Monday, 3 November 2014

Since Sliced Bread exhibition at Ayscoughfee Hall

This week I visited Spalding and Ayscoughfee Hall to see how Fi Burke had responded to the space with her current exhibition "Since Sliced Bread".
I read this review, and after my disgust at the description "mere illustration" - as a joint honours graduate, I would never ever describe illustration as "mere" or less than any other creative discipline - I went to see the exhibition myself.

Fi isn't from Lincolnshire, so she had to spend a lot of time visiting many of the locations of windmills that are a familiar part of my own heritage, and researching things that for me, would be fairly straightforward.
For instance, the Windmill Field, is similar to a concept I had in mind for a proposal I wrote that wasn't successful. 
The windmills are exhibited in a similar fashion to memorial fields, trapped in a windless brick undercroft as a memorial to the millers and farmers, including my Grandad, who had a small family farm. More information here.

Fi Burke - Windmill Field 2014
There is a war memorial in Ayscoughfee, but invariably many names of people like my Grandad, who never fought and died in the war, nor my Grandma, who never fought and died in the war, are never remembered. 

Community Garden of Wisdom
Growing up in South Holland meant that adults would often disappear down the greenhouse, and sometimes would give you tasks to do, such as setting seeds, or filling plant pots with compost. Dad would always mark his plants on white plastic markers with a chinagraph pencil. He worked in a nursery growing houseplants, and his sudden death felt much as though he'd disappeared out of one of those vast greenhouses and left us behind. The Pavilion of The Limpid Solitude.
Here Fi has invited workshop participants to share food and mill-related sayings to create a community garden of wisdom.

Fi Burke - We Are What We Eat
 In the room behind the kitchen at Ayscoughfee, Fi made use of the pantry, filled with jars containing text from William Blake's Auguries of Innocence.
In that rejected proposal, I wanted to paint portraits of contemporary Lincolnshire folk on plates, possibly in the style of Van Gogh, to reference the Dutch history of South Holland.

Fi Burke - We Are What We Eat
Fi Burke - Flours
After chatting to Fi and curator Rachel about a possible meeting in November, I went around the gardens to take some photos of the aviary. 
It had never really occurred to me how lucky we were to have the aviary at Ayscoughfee, until I moved to Lincoln - I guess I thought every park had one, so I took the opportunity to photograph the birds and take some sound recordings of their bird calls for reference. The large aviary at Ayscoughfee is filled with budgerigars, cockatiels, lovebirds, and a variety of exotic bird species that I always secretly wanted to let fly free. I'm not a huge fan of caged birds. This is also something worth exploring.

Love birds at Ayscoughfee

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There used to be a large peacock aviary across the garden opposite, but peacocks no longer reside at Ayscoughfee, and that aviary that stood empty for a while is no longer there. I started to imagine 3D printing peacock statues in honour of the former residents.

A bench in Ayscoughfee Gardens 

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