We would like to introduce you to Bevan Shaw, a recent Artist in Residence at 30 Upstairs. With the studio period completed and paintings ready for an audience, Bevan gives us an insight to his processes and intentions for the show.
How has your project developed from your initial proposal?
BS: The project hasn’t changed much- it was quite open to begin with. One of the reasons I applied for the residency was the unique gallery space and variety of rooms. I have been waiting a while to do a project with Carolyn Ayson. She writes great music and therefore we required an environment to facilitate both our practices – a collaboration of painting and music.
The idea is to highlight the process of painting, to destabilise the illusion of permanence that the end painting has. I wanted to document the production of the paintings from start to finish and from that material, create a video with music that Carolyn has written in response to the documentation. We are currently working on this now. It (the film) isn’t trying to be linear through to an end point, instead showing images working along with music. They almost work up to being complete and then unravel again.
You now have a chronological visual record of each stage of your latest works. Other than creating the film there must also be other benefits to having this diary of sorts?
BS: Yeah, one really good thing about going through that process is observing the constant state of change that the painting undergoes during its making and unmaking. This parallels what happens in life too. By documenting day by day the making of the work, making a choice and doing something new, you really get an insight into how you work as an artist. How the approach happened. I would start off drawing, that would lead to fleshing out more visual values and then there would be the pattern phase – I have these very distinctive phases occur. When you are there every day and you know you have this set period of time, you speed up your normal process and the stages become clearer. That was a massive advantage as I could see how to improve those stages.
How great to see the shift happen when you take a different direction based on this modified production process.
BS: Yeah, there were some days when it was a real fight because you would have something in mind and you would get to that point and realise that you weren’t going to be doing that. It wasn’t going to work so making a new choice and going with that.
Your work has really opened up as you have discarded and changed the model of how you work.
BS: I have learnt a lot during my residency. Always having people around interested in my work and the conversations about it made it easy to make decisions during the making process. Doing a residency is about making new work so you don’t want to do what you have already done- you want to find new ways. I have been able to adjust the scale of work which is a shift for me.
The paintings completed during your residency are related to the interior spaces of 30 Upstairs, what is the idea behind that?
BS: We wanted to use the gallery environment as the subject matter for the paintings, so that when they were later exhibited in the gallery, the audience would be able to compare them with the real interior spaces they were taken from.
The exhibition structure will hopefully create a series of comparisons, with the paintings taken from the gallery and the video work made from documentation of the paintings.
I was already familiar with the rooms and was aware that it used to be an architecture office. -There are a lot of small spaces, partitions, textures, strange high studs, weird wood frames and in my own work I am really interested in pattern and structure and how that can be destabilised by looser painterly gestures and marks. So the interior spaces of 30 upstairs provided a lot of visual material to explore in my paintings.
Bevan and Carolyn’s exhibition opens September 26 2013
Interview by Jade Townsend