Brilliant that photographs and text from my book Endless Reproduction are featured in The Guardian – published yesterday.
Absolutely delighted to be awarded an Arts Council England project grant!
The next dawn, the next spring will be based on a filmed performance around a rock pool in Cornwall, where a group of women will sing into the dusk and with the dawn.
The next dawn, the next spring will bring together women who are childless not by choice in a supportive space. The performance will be developed through workshops held at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange as part of the exhibition We Are Floating in Space, 11 February – 3 June 2023.
Scenes of women around the edge of the pool will be interspersed with images of limbs aligning with natural forms, seaweed and rock forms. These passages are symbolic of regaining joy, of being back in the world, aligning with nature, rather than being at odds.
The film and its future screenings are motivated by my experiences of infertility and childlessness and aim to give a platform for people who are childless not by choice, to give a voice to unheard experience and support moving to acceptance and joy.
This production is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and with the support of Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange.
Thank you to curators Bettina Wenzel and Blair Todd for inviting me into the exhibition We Are Floating in Space at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange – 11 Feb to 3 June.
I’ll be showing my book Endless Reproduction, images from the Last Summer photo series and will be making a new video work The next dawn, the next spring during the run of the show.
A group show of artists who have made work in Cornwall and Devon, using ideas of the coast or the materials of the shoreline. The exhibition spans across both venues, featuring over twenty artists. The exhibition looks beyond the tradition of seascapes to showcase artists who use the coast to address themes within their contemporary art practice. In particular, it’s the space between the tides; the area that is in constant flux between being land and being sea, the overlap, the layering, a constant state of fluidity. It is this otherworldly place that artists have used to express ideas and themes within their work, whether its grieving, gender identity, the queer body, childlessness not by choice, looking for one’s tribe, and is illustrative of environmental concerns.
The twenty plus artists in the main exhibition include Delphi Baker, Simon Bayliss, Livvy Eden, Naomi Frears, Bryony Gillard, Christopher P Green, Anna Harris, Kitty Hillier, Fleur & Alastair Mackie, Rhys Morgan, Teän Roberts, Ro Robertson, Tanoa Sasraku, SHARP, Melanie Stidolph, Tom Stockley, Mary Trapp, Eleanor Turnbull, Huhtamaki Wab.
Thank you to the selectors for the RWA Photo Open – Sian Bonnell, Susan Derges RWA, Judith Jones RWA, Amak Mahmoodian, Jem Southam and Tracy Marshall (Director of Development – The Royal Photographic Society).
I am showing two works from the Last Summer series and in great company in a brilliant and varied show. RWA Photo Open Exhibition 2023 at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol until 1 May 2023.
Exhibition now open!
7 – 29 OCT 2022
WED – SAT / 10 – 4
Talks programme at Grays Wharf:
Saturday 22nd October, 3pm
Mandy Lee Jandrell, artist and Director of Institute of Photography and Falmouth School of Art, Falmouth University in conversation with Melanie Stidolph.
Saturday 29th October, 3pm
Come and hear Yvonne John author of ‘Dreaming of a Life Unlived: Intimate Stories and Portraits of Women Without Children’. Yvonne is a graduate of Gateway Women (GW) year-long Plan B Mentorship programme and is a trained facilitator of the GW reignite weekend workshops.
Book for talks at Grays Wharf website.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
‘As it is seen’ finds a visual and poetic language for the artist’s experience of involuntary childlessness through two bodies of work.
A series of photographic works titled ‘Last Summer’ present scenes outside the artist’s direct experience. The works show families with young children at the edge of the sea. They focus on how we arrange ourselves and signal to others when we or they are in unfamiliar territory. These photographs look at the shape of groups and how togetherness is demonstrated through gestures and distance.
The slow observational process of creating the work is a form of healing; as I took the first shot of what has become a series, I realised it was the first time in a long time I could look long enough to compose a photograph, rather than look away from a family scene I could not recreate in my own life.
The exhibition will launch Stidolph’s first photo book: Endless Reproduction which shares a perspective of a journey to being childless not by choice.
