Work Play (solo exhibition)
SPACE, University of Portsmouth: 16 March – 7 April 2009
The artworks on display at SPACE derive from a body of work by Jeannie Driver, in particular SPIKE IT, where the objects were created in a working environment through a process questioning usual routines at work. The objects were placed to encourage new dialogue, thinking and action. In this exhibition the objects are given a new context by being placed in a gallery.
In SPIKE IT, a 6 feet high spike was placed in an office space (9 offices in total including Winchester Gallery, Portsmouth City Council, Gunwharf Management Office, and the artist’s own office as a control) and workers were asked to dispose of their waste paper using the spike rather than through recycling bins. Monitoring usage of the spike through CCTV, Jeannie Driver was able to track office patterns, routines and behaviour through the stratus of waste paper. Participants said “having SPIKE IT in the office made us think before we print” and “SPIKE IT was a great stress relief”. Additionally Jeannie filmed interviews with volunteers to explore the idea of work and paper.
In this way the artwork is made up not only of the object(s) in the gallery but also the process of placing the spikes in the offices and recording their usage, each office hosting the spike applying its own interpretation and relevance. Through this practice Driver is blurring the separation between artist and audience. Driver is creating frameworks for participants to interpret and reconfigure while the cctv and video material is gathered and reinterpreted by the artist. The spikes are revealed not only as a signifier of meanings for workplace issues, but also replace the artist as the protagonist or creator. This relational approach to working extends Driver’s interest and exploration in the roles and relationships between artists and audiences. By evolving work from a direct interaction with an audience, Driver looks at the responsibility of artists to their relationship with audiences.
The exhibition Work Play embodies the traditional arena of artistic presentation. The gallery context alters the meanings behind the relational work in the offices and gives the artist permission to re-interpret and reinvent this material as Play - exploring through practice elements of both work and play.
Notes to Editors
The Preview and Exhibition Opening event will take place on Friday 13 March from 5pm to 7 pm at SPACE on Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth
SPIKE IT development has been made possible with support from Arts Council South East and SCAN.
SPACE is part of the University of Portsmouth’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries formed in 2006.
Jeannie Driver has undertaken residencies at John Pounds Centre, including a number of public art and socially engaged digital and print projects. She has work with SCAN through Distributed South at venues across South England including ICA and South Hill Park Arts Centre, and is currently resident lead artist within Corporate Initiatives, Community Housing, Portsmouth City Council. Driver has worked on many collaborative projects including Perfect Citizen, a public art project for Southampton City Council with Mike Stubbs and Murray Anderson Wallace. Driver's socially engaged project; ‘the colour happened on the inside' included a 72 metre artwork on the condemned brutalist Tricorn Centre and received international attention. The project and artwork was featured by academic Valerie Swales at The Design Conference. Driver's gallery installation mod>con>notations was exhibited at ether and Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth and featured on the front page of the Guardian's, The Guide.