24th January - 28th February 2015
Opening Event: Sunday 22 February, 2 - 4 pm
In April 2011, Alison Whitmore and Jackie Berridge worked collaboratively on a drawing in the window gallery Art on Armitage, Chicago. This was the first leg of an international art exchange with Mary Ellen Croteau who runs the space.The drawing was a response to the local street scene and will be shown for the first time in the UK at the HMS EXHIBITION SPACE.

During the residency in Chicago Jackie and Alison worked collaboratively on mural drawings, combining their studios practice with ‘live performance’. The starting point was the Chicago cityscape and its inhabitants. Jackie introduced animals and birds, indigenous to the British Isles to create anthropomorphic beings representing a range of individuals both observed and imagined. Alison focussed on reflecting the city, observing the world outside the window as it unfolded. The melding of subject matter, methods and approach evolved in the large-scale drawing. These were simultaneously challenged and enriched by collaboration, with the process and development experienced by a transient audience.

In order to fuse the differing styles and approaches, the artists agreed on a process to avoid creating a work of two halves. This was achieved by creating nine different zones: a horizontal zone with an upper, middle and lower area and also vertical spaces with left, right and central zones. Alison and Jackie then worked on one of the nine areas for 30 minutes and randomly changed spaces. This often meant the artists were working over marks made by the other artist to achieve a common goal: a piece that read as one.
The artists only had 60cm of window space between the drawing and the glass to work in, so it was difficult to achieve a composition which worked on a large scale. By masking out parts of the drawing from the start they were able to break up the space and lead the viewer round the picture with bold lines and blocks. This also gave the drawing more light and shade as it reduced the risk of overworking all areas. When the masking was removed towards the end, the artists were able to make a decision on whether or not to work further on the drawing.

We hope you will enjoy CHICAGO, CHICAGO . HMS and visitors are invited to expand the exhibition by creating work in response to the drawing. All welcome!

click to enlarge
click to enlarge