Bath's Annual Fringe Visual Arts Festival
FAB is Bath's only visual arts festival, we actively promote and celebrate contemporary art in the Bath area and beyond, showcasing early career artists and curators, and those who find it difficult to break into (or prefer to operate outside of) the gallery based art scene.
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Curated by Melissa Wraxall
Submission deadline has now passed.

Looking for artists working in all media, whose work explores past, present or future, narrative, memory, growth and aging, seasonal cycles, time-measuring devices, calendar systems, or scientific theories of time. Work involving collection, documentation, changes over time, ways of working which are consciously time-consuming also welcome.


Kenji Lim's Performance 28/5/16


The Onwards

Journal of the walk to Bath

Tuesday 24th May - How do you start? I started from home so I picked up my bag and followed the path down the field as I have done many times. I walked towards the village across the fields that belong to people I know, took the hollow way even though it is longer. This is the home we moved to when I was five. I have grown up here, and although my time as an adult has been spent in many places I have come back, and if I have roots they are here. My mother has lived here for thirty years. The village is where I went to primary school and the first part of the journey holds somany options for me. I could go this way or that, knowing where the path leads and that many endup at the same places. As I leave the village and walk towards the Malvern Hills, I know this path less. I rediscovered it last year, or maybe the year before but it awoke the idea in me that points of my geography could be connected by ways other than roads. That the town was not that far if you walked cross the country. The path leads to the Malvern Hills. They are old. A sliver of granite that has been left behind while all around it eroded. I have walked them many, many times. Not countless but I could not count them. Always as I walk south along the ridge I look to the West. To the East is Worcestershire, it is flat, but to the West Herefordshire rolls in waves of wooded ridges finally crashing up against Wales. The day is so clear, maybe the clearest I have ever seen it. You can see beyond the wall of Hatterall Ridge and Hay Bluff, and see peeking above it, the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons. That is far away, but the pull to walk there is strong. Hay Bluff taunts me whenever I come here. I think that right now it is beyond me to get there, so I look South to where I am going. All along the hills I follow the ridgeline so that I can see where I am going and where I have been. That the horizon is far away lifts me. It is worth remembering that all these horizons are potential futures. There is only one direction you came from but you can go anywhere from here. I am going to the end of the hills. The hills make me think about old time too, the hill forts, the sense that there is an ancient presence behind the pleasant management. As I go down and beyond the hills I can only think of now. Where I am putting my feet, where the path should be. That the map may be wrong shows things have changed. A new field boundary, a new town plan. The footpaths are not often used here. They are overgrown. It does not take long for the landscape to make paths forget why they are there, maybe a couple of months ago it would have been easier. The Hawthorn is in full blossom. It is a magical tree. The white blossom can be so heavy that it appears fresh, wet, great clumps of snow blanket the tree. In the distance it can appear that giant white clouds explode across a hillside. They were not like this even a week ago, but now they appear everywhere. The sun is setting, huge and heavy, a deep orange orb that seems to me to be going down where I came from. Wednesday 25th May - Two things have been preoccupying me today. Put simply they are conflicting ways to use time whilst travelling. At many places there is a choice of climbing a hill or going around it. In almost every instance the overriding desire is to climb it, not out of pride or making the walk hard, but so that you can see the view, take in your place in the landscape, see where you have come from and where you are going, have a look at what weather may be coming your way, and just to look. Much of my morning was spent walking across the Severn Valley, the flat land between the Cotswolds and Herefordshire and the Forest of Dean to the West. As you walk the going is tough because the footpaths are seldom used and many miles are walked on the edge of vast arable fields, or wading through knee deep grass which will become hay. Walking beside the Severn it is impossible to see what is around you, the path following the hedgeline on one side, and seemingly infinite field on the the other. When the chance to climb a hill came, I nearly turned it down, to save my feet, and the clock. But there I saw, off in the not distant enough, the Malvern Hills, and just on the other side, where I had started. The view revealed that I had not taken a particularly efficient route, but one that had been forged by my desire to walk the length of the Malverns ridgeline, as a eulogy to my past. Looking ahead to places you have never been is difficult. Not least because you don’t know what the way looks like. The green fields and forests — a powerful green in the first full rush of summer growth — stretch before you and you must guess what it will be like and what you will find. Mostly today I found my own feet. This was the longest days walking I have done and I knew that I had to reach my destination before seven, before the campsite office closed and time was so tight all