Photograph of artist Abi Spendlove painting with ink on her studio floor

About

Film by Greta Zabulyte, 2020

Abi Spendlove (b. Portsmouth, UK, 1985) is a visual artist based in Luton, UK.  She studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw and Central Saint Martins in London and completed a Fine Art MA at the University of Hertfordshire in 2018.  Her work has been exhibited internationally.  Key solo and group exhibitions include Mediator at Broadway Gallery Tributary at Storefront Gallery, and Accumulate at St Albans Museum + Gallery.  She is currently the recipient of an Artist Network Bursary to support the development of a new series of sculpture. Her work is included in collections including Zabludowicz, Franks Suss and Olivier von Schulthess. 

My practice is fuelled by a search for invisible processes and movements. I’m drawn to movements and details which are both microscopic and earth-sized. The colours and shapes of nature, water and light recur the texture of my drawings, sculpture and films. My work stands as witness to the shimmering and shifting multiplicities to be seen in the objects, spaces and materials that are at the edge, hidden-from-view, disintegrating, in the air and under the surface. 

For many years I have worked with materials that don’t last- ice and firework smoke. I’ve traced their natural shapes and patterns through ever evolving making processes. Invisible movements, for example the transformation of ice into air put the viewer in a place of unknowing or wonder— a rare and valuable space to be in a world where all things seem known.  In addition to this, I nurture practice of paying attention to the subject matter, slowing down, taking time and believing in a language which can be entirely visual.  I seek to echo the fluidity of the materials that create and inspire the work.

Email: abispendlove@hotmail.com

Education

2015-18 University of Hertfordshire, MA Fine Art
2013-14 University of Bedfordshire, Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice
2005-8 Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, BA (Hons) Fine Art
2004-5 Byam Shaw School of Art, Foundation Diploma in Art & Design

Solo exhibitions

2021
Medaitor, Broadway Gallery, Letchworth, September-November 2021
Partial Leftovers, Birdbox Gallery, Cambridge

2020
A River Runs Under Your Feet, Hat Factory Arts Centre, Luton
Underfoot, Departure Lounge, Luton

2017
Fragments, St Albans Clock Tower, St Albans
Tributary, Storefront Gallery, Luton

Group Exhibitions

Upcoming: THISS 2024: The Hide Installation and Sculpture Showcase. The Hide Artist Retreat, Pinfarthings, GL55JJ. Saturday 8th June – Sunday 16th June 2024

2022
Immersions: Into the River Cam, Robinson College, Cambridge
Ai mi Tagai, White Conduit Projects, London
The Wild Collective, Omved Gardens, London

2021
When Was The Last Time You Saw The Sea?, Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo, Japan

2018
Woman Shall Inherit the Earth, Panacea Museum, Bedford
Accumulate, New Museum & Gallery, St Albans, Hertfordshire
Rock Paper Scissors, View Point, University of Hertfordshire
A Minute Ago, Zabludowicz Collection, London

2017
25 and Counting, Panacea Museum, Bedford
MK Calling, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes
e-Luminate, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge

2016
Shimmer, Framework Gallery, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield

2015
Art Language Location, University of Cambridge, Cambridge
Testing Water, Departure Lounge, Luton

2014
Roulade, Husk, London
Eastern Approaches, St Albans Museum, Hertfordshire
Control Room, North Cabin, Bristol
The Common, TMT, The Freeholder, Luton

2013
Parallel Lines, University of Bedfordshire, Luton

2012
Outhouse Exhibition, Forfey Festival, Northern Ireland
Work In Process at ROTW Festival, Hertfordshire

2011
The Re Show, Out of the Dark, High Wycombe.
Artists in Residence Exhibition, Luton Hoo Walled Garden, Luton
Time and Chance Happen to Everything, Departure Arts Centre, London
Winners Show, St Albans Museum, St Albans

2010
Hertfordshire Open Exhibition 2010, Margaret Harvey Gallery, St Albans
Art/Value/Currency Part III, The Pigeon Wing, London
“Art in Process”, Hightown Road, Luton
Artists in Residence Exhibition, Luton Hoo Walled Garden, Luton
Art/Value/Currency Part II, Eastern District, New York
Heart Desires, Movida, London

2009
Art/Value/Currency, The Pigeon Wing, London
Submission Freedom Fear, House Gallery, London
Deparcitecture, Departure Arts Centre, London
Highlights from the Franks Suss Collection, Hampstead, London
Screening of And So It All Comes Together, Forfey Festival, Northern Ireland
Aspects of Language and Translation, Mile End Arts Pavillion, London
A Cup of Tea Solves Everything, Departure Arts Centre, London

2008
Voice Over Water Part II, Red Dot Art Fair, London
Siteshow, Warwick Square, London
Departures, Charlton Art Centre, Dover
CSM Fine Art Degree Show, London
Voice Over Water, Ada Street Gallery, London
Buy//Sell, Christ Church&Uplands Chapel, London

2007
Untitled, Outwood House, Leeds
ASDA!, Tottenham Court Road Squat, London

Residencies and Awards

Upcoming: 2025 Arctic Circle Residency, Svalbard, Norway
2024 Heritage Community Engagement Extension Fund
2023-24 Critical Mass//SCULPT
2023 AN Artist Bursary
2023 British Antarctic Survey, Ice cores residency, Cambridge
2022 Heritage Community Engagement Fund
2022 CoLAB Body & Place Residency, Gloucestershire
2022-23 Heritage Impact Accelerator, University of Bedfordshire and National Lottery Heritage Fund
2021 DYCP grant, Arts Council England
2020  Open Lea Research and Development Commission
2019-2020  Hat Factory Arts Centre Residency, Luton 
2019  ‘Your Space’ Artist Bursary
2019  Luton Art Fund Project Commission
2017-2018  UH Galleries & St Albans Museums Artist Residency
2017  Cambridge Assessment and e-Luminate Public Art Commission
2017  Commission Projects Mentoring Programme
2015  Research Residency, Departure Lounge, Luton
2012-2013  AA2A Artist Residency, University of Bedfordshire
2014  St Albans City & District Award, Eastern Approaches
2010-2011  Luton Hoo Walled Garden Artist Residency, Bedfordshire
2010  St Albans City & District Award,  Hertfordshire Open Exhibition

Selected Public Art Commissions

2024 Festival of Ideas Temporary Public Art Commission, University of Hertfordshire
2023 Flamingos Public Art installation in Hat Gardens commissioned by Luton Borough Council
2021 Eco School Mural for St Matthew’s Primary School, Luton
2020 Faith Garden Permanent Sculpture installation at University of Bedfordshire, commissioned by Treehouse
2017 High Town Peace Garden Permanent outdoor sculpture commissioned by Luton Council of Faiths
2016 Emissive Conveyance illuminated video installation for Cambridge e-Luminate Festival, commissioned by Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge Live
2015 Wigmore Subway Mural, Commissioned by Luton Council and Someries Primary School
2013 Dunstable Subway Mural with LBC and Travel Luton
2012 Woodland Welcome. Permanent installation for Dallow Downs, commissioned by Groundworks and LBC

Works in Collections

Olivier von Schulthess Collection
Frank Suss Collection
Zabludowicz Collection

Teaching

2023 Creative Futures, University of Bedfordshire
2022 2013-2018 3D form and Drawing, University of Bedfordshire

I also run workshops in a variety of settings including schools and galleries. Recently I have run art workshops for Natural England, Luton Borough Council and the Broadway Gallery.