October 2013: NOLA.COM PICYUNE TIMES ARTICLE:
Visual Arts Ireland Newsletter, September|October 2013 edition: Collective Creativity.
See Article Written by Allison Regan and Joanne Dolan, below:
We – Allison Regan and Joanne Dolan – founded Expanded Draught in Galway city 2006. The organisation functions as an international artist collective – which has 23 members hailing from Ireland, Britain, America and Asia. (1) Our first shows were based primarily around drawing, presented under the collective name First Draught – one of which was entitled ‘The Drawing Rooms’ and held over 12 hours in March 2007 in a three-roomed vacant apartment in Galway. This event was a collaboration between all of our members, various DJs and the general public. We covered every surface of the premises in paper and fabric, and provided a variety of drawing materials for the participants.
In 2008, Allison Regan moved to Louisiana to pursue a three-year scholarship MFA at Louisiana State University, where she met a whole new network of artists who were eager to collaborate. To reflect the development of the collective and the expansion of its membership – nationally and internationally – we changed our name to Expanded Draft.
In 2009, Expanded Draft presented ‘003D’ at Galway Arts Centre (22 – 27 June), a collaboration between our members and MFA students from Louisiana State University. The show was curated by Galway-based artist Gina Ruane and partly funded by the LSU’s Michael Doherty Award. 11 artists were involved. We paired the Irish and American artists to make five ‘teams’. The introductions and pairings were made online in early 2009. On June 8th, the five LSU students moved to Galway City to conclude their two-month collaboration with the Irish artists.
The groups worked together in various locations throughout the city to develop and realise their ideas, culminating in the show at Galway Arts Centre. Each collaborative pairing took as their starting point notions of people and ideas being placed and displaced – and in and out of contexts and environments. Communication, and its significance to the project regarding physical distance, accessibility, cultural differences and modes of exchange, was an ongoing and key factor throughout the collaboration, prior to and during the exhibition.
Not all members have to participate in every Expanded Draft project. At the beginning of each initiative, we send out an email and a sign up sheet is set up on Google drive. Members can add their name if they want to participate; and on the same document they can add thoughts or ideas in relation to the show.
Concepts for shows are germinated from all members, through our email conversations and threads. When it comes to fine details for shows / events, it is the directors who do the majority of the administration work – preparing promotional material and press releases etc – but all our members are invited to be involved in all aspects of the shows. Kit French and Lindsey Maestri are our American facilitators and take responsibility for applying for American funding and press etc.
Without online communication, Expanded Draught would not be possible. Skype and email are our main forms of communication. We also use the Google drive facility for all of our shows as well as Dropbox and Facebook, and have done a series of Skype lectures in USA.
Artists are not paid to be involved in the shows, but all agree that the work we do is mutually beneficial in terms of furthering our artistic endeavors; where possible, artworks are for sale and the artist receives 100% of the sale price.
To date, our projects have been supported by largely local sponsorship with occasional international funding for individual artists travelling from abroad. Our supporters include The Bierhaus, Nimmos, Roisin Dubh, GYM Repair LTD, Studiosaydo, Culture Candy Collective and several DJs, who have variously provided us with venues, monies for materials, design and printing services, catering and sounds for fundraising events. We’ve also held ‘bar boot sale’, quiz night fundraising events in Ireland and in the States as well as Fundit campaigns.
Following on from ‘003D’, ‘Hello Neighbo(u)r’ took place in June 2010. Seven Irish artists travelled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for three weeks to build, extend and cultivate a new body of collaborative works.
We worked with Culture Candy, a collective based in Baton Rouge, who assisted in facilitating ‘Hello Neighbo(u)r’. Between us, we managed to secure two houses in a neighbourhood next to the LSU Campus in Baton Rouge called Christian Street. These houses were scheduled for demolition and we were given free reign to create, destroy, adapt, extend etc. With fourteen artists participating, we split up into two groups, one group for each house. Each group came up with a narrative as a basis for transforming of the two houses into large-scale interactive sculptures.
