VACMA: Angus Spring 2021 Recipients Announced
ANGUSalive is delighted to announce the 6 recipients of the Spring 2021 Visual Artist and Craft Makers Awards Angus (VACMA: Angus). The award winners are artists, Kristina Aburrow, Avril Cunningham, Angus Hepburn, Gail Levack, Andrea Sayers and Iain Sommerville.
Established by Creative Scotland, VACMA is a programme of small bursaries delivered with a range of local authorities, charitable trusts, and art agencies across Scotland to support visual artists and craft makers in their creative and professional development. In Angus, the awards are hosted by ANGUSalive and delivered in partnership with Angus Council and Creative Scotland.
Across Scotland VACMA can be a crucial transition point – for both emerging and established artists and makers. The awards provide a valuable opportunity for practitioners to undertake specific projects, and to develop and advance their creative practice in ways they may not otherwise have been able to do.
The VACMA awards have been especially crucial for artists and makers working during the pandemic. The COVID -19 outbreak has been devastating for creative practitioners, resulting in the closure of equipped studio spaces, preventing practitioners from working and the cancellation of exhibitions, workshops and events, which has decimated livelihoods. The VACMA: Angus awards have been a welcome boost for local artists and makers.
Kristina Aburrow is a recent graduate whose work is grounded in the culture and historical inheritance of the North East of Scotland. Taking influence from traditions of the North East, looking towards the stories, landscapes and paying particular attention to the fishing and folk heritage. Kristina predominantly works with ceramic as a sculptural medium but uses whatever material will convey her ideas best. VACMA: Angus will help Kristina to create a home printing facility, for lino priting, letter press and debossing of materials to articulate the stories Kristina is continuing to unfold.
“This New Graduate/Emerging Artist Bursary Award will allow me to continue my practise, by setting up a printing workshop to the standard afforded to me at Gray’s School of Art. VACMA: Angus will give me the opportunity to purchase materials to present my artwork professionally and let my imagination chase ideas.”
Avril Cunningham is a mixed media artist whose practise involves trying to convey a feeling or atmosphere. Avril experiments with texture and different materials and mainly chooses subjects of places she has been to or experiences she has had.
Avril has recently been drawn to cold wax and oil painting, which when mixed together can give a very atmospheric feel. With VACMA: Angus funding, Avril will embark on a new body of work focusing on the east of Scotland, the rugged landscape, people, buildings, and history.
“Being awarded an Artist Bursary will allow me to deeper delve into a cold wax and oil mediums that are relatively new to me. I am embarking on a new body of work focusing on the East of Scotland which I plan to exhibit.”
Angus Hepburn’s work revolves around the idea of creating abstract images using a mindful and expressive approach. There is no final image in mind when starting a new piece and Angus often uses someone else's random handwriting on a scrap of paper as the foundations of a new image.
VACMA: Angus will enable Angus to increase the scale of his images and translate them into screen prints with the goal of having an exhibition to showcase his work to a wider audience.
"Receiving this award has given me a great sense of validation! Especially as it has been rewarded by a panel of professionals that work within the arts, who see the potential for further development and experimentation into hopefully some really striking final pieces. I look forward into showing as wide an audience as possible my final outcomes in the not too distant future."
Gail Levack works with acrylic paints to capture the moods in a variety of seascapes. For Gail they evoke so many responses: the peacefulness of the reflections of a calm sea or the wildness and fears that can come from dark, rough waters. Starting as a hobby Gail has developed her practice in a professional direction.
Gail aims to use the COVID-19 restrictions as an opportunity to focus on developing her own original work. VACMA: Angus will enable Gail to develop her emerging practice and experiment with the different methods and techniques of painting.
“In addition to the development side, VACMA: Angus filled a gap for me. Without art fairs or events to attend and meet people, VACMA: Angus removed a lot of the isolating factors of trying to work on my practice on my own, both through the structure of writing a plan and receiving feedback from the panel. The whole process has given me a huge dose of motivation to see past the current difficulties that COVID-19 presents.”
Drawing has always been the fundamental base and starting point for all of Andrea Sayers artwork. In recent years, she has focused on line-based works, sometimes detailed and intricate and other times more bold and very simple. Andrea sees the images she creates as being part of a bigger story and we are perhaps seeing into a little fragment of the narrative.
Andrea’s initial drawings are often developed further into relief printmaking and wood-based works as her line-based works translate well into relief prints. The bursary will support Andrea in the setting up of a home studio which will enable her to re-start her creative practice and develop a new body of work.
"I cannot tell you how absolutely delighted I was to hear the great news, it would be good at any time, but given current circumstances it is just brilliant. I am so excited to get started with my creative practice again after this challenging year."
Iain Sommerville’s work is primarily figurative and explores the ritualistic origins of theatre. The output is largely sculptural. As well as masks, props and set pieces, Iain has designed and customised costumes, for physical theatre productions, gallery performances, puppet shows and multimedia works.
Using a combination of organic and synthetic materials such as soft fabrics, resin casts, wood, bone, found objects and various other recycled elements, Iain hopes to create objects around the human form imbued with a sense of both the body's vitality and fragility.
In December of last year, Iain was invited to create a site-specific installation for display at the “24 Hour Window” art space located in central Glasgow. With support from VACMA: Angus, Iain aims to produce a sculptural tableaux for his exhibition in Summer 2021.
“Support from VACMA: Angus has had an enormously beneficial impact on my practice. Providing the time and resources necessary for further exploration of research interests and practical development, the award has allowed me greater freedom to experiment and take creative risks.”
Stephen Palmer, Visual Arts Officer at Creative Scotland who co-ordinates VACMA said, “Through working in partnerships across Scotland the VACMA bursaries are helping artists and makers focus on their development. Angus is new to VACMA so it is good to see the demand and the ambitions of local artists and makers. Though travel and courses are not currently possible due to COVID-19, it is good to see artists getting support to experiment and develop their practices in new ways.”
Gill Ross, ANGUSalive’s Visual Arts Lead said “With the impacts of COVID-19, funding is especially crucial for our creative practitioners across Angus. We’re delighted to be able to support artists and craft makers with VACMA: Angus bursaries to develop their creative practices by working in partnership with Creative Scotland and Angus Council. It is also wonderful to build relationships with visual artists and craft makers across Angus and help their creativity thrive.”
ANGUSalive is delighted to be able to support visual artist and craft makers at all stages in their creative practices in partnership with Creative Scotland and Angus Council. More information about the VACMA:Angus Awards can be found at https://www.angusalive.scot/museums-galleries/visual-arts/visual-artist-and-craft-maker-awards-angus/