day that I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and force a pace, only able to look down. That said the waymarking was good and the ground smooth and firm on the Cotswold Way, it was wonderful to be able to see everywhere. In the gentle valleys of the Cotswolds the land flows, and if it is not below you it is above you. Only at the end of the day when time was pressing very hard did I not take the option to climb, or rather I climbed later, into woodland, and missed the view. I am staying on a high plateau. I cannot see beyond the edge but I know that it is there, a mile or so away. Today was hard. Walking can be hard. It is a slow way of getting somewhere, without complicating the act it is the slowest, but the simplest. Putting one foot in front of the other, moving through the landscape on your own and beholden to nothing and nobody, only yourself. Maybe that is the point, maybe it isn’t. Richard Long said, “Walking is time.” Thursday 26th May - So what does that mean to me? Maybe this is something that I’m trying to discover. Today was the shortest day of this journey and I allowed myself to breathe. I consciously slow my pace and look around. I walked with no deadline, just to get to my next stop, which was with family and meant a roof over my head. Because of the map I saw that lots of long barrows and moats and hill forts were indicated, but few were visible to me. One that was, was Long Cam Down, which rises up like a giant molehill just off the Cotswold ridge. At its summit I was startled to still be able to see the Malvern Hills, and from here they look huge. A wall growing suddenly from the pan flat valley. I remember seeing them from the other side, last summer on Hay Bluff, and thinking how tiny they appeared. From one side a wall, from the other a delicate sliver. But back to time, and human scale, because I think that by walking a distance we are marking our place in relation to the landscape. Distance is immaterial next to the amount of time it takes to get from one place to another. And if we sit in a car and arriveat our location we can be said to know it, but we wilfully neglect the space between. How can you know a landscape without knowing the space between destinations? Today I moved slowly enough to allow myself a pub lunch, and to watch people and wonder what they are doing, drifting in and out, and what I am doing, wandering myself. It would be so easy to stop. But what of all the time and effort expended, and the idea of arriving in a far away place at a certain time. So I put on my pack and walked up the hill. Walking along the immaculately signposted Cotswold way is a joy. I never needed to look at my map to see where to go, only sometimes to see where I was. The paths are well worn and easy to follow, and the miles slip away like a river in flood. As I stepped  off the way, and back down from the hills to the flat valley floor again that speed of flow crawls to a trudge, through waist deep grass, ready for cutting as hay, to stiles which take minutes rather than seconds to cross, as they are overgrown with the painful plants: nettles, thistles and brambles.Gates to vault where a stile should be. All the time worrying that at some point the way will bebarred, looking ahead and hoping the way will be the way. I am not afraid to use roads.My journey is from home to Bath on foot, and roads are as useful a way of getting there as footpaths.They are more dangerous for me, and I cannot see as much, but often then present solutions to problems,and moments. I found a dead fox by the side of a road this morning. He was shaped like a snakeslithering through the grass, but still. Friday 27th May - The end always seems to be a compaction of all the ends of all the other days. Suddenly the urge is just to get to the end, to have it finished. So I take to the roads, often the hazards of traffic are worth the directness and sense of purpose of the straight line and the right angle. I fly along roads as fast as I can to get to the trails on the well trodden Cotswold Way again. It doesn’t take long to feel tired, and in pain, and so the drive to just get there increases. And my stops are shorter, and I get profoundly irritated by diversions, however minor, that I am forced to take. The weather is good though, a perfect early summer day. And I am in the countryside, travelling through it. Where before I had only seen the established route, in pink highlighter pen, I now see the green lines of public footpaths offering me alternatives, shorter cuts. And I jump at the chance, forging my own way along perfectly good paths, which just happen to not have little acorn signs on them, but at the last, when a large loop of time has been saved I take the scenic route through town, which leaves me exhausted. Sighting the city from the ridgeline in Lansdown was… emotional, was it? A relief, happiness, joy maybe even. There was a heavy haze and a pink light shone on the hills around the city. But feet are heavy at the end of the last day, and pounding the pavements to the finish line along suburban streets is hard. Into Bath on a Friday afternoon tourists, students and well to do residents muddle about with the end of their own days while the traveller ghosts into town. Possibly endings feel melancholy, which is why the tone of today’s text feels like a rumbling grumble. But possibly it is because I am tired, and have walked fornearly forty hours over four days and my feet can’t take much more. Home finally disappeared beyond the horizon line. I thought I saw a ghost of the hills today sitting in a churchyard overlooking a Cotswold village. But surely not even the Alps could loom that large. Beginnings and endings — this is probably neither. Tomorrow I write and the piece of work progresses. The onwards.




