Our next First Friday gathering is on Friday December 3, starting at 13.00GMT/UTC+0. In normal times, First Fridays are a gathering place for artists or anyone interested in the arts, an opportunity to share food and talk. Each month, after lunch, there is an informal presentation of work in progress by one or two artists who may be local or from far away. First Fridays are free and open to all.

Currently, of course, we remain online where we have been since May 2021. We hope at some point to begin meeting in person again while retaining an online element to help those from afar stay involved.

Our guest artist this month are David Bickley, Elli Lestas and Sophie Mason. Each comes with a very different practice and a different perspective..

The image above is work is ‘Torrent’ by David Bickley.

David Bickley

Torrent (still from video)

David will be talking about working with landscape, artist collaboration and symbolism.

Anglo Irish artist, filmmaker and musician David Bickley (b. 1961) audio visual works/installations are abstracted, largely process led adventures mainly on themes of nature/landscape but also with points of reference to mythology and symbolism. They rely heavily on texture and mood and tend to sacrifice the topographical in an attempt to capture the spirit of the places depicted using memory or feeling. Other works are digitally manipulated landscapes designed to evoke a sense of animation and accelerated time-scale. His practice incorporates film, music, video, immersive environments and sound art. David graduated from WSCAD with a BA in film in 1983. Past exhibitions of his work have included Gallery of City Museum of Aveiro, Portugal; Haun Tie Art Museum, Beijing, China; Common Ground, International Touring Exhibition; Lewis Art Gallery, Millsaps, Jackson Mississippi; Centre For Creative Practices, Dublin; Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork; The Big Chill Festival,Eastnor, England; County Hall, Cork; Eisge, Carlow; The Dock, Leitrim; and Darklight, Dublin. David Bickley lives and works in Cork, Ireland.

Elli Lestas

Painted Lady (rock drawing)
Elli was born in London and raised in Kent, and studied Textiles at Camberwell and FineArt MA at Goldsmiths.

She says:
“My work moves across drawing, making nature objects, photography and other media. I am currently living in Cyprus and my work has it’s roots in collaborating with nature. I modify natural objects and reintroduce them back to the original environment or recreate an environment in an exhibition space. My current work is Rock drawings which I will talk about at the December First Friday 2021

I started  collecting  stones and rocks form the landscape, which I drew directly onto and put traditional paper and canvass to one side. From a practical view point , drawing on rocks is difficult but there is a totally new set of challenges and the added pleasure of collaborating with the surface texture , colour and energy of the rock. I am at one with nature and the creatures around me which are my subjects. 

Photography is the means by which the work can reach an audience. The photographs are in themselves an art work, which  document illusions and question reality.

Sophie Mason

In this First Friday conversation Sophie will share a quick overview of my recent work and then some work in development as a way to untangle and hopefully discuss some thoughts around symbiosis, climate breakdown and approaching materiality as an artist in these times. 

Sophie Mason is a visual artist and food grower who makes objects shaped by and from her local landscape. For over a decade her work has explored different approaches to the natural world, and in particular our response to environmental breakdown. 

As well as making objects, she co-produces participatory events and projects exploring how gardens and growing food can change our approach to community, self and ecology. 

Since becoming a mother four years ago Sophie’s solo practice uses the fabric of a mordanted canvas both to document the marks made from her bodily experiences within the landscape and from the foraged lake pigments and inks that she processes from the mineral and plant based materials she finds around her. Over time the accumulative residue stains the canvas to build a map of care, tracking her relationships with the land around her. More recently the boundaries in her work between the domestic space and the traditional understanding of a landscape have blurred, calling into question basic ideas around her use of materials.