From the Epigraph to the book:
2022. Cornwall, home. Twenty two years after having children became a focused ambition. I spent years in the mind of my imagined near future – trying to will an increasingly distant life closer to me, whilst trying to hold myself in the present.
The book is available from the gallery and direct from the artist’s website.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a free publication featuring an essay about Stidolph’s practice by writer Lizzie Lloyd ‘A body, in parts, interjects’ commissioned by Cultivator Cornwall, a response to the work ‘Endless Reproduction’ by Paola Paleari, curator and writer, and an interview with the artist by Stefanie Braun, freelance curator, commissioned by Photomonitor.
This exhibition is part of a new programme at Grays Wharf supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Thank you to the panel – artists Jonathan Baldock, Anne Ryan and curator Matt Roberts for selecting my work for this year’s Exeter Contemporary Open! Delighted to be showing works from the ‘Endless Reproduction’ series.
Congratulations to all the other artists, really looking forward to seeing the show. The exhibition is on at Exeter Phoenix Gallery from 16 September to 4 November 2022.
Amazing!! Thank you everyone who has pledged and posted support on line for this project!! The book Endless Reproduction has reached target before the deadline!! So brilliant to be heading into print! The book will be available early September and I can’t wait to send copies to all the incredible supporters of this project, thank you so much.
‘A very personal project documenting an important and still taboo subject treated with beauty and dignity’ writer Wiz Wharton.
‘It was made as a way of expressing the inexpressible, of engaging with expression and your practice when neither seemed capable of telling it as it was. And yet, somehow, with these oblique performance and interventions, so much is communicated.’ Artist EJ Major.
‘A strong defence of delicate things’, Anna Lucas, Melanie Stidolph, Alice Walton
Auction House, Redruth. 23-27 June (10.30-5pm), evening opening 25 June (6-9pm)
A strong defence of delicate things is the result of an ongoing conversation between three women working with film, photography and found images. This installation brings together photographs from artist’s practice and archives, social media and fashion, staged within a provisional structure. Over five months meeting online the artists developed their shared interest in collaborative looking, working with images that fell loosely within categories of inside & outside, women in the studio, building materials, water, rocks and bodies.
This black and white photograph was taken around 1943, unknown photographer, inside Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, Cornwall. The dark interior of the studio contrasts with the sunlit scene outside, with a still life on the window sill and curtains pulled to one side. On the beach, level with the sill, a woman and a man lie alongside each other. The woman is the artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, the man is likely Robert H Wagner, an American GI who she formed a close relationship with during the war. Both in swimsuits with their legs stretched out, mirroring each other. A shovel leans to one side of the open window, suggesting they have dug their way out through the sand.
More info at www.auctionhouseart.co.uk
With many thanks to Auction House for the invitation to be part of their programme and special thanks to Liam Jolly for his support. Thank you to the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust both for their kind image permission and generous financial support of the exhibition.
Oliver Udy has created a great thing, gathering support from Feast, Arts Council England and Newlyn and The Exchange Gallery in Penzance for Trethvor. He invited us all to be part of it: Michael Eddy / Jasper Fell-Clark / Tor Harrison / Tom Ingate / Melanie Stidolph / Becky Tyrrell.
Trethvor, Cornish for seaside, is an adaptable, itinerant photography exhibition that will celebrate the Cornish coast.
Trethvor takes the form of a newspaper, which can be disassembled to produce an exhibition. It will feature practitioners working in the county, with photography that explores the landscape and the people that make up the diverse communities around the coastline of Cornwall.
Keep an eye out for more soon, including ways to add your voice to the project.
It will be on display in the studio at Newlyn and The Exchange Gallery from Wednesday 19th to coincide with the ‘Seaside Photographed’ exhibition curated by Val Williams and Karen J Shepherdson.
Oli will be running workshops with schools and community groups in Cornwall. 1,000s of copies of the newspaper will be distributed, if you’d like some for your venue, or would like to host a pop-up show, drop Oli a line! Go to @trethvor for more info on the project and Oli’s demo vids!