March 2024: Symposium, York St John University

21st March 2024

A collaboration between TSM and Vessel at York St John University, the symposium
Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making positions a distinctly community-driven and collaborative practice to extend the overdue conversation positioned by the current exhibition in Vessel of the same name. In refusing historical practices which have denied women artists space, the positioning of community building is integral to the ongoing feminist repositioning of abstract sculpture. Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making supports a national and intergenerational dialogue of abstract sculptors working across the UK today, and holds space for ongoing discussion.

Keynote Speaker: Prof Griselda Pollock, art historian, writer, Emeritus Professor, University of Leeds.

Speakers: Natalie Rudd, curator & writer, Dr Julia McKinley, artist & academic, Dr Victoria Sharples, artist, curator & academic.

Panel: Artists Gillian Brent, Katrina Cowling, Dr Charlotte Cullen, Alexandra Harley, Hannah Honeywill, Sheila Vollmer.

Chairs: Sarah Roberts, artist and curator, Sam Metz, artist and Becky Gee, curator.

Hosted at York St John University, the symposium will coincide with, and act as, the closing event for the exhibition Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making at Vessel Gallery. This group exhibition includes TSM members Gillian Brent MRSS, Alexandra Harley MRSS, and Sheila Vollmer MRSS, alongside sculptors Katrina Cowling, Hannah Honeywill MRSS, and Dr Charlotte Cullen MRSS.

This national and intergenerational exhibition of abstract sculpture will initiate a material discussion of women making abstract sculpture and situate the public discussion to be held through the symposium.

This method builds on TSM’s commitment to exhibiting as a space to initiate dialogue. These discussions have been recorded and made accessible through TSM’s website. The symposium will continue this action, recording the conversations held within the panel discussions so to reach a further public audience.

This symposium has been made possible with support from the Henry Moore Foundation and York St John University.

Image credit: Peter Griffiths

December 2023: ‘Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making’

Alexandra Harley – ‘Alob’, 2022. Bronze, bronze wire. Photo: Peter Griffiths

The TSM artists are taking part in a sculpture exhibition at Vessel, the exhibition space at York St John University, December 2023 – March 2024.

The exhibition ‘Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making’ a group exhibition supported by Vessel in association with Talking Sculpture Making (TSM) brings together a national and intergenerational group of artists working in abstract sculpture. ‘Talking Sculpture‘ forefronts the material investigation and material conditions of making sculpture engaged in formal and material conversations of the medium and reasserts the importance of feminist legacies in understanding the ongoing importance of abstract sculpture. 

Alexandra, Gillian and Sheila are showing alongside Katrina Cowling, Charlotte Cullen and Hannah Honeywill.

Private View: 5-8pm, 7th December
Exhibition open:
8th – 15th December 2023, 10 – 5.
8th January – 21st March 2024, 10 – 5.

There is a Symposium also titled ‘Talking Sculpture: Dialects of Making’ on 21st March 2024.

Key note speaker is the renowned feminist art academic Grizelda Pollock.

This one-day symposium supports an overdue conversation to reassert the importance, histories and future legacies of abstract sculpture made by women artists, including artists with lived experience of misogyny and gendered oppression.

There is still an underrepresentation of women sculptors working in abstraction. This symposium aims to address this imbalance and examine abstract sculpture and the ways it is and can be understood within the contemporary sculptural field. In collaboration with the artist collective Talking Sculpture Making (TSM), this symposium supports intergenerational discussion from abstract sculptors across the UK working today.

Drawing from a presentation of abstract sculpture at Vessel, York St John University’s public art gallery, the symposium forefronts the embodied experience of viewing sculpture with the purpose of; questioning the role language plays in making sense of and asserting representation, the material conditions of making, the histories and context of abstract sculpture; to reflect on legacies and propose support structures to address the underrepresentation of abstraction within the ongoing feminist repositioning of sculpture.

More information on the day and details on how to register coming soon.

June 2023: New name, new website

The TSM artists have been having a period of reflection after their exhibition at APT Gallery in March 2023.

Due to some feedback they have decided to change the name of the group from This Stuff Matters to Talking Sculpture Making (TSM).

To reflect this change and to give a new impetus to their ambition to create an accessible archive of their history and current activities as women abstract artists, this new website has been developed.