Eye of the River by Jill Randall

Monday, 1 December 2008

Jill Randall – Sculpture

I am an experienced visual artist, and my practice consists of sculpture, installation and site-specific projects, including major public art projects in the public realm, where I work as half of “Dogs In Space”.

Introduction to my practice and approach.

This opportunity interests me because of its site-specifivity, because I work with ideas about exposing ‘secrecy’ and reinventing and reinvesting forgotten stories and histories, because I live and work in the locality.I am currently working a series of small sculptures recreating sheds and ad hoc structures observed in Rossendale Valley, Lancs.(see j-peg) My practice has shifted from gallery exhibitions to Residencies responding to site as the starting-point and driver of the work. These Residencies have resulted in a major public sculpture for the Irwell Sculpture Trail, Salford, and Grizedale Forest, Cumbria.(See j-pegs).
I have a track record as an artist working on projects in industry, including mining and quarrying, and am currently completing an Artist-In-Residence placement at Parys Mountain Copper Mine in Anglesey, using contemporary visual art as a catalyst for re-engagement with industrial heritage.
I am also currently undertaking one of the “Valley of Stone “ artists commissions, developing ideas for new work based on the working quarrying industry in Rossendale Valley, using the current work force to assist me in the creation of drawings and sculpture on site using the technology and physical processes of quarrying.
Recent projects also include a site-specific commission for the Harold Martin Botanic Garden, Leicester, “An Alternative Herbal”, working with poisonous plants and their ability to ‘kill’ or ‘cure’. (see j-peg) To date, I have successfully completed 20 public art commissions, most won in national and international competitions, for a range of clients, including :-Manchester City Council, Dundee Public Arts Programme, The Environment Agency, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Irwell Sculpture Trail, Grizedale Arts, Manchester Museum of Science and Industry and Millennium Estates, 3 of which have won national awards, including an “Art For Architecture” Award from the Royal Society of Arts .
Many commissions have involved the residents and users of the sites directly in all stages of the research and design process, and the site itself - its history, social history, mythology, industrial archaeology, have always been the starting-point for ideas.
I am also a Lecturer and Researcher on the BA Visual Arts Course at the University of Salford.

Examples of experience working with industry and historic sites.

I have recently been awarded an “Artists At Work” Residency from Public Art Wales, to undertake an Artists Residency at Parys Mountain Copper Mine and the Amlwch Industrial Heritage Centre, Anglesey, North Wales. I am working on a project to generate ideas for

new work from the material of copper itself and the toxic landscape left as a legacy from the mining industry. This has also involved working underground in abandoned copper mines, and collaborating with scientists to explore aspects of the mining history through drawing, video, performance and sculpture.The outcome will be an exhibition and publication in 2009.

In 2005-6, I worked on a Research and Development project at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham, resulting in the solo exhibition, “Secrets and Lives”, at the Yard Gallery, making connections between the architectural fabric of an historic house and extinction within the natural history collection housed within it. (See j-peg.)

In 2007, I undertook a Consultancy for Salford City Council to do a Public Art Feasibility Study for the regeneration of Ordsall Hall, an historic house in Salford, developing ideas from a research project into the different eras of the house history.

In 2000, I was awarded a commission for the Irwell Sculpture Trail, Salford, Manchester, where I made a major public sculpture ,“Arresting Time”, on the banks of the River Irwell.
This involved a Residency at Magnesium Elektron, a metal-processing factory adjacent to the site near an industrial estate. This was a novel approach to community involvement, taking my practice as a sculptor into the factory environment, and making the whole creative and making process transparent to the workforce.
The Lowry then commissioned a solo show at the Lowry, “Light Matter”,(2003) enabling me to develop many ideas directly resulting from my experience in the factory.

I recently completed a commission for the “A13 Artescape” Project in Barking, Greater London, which is in the top 200 largest public art projects in the world.(Budget £250,000.) This commission involved the redesign of a prominent space at Barking Quay, in conjunction with the Environment Agency and Halcrow Landscape Architects, evolved from an extensive research project into the history of the Barking fishing fleet, with many innovative ideas and proposals for art works. The completed public space has a large granite floorscape developed from a life-size drawing of a boat, sculptural fencing referencing names of Barking boats, and integrated lighting and seating.

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