Speedy Crits is an opportunity to see new work, meet new people, talk about
and share knowledge of contemporary art, art theory, philosophy, and resources.
So far there have been over 30 artists from across the UK taking part across the first three
sessions and an ever growing database of interested participants and artists wishing to
present or just be involved. Participating artists so far have joined in from Warwickshire, the
West Midlands, Hereford, Plymouth and Bolton. The ability to meet with artists outside of
our usual location specific bubbles is often one denied to many artists for a variety of
reasons. How else though can we broaden our networks and understanding of what is
happening across the contemporary art world? More importantly where do we go to talk
about it? This is where Speedy Crits offers something unique by facilitating an opportunity to
share work with artists from anywhere. It’s amazing to now be in a position where all
spaces for artists to present work have been filled.
Artists who have presented their work so far include:
The collaborative duo “2 Meeters”. “2 Meeters” are artists, Ije and Thomas Vassaux, who
met during their final year of Masters studies at Birmingham School of Art in 2016. Despite
living more than 40 miles apart, Ije is based in Rugby, Warwickshire and Thomas Vassuaux
in Birmingham. They decided to use the time given by Lockdown to embark on their first
collaboration together through virtual platforms. Their work is in the very early stages of
development at a point where they are experimenting with ideas informed by: ‘Artworks of
accidental design’, ‘Socially distanced community engagement’ and ‘Meetings of the mind’.
Work presented included sculpture, drawing, photography and film.
Second to present was Birmingham based artist and 2018/19 Artist in Residence with
Coventry Artspace, Adam Neal. Adam’s work was at the point of a resolved outcome,
having been one of the successful recipients of the New Art West Midlands engine micro
bursary. The bursary gave him the opportunity to be able to concentrate on a growing body
of work, “Time on Our Hands”, that had begun prior to lockdown. Adam is currently studying for his Masters in Film and Photography at the University of Derby. Adam presented a series of film and still images that question and lay bare perceptions of familial masculinity, constant production in relation to contemporary working class culture.
The most recent artist to present was myself, Helen Kilby Nelson. An artist from rural
Warwickshire, 2018/19 Artist in Residence with Coventry Artspace and Black Hole Club
alumni. The work presented was a body of work that is reaching a point of resolution, the
process having been started in October 2019 with “Society of the Spectacle”. The work
questions different forms of language and how it is presented in the media using moving
image, sound, digital images and early experimentation with sculptural forms. I have reflected on my own Speedy Crit session in a previous blog.
Using a shared google drive folder participants were introduced to the artists and their work
ahead of the sessions. Sharing the work and an introduction to the artist before the session
allows participants the time to study the work in their own time and come to the hour-long
sessions prepared with relevant input.
The artists have all presented very different concepts and artistic processes that have
informed a repository of varied artist links, research suggestions, themes and ideas. In the
next two blogs I will talk more about the presenting artists, their work and subsequent event
dialogue. There is an expanding register of participants which enables us to select a panel that most benefits both the presenting artist and participants. If you are interested in taking part as a participant you can still register your interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speedy Crits blogs will also be shared on the Coventry Artspace website and I would like to thank them for all their support for this 3 month pilot of the professional development initiative Speedy Crits!