‘Flourish’ celebrates 10 years of Aspex Gallery at the Vulcan Building

Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth, national gallery education association Engage, and The Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award (ARMA) have unveiled Flourish, a new artwork by Alison Carlier.

Flourish was unveiled at a celebration event on Thursday 1st December, marking Aspex’s tenth year in the historic Vulcan Building in Gunwharf Quays.

Carlier undertook the Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award (ARMA) residency in May 2016, working in Aspex’s new Artist’s Studio space.

ARMA was established in memory of the artist Alexandra Reinhdart, and is supported by the Max Reinhardt Charitable Trust.

The annual award enables an artist to undertake a residency working with children and young people to create an artwork in the public realm.

Engage have been running the Alexandra Reinhardt Memorial Award programme since 2012.

Flourish is a neon and sound installation that draws on the military history of the gallery’s home, the Vulcan Building, as an artillery and land service store for HMS Vernon.

An exhibition is also on display in Aspex’s Learning Space showcasing Carlier’s residency. Read more about the artwork and residency on our website.

Over ten weeks, Carlier led education and participatory work at Aspex, leading the weekly ‘Family Saturdays’ sessions and a series of workshops for St. George’s Beneficial School. Flourish is the culmination of these workshops.

The sound work which accompanies the neon piece, a percussive piece made with St. George’s School, fuses the buzz of the neon workshop, wind whistling through Portsmouth Harbour, and the ambient noises of shopping at Gunwharf Quays on the gallery’s periphery.

Alison Carlier studied at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design and Wimbledon College of Arts, and was awarded the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2014. She has more than 20 years of experience of working directly with the public and engaging others is central to her work. Her work reflects upon the activities of listening and looking, often taking the form of a sound installation or performance.

She said:“I have thoroughly enjoyed the ARMA Residency at Aspex, and feel privileged to have been chosen for the award this year. Despite not being a resident of Portsmouth, I feel I understand more fully now it’s rich history and current vibrant culture.

“I hope that this comes through in the commissioned work and sparks the imaginations of the young people who took part and has positive future repercussions across wider audiences.”

Joanne Bushnell, Director of Aspex, said: “Aspex has thoroughly enjoyed having Alison as our first artist-in-residence to be located in our new artist’s studio following our small capital project from Arts Council England. ‘Flourish’ is a brilliant homage to the history of this building.”