SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA

EMMA COUSIN

SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA with Emma Cousin is the fourth installment of Common Ground 2018–19.

Common Ground is Milton Keynes Arts Centre’s community participation and artist development programme supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Offering a twelve-month season of distinct projects, each presenting high quality and meaningful opportunities for engagement between a diverse spectrum of artists and communities living in Milton Keynes.



See below for more details










Residency and workshops
1 February – 27 April 2019

Exhibition
6 April – 27 April 2019


Sigma Sigma Sigma, or Tri Sigma, meaning ‘the sum of’; is a new body of work by artist Emma Cousin, bringing together paintings, drawings and writings fuelled by Milton Keynes and our local communities.

Throughout Cousin’s new compositions, bodies are used to illustrate an idea or play on words responding to a theme of support systems. These diagrammatic groups demonstrate function, posture and relationships, each geared towards the question ‘how can the body be a site of power?’

Using Milton Keynes and its communities as a stimulus to expand on metaphors of landscape, environment and architecture, Cousin shifts the bodies into new, often awkward arrangements to present ideas of contact and isolation to consider how we can support ourselves, each other and our communities.

In collaborations including choreography, music, ceramics and performance, Cousin has explored the theme of ‘support systems’, to consider how we support one another and are supported physically, emotionally and practically. Artists, students and our publics were invited to respond to and expand on her themes and work, creating an embodied support system. This exchange of ideas, methods and skills is perhaps the crux of Sigma Sigma Sigma

Tri Sigma, is a fitting title for how the paintings work, figures adding to one another to deliver a sum, and for this residency, forged with the help of Milton Keynes residents. Accompanying the exhibition is a catalogue of interviews, essays, poems, drawings, photos and other contributions authored by Cousin with guest artists, students, families and local communities.


Common Ground is supported by public funding from Arts Council England












EVENTS


Resident-led Artist Tour with Emma Cousin
Thursday 14 February, 11am–4pm
Free, everyone welcome

Milton Keynes’ Residents Stories with Emma Cousin
Friday 15 February, 11am–4pm
Free, everyone welcome

Art Agony Aunt with Emma Cousin
Saturday 9 March, 11am–4pm
Free, suitable for ages 15+
Drawing on Ourselves with Emma Cousin
Wednesday 20 March, 11am–4pm
Free, suitable for ages 15+

April Fool Unperforming with Louise Ashcroft
Monday 1 April, 7.30pm–9pm
Free, everyone welcome

Exhibition opening party with Emma Cousin and guests
Saturday 6th April, 12pm–3pm
Free, everyone welcome

Caricature Workshop
Thursday 18 April, 11am–4pm
Free, suitable for ages 15+






FAMILIES


Consequences Workshop with Emma Cousin and Alessia Franchi
Wednesday 20 February, 10am–12pm, 1pm–3pm
Free, suitable for all ages

Food for Thought with Emma Cousin
Saturday 2 March, 11am–3pm
Free, suitable for all ages

Consequences Workshop with Fritha Jenkins
Thursday 14 March, 4.30–6pm
Free, suitable for all ages
Fragile Systems with artists Emma Cousin and Tim Spooner
Saturday 30 March, 11am–3pm
Free, suitable ages 12+

She’s All Gravy with Mrs Cousin
Sunday 31 March, 11am–3pm
Free, suitable for all ages

Don’t Worry, Doll Workshop
Saturday 20 April, 11am–3pm







PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT



Drawing Workshop: Perspectives
Collaborative workshop with MK College student and Emma Cousin
Thursday 21 February 2019

Still Life Drawing
Collaborative workshop with MK College students and Emma Cousin
Thursday 7 March 2019

Drawing Workshop: Communication and context
Collaborative workshop with MK College students and Emma Cousin
Thursday 14 March 2019

Drawing Workshop: Interference
Collaborative workshop with MK College students and Emma Cousin
Thursday 21 March 2019

Exquisite Corpse: Building Bodies
Collaborative workshop with MK College students and artists Emma Cousin and Maddie Banwell
Monday 25 March 2019
Go with Your Gut: Going Inside the Body
Collaborative workshop with MK College students and artists Emma Cousin and Fritha Jenkins
Tuesday 26 March 2019

Word Play
Collaborative workshop with MK College students and Emma Cousin
Wednesday 27 March 2019

Yes And ... An Improvised Musical Workshop
Collaborative workshop with MK College students and artists Emma Cousin and Chris Earley
Thursday 28 March 2019

Movement Workshop
Collaborative workshop with MK College students and artists Emma Cousin and Hannah Cameron
Wednesday 17 April 2019







INTRO

Large paintings use the body to build a puzzle of figures supporting each other and holding each other up, the moment just before the overstretched figures topple over or pull one another apart. Phrases such as ‘holding myself together’ or ‘hanging out’ are often starting points to the work that takes dominant female stereotypes as a core narrative.

The work employs humour as a means of opening up and engaging with the complexities of women’s psychological and physical experience. Across the canvases the body becomes the lynchpin to explore subjects such as hysteria, suspension, weight, mobility, agility, embarrassment and acceptance. Work often focuses on the aging process through visual representations of stretching skin, or sagging bodies which is represented in the physical weight of the paint on the canvas, exploring the expectations that we have of ourselves and our bodies and how we handle and navigate our limits and our drives. The work gestures towards an alternative view of women’s experience of their bodies and the interrelatedness of physical mobility with social mobility. This suggests a curiousness about the acts of holding that are performed through our bodies, emotions, audience, memories, values, fears, ourselves.

Emma Cousin (b. 1986) looks at what we can and can’t control in everyday life. Using the body to explore human aspirations and expectations, she considers “the breaking point”, navigating the body’s limits by presenting structures of figures holding one another up or pulling each other apart. Her paintings question how supportive we are of one another as women, as bodies and as individuals. Her work has recently been shown at Jerwood Visual Arts Space in London, CGK Gallery in Copenhagen, and Dolph Projects, Tintype Gallery, and Edel Assanti Gallery in London. Graduating from Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford in 2007, and just completed the Skowhegan Residency 2018, Emma Cousin is based in London.








Further reading
︎ Emma Cousin

Thanks to Susan Cousin, Fritha Jenkins, Tim Spooner, Hannah Cameron, Chris Earley, Alessia Franchi, Maddie Banwell, Louise Ashcroft and Unperfoming, Amy Mechowski, Alan Senior, Margaret Macer, Mike and all who have contributed to Cousin's research of and about Milton Keynes.








MORE

Find out more about the SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA programme.


ART
AGONY
AUNT

Saturday 9 March 2019
11am–4pm
Free, suitable for ages 15 and over.

Bring your sketchbook, a worry, question, or idea to an informal group discussion with artist Emma Cousin as part of her artist residency and research programme; SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA.



See below for more details.






Emma will host morning and afternoon sessions, offering an ear and feedback on your current research and practice.

You will also be encouraged to share your feedback on the work accumulating in SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA at Milton Keynes Arts Centre.





MORE

Find out more about the SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA programme.


DRAWING
ON
SELF

Wednesday 20 March 2019
11am–4pm
Free, suitable for ages 15 and over.


Artist Emma Cousin invites participants to a day of drawing using experimental techniques. Using props, movement, short and long durational observations to explore mark making as a tool for drawing out the information that we hold in our bodies.



See below for more details.






The afternoon will see participants working as individuals and in small groups using charcoal and pencil to explore drawing as a way to communicate with each other and new ways of engaging ourselves with drawing.

Towards the end of the day, Emma will encourage the group to look through the body of work, discussing the challenges of working with unusual techniques, and looking to see if the drawings can tell us something new about ourselves and one another.




MORE

Find out more about the SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA programme.


BRING
ME
A
SELFIE

Monday 11 February – Saturday 27 April 2019
See dates and times below

Introduce yourself with a selfie. Artist Emma Cousin will be creating a wall of selfies in her forthcoming exhibition SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA at Milton Keynes Arts Centre, and needs your help.



See below for more details.







“I’M INTERESTED IN THE SELFIE AS A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION AND WHERE IT LEAVES OUR SENSE OF IDENTITY AND SELF.”
– EMMA COUSIN




Emma will be on-site at the Arts Centre on the following dates and times:

Wednesday 20 February, 11am–4pm
Wednesday 27 February, 11am–4pm

Saturday 02 March, 11am–4pm
Saturday 09 March, 11am–4pm
Saturday 30 March, 11am–4pm

Sunday 31 March,11am–4pm

Bring along your selfie to the Arts Centre, leaving it for Emma with a note and brief explanation or ‘status’ update.

You can also drop-off your selfie to Milton Keynes Arts Centre anytime during our opening hours, Monday–Thursday 10am–5pm, Friday–Saturday 10am–4pm with your selfie, or email us at hello@miltonkeynesartscentre.org




MORE

Find out more about the SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA programme.


MILTON
KEYNES
STORIES

Monday 11 February – Saturday 27 April 2019
Free, everyone welcome.

Resident past, present and future are invited to share your stories of Milton Keynes with artist Emma Cousin, contributing towards Emma’s knowledge of MK, the place, its people and identity. These stories will be used to support Emma’s residency and research programme Sigma Sigma Sigma; an investigation into support systems found in MK, focusing on the individual and community as a whole.



See below for more details.





QUESTIONS

What’s missing, what works well and supports its communities?

What is your daily routine?

Where should she go for a good coffee?

Is there a myth about an area/building/street?

Does anyone famous that live here?

Artist Emma Cousin would like to know as much as possible about Milton Keynes.

The answers to these questions will support Emma’s understanding of Milton Keynes, helping to build a visual pattern of Milton Keynes.









MORE

Find out more about the SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA programme.


RESIDENT-LED
ARTIST
TOUR

Thursday 14 February 2019
from 11am
Free, everyone welcome.


Meeting at Station Square by the ‘hugging couple’ on Thursday 14 February at 11am, Emma would like for you to take her on a guided walk, sharing your memories of Milton Keynes.



See below for more details.






I DO NOT KNOW MILTON KEYNES WELL AND I AM INTERESTED TO BE GUIDED BY THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE HERE, TO LEARN THROUGH THEIR EXPERIENCES AND OPINIONS. I AM INTERESTED IN THE PERSONAL.


EMMA COUSIN

Of particular interest to Emma, is the personal. Inviting you to take her to places of interest, discussing as a group the memories that you hold of MK.

Emma’s work is broadly an enquiry into support systems, what holds us up and how and what does the opposite, with a curiosity to know what and where in Milton Keynes supports its residents.

The tour will be for approximately 1–2 hours, returning to Milton Keynes Arts Centre for lunch and refreshments.

Lunch and refreshments provided.

 



MORE

Find out more about the SIGMA SIGMA SIGMA programme.




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