adventurous program of exhibits and shows in the gallery's raw and adaptable space, Globe has something called Plan Chest. Plan Chest is reminiscent of Pierogi Gallery's Flatfiles, but definitely has a personal and individual stamp. The gallery's website tells us that, "over the next year Globe Gallery will be commissioning five contemporary artists to produce a series of signed limited edition prints for sale at Globe Gallery. The Plan Chest prints are limited to 50 editions and priced at £250 unframed. The first two artists showcased are New York based Alexander Gorlizki and Miranda Whall, currently working in Aberystwyth, Wales. These unique prints are only available for sale at Globe City Gallery". Additionally, they offer prints by a number of nationally and internationally respected artists who have worked with Locus+ like Nathan Coley, Layla Curtis and Mark Wallinger (please refer to earlier post about Locus +) and also Globe Gallery artists Claire Davies, Denis Doran and Gerald Laing. Particularly exciting for me were the map-based work of Layla Curtis (check this artist out), the Indian outsourced work of Gorlizki, and Gerald Laing. More commissioned work is in the planning stages. Like the editions put out by organizations like Blind Spot and Artists Space, I think these editions will be something to look for.

Last on my list is a young gallery called Workplace. Some of the US-based art community will know them from NADA art fairs. They are a strong, artist led gallery with an engaging program of artists. Of particular interest to me were Catherine Bertola, Cath Campbell, and Sarah Walton. Also worth checking out is the wacky, wholly original, and variably interesting video work of Marcus Coates. The guys at Workplace predict a strong future for him and he may be one to watch. Check out their website for more info on these artists.

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