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You may remember I posted back in September about the Wing Assignment. Well they’re back. With a new assignment on the horizon and some previously unseen works, the Wing Assignment spread its wings again to an insatiable crowd last Thursday night. Set in the deserted chapel of an old asylum in Peckham, (used as a venue for music video shoots, among other things) the show presented some fabulous works which were not able to be shown last time, as well as re-exhibiting previous favorites. The venue provided a suitably dramatic surrounding for the pieces, heightened by the powerful shadows which danced around the space created by the halogen lights and much-needed patio-style heaters (minus numbers in March? Really?). It resulted in a unique atmosphere; extended shadows, stained glass windows, cracked stone walls, drink, laughter and art. A bit of a bachannal if you like, but less debauched and without the hedonistic cherub (albeit with his wings). Someway through the melee, Nina, artist, curator and art marketeer extraordinaire, managed to quieten the throng to announce the eagerly awaited next assignment.

Christened the Scent Assigment, this year’s project uses the human body as its core fundamental. Not only focusing on one of the major ways in which we, as a species, input exterior information, it will explore the extremely unique individual response we all have to a common experience – the smell. Nina and Asa, the artistic partnership behind the assignment concept, have developed a special one-off scent created specifically for this project and incorporating a feremone in the concoction. Participating artists will need to record and communicate their responses and reactions to this airborne melee in order to take part.

The night before, a series of workshops took place in the asylum, primarily for kids but enjoyed by adults and teens alike. As they painted, stuck and dipped wings made from clay (and some entrepreneurial types sold a few to milling adults) Denise Baker-McClearn kept us warm and sated with a selection of her irresistible cakes, quiches, teas and coffees (see website for recipes, commissions etc).

A small selection of my photographs from the day are shown below, with a load more on Flickr (see tab at top).

To take part in the next Assignment email: register@wearetheassignment.com and to catch a last chance glimpse at the pieces from the last show get yourself down to the William Road Gallery.

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Heavy Air – Joanna Scislowicz

Imagine a pair of bird’s wings, humanely detached from their original owner. Packed, shipped, delivered and now laying prostrate on the table in front of you. What comes into your mind? What is the first thing you associate with this charged but ultimately harmless item? Death or life; nature or artifice? Perhaps all of the above?

The brainchild of creative partners Nina Farrell and Asa Medhurst, ‘The Assignment‘ is a project which explores individual artistic expression through thematic collaboration. This, the first project, is based around wings. Nina works regularly with objects; her artworks blur the boundaries between still life, photography and scientific experimentation. She wondered what other artists, with their variety of stylistic and intellectual idiosyncrasies, would make of the same object. Would there be a shared response or would each artist interpret the object in a unique process? These questions were finally answered last Friday, after a year of intense planning and culminating in a delicious paroxysm of paint, taxidermy and technology. Utilising her superior design and PR skills from her background in marketing, Nina, with artist and web-designer partner Asa, set out to create a platform on which this concept could embody their vision of a collaborative showcase.

Nina Farrell – co-curator of The Wing Assignment

Maria Strutz – Baba Yaga Hut

Jewel Goodby – The Angels Fell

The project initially consisted a small selection of invited artists drawn together carefully by Asa and Nina; friends, acquaintances and artists whose work they connected with. This was always a changeling being though and as word spread the pair were soon on the other side of the fence – no longer the invitees but the recipients of an inundation of requests to be involved. Tellingly, the final show displayed a choice selection of works from over 60 artist submissions. The Wing Assignment had undoubtedly begun to fly all by itself.

The exhibition took place at Red Bull Studios, appropriately enough, where we were probably plied with enough metaphorical wings to have flown back in time, superman-style, to watch the assignment concept first spring into being. The draw of the physical wings, on the other hand, kept us firmly in the building. Squeezing through the vast, admiring throng I made a fairly vain attempt to take some photographs, and taking my place back at the prints table in my role as helper for the evening, I was peppered with requests to congratulate the curators and to buy not only the tantalising prints and catalogues but the original works too.

The Wing Assignment opening night @ Red Bull Studios

Signed, limited edition Indigo prints for sale

Of the originals, a favourite was hard to pick. More than a few times I was forced to undertake healthy debate with another guest about which piece was the most striking. Interestingly, the visitor opinions seemed as diverse as the pieces and rarely did anyone agree. Andre Weé’s shattering graphics seemed particularly popular, with an oft-appearing line of loitering visitors waiting to examine his prints. A fellow helper (my sister in fact) managed to swiftly nab herself a signed Weé print – treasured lovingly all the way home and subsequently held aloft via social media like a spoil of war. Pleased, I think.

André Wee – Broken Wings. Image courtesy of The Wing Assignment.com

Model wearing – SIDEWAYS AND DUCK by Shaun McGrath

My personal favourite was Lift off and Lift off 2, by Sophie-Elizabeth Thompson (Soforbis). The shape, texture and placement signify everything that wings would mean to me; purity, clarity, simplicity and a quiet, inherent beauty. But what wings might mean to me is certainly not what they might mean to someone else, as was made explicit by this exhibition. Part of the inspiration for this project came from Asa and Nina’s desire to work to their own brief rather than that of a client. Letting your creative instinct answer a question, rather than your logic or your knowledge of what someone else is expecting can be an immensely rewarding and inspiring experience. The Wing Assignment is living breathing proof of this fact in the most astounding way. Bring on 2013 and The Assignment #2.

Sophie-Elizabeth Thompson (Soforbis) – Lift off and Lift off 2. Image courtesy of The Wing Assignment.com

UGE – Archaeoptery

Mark Rose – Feather Frequency 6,15,18 13,9,3,11,5,25

Katie Brookes

Paul Reeve – endangered

Model wearing – SIDEWAYS AND DUCK by Shaun McGrath

Gillian Swan – Future Uncertain

For further information and to keep up with the project visit the website or follow on Twitter

Signed, numbered limited edition prints are available to buy online at The Wing Assignment website

All images my own unless otherwise stated