The opening event will run from 2 - 5PM as planned. The exhibition will then be open until 27th October, 11AM - 6PM (closed Tuesdays). See further details below.
Concerning ritual, seasonality and the unknown.
Not Just Collective welcomes you to the opening of our new exhibition as part of the Independents Biennial.
Drawing on traditional customs while looking towards an uncertain future, what are our modern rituals? What do they mean for us as individuals, and for society local and global? How do we create meaning through secularism or religious syncretism?
Not Just Collective is a group of creative practitioners based mainly in Merseyside, with some participants further afield. The group was originally formed by Liverpool Biennial volunteers in 2012, though membership has evolved over the years so that most of the present group have no Biennial connection. We also regularly invite other artists to exhibit with us. Our first exhibition was held in Domino Gallery in 2013, and since then we have held a series of exhibitions in galleries and non-traditional spaces throughout the region. Some of our more unusual venues include the Williamson Tunnels, a terraced house in Toxteth, and a community garden space in Aigburth, in which we are currently exhibiting work that responds to the environment, and will survive or succumb to the elements over time.
2018 has been our busiest year, beginning with an exhibition at the Tapestry entitled Thresholds: The Adjacent Possible. This show featured Liverpool based artists alongside those from across the UK, Europe, Asia and the USA.
Building upon this success, we worked with local Councillors to secure our residency in Aigburth's Fulwood Community Gardens. The residency was launched with a festival of music, poetry, storytelling and art, with local creative businesses selling handmade items, and arts activities for visitors to try. A second event at the gardens was held recently, with an expanded collection of installed works. Our 'Resilience Picnic' marked the international "Rise For Climate" day on 8th September (https://riseforclimate.org/), and we welcomed the public with a food share, poetry, singing and environmentally-focused discussion.
We have one further event planned at the gardens, on 21st October. This event featuring mainly spoken-word performance will mark the end of the year's activities, and will link the Fulwood residency with the exhibition at George Henry Lee’s.
This exhibition, running between the weekend of the Autumnal Equinox (22nd/23rd September) to the 27th October (near Halloween/Samhain/All Saints' Day), is titled Where the Veil is Thin, referring to the idea that at this time of year, the boundaries between worlds are more easily breached. Whether magickal practitioner, observer or atheist, this concept is undeniably part of our history and our popular culture. As the skies darken and the nights grow long, we are wont to wonder on what may go unnoticed in the shadows. As modern city-dwellers we do not gather an agricultural harvest, but we may take stock of the year and prepare for things to come.
It seems that 'ritual' has made a resurgence in public consciousness. Both the BBC and Channel Four have current or recent series on the subject, and Light Night Liverpool have just announced that Ritual will be the theme for their 2019 events. Perhaps in a society where many of us feel less bound to traditional (capitalist?) rites of passage - get married, get a house, have some kids - or at least, those rites of passage may not occur in traditional order, we look to find new meaning in old symbols. But where, in a world of climate change, where one UK season could be barely distinguishable from another, do seasonal celebrations fit in? Can we celebrate harvest-time when so many in our own country and others face food insecurity, poverty or starvation?
Artists exhibiting as part of Where the Veil is Thin include:
Robert Harrison's photographic series is influenced by Breton and Soupault's novel The Magnetic Fields, credited as the first work of literary Surrealism. The Surrealists believed that when the mind is allowed to drift into a dream-like state, it reveals truths that lie hidden beneath consciousness. Through this we find an alternative reality, one that our conscious mind seeks to suppress, manifesting as an escape from the stresses and strains of modern life, or the discovery of repressed sexual desires.
Tony O'Connell's work plays on the imagery of folklore, tarot, dreams and the pagan roots of the tradition of Morris dancing. Formed spontaneously, the symbolism in these images may seem partially recognisable, though any underlying meaning may not be fully understood. O'Connell investigates the artistic process, and questions whether an artist needs necessarily to be able to fully rationalise their own thought process.
In creating the same image over and over again, Patrick O'Rourke will explore the ritualisation of the act of drawing. The objects that constitute each work have a narrative unknowable to the viewer, but suggesting a personal iconography tied to memory and loss.
Nicola Roscoe-Calvert's work concerns history, folklore, literature, and the interplay between the natural and urban environment. Her sculptural assemblage Ill Eye, Ill Tongue was created to mark the 400 year anniversary of the Lancashire Witch Trials, and examines religious syncretism and the percieved threat of "the other". Aesthetically the work is tied to witch bottles, apotropaic objects sometimes concealed in the hearth or threshold of a home.
Skye Shadowlight, originally from Texas and now based in West Yorkshire, is a recent recipient of the Square Peg Bursary. Previous work has centred around the rebuilding of memory, familial relationships and personal symbolism.