HCA Graduate Residencies
Each year the Sidney Nolan Trust awards residencies to two students graduating from the BA and MA Fine Art Programmes at Hereford College of Arts. The residencies are a special opportunity for reflection as well as a time to explore The Rodd estate and the life and art of Sidney Nolan. The residencies are awarded on the merit of the work presented in the final graduate exhibitions and the relationship between the student’s practice and the scope that the residency will provide them.
In 2023, we awarded the BA Residency Award to Timothy Lewis and MA Residency Award to Liz Davis. Read more about their work below.
An alternative view of Nolan’s work
My residency explored the paradox that although Nolan lived in England for 30 years, he rarely ever painted the English landscape, or indeed the landscape of The Rodd. I saw my work as an attempt to close this disconnect. Could I help make Nolan’s work migrate across continents, borders or simply outside the studio, by taking it out into the grounds of The Rodd?
Nolan said that emotion was fundamental to his work. I was looking to stir up an emotion in the Rodd landscape that might have caused Nolan to paint it. I drew on the extraordinary Nolan archive held by the Trust, particularly the influence on him of music and poetry. I linked Nolan and his work with my practice of using found objects, installation, and performance. As usual, my working process involved importing objects onto to site. Using the decorator’s steps was a nod to Nolan’s use of steps when painting large-scale scenery for the opera or landscapes in his studio. The walk to the site, carrying heavy equipment in the manner of the Impressionists, painting plein air, was part of the performances. The work produced helped me to develop other elements of my practice such as the absurd and the bitter-sweet.
In The Long View, I took Nolan’s method of painting flat in his studio and using binoculars the wrong way around to gain a distant view of the work, depth, and perspective, out into the Rodd landscape. The decorator’s steps then provided a stage for two impromptu performances playing the recorder (JS Bach) and reading poetry (Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire) which came from the archive.
In Barking up the Wrong tree, I dressed an established oak tree in Eucalyptus bark as a temporary installation, choosing a quintessentially English landscape location on the Rodd Estate. The English oak tree, with its balance and symmetry, is so radically different to the essential untidiness of the Australian landscape that Nolan revealed in his paintings. The installation, an anomaly in the landscape, looks to close the distance in time and place between Nolan, his homeland, and his work. To give continuity to this temporary installation and a legacy, I left some eucalyptus bark for the next resident artist.
Marcher is the start of a series of works made about walking and responding to the English-Welsh border. These first pieces were made on the River Lugg at Presteigne, a stone’s throw from the Rodd.
Instagram - @timothylewis.art
In mid-January, we will welcome artist Liz Davies who was awarded a residency for her recent MA work and exhibition on the Hereford College of Art MA Fine Art programme. Liz will continue to explore the role of the written word within her practice and has been shaping research around the theme of ‘Bloodlines’ with links to the breeding of Hereford cattle at The Rodd.
In 2022, we awarded the BA Residency Award to Celine Skidmore and MA Residency Award to Chloe Wheater. Read more about their work below.
My artistic practice engages with national and racial identity, and culture. As a South African born British artist, I am interested in exploring the connections I have with both the British and South African landscape.
Fantasy of memory and landscape have been the main focal points for my current research and making. Through memory and the ways in which memory can be manipulated through fantasy, I intend to explore the landscapes that deprive one of the other and me from both.
During this short residency I hope to experiment with work that contrasts with the unrealistic South African landscapes I have created in the past. To recreate the natural areas around The Rodd by taking myself into the landscape before painting them from memory.
Instagram - @c.m.skidmore_art
In 2021, we awarded a joint residency award to Isabel Draper and Gemma Moore for their BA exhibition and to Sorell Matei for her MA exhibition. Read more about their work below.
Denial of function, domesticity and sexual division has been the focus of my most recent project. However, my artistic practice involves a wide range of materials and processes to explore an array of themes. I have experimented with drawing, digital imagery, sculpture, and installations. Repurposed and found materials, my body, and personal experiences have all been used as materials and inspiration for many of my works. Viewer interactivity runs throughout my work and appears in various forms. None of my work is restricted by ‘do not touch’ signs!
For this residency I will be continuing the theme of denial of function, taking the shape of cups and saucers. I will be challenging myself to create artworks influenced by underlying themes as well as taking inspiration from my stay at the Sidney Nolan Trust.
Instagram - @isabelladraperart
My current work engages with iconography in a way that seems to move between iconoclasm and a more nuanced form of engagement with their forms and symbolic power.
I use distortion: faces, identities, ideas to create a personal narrative through my paintings.
There is a soft line between figuration and abstraction in my work, deliberately moving from one to another, using distortion, blurring, and glitch effects to make expressive gestures. The hemp material I use in my work has the hair like quality and gives another dimension/layer of expression through the texture, my intention being to weave a story inside a story, the more you look the more you discover, in such a way the viewer is able to create the story himself. This material offers me the possibility to exaggerate inside the canvas, creating sculptural surfaces, something that I am very keen to explore further.
I am so intrigued by the way my work will resonate and respond to such a unique space and experience. My intention is to investigate and explore, to experiment, connecting multiple bodies or mediums in my work and to discover if something new, something special can be brought to light. I have plans and I don’t: for example, I want to see how my work Stratum will evolve at The Rodd or how my portrait painting will evolve…but I keep the space open…all I know is that I intend to use everything that it will be given to me at maximum.
Instagram - @sorell.artist