For the ‘blue house’ (we managed to secure large quantities of blue paint from a local paint supplier – hence the name), the concept we decided on was ‘everything-a-skew’. For dramatic effect, we made no visible alterations to the front of the house; we wanted it to look relatively normal, apart from the obsessive gradients of blue across the facade of the house. We reused and repurposed as many materials as we could to create new, interesting structures within the house. For example, we removed all of the wooden siding from the left side of the house and brought it indoors, to create a large sweeping slope reaching from ceiling to floor and bursting out of the front window.
The other space was a ‘shotgun house’; so called because of its layout. If you were to shoot a gun through the front door it would go out the back door. It comprised a rectangular space with three rooms and a small bathroom. We decided to try to imagine a person that might have lived in one of these houses and came up with a narrative that would run throughout the house. We touched on themes of agoraphobia, infestation, hoarding and loneliness. We found a perfectly formed birds nest made with twigs leaves, bits of plastic and other debris in the front yard. This nest provided inspiration for the rest of the house and it was an element used in nearly every aspect of the installation. Like the blue house, we also brought the exterior inside, laying a carpet of turf from the front garden into the kitchen area and suspending three televisions above it to simulate grow lights. Where the blue house did not alter the front of the house we completely removed it, replacing the walls with hundreds of translucent VHS cases, making the contrast between the houses even more prominent.
One of the most striking things about doing a show in America was the sheer amount of free materials that were available, something that really doesn’t happen on this side of the water. People leave all sorts of unwanted belongings on the pavement that others are free to take. We also took advantage of the massive thrift and surplus stores where you can get materials for next to nothing. Alongside the cheap and plentiful materials, we had 24-hour use of the Louisiana State University’s art facilities, which were incredible.
Our most recent show opened on March 9th 2013 at The Shed, Docks Road, Galway City. Adapt Galway and the Harbour Company facilitated the project. Each Expanded Draught member created work responding to the idea “if you cut through the present the future leaks out” – a William Burroughs quote about his ‘cut-up’ technique. This concept brief allowed each artist to investigate latent meanings in personal and cultural events. It was the first time we had exhibited each member’s individual work; an incredible diversity of disciplines were showcased, demonstrating the rich material knowledge of our members.
Exploring collaborative working methods will continue to be a priority in our future projects. Our next show, ‘Gumbo’, takes place in St Louis, Missouri in October. For this show each participant will send St Louis member Megan Singleton four ounces of material that can be mixed into a Hollander beater to create paper pulp – hence the name the project title ‘Gumbo’. Once Megan has received all of the ‘ingredients’ she will make a large batch of paper, three sheets of which will be mailed to each Expanded Draught member to create a piece of work on or with. These works will then be dispatched to Megan for exhibition in St Louis.
A big part of all of Expanded Draught’s projects is getting the local community involved. This has taken the form of talks and workshops, which are held alongside each of our shows and events. We have also given a series of Skype lectures throughout universities in the USA. One of our recent and ongoing activities is ‘Project Project’, a travelling series of ‘pop-up’ workshops. We want to empower people we come in contact with to be creative. ‘Project Project’ invites participants to engage in creative exercises and assignments that we – alongside our partner organisations – have generated. So far, the workshops have included drawing self-portraits with only verbal descriptions and landscapes drawn with participants’ hands tied together. This project does not have an overly rigid structure, but is accessible enough to encourage participation and diminish the physiological distance we place between one another. We are hoping to tour ‘Project Project’ in Ireland and in the states in 2014, joining forces yet for another large-scale collaborative endeavour at each stop on the tour.
Sept oct edition 2013 Visual Artists Ireland News sheet, Collective Creativity:
2010, Hello Neighbo(u)r Show:
Feb 2013 LSU SCHOOL OF ART WEBSITE PUBLICATION:
Minds Eye studios link below:
Tiger Weekly- preview and review: http://tigerweekly.com/print/06-16-2010/14829/surrealestate-presents-hello-neighbor
2009, 003D show:
Galway Advertiser:By Kernan Andrews
A GROUP of American and Irish artists have joined forces for a collaborative exhibition, entitled 003D, which opens in the Galway Arts Centre next week.
