Richard Shields - 'With no direction from the institution, all that could be done was to focus on the work until an opportunity presented itself' (2019) graphite on paper.

Announcing: 5 artists selected for Spring micro-commissions

Five artists have been selected to complete micro-commissions following an open call in April. The artists – all based in, or with strong connections to Salford – are each taking different approach to the brief of creating new content in response to the University’s art collection.
The commissions, worth £200 each, intend to support artists who may have lost income or opportunities during Covid-19, and are part of a bigger programme of activity to support our artist communities. The final content and new artworks will initially feature on our website in July 2020.

Visit our SPRING Micro Commissions page to view the works – going live from July – August 2020

Mollie Balshaw is a graduate of the School of Arts and Media (BA Fine Art, 2019) and current participant in our Graduate Scholars programme. For this commission they are developing new work in response to The Awkward Ambassador by Darren Nixon – a painted sculptural installation which can exist in numerous different configurations. Mollie’s own practice explores non-binary gender, and gender fluidity, through contemporary abstract painting – and will respond to ideas around flux and process in Nixon’s work. For this commission, they will produce a digital video capturing their studio painting process:

“I’m looking to continue my enquiry into gender identity as explored through painting by trying a different approach…I usually record my process in a very private way for my own reference only, but I am keen to break that habit for the first time in this new piece, and demystify some of the spontaneity and nuance of painting in process”.

Richard Shields, resident at Salford studios Paradise Works, works as an artist and an art handler. His recent drawings take inspiration from both of these roles – exploring the physical and mental challenges of precarious working in the art sector: “useful contacts on zero hour contracts”.

The drawings, made on off-cuts of paper, seek to expose the “hidden process in exhibition production”. Whilst museums and galleries remain closed in the UK due to COVID-19, Shields will instead produce a pencil drawing of a technician installing an imagined exhibition from the Art Collection, accompanied by an anecdote-as-title – reminiscent of the growing trend of ‘art technician memes’ online.

Katie Tomlinson, also a member of Paradise Works, depicts “bizarre narratives that are a response to the everyday” in her painting practice. Katie will respond to the 1922 painting Figures by a Fence by Adolphe Valette – a small oil painting of two figures meeting in a peaceful local rural landscape:

“I believe this piece has gained new meaning when reflecting on our current climate. For most, the ritual of a daily walk has become a silver lining [during the pandemic], and Valette’s painting depicts just this; a content and peaceful couple, adhering to social distancing, and enjoying a moment with nature”

Jesse Glazzard graduated from BA Fashion Image Making and Styling at the University of Salford in 2018. After taking part in our Graduate Scholarship scheme, he has gone on to a successful photographic practice – with clients including Vice, Dazed, and i-D magazines. His work champions the LGBT+ community, aiming to strip away stereotypes and delve into class and politics.

For this commission, Jesse will revisit and reflect on his own body of work made in 2018, which was donated to the University Art Collection:

I will revisit the work I made in Salford in new forms – writing and collage – to make a digital zine. The work aims to look back on how Salford changed my life, and how the struggles were over come from a present version of myself.
I’m grateful to be taking on this work as it gives me time to really reconnect with a place that pushed me to be where I am today.”

With Covid 19 becoming a time for reflection and re-interrogation of the ‘reality’ around us, Pat Flynn has also taken the opportunity to revisit his own previous work, acquired by the Collection in 2016.

His realistic, digitally-rendered work focuses on “how we understand ourselves in light of mass media and commodity: the seduction, security, rituals and belief systems that transpire from mass production and consumer culture”

Using the latest ‘fluid dynamics software’ – a digital technology often used in adverts and movies to recreate motion, waves, liquids and gases – Flynn will revisit his ‘Cheese Series’ and effectively attempt to ‘melt’ the contents of the earlier works.

All images courtesy the artists.

Katie Tomlinson “Eh-Wheres-it-Gone”. Oil on canvas
Jesse Glazzard, Self portrait with Nora Nord. Photograph
Pat Flynn, A smoke Digital print