Alfie Strong | Artist in Residence | 01 - 28 August 2011

Set on the edge of the moors in the picturesque Pinch Beck valley, South Square was constructed in 1852 as twelve adjoining cottages by local stonemasons. The building housed the craftsmen as they worked on the Thornton viaduct, an impressive landmark crossing the valley. Today, the Grade II listed courtyard building is a lively arts resources centre that is home to South Square Gallery, a dynamic testbed space for both emerging and established artists.

This summer the Gallery will once again become a home, this time for an artist in residence. Alfie Strong will be the first artist (for what will become an annual opportunity) to spend the month of August living and working within the gallery space.

Born in Shrewsbury and now living and working in Leeds, Strong is an emerging talent who endeavours to produce art which is not only linked to but also steeped in a sense of the past. Left behind as a fingerprint, it is this notion of residual history which resides in Strong's work and frequently occupies him as an artist. Exploring the historical and the uncanny, Strong's works take the form of sculptural installations, often crafted from recovered materials.

'Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by different levels of poignancy within rooms and buildings. I feel that all things that happen somehow perforate the make-up of where they occur. That is not to preordain ideas of the supernatural, but rather a kind of vivacity that is donated to the surrounding space, something that stays there, long after its physical embodiment has gone. It may not be important, it may not be visible, it may not be anything our senses can pick up, but I think every place has its past epitomised and banked. Even though we are not designed to recognise it, incredulously we can sometimes catch a brief beholding via our more dormant senses.' Alfie Strong

Strong hopes to spend his time excavating and absorbing the omissions of the space to generate a 'metabolistic' cycle with the gallery space being the site of the inaugurate birth, being and ultimate fulfilment of his work. He will seek to resurrect something from the space to then be reabsorbed and given back to the room is a poetic account of birth rites, life spans and burials.

Review on art magazine

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