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Friday 7 August 2009

Launch - Artist and Curatorial Collaborative

I am inspired by the resilience that has been a by-product of this recession. New ideas, concepts and serendipity are only some of the products of the economic downturn. I know it’s been hard, and basically has shaken everyone up, but for me, it’s broadened my horizons and made me take a good look around. I’m not the only one.

I think this idea is brilliant; and I’ve heard of a lot of these spaces popping up across the country. They question the notion of the transient gallery space, but also look at art in terms of engaging with communities. I realise this cannot always be the case, but I am inspired, I would love to take an empty shop, and convert it into the Aesthetica gallery. Any takers?

Launch Collaborative, an artist and curatorial collaborative present three new projects working with artists who share an interest in exhibiting their work in non-traditional exhibition spaces across Oxford. Working in association with Modern Art Oxford the aim is to give valuable exposure to early career artists, whilst presenting innovative contemporary art in an accessible, approachable environment. Located in The busy thoroughfare of the Westgate Centre, Felix's Machines: Armadillo is a solo exhibition by celebrated young artist, Felix Thorn.

Armadillo is an extraordinary, mechanical instrument put together by the artist and musician Felix Thorn. The latest in a series of works which exist to facilitate music by translating rhythmic audio structures into a three dimensional, visual spectacle; Armadillo functions as both musical instrument and kinetic sculpture.

Felix’s Machines are music making sculptures that invite audiences to share the experience of their creator. These Machines do not intend to match human potential. Instead they exist to test the advantages of mechanical instruments alone.

"Although my medium focuses on the development of acoustic sounds, I am continually inspired by electronic music - the countless abstractions act as blueprints for the construction of its acoustic counterparts. I aim to build a space where artificial and dream-like environments can become a reality," says Felix Thorn

Launch Collaborative is creating a contemporary art conversation across the city, and invited Oxford artist Tom Milnes to present a work that links Felix Thorn’s exhibition at Westgate Centre with James Winnett’s George Street exhibition and Sarah Kenchington’s performance for Modern Art Oxford’s Yard Party on the evening of Thursday 30th July. Milnes’ 21st Century One Man Band is a peculiar, time-travelling, intriguing-technotastic version of the traditional one-man band, embodying a mystique that attracted the attention of unassuming passers-bys. Like the Pied Piper of Hamlin, Milnes led visitors between the various venues and attracted the intrigued along the way. Making the most of mobile technology Milnes takes electronica out of the studio and onto the streets creating music on the move using audio gadgets such as battery-powered synths, amps, laptops and iPods. Milnes’ performance on the 30th has been documented and is now available to view in Launch Collaborative’s exhibition space in the Westgate centre.

Modern Art Oxford Director, Michael Stanley commented:
“At a time when empty shop fronts are becoming an all too familiar sight on our High Street, Launch Collaborative’s bold and innovative projects are providing a much welcome alternative. We are really excited to be working in association with them for the first Summer Yard Party. We hope that this will be the beginning of many similar projects that demonstrate the vitality of the visual arts in Oxford and the valuable contribution we collectively make to the vibrant cultural life of the City.”

Exploring these curious, lo-fi, experimental fine art installations the public are invited take an extra couple of minutes out of their usual shopping trip to step inside the wonderful, stimulating scenarios carefully created by budding artists.

Felix Thorn: Felix's Machines: Armadillo
31 July - 8 August, 11am-5pm
Westgate Centre, Oxford. (Formerly Original Shoe Company)

Tom Milnes: 21st Century One Man Band
31 July - 8 August, 11am-5pm
Westgate Centre, Oxford. (Formerly Original Shoe Company)

James Winnett: Garden Images
31 July - 8 August, 11am-5pm
35 George Street, Oxford

Sunday 2nd August 2pm – 4pm, Saturday 8th August 2pm – 4pm
Free, drop-in workshops for children aged 6 – 12 years old
Westgate Centre, Oxford. (Formerly Original Shoe Company)


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