14 Abingdon Street, Blackpool, FY1 4DE info@abingdonstudios.co.uk

First Outing by Queerly Made

First Outing

Claye Bowler
Dan Chan
Matthew Rimmer

Produced by Queerly Made

Preview Saturday 25th Sept

3pm – 5pm

Starting at Grundy Art Gallery foyer and then including artist talks leading us to Abingdon Studios Project Space with light refreshments provided.

Exhibition continues 26 Sep – 09 Oct Tue-SaT 11-4pm

image courtesy of Dan Chan

A pun on the term ‘outing’ as the act of disclosing one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, ‘First Outing’ is the first physical exhibition produced by Queerly Made, a curatorial project organised by Daniel Fountain and Matthew Gale to examine queer approaches to materials and making in artistic practices and spotlight work by LGBTQIA+ artists.

The exhibition, which is spread across Grundy Art Gallery and Abingdon Studios Window Gallery and Project Space, brings together new works by the artists Claye Bowler, Dan Chan, and Matthew Rimmer.

Inspired by a micro-residency in Blackpool, each of these artists have taken inspiration from the cultural geographies of the local area, emphasising themes of marginality, transformation, and queer ecologies.

image courtesy of Claye Bowler

‘First Outing’ has been made possible through Future Producers, a project by UK New Artists Ltd, kindly funded by
Arts Council England through the Cultural Recovery Fund.

Claye Bowler (Abingdon Studios, Project Space)
Claye Bowler (he/him) is an artist living and working in West Yorkshire. His work explores notions of the archive and the political priorities of history; specifically how queer and trans narratives have been hidden, erased or destroyed. Bowler uses sculpture and performance to subvert these practices by creating archives of his own relationships, experiences, and possessions. Recently, Bowler’s work has focused around the physical transition of their body: the lead-up to surgeries and the violence of the wait involved under the diminished funding and care of the NHS.

Combining the contrasting elements of Blackpool’s seafront and the washed-up treasures of the beach against the glittering and shining arcades, Claye has created globulous concrete sculptures speckled with seaweed, shells, sand, rocks and 2p coins. Echoing the undulating surface of both stacks of teetering coins, as well as sea carved ripples in sand. The sculptures are accompanied by a set of drawings completed during a micro-residency in Blackpool.

Dan Chan (Grundy Art Gallery, foyer)
Dan Chan (he/they) is a Liverpool-based visual and drag artist. Their work takes a playful approach to explore their identity by unpicking racial and queer stereotypes, as well as the gender binary. They create dreamscapes and fantasy beings as a way to bring an idyllic world to life, much of this is inspired by imagery seen in meditation and dreams. A focal point of their work is to create representation they never saw growing up with the hope for queer British Chinese youth to see themselves.

Have you ever wondered what keeps the machines at seaside towns running? What or who brings a sense of wonder and nostalgia to the rides and games? Take a step closer to see the creatures that run the show! These playful beings turn the cogs and press the buttons so the human world can create lifelong memories…

Matthew Rimmer (Abingdon Studios, 24/7 Window Gallery)
Matthew Rimmer (he/him) is an artist based in Glasgow. Their sculptural practice is concerned with the commodification of nature and the ways in which captive environments imitate natural habitats. As an intersex person with silicone prosthesis, whose gender identity was surgically moulded and is maintained through hormonal intervention, he is fascinated by the use of abstract plastic objects to define sex and gender and the ways in which inert plastics can cohabit with living things.

This sculptural paradigm references the transport of organisms in the aquarium trade, whereby fish and coral are individually bagged in temporary water bodies and sold to consumers. A feeling of containment runs throughout this new body of work, stemming from comfort in secrecy and personal space that the artist feels relates to his intersexuality and process of concealing his queerness. Matthew continues to be attracted to plastic as a material, and how this may allude to the defining presence of
plastic prosthetics in his own body.