September 2022

Glacial Movements, Arts Council England DYCP project

Video by Greta Zabulyte

For the past ten months I’ve been undertaking a period of research, funded by Arts Council England. During this time I have been working with Glaciologist Dr Bethan Davies to learn more about ice in the climate system and discover how scientists use methods and models to gain understanding and make predictions about the geomorphology of the Earth. I’ve also been working with V&A conservator Sarah Healey-Dilkes to experiment with plaster mixes and one part moulds. The culmination of this research is a sculpture I made at the Houghton Regis Chalk Pits. The chalk landscape of the chiltern hills is a unique ecosystem, which stores and filters water. The sculpture is made from found materials and water from the pits, taken home for freezing and returned to site to melt.

June 2022

Immersions: Into the River Cam, Robinson College, Cambridge 22-26 June

Immersions: Into the River Cam, curated by Mattie O’Callaghan and Holly Pines. For this exhibition I was invited to create a new work, and I wanted to take advantage of the underground space at Robinson College, where a tributary of the River Cam, Bin Brook flows through. I created this work using ice made from water that I collected at Bin Brook, which I melted with natural dyes onto fabric. The sculpture, titled ‘Washed Out’, references the history of women’s labour and the washing of linen that happened upstream in The Cam.

May 2022

The Wild Collective, Omved Gardens, London 13th – 29th May

The Wild Collective was an exhibition of artworks connected with nature, exhibited in the glasshouses and gardens of Omved Gardens in Highgate, London. My work Standing Floor (2020) was installed in the main glasshouse, surrounded by plants and a large fig tree. The glasshouse setting allowed light to flow freely through the work, casting coloured shadows across the floor. Special thanks to Clare at THROWN Contemporary for bringing the works together and curating the space.

October 2021

Mediator, Broadway Gallery, Letchworth. 23rd September – 14th November

‘Mediator’ video by Greta Zabulyte

I had been talking through ideas for a solo exhibition with curator Kristian Day for a few months before the pandemic hit. Gallery closures and the disruption to Broadway Gallery’s programme meant that this exhibition was delayed for several months. The time spent in my studio allowed for a deeper engagement with the materials, inspiring the creation of an immersive exhibition experience. One of the works, ‘confluence’ (see Mediator page in exhibitions tab) was developed during the course of the exhibition. This was an ice and plaster piece that I added to weekly, allowing new forms to melt and shape on its surface. I’m always looking for ways to open up movement within my work and I was grateful to the team at Broadway for facilitating my experimentation. I’m hoping to develop more live melting pieces in the future. Keep an eye on my instagram account for developments!

Greta Zabulyte created a short film about the exhibition for anyone who has been unable to visit in person.

December 2020

Underfoot, Departure Lounge, Luton. 10th December 2020- 30th January 2021. Christmas closure: 19th December- 6th January (inclusive)

Gallery opening hours: Thursday-Sunday 13.00-18.00

Departure Lounge, 64 Bute Street, Luton, LU1 2EY

Photography by Greta Zabulyte

Solo exhibition Underfoot explores the River Lea as it flows underground through Luton. The work focuses on the movements – seen and unseen – made by nature, people and time. 

The Lea flows mostly unnoticed through Luton, beginning its journey in Leagrave Park, snaking through housing estates, behind allotments and underground beneath the Central Library and the Thistle Hotel in the heart of the town, eventually connecting with the River Thames in London. 

In preparation for this exhibition, I undertook specialist training to enter, wade through and explore the dark underground river culverts, where I collected video footage, photographs and found materials to inspire the work. By turning the city inside out conceptually, the work aims to draw attention to the things which are often overlooked in daily life. 

Much of my work is made on the floor. Working with frozen water taken directly from the River Lea, I allow the ice to move and melt on paper with ink, forming unique, infinite shapes which stain the paper and seep into the floor. The resulting patterns have been painted and traced onto acetate to create a large-scale installation which covers the entirety of the gallery floor. Mirroring the making process – moving and walking across the artwork as it was created – visitors are invited to walk over the paintings and navigate paths through them. 

The soundscape that accompanies the exhibition was recorded during the underground walk through Luton. The sounds of feet dragging through the river water echo in the gallery space. Pathways, layered journeys and layers of time are laid out as a template for contemplation, encouraged by the presence of bean bags and seating throughout the space which invite visitors to stay a while. 

Underfoot at Departure Lounge coincides with the screening of my film A River Runs Under Your Feet at The Hat Factory Arts Centre opposite the gallery for the month of December, as part of their #FactoryWindow film programme. Funded by the Luton Arts Fund, this video collage about the river features footage from my underground exploration of the Lea. 

Supported by the Luton Arts Fund. Departure Lounge’s exhibition programme is delivered in in partnership with The Culture Trust Luton.

December 2020

A River Runs Under Your Feet Film screening

Since moving to Luton in 2010 I’ve been developing work inspired by the River Lea. The Lea, which has its source in Leagrave Park in Luton, gradually grows in size and strength until it connects with the River Thames in London.  However, through Luton town centre the river is mostly culverted. This means that large sections of it run underground. In 2019, I received a grant from the Luton Arts Fund to extend and develop this work by walking through the underground culverts. After months of planning and a specialist training course, in December 2019 I walked in the River Lea from New Bedford Road to the Vauxhall estate.  I carried three cameras – one handled, one attached to my helmet and one attached to a floating raft on the water. The resulting footage formed the base of the film, which seeks to uncover Luton’s hidden river.

A River Runs Under Your Feet will be screened on The Hat Factory Arts Centre’s street-facing screen for the month of December 2020. The film can be viewed online here.

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

September 2020

After a 6 month period of juggling projects around full-time home schooling I’m now back in the studio and enjoying making new work.  The Hat Factory Arts Centre, where I am Bursary Artist in Residence is currently closed to the public, and I have therefore cancelled my fortnightly open studios. 

My solo exhibition, curated by Kristian Day at Broadway Gallery in Letchworth has been postponed until further notice.

My solo exhibition, curated through collaboration with the Departure Lounge team at Storefront Gallery in Luton has been rescheduled and will open on 3rd December 2020.

This project has been made possible with support from Arts Council England, Luton Arts Fund and the Culture Trust. I’m hugely grateful for their support, enthusiasm and flexibility. More details to follow soon.

Please do continue to keep in touch via email or Instagram.

abispendlove@hotmail.com

@abispendlove

Photograph of artist Abi Spendlove dipping a brush in a pot of ink on her studio floor

Photography by Greta Zabulyte

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