Synecdoche Interview

We caught up with Synecdoche who have been exhibiting rotating shows in our Christmas Steps Gallery over December. Below is a bit more insight into their collective art practice from the perspective of different members of the group:

When and why did you form the Synecdoche collective?

Lou Baker – We set up Synecdoche last year in order to continue to exhibit together as a group of artists. We all studied BA Drawing and Applied Arts (DAA) at UWE and wanted to take the Degree Show to London; then Synecdoche was born!

How many members are there in the collective?

Lou Baker – The collective is made up of over 50 artists: 49 artists exhibited in London and 21 have exhibited in Christmas Steps Gallery for this group of shows. A group of organisers researches opportunities and presents a plan for an exhibition – then members of the collective can apply.

Are members working in a range of mediums?

Nicola Pearce – All of the members of Synecdoche have diverse practices, and I think that’s because we are all driven to learn new skills and find the visual language which is just right for what we want to talk about in our work. That said, we’ve all come from DAA so most of our practices are grounded in drawing.

Synecdoche Week 3, Alexandra Davies

Is all the work you produce for sale?

Laura Waite – Yes, all of our work is for sale. Although everything we produce isn’t made with the sole intention of selling.

Nicola Pearce – Our exhibitions are more like a snippet of conversation from a larger body of work.

Laura Waite – Often artists are represented by one piece (in a show) but this stems from a much larger body of work that they have been working on for months, if not years. A lot of the work is deeply personal so sometimes our artists have a piece they might not want to sell. I think what we aim for – more than selling – is a real range of artwork that intertwines fine art and craft; every piece is unique and individually priced. One thing all the visitors seem to love about the exhibitions is that you can find a diversity of medium: painting, print, ceramics, metal work and textiles. There’s no ‘house style’, everything has its own voice.

Are exhibitions your main output?

Laura Waite – As a collective our main output is exhibitions; it’s a great way of keeping in contact with different artists and seeing what is working within your own practice, by pulling work out of the studio and into a gallery. It gives you chance to look at it differently and creates a platform for letting other people look at it too.

How many exhibitions have you produced as Synecdoche?

Lou Baker – So far we have exhibited at The Embassy Tea Gallery in London for a week in July 2014, and here at Christmas Steps Gallery in Bristol for three consecutive shows leading up to Christmas.

How did the concept of the changing exhibitions in Christmas Steps Gallery arise?

Nicola Pearce – We started discussing the idea of having a rolling series of exhibitions for a month as a way of being able to show as many of our artists as we could. The gallery is a lovely space but much smaller than the space we all exhibited in last time. As one of the Synecdoche curators I’ve found this a really exciting project because of the fact that there’s such a large group of us – it’s been great fun teasing out conversations or connections between some of the works that we’ve never seen together before. For instance the first week saw artists like Lou Baker, Veronia Gayle, Laura Waite and George Malyckyj exhibit work together for the first time – and because of the intimacy of the space we were able to bring out the idea of ‘feeling with your eyes’ which each of the works approach in a different way.

Lou Baker's Nobody 3 at Synecdoche's Private view, Week 1


Why did you chose your Winter project to be held in Christmas Steps Gallery?

Nicol Pearce – The gallery has a great location and one of the reasons we chose the space was because of the wonderful atmosphere that the Steps has around Christmas time; when the day draws in and the lights flicker on – it’s really cosy and a great place to shift those wintery blues. Over the series I’ve really fallen for the brown wood floor and the brick wall in the main gallery space as it’s brought out so many of the richer colours in the works we’ve put in there.

In which direction is the collective moving towards in 2015?

Laura Waite – We are on the hunt for our next exhibition space at the moment! The Christmas Steps Gallery has allowed us to be a lot more playful with curation so we’re looking for another space with a lot of character and a bit of a story, that we can experiment with and will lend itself to the artwork we want to show. We’re also planning on producing a series of shorter projects as Synecdoche including an Art Auction and Pop Up exhibition. These are designed to be fun, one night only events that will gives us chance to test some new ideas.



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