003D is a collaborative exhibition between the Galway based artists collective Expanded Draught and master’s degree students from Louisiana State University.The two groups were initially brought together by Expanded Draught member Allison Regan who moved to Louisiana in 2008 to start a three year master’s degree in sculpture. The idea for the collaboration was triggered after the collective were forced to figure out a new way of working with the founder member who was now based overseas. The artists involved are ceramist Lindsey Maestri (Arkansas); sculptors Cody Arnall (Oklahoma), David Carpenter (Arkansas), Alwyn Revill (Dublin), Allison Regan (Galway), Kit French (Virginia), Dave Callan (Dundalk), painter Tyler Mackie (Oregon), and printmaker Breege Hynes (Galway).
Curated by Galwegian Gina Ruane and partly funded by the LSU, the exhibition opens on Monday at 6pm on the ground floor of GAC and will run until Saturday 27. The artists are already in Galway and the public will get the opportunity to meet them in the gallery space on June 22 at 5pm.
Simon Flemming Review.
Article written By Simon Flemming:
So what do you get when you mix equal parts Louisiana Master students and a local Irish art collective? Probably a lot of drinking. But as far as an exhibition goes? Well, you can probably expect a good one, and that is just what you get. The Galway Arts Centre is showing a large group collaborative show of artists from Galway and Louisiana. Titled 003D and curated by Gina Ruane. Unfortunately its a very quick show and ends this weekend. Here is a brief snippet about the show from the GAC.
The two groups were initially brought together by Expanded Draught member Allison Regan who moved to Louisiana in August 08 to start a three year Masters degree in sculpture. The idea for the collaboration was triggered after the collective were forced to figure out a new way of working with the founder member who was now based overseas. Although it is a collaboration of two groups the artists have chosen to work in pairs. Taking the concept of people and ideas being placed and displaced in and out of contexts and environments, each collaborative pairing has applied this as the starting point from which to develop their interpretations.
I am glad I swung by yesterday as I didn’t know it was up for such a short period of time. The exhibit is a feast. You are confronted right away by a wall of masks created by David Carpenter, Alwyn Revill and Allison Regan. Its interesting the effect masks have. Phantasmal otherworldly notions creep into the dialogue that one has when standing in front of this tribalistic trophy wall. I am not sure of their “practicality” as mentioned in the artists write up but they do evoke a slight sense of wonder with a hint of intimidation. Masks tell stories, but they also hide and impose. These mask have an end of the world feel to them. Are they from tribes that have risen from the cast off of a failed society or are they tools of the trade from some strange traveling carnival ? What ever they are, they succeed in pulling the viewer down new paths, new narratives.
On the opposite wall we are asked to take a more intimate look at Breege Hynes and Tyler Mackie’s collaboration. I liked the idea behind this work. Creating small works and exchanging them only to be erased, covered up or reworked by the other artist. A mix of faith and curiosity is needed for these types of joint ventures. I enjoyed some of the pieces but not all and I’m not sure how the work as a whole holds up. It was a tough spot opposite the visually commanding display of the masks. But the way they mounted the small works was engaging I almost missed hidden pieces mounted to the ceilings of the alcoves. The middle room was the location for an eye catching sculptural display, a strange combination of found material. The write up by the artists explains that they started with a series of themes and collected materials from around Galway in response. I couldn’t read the relation of the final piece with the themes but didn’t care really. I was drawn into the works structure and physical impact, the relation it had to the room. I wish I had a better shot of the piece. As I am writing this I have just realised that there was a second component to this work, I suspect. A small framed image on the opposite wall. I have to admit that I did not associate the two parts as one. I didn’t see the connection or relation. I have to ask if this was a situation due to the layout of the room or a short-coming of the work itself.
The back room found two projects. Kit French and Dave Callan’s playful colour paper creations and Lindsey Maestri and Joanne Dolan’s “25 Random Facts” collaboration. I found a bit of a disconnect with the combination of reproduced actual items (tape player and cassette tape) with random forms. It was a bit confusing but didn’t really detract from the whimsical nature of the work.
Over all a strong show that really should have been up for longer.