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


Will Hughes


FEB 2023

ABS takes artists to The Manchester Contemporary 2022

ABS Studios & Project Space is pleased to be showing a selection of artists’ works at The Manchester Contemporary 2022.

Booth 140: ABS Studios with works from current members

Ann Carragher | Tina Dempsey | Garth Gratrix | Tom Ireland | Sean Payne

List of works and artists bios available to download here.

Booth 142: ABS Project Space with works from recent curated solo commissions

Charlotte Dawson | Craig Fisher | Rafal Zajko

List of works and artist bio’s available to download here.


27 OCT – 26 NOV 2022

Craig Fisher makes paintings, objects and large scale sculptural installations, often employing textiles to question representations of violence, disaster and its aftermath

Recent works employ a formal abstract visual language to explore ideas of pictorial disruption, interruption and spatial collapse through an investigation of the abandoned spaces and the architectural ruin.

Fisher explores the pictorial, sculptural and ‘site specific’ boundaries of art practice.

The work situates itself by exploiting and employing contradictory methods, referencing both figuration and abstraction; juxtaposing the pictorial with the sculptural as potential spaces of slippage, which allow for discoveries beyond confined and referenced fields of art production.

Solo exhibitions include a space in a space in a space, Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham, UK (2022); Rack ‘ n’ Ruin, The Trophy Room, The Royal Standard, Liverpool, UK (2018); Homemade Devices, Beach Gallery, London, UK (2013) Pretty Disastrous, James Freeman Gallery, London (2012). Recent prizes include Nottingham Castle Open 2014 Purchase Prize, (2014) and he was selected for an international artist residency at Villa Lena Art Foundation, Italy (2016).

He lives and works in Nottingham.

The article through the lens of an invigilator is available to download in pdf format below. Written by Ann Carragher. Artist, Senior Lecturer, and current Practice-based Ph.D. candidate at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Rafal Zajko, SLOT

Rafal Zajko
July 2022.

Rafał Zajko is a polish artist based in London, UK. His work deals with issues around the industrial past exploring its environmental impact in relation to working-class heritage and queer identities. His sculptural practice incorporates diverse materials and processes, including ceramic, ventilation systems, prosthetics, and performance.

Slot comprises a series of new sculptures and mural works commissioned by Abingdon Studios, establishing the artist’s first solo presentation in the north of England.

Curated by artist and studio director Garth Gratrix.

Review by Ryan Kearney in This is Tomorrow


Rafał Zajko (b. 1988, Białystok, Poland) lives and works in London, UK. He holds an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art, London, UK. Recent solo exhibitions include “Song to the Siren” at Cooke Latham Gallery (2022) Amber Waves at Public Gallery (2021), Resuscitation, Castor Projects, London, UK (2020); We Were Here/My Tu Bylismy, Galeria Im. Slendzinskich, Białystok, Poland (2019); Unputdownable, White Cubicle, London (2018). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including New Contemporaries 2021 and shows at X Museum, Beijing, China (2020); TJ Boulting, London, UK (2020); Bold Tendencies, London, UK (2020); Goswell Rd, Paris, France (2019); Ashes/Ashes, New York, USA (2019); EXILE, Vienna, Austria (2019); Vitrine, Basel, Switzerland (2019); Litost, Prague, Czech Republic (2018); Focal Point Gallery, Southend, UK (2016). His work will be on show at Whitechapel Open 2022. 

image: Rafal Zajko

Rafal Zajko SLOT. Installation View
Rafal Zajko SLOT. Installation ViewS
Rafal Zajko SLOT. Installation View
Slot II (interstice). Glazed stoneware, brushed steel, latex.
Slot I (Crevice). Glazed stoneware, latex.
Prick. Acrylic resin component, pigmented silicone gum, nail, billiard ball.
Currency. Acrylic resin component, terracotta, oxidised copper coin, pigment, nail.
Baster. Acrylic, polymer, pigment, resin, nail.

Commissioned short text by Sam Moore. Download the pdf here


Descent to Kilgrimol Rx



The opening night will have a performance/ritual at 7pm by Sammy.

‘Descent to Kilgrimol Rx’ is an exhibition of new paintings, publication and performance by Sammy Paloma, made during the 2022 Work/Leisure residency programme.

The exhibition explores grief rituals such as the Gaelic tradition of keening women, the German folk figure of the Geldscheisser (Gold Shitter), tarot and Blackpool’s own history of fortune-tellers, as well as a local legend around the disappearance of Kilgrimol.

