Inaugural artists announced for new development programme PIVOT.

We are delighted to announce the five inaugural PIVOT artists for our new artist development programme with Castlefield Gallery.

Date posted

21 October 2020

PIVOT Artists in Residence

Pat Flynn (Manchester), Garth Gratrix (Blackpool), Bridget O'Gorman (Manchester), Salma Noor (Liverpool) and Chester Tenneson (Manchester).

The artists selected range from early mid-career to over 20 years in the field of visual arts. Their practices include rendered photography, installation and sculpture, painting performance and digital collage.

PIVOT is a new scheme delivered in partnership by Bluecoat and Castlefield Gallery. Both organisations share the vision that the North West of England is a place where artists are able to live and work whilst experiencing national and international success. With over five years experience and a strong track record in the field of contemporary visual art, each artist has been awarded a £5000 bursary and access to a programme that supports their practice over an 18 month period, starting in November 2020.

Over 120 artists applied to PIVOT from across the North West of England. The breadth and quality of applications was outstanding. The inaugural PIVOT artists have been selected by a panel comprising artists Simeon Barclay and Chara Lewis with curators at Bluecoat and Castlefield Gallery, and a representative from the scheme’s core funder, Brian Mercer Trust. For Bluecoat and Castlefield Gallery the process has reinforced a strongly held belief in the quality and ambition of visual art being produced in the region. PIVOT will deepen and extend both organisations’ longstanding commitment to the development of artists in the North West at a challenging time for so many creatives across the UK.

Marie-Anne McQuay, Head of Programme, Bluecoat said:

"PIVOT is an important part of Bluecoat’s artist development programme. Shortlisting to a final five from 120 applications was a difficult but hugely rewarding process. We have a renewed understanding of who is practising in the North West and the sheer quality of work, as well as the needs of mid-career artists which we will continue to support. I’m looking forward to starting PIVOT, collaborating with Castlefield Gallery and getting to know Pat Flynn, Garth Gratrix, Bridget O'Gorman, Salma Noor and Chester Tenneson, while delivering Bluecoat’s wider support for artists which includes residencies, studio bursaries and new commissions.”

Helen Wewiora, Director / Artistic Director, Castlefield Gallery said:

“Launching PIVOT is a milestone in Castlefield Gallery’s 36-year commitment to developing the work of artists in the North West of England. We are excited to be delivering this programme with our partners Bluecoat and cementing a dynamic regional partnership. The number and quality of applications stands as testimony to the wealth of creative talent living and working in the region. The selection panel had quite a job to arrive at the final group of artists and we are very grateful to them as well as the PIVOT funders. Huge congratulations to Pat Flynn, Garth Gratrix, Bridget O’Gorman, Salma Noor and Chester Tenneson. We are looking forward to working with the inaugural PIVOT artists across 2020-22 as they take their work to the next level and address very real development needs.”

Developed to support those experiencing the long mid-career - whether established or just past emerging - PIVOT recognises that existing artist development support is dominated by early-career opportunities for UK artists. PIVOT will support the participating artists with bespoke strands, tailored to each individual’s needs, including specialist mentoring. The artists will engage in a core development programme that includes 1-2-1s with the PIVOT team at Bluecoat and Castlefield Gallery, group crit and Creative Professional Development sessions, artist coaching, specialist communications advice and peer learning.

PIVOT is a pilot programme and will test new methodologies to support contemporary visual artists at a mid-career stage in the North West region. PIVOT has been shaped by the combined knowledge, skills and experience of Bluecoat and Castlefield Gallery, resulting from their commitment to artist development over the last three decades, as well as consultation with artists and academic research. PIVOT will progress the recommendations from a report by Rebecca de Mynn, produced as part of a collaborative doctoral award between Castlefield Gallery, Manchester School of Art and Manchester Metropolitan University: de Mynn, R (2016) Artist Development at Castlefield Gallery: Policy Change through the Counterpublic? Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University & Castlefield Gallery, Slater, A.

About the artists

Pat Flynn

Born in Leigh and based in Manchester, Pat Flynn uses 3D software to create digital photography that deals with consumer culture and belief. He has had solo exhibitions at Manchester Art Gallery, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff and Marion Scharmann Galerie, Köln.

Garth Gratrix

Garth Gratrix’s work uses strategies of queering to reveal ways that materials, language and spaces can be playful, curious and ‘slippery’. The artist draws on tensions between hard and soft, camp and controlled, formal and playful. He combines sculpture using wood, concrete, metal and paint with performances and installations. Gratrix’s recent solo exhibition, Shy Girl, at the Grundy included collaborations with Jez Dolan, Nicola Dale, Harry Clayton-Wright and Chatum Tanning (Rohanne Udall and Paul Hughes). Gratrix is based in Blackpool where he is co-founder of Abingdon Studios.

Bridget O’Gorman

Bridget O’Gorman works with video, sculptural installation and live events to explore the instability of bodies and objects. She is interested in the politics of access and disability, and how the global pandemic might foreground these concerns. O’Gorman is based in Manchester and has had recent solo exhibitions at The Lab Gallery in Dublin and Galway Arts Centre as well as group exhibitions at Hyde Park Arts Centre in Chicago and Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.

Salma Noor

Based in Liverpool, Salma Noor’s practice uses digital platforms to interrogate the structures of power that we inhabit and those which inhabit us. She splices historical imagery, often sourced from familial archives, into GIFs, computer animated collages and immersive installations. Noor is the founder of the Black Womxn's Conference and is a member and in-house designer of the Radical Womxn's DANCE Party - a Liverpool-based collective which organises events that protest Womxn’s struggles within wider anti-capitalist, resistance movements. She was recently commissioned to produce augmented animations for Redistributing Power: The Art Market is Structured Like a Plantation, an event organised by Creative United. In 2019 her work was featured in you feel me, a group exhibition curated by Helen Starr at FACT in Liverpool.

Chester Tenneson

Chester Tenneson uses sculpture, print and performance to explore the absurdity of institutional design and to question its authority. Tenneson often analyses gendered objects and gestures and uses his work as a means of playful critique. His work has been exhibited by In Certain Places at University of Central Lancashire, HOME in Manchester and Trans Creative. In 2018 a selection of his work was acquired by Galerie Nivet-Carzon in Paris. Tenneson has also curated the online exhibition exploring trans masculine contemporary art, Found in Translation.