Artist in Residence Audrey Grant 2023-24

On Saturday 25th May during the annual Art Collection Open Day, my exhibition Memoria launched in Galleries 3 & 4, and the Pathfoot courtyard.   This exhibition of photographic works, moving image, sculpture, installation and overpainted photographs is the art work created from my year long residency with the University Art Collection.  I cannot quite believe the year has passed as quickly as it has, however as an artist a deadline is an essential tool in helping to coalesce one’s ideas and to create the actual artworks.  

My year has been an extraordinary one and one I will remember for its deep richness and its opportunity to undertake many new challenges in my art practice.  The time has been a gift. It has also been one of the most enjoyable years working with the incredible team in the Art Collection, led by Sarah Bromage.  Their commitment to the support and development of artists and their work is incredible and essential.     

It was a pleasure to meet and get to know other members of staff at the University, in particular Jacqueline McKenna and all her wonderful team in Gardens and Grounds, I could not have achieved the sculptural works and their installation without their help.  Rosie al-Mulla, Assistant University Archivist, was so open to my requests for her to collect all manner of things for me including ‘red rot’.  Red rot is the tiny remnants of old leather journals that fall away from the cover over time, and this material now appears in my installation ‘Archivium’ in Gallery 3. 

Introduction Panel and Hermitage Woods in Spring with spade
Analogue photographic print. Gallery 3, Pathfoot Building.

Found copper boiler from Garden Cottage, Red Rot. Gallery 3, Pathfoot Building 

For my residency I was keen to try my best to engage in a genuine way with the landscape of the University, also known as the Airthrey Estate. To meet it as I found it, to see it as it presented itself today and try to understand something about it from these encounters. I researched the history of the estate, up to a point, but as an artist we can quite quickly find the things that inspire us. I was keen to use found objects and unusual materials in my works, but ones that also had metaphorical connotations as well.  The landscape as a layered thing, just like a layered painting. For me as a painter, paintings are made of layers of paint or quite often other materials, and sometimes you can see the traces of previous versions or makes still visible in the final work. The landscape is a bit like like that, layers of history with traces of its past often visible in the present. I often quote the German artist Anselm Kiefer: ‘landscape is the memory of history’.  I like this very much as it suggests that the landscape is a living breathing thing and all that has happened upon it is always still there somehow.  

I found many traces of the past on the Airthrey landscape and have written about these in previous blogs, which are all online. There is also a booklet available about the exhibition with an excellent introduction by Sarah Bromage and a short essay piece by me available from the Art Collection. 

This exhibition attempts to pull together some of the various threads of my thinking. It will be for others to judge how successful I have been able to convert these.  As an artist we are never entirely satisfied – there is always more work to be done and further articulation of ideas to be achieved.  

Airthrey, Ethra, Ethereari
Inscribed found gate pier fragments (with Cameron Wallace)
Pathfoot Courtyard 
Installation shot of Airthrey Column, inscribed found gate pier fragment, (with Cameron Wallace),
and Coffin Road with fragments and Logie Kirk in the distance 
Gallery 4, Pathfoot Building 
Installation shot, Double landscapes, photographic prints
Gallery 4, Pathfoot Building

A film by Audrey Grant in collaboration with Susan Kemp 
Super 8, Black & white photographs, audio 
Gallery 3, Pathfoot Building 

Installation shot, Airthrey Fragments, found gate pier fragments and leaves 
Gallery 3, Pathfoot Building 

Installation shot, Overpainted photographs 
Gallery 3. Pathfoot Building 

This is my final blog as Artist in Residence and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the University of Stirling and the Art Collection for giving me this wonderful opportunity.  

Audrey Grant 

June 2024 

Memoria Exhibition | About | University of Stirling
‘Memoria’ as a whole exhibition runs until 9th August,
but some parts will remain on display in the Pathfoot Building until December 2024.

Audrey Grant – Visual Artist – Scotland, UK
Art Collection | About | University of Stirling

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