The legend of Kilgrimol describes the disappearance of the chapel and graveyard that stood at the boundary of Lytham St Annes up until the 12th century, telling of how the earth opened up and swallowed the place whole.

The exhibition builds upon this legend – reimagining the graveyard and its inhabitants as still existing in a mythological underground, Kilgrimol Rx – a resting place for The Outcast Dead. To aid in this descent to Kilgrimol Rx, Sammy casts Cool Spot, the titular character from the 1993 Sega MegaDrive platform game, as psychopomp.

The opening night will have a performance/ritual at 7pm by Sammy.

Sammy Paloma is an artist & witch living in Bristol, UK. She paints, tattoos, and writes poems. Her work is into listening to faeries, how divination disturbs linear time, grief rituals and necromancy.

Her book length poem about Bigfoot, There’s Always Things Falling Out The Sky, a collaboration with Roxy Topia & Paddy Gould, was published last year with Pink Sands Studio. A few places her work has been published, shown or performed over the years are Art Licks Magazine (2022), Folklore For Resistance Zine (2022), Herstory Festival, Exeter (2022), Mayfest, Bristol (2022), Caraboo Projects, Bristol (2021), Cambridge Literary Review (2021), Modern Queers (2021), Radmin Festival, Bristol (2019), Supernormal Festival, Oxfordshire (2019), Outpost, Norwich (2018), Hauser & Wirth, Somerset (2017), Res., London (2016), Five Years, London (2015). From 2014-2019 Tom Prater and her co-edited the artist-led journal, Doggerland.

You can find out more about Sammy’s practice here: https://cavendishgroup.hotglue.me/

Frances Disley: New things appear where the goddess walks

May 2022

Disley’s work is rooted in an ongoing interest in the subject of self-care. This solo presentation of work at Abingdon Studios is conceived as a herbal spell for a 14-year-old girl; by which sculpture, painting, drawing, and video combine as devices intended to be useful, necessary, or pertinent to the needs of a young person in the past, present, and future.

“Together we form a big herbal spell.”
Physical and ephemeral interactions occur in the space through circles in paint and glass to temporarily or permanently provide moments of reflection and safety influenced by witchcraft and wicca. Lemon balm wrapped in purple and yellow ribbons offering symbols of friendship explore the show’s sensory and collaborative journey alongside camomile growing in the space as mother nature’s natural remedy for protection, happiness, and calm.

Digital works show us alternative meeting grounds for where imaginary or real rituals can take place within our chosen or anointed tribes. Interwoven with scenes of hands making as a restful and subtle instruction to help build an intended atmosphere of restfulness.

The exhibition is installed during Beltane. During the month-long exhibition, there will be a special bonfire kindled as an off-site addition. Inviting people to congregate, take away or let go of something old and new, as we create smoke and ash deemed to have protective powers.

Frances Disley is based in Liverpool at Aspen Yard

Upcoming, UnNatural History, commissioned by Invisible Dust, The Herbert Gallery, Coventry 2021; Nature Cure, A Spode Rose Garden Residency, Stoke on Trent, 2021

Recent Exhibitions, projects, films and performances include Epic Luxe, The Turnpike Gallery, Leigh 2020; Freshly Cut Grass, Human Libraries, Rule of Threes, Bootle 2020/21; Pattern Buffer, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, 2020; Crossings, Complex, Dublin, 2020; Thumbs Up, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester; 2020, Cucumber Fell in the Sand, Humber Street Gallery, Hull, 2019; Tripleflex, Bluecoat, Liverpool, 2019; Solo Show, OUTPUT Gallery, Liverpool

*please note that our exhibition is on the second floor in our project space and accessible via stairs only at this time. We apologise for any inconvenience or restriction this may cause to some and we aspire to establish a ground floor addition to our programme subject to funding and availability.


Prevailing Rain is a new exhibition bringing together 6 works by the West Yorkshire-based artist Harry Grundy to Abingdon Studios Project Space (ASPS) following a period of residency in Blackpool as part of the 2022 Work/Leisure programme. 

In Prevailing Rain, Grundy misremembers the Victorian Blackpool through photography, sculpture, drawing and installation, playfully manipulating found objects discovered during his time on the Work/Leisure residency.

Rain arrives as a fertiliser for life whilst dampening the mood of those it hits. This tension is explored through frustrated sex objects, bruised poems and unnaturally restrained wildlife. As the rain falls outside of Abingdon Studios, its effects are seen inside, in its project space.

Prevailing Rain took place Sat 09 Apri – 21 Apr 2022

For further information on Work/Leisure here

Charlotte Dawson HERE/THERE

FEB-MAR 2022

images courtesy of @MattJWilkinson

Here/ There is an exhibition by artist Charlotte Dawson, containing pieces developed during Abingdon Studios’ 2020 Work/Leisure Residency and produced remotely in her Sheffield-based studio. The exhibition ties both locations together through a body of work that utilises the forms of commonplace homeware. The sculptures allude to the use of ordinary objects as both purposeful facilitators of work and as commemorative and complex harbourers of sentiment.

Dawson’s artistic practice is often concerned with the capability of overlooked objects to become important cultural and personal touchstones. Here/There presents a collection of sculptures that directly questions the worth of objects used in both service and embellishment, by eliminating their practical nature and approaching the objects as a multiple collective, inhabiting the gallery space in familiar and dissenting ways. The pieces included in the exhibition settle somewhere between sculpture, functional object, souvenir, and commemoration.

Charlotte Dawson (b. 1997) is an artist currently based in Sheffield, having studied at Norwich University of the Arts (2018). Charlotte has exhibited in multiple group exhibitions including the Bloc Projects Members Show and had her debut solo exhibition, Set in Sediment at Airspace Gallery, Stoke on Trent (2019). In 2020 Charlotte received recognition as part of the Henry Moore, Artist award Scheme and completed Chisenhale Studios, Into the Wild artist Development Programme.

To find out more about Dawson’s period of residency that preceded this solo exhibition you can visit: https://work-leisure.org/charlotte-dawson-2020/

For a recent interview with Dawson visit: http://www.thedoublenegative.co.uk/2020/11/objects-can-be-used-to-explore-contrasts-or-boundaries-a-conversation-with-artist-charlotte-dawson/

The exhibition is made possible through a successful application to Arts Council Englands National Lottery Project Grant Fund, led by artist Charlotte Dawson and supported by Abingdon Studios, Blackpool and Bloc Projects, Sheffield.

For documentation from the exhibition tour to Bloc Projects, please visit their website

With thanks to Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant Fund.

Present Absence: Parham Ghalamdar, Joshua Faller, Reece Adair




09 DEC 2021 – 20 Jan 2022

Abingdon Studios is pleased to welcome Parham Ghalamdar to exhibit works across our Project Space and Window Gallery* provision in the heart of Blackpool. As part of the commission, we are pleased to invite Reece Adair and Josh Faller- two painters from Blackpool and recent graduates from BA (Hons) Fine Art course at Manchester School of Arts, to collaborate and be in conversation with Parham Ghalamdar.

Present Absence will see three differing painters sharing and taking up space in search of organizing chaos and absurdity. The three painters have been practicing painting by relying on and expanding on the histories and traditions of different schools of painting. Exhibition curated by Garth Gratrix.

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary describes ‘absurd’ as a state, where man exists within an irrational and meaningless universe and in which man’s life has no meaning outside of his existence. In such a world, the very act of searching for meaning pushes the curious man into a more unwanted conflict with his universe.

“That is the space where my paintings happen – a restless struggle to find the reason, order – and above all discipline”- Parham Ghalamdar. 

Parham Ghalamdar (b.1994 Tehran, Iran). Currently holding studio space at Oceans Apart Studios in Salford and living and working in Manchester, UK.

Parham’s practice is an attempt to discipline an image. Parham’s overwhelming concern is that painting is about perception and perceptual existentialist ways of experiencing life.

Parham has been longlisted for John Moores Prize 2019, UK New Artist Of The Year 2021, Contemporary British Painting Prize 2021. He is shortlisted for Gilchrist-Fisher Award 2022 and Emerging Art Scene Prize 2021. He has been a recipient of Innovate Grant quarterly fund 2021 and Art Council of England Project Grant.

*Our Window Gallery is a temporary addition to our programming space and supported in partnership with Blackpool Council Arts Service and Heritage Action Zone.


Abingdon Studios is pleased to announce the return of our Work/Leisure residency programme.

Call for entries are now live, please read our guidelines and how to apply on our dedicated website



Our Work/Leisure_3 selection panel includes:

Garth Gratrix, Artist, Curator, Director Abingdon Studios

Tom Ireland- Artist, Curator (Supercollider) and Co-Director Abingdon Studios

Kerry Tenbey- Studio artist and founder of Material Art Network (M.A.N)

Paulette Terry Brien- Curator, Grundy Art Gallery

Mariama Attah- Curator, Open Eye Gallery

Marie-Anne McQuay- Head of Programmes, The Bluecoat

WORK/LEISURE_3 is made possible through a successful application to Arts Council England’ National Lottery Project Grant Fund.