Disability Arts Online

> > > Aaron Williamson: 'The Eavesdropper'

Aaron Williamson is artist in residence at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and is using his time to ‘eavesdrop’ upon the paintings in the collection. As one of DAO's Diverse Perspectives commissions, Aaron is blogging about his his work-in-progress 'The Eavesdropper' which is part of the Liverpool Biennial and DaDaFest 2012, culiminating in a series of performance-based interventions in the gallery in November.

Blog 11: Eavesdropping on an Eavesdropper

22 November 2012

Blog

artist aaron williamson poses on a plinth in the walker art gallery, with a face covered in eyes

By Lucy Gardner, Assistant Curator of Fine Art, National Museums, Liverpool This was my first experience working with and artist in residence and it has been a truly eye opening occurrence.  We are extremely happy that Aaron chose the Walker to eavesdrop upon and I was pleased to be asked to facilitate the project. I could never have imagined the depth and scope of the research which was going to take place. Over 6 months of Aaron’s visits to the Walker I have been lucky to have...

Comments: 1

Blog 10: Conclusion on performance as an artform

21 November 2012

Blog

artist aaron williamson poses on a plinth in the walker art gallery, with a face covered in eyes

Self-objectification is curious thing to attempt. Last Thursday, Friday and Saturday I stood on a plinth in the centre of the Victorian Room at the Walker Art Gallery as a living exhibit. I wore a rough tunic that echoed the style of costumes in the paintings all around and added a touch of Victorian Aesthetic opulence by covering my head with fake eyes as though I was representing some mythological character or other. I named the piece Cyclodusa to indicate the mutant nature of my invention:...

Comments: 5

Blog 9: Performance at The Walker Art Gallery by Aaron Williamson - 'CYCLODUSA'

14 November 2012

Blog

black and white image of a face covered in eyes

This is the last week of my residency at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and so I’m now devising the final performance. I’ve taken yet another direction with the work but it follows on from the research I’ve done into the real-life artist’s models featured in the paintings around the Victorian Gallery (Room 8). I’ve written about them here. I’ve decided to transpose the concept of the eavesdropper from the ears to the eyes. A common phrase concerning a...

Comments: 2

Blog 8: On life modelling

23 October 2012

Blog

photo of artist Aaron WIlliamson, performing semi-naked in front of an audience

Taking a year out between my BA and MA back in 1991 I chased two sources of income. The first, which I soon gave up, involved patrolling the aisle on trains between Brighton and London offering to demonstrate to bored commuters how to fingerspell their names in sign language. The process took much gurning but having got the letters over ('Joe' was welcome, 'Hyacintha' not so much), I'd accept a small donation from the chuffed, newly-initiated sign-languager and move on to...

Comments: 1

Blog 7: Expulsion from the Walker Art Gallery

22 September 2012

Blog

victorian painting of a naked Adam and Eve being seen out of the garden of Eden by a group of angels with stern expressions

“Which is the bust and which is the pedestal?” (Question posed by a tourist to his guide in Mark Twain’s ‘The Innocents Abroad’ [1869]) And so, off for a day’s training to be a gallery assistant and (possibly) a visitor’s guide at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery. Turquoise-shirted, I’m on patrol with Sheila Jones; there’s fire drill, assembly points, etiquette (let visitors through doors before you), and the welcome news that...

Comments: 7

Blog 6: More voices from the archive

13 September 2012

Blog

Detail from 'One of the family' by Frederick Cotman showing unidentified browny-red object on the table.

One of the bulkier Walker Art Gallery archives – a set of three stuffed folders – relate to that evergreen favourite painting ‘One of the Family’ (Frederick Cotman, 1880), discussed in my previous posting. For the General Public this one’s got the lot: bucolic rapture featuring a friendly old horse, kiddies, granny and a rather flirty-looking yummy mummy. (Is that Eve’s apple she is tempting Dobbin with while hubby skulks in the shadows? Is everything, um,...

Comments: 5

Blog 5: Voices from the archive

7 September 2012

Blog

Artists's impression of the Milky Way Galaxy

In the wildly ornate Magistrates Chambers of the County Sessions Hall at Liverpool is a room lined with filing cabinets containing the records relating to each and every painting in the Walker Art Gallery Collection. This is then, a vast archive since the works in storage greatly outnumber those on display and I’d been somewhat daunted about diving into it. But after my discovery last week of an unattributed painting of James Williamson, the ‘Mole of Edge Hill’, I read...

Comments: 2

Blog 4: On my namesake the Georgian Performance Artist, Joseph Williamson

2 September 2012

Blog

photo of the inside of an arched Victorian brick tunnel with cobblestone floor

Continuing the subterranean theme of my last posting (in search of kitten paintings down in the dank dungeons beneath Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery), I decided to take an afternoon trip to the wondrously-named Williamson Tunnels on Edge Hill. Joseph Williamson was a Liverpool tobacco merchant who’d caused enough coughing by the age of 50 to afford his retirement and pursue his lust for building tunnels for twenty years from 1820 on. He didn’t build them himself obviously...

Comments: 1

Blog 3: The search for the pets in the dungeons continues...

17 August 2012

Blog

Photographs of pictures hanging in basement storage with box in the middle

Down in the Walker’s art dungeon’s we quickly decided to disqualify proud bloodstock and hunting hounds from pet status and my three investigators spread out through the cages flicking lights on and off in search of kittens and lapdogs, budgies and parrots. Golly, I’d accept a tortoise or even an ostrich if it looked tame. When I was very much younger my family frequented a beetle-browed dentist - a quite terrifying man when his mouth-mask was raised – whose surgery...

Comments: 2

Blog 2: Aaron offers his services as a pet clairvoyant

17 August 2012

Blog

Image showing advert in shop window which reads

I’m back on the job at the Walker Art Gallery via a stopover at Supernormal Art and Music Festival to perform with the cosmic band Flat Soufflée. (They’d decided I’m some sort of divinity and after forming a white-garbed cult, invited me to lead them around the festival as a well-refreshed wandering minstrelsy. The highlight amongst many japes was a hastily composed ‘Eastern’ chant that we embellished with dramatic prostrations in front of a roasting hog...

Comments: 0

Blog 1: Aaron Williamson blogs his new residency at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

6 August 2012

Blog

Aaron stands in front of a large painting with his right had stretched out mimicking the character depicted in the artwork

It’s been two years now since I was last a-blogging for DAO during my time as the Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursarist for Shape at Spike Island, Bristol [Read Aaron's previous blog here]. I’m now artist in residence at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool as part of the coming Biennial and the invitation to write again for DAO has arisen. Last time, I used the activity of blogging as a useful medium for reflection and speculation away from the crucible of, um, doing stuff, and...

Comments: 2