Writer in Residence • March 2018 • Everything needs to happen

March 24, 2018
Rebecca Sharp

We are delighted to share our  third piece of writing for our exhibition Not as it Seems as Rebecca Sharp delves deeper into the process of writing.

Please take time to read Rebecca's work, while enjoying the work of the artists

View the exhibition here

Not as
it Seems:
Jai Llewellyn, Sharon Quigley, James Lumsden, Ian Kinnear

24 Feb – 24


Now that I’m into the rhythm of the residency, I’m starting
to think about ways it might open out… and how I might communicate that through
these postings.

– I recognised in myself a creeping pressure
(self-imposed) to just ‘write another poem’ for each exhibition.  That would be no bad thing of course, but
what about all the dreaming, drafting and redrafting that goes on?  What happens to all the mistakes; the
thoughts or phrases you

I was walking along to the gallery, thinking about
sketchbooks.  Most visual artists have a
sketchbook practice.  Certainly, as a
writer my house is stuffed full of
– I usually have several on the go at one time. 
I dedicate one to each new project and tend to keep them for sentimental
rather than practical reasons.  I started
to wonder how the processes of development and experimentation might be
different for visual artists and writers; and how they might be the same. 

I remembered a collaborative project I made with artist Anna King in 2013: UNMAPPED – poems and

Process and communication were at the heart of this project
– I was living in Liverpool at the time, Anna in the Scottish Borders; so it
wasn’t possible for us to meet as regularly as we’d have liked.  But that ended up giving us the heart of the
project.  I suggested we write to each
other and document the exchange of material between us as part of the creative
process.  Anna suggested that we send the
actual sketchbook that she would be using for the project.  Her suggestion afforded me my first proper
insight into the artistic practice of keeping a sketchbook. 

sketchbook, photos by David King.

My understanding of sketchbooks is that they are a way of
documenting mistakes or happy accidents as much as discoveries; being able to
look back and see a process taking shape that’s probably impossible to see in
the moment.  I suppose a similar process
for writers is drafting and editing – though we rarely keep those early
versions!  Maybe it’s something about the
aesthetics of a sketchbook being a pleasurable visual object (or at the very
least, interesting); whereas reading unformed writing tends not to have a great
deal to offer.

So with all this on my mind, imagine my joy in reading Ian
Kinnear’s Artist Statement, where he draws a parallel between his own process
and that of writing:

‘Working on a subject, I may produce a series of paintings, refining
each attempt as in the drafting of a poem.’

, and saw their
individual processes reflected in their work; the more I sensed that this was
what I should focus on here.  And what
better time to be thinking of such things than in response to an exhibition of

My notes are here, with my own ‘final’ piece to follow…

by my own fragments (RS)

1.     Jai Llewellyn                                                                                                

personal experience

truth via a material
and process that is in constant flux

concrete yet fluid,
resolved yet open

to point to a solution
that is never quite reached

the paintings are

everything needs to
happen in the painting

mistakes and workings

to be present

when a painting is
finished, a part of me has left


‍Jai Llewellyn, details; and Gold Dust on my Feet


‘to point to a solution that is never quite reached’ – importance
of experience and process over end result

‘a part of me has left’. 
This doesn’t sound like a loss… ‘has left’ – of its own volition –
natural, inevitable, an independent entity. 
The idea of letting go - versus attachment.  Which is more productive?  The productivity trap.

the artwork.  Reaching an
understanding – letting each other go…

Titles! –

Bone / I have no words / Dirty Rainbow /
Half is Much / Enough is Enough / Neither up nor down / Left too soon /
Clueless Wonder / Redder Sky Greener Grass / Road Ahead / Two steps forward /
Gold Dust On My Feet


2.     Sharon Quigley




cellular structures

physicality, intimacy
and sensation

‍Sharon Quigley, details


Contour lines – maps, distance, scale… relativity,

Currents, currency

Cloud cover

Terrain (topography)

Nursery blue

Lines like tiny stiches – in and out – with softer
cloud-forms, spillages




Inside and outside – known and unknown, forms talked about
in Latin and Greek


The point where forms meet: stitch and cloud – inner
boundaries, tensions

Trypophobia – fear of the image of small repeated holes or

Titles – Sabril /
Peganone / Fold Unfold / Keppra / Lyrica / Plasmon

3.     James Lumsden

light and depth

dragged, pulled or


chance and



seductive surfaces

rich in incident

suspended in medium

turned into something



acrylic – plasticity


surface and depth, high shine and deep layers (pentimenti)…
inviting a physical response

artist and viewer are also ‘suspended in medium’


4.     Ian Kinnear

I work freely

time and place

the drafting of a poem


They look like dreams I’ve had

Drawn into a memory, looking for a familiar colour or form –
pareidolia, a pheasant

Tail feather

River / birds

The Beat – talking to two women in the gallery, I mentioned
the title
.  I loved both the work and the title.  Since I’d seen pheasants in a couple of the
other works, I assumed that was the meaning of the ‘beat’.  The women corrected me, saying the ‘beat’ is
also the stretch of river used for fishing. 
We had a good conversation.




*final, for now… I plan to keep revisiting what I write and
gather it all together in some form at the end of the residency – at that
stage, I’ll edit the truly final versions.