is a new window presentation by artist Sam Venables, exploring ideas of balance; between craft and concept and work and value, and specifically the challenges facing artists today in balancing working as an artist and working for a living. The exhibition emanates from Things, Money, Art, Work,Class
by Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau - a discussion with Venables and fellow artist Joe Fletcher Orr.
Capitalising on her background and long term profession as a window dresser and visual merchandiser, Venables' site specific approach to the shop
window mixes elements of mass production, transforming DVD cases in repetition to create a gaudy backdrop referencing old point of sale and advertising styles, with traditional learnt signwriting skills, applied directly to the window, to create an overlay text with two simple directions:
In contemporary society, artists and art workers are encouraged to take an aggressive approach to work, without thinking critically about the ways in which an ‘always busy’ culture generates problematic distinctions between those who can and can’t cope with a never ending workload. However, with this in mind it is also clear from speaking to Venables that self-reliance and hard work are important parts of the way they both understand their practices, and also present their practices to other people; ‘getting on with the job’ and ‘not whinging’ are ideals long associated with working class self-identification. As well as the pride inherent in overcoming the restrictions of class and economic status, we spoke about the impression of feeling too visible in an artworld that often seems to only just tolerate artists with working class backgrounds – let alone those who started out as, and remain provincial.
-excerpt from Things, Money, Art, Work,Class by Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau
Venables is a former director of The Royal Standard in Liverpool, and is currently a studio holder at The Newbridge Project in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Past exhibitions include Ultra Sunrise by Milk x It’s Kind of Hard to Explain at Set, London, 2017. SLUMMY (solo show) at PlazaPlaza, London, 2016. Nice Waves, Newbridge Projects, Newcastle, 2016. Curated Project IT’S FRIDAY at Glasgow International Festival, 2016.