Melissa Wraxall


Artist Statement:

My drawings and paintings, which start from found historical photographs, are about the relentless passing of time, transient lives and fleeting memories. Each photograph is a fraction of a second - a tiny piece of the jigsaw of someone's life. While the paintings are essentially figurative, I aim to produce abstraction in the detail, choosing when to control the medium and when to allow it to drip and run.

I’m not aiming for a photo-realist likeness in my paintings. Many of the photographs are black and white which gives me freedom to use colour intuitively; and the more faded, out-of-focus or indistinct the photograph, the better, as it allows for more painterly invention.

The starting point for Go Cat Go, was a tiny black and white photographic print from 1950’s. The identities of the figures are unknown, but I wanted to convey their youthful exuberance. The Changelings was based on a 1940’s photograph of a chubby baby taken in close-up from ground level, and probably taken by another small child lying on the grass. I liked the accidental nature of the photograph’s composition – the oversized baby, and the disconcerting way that the top of the girl’s head is left out of frame. I view the process of working from these photographs as a conversation between myself and people who are long gone, or children now grown old, trapped as ghosts in a layer of silver emulsion.



Sarah Wӧlker

Wӧlker is a Berlin based artist, whose work spans the media of electro-acoustics, video, installation, photography and painting. In this video, an image of an hourglass has been translated with the aid of a computer program, into binary. Selecting the image of an hourglass, was less important to Wӧlker than the concept of playing with the shrinking and stretching of time. These numbers are presented in her video, as sequences of four numbers, which look like the "times" on a 1970’s digital clock radio, giving the appearance that time itself has been randomly and paradoxically re-ordered.



Michal Wegrzyn

'Steps Photography'

 Michal Wegrzyn's series of photographs explore the measurement of time through the changes made to negatives strapped to the soles of the artist's shoes, as well as those of a number of other participants. Each black and white image is accompanied by documentation of the number of steps taken, and the location of its making.

Wegrzyn, who is based in Bath, works with several themes and techniques moving between documentary and experimental photography. He says of his work that the series "...presents my own reflection on the phenomenon of time in photography..." by "...creating a unique time-measuring technique...bringing to life the visual memory of places, people and the passing of time.



Martin Urmson

The Sea

Martin Urmson's video is a series of relentlessly rolling ocean waves, which are governed by the action of the moon. These images were selected by Urmson because he has found the sound of waves to be most soothing to the tinnitus which has plagued him for the last seven years. However The sequence of imagery is screened twice, with two contrasting soundtracks of acoustic guitar composed by Pete Aves. The first is a gritty, skittering experimental composition and the second, in major chords, with a 4/4 time signature, has an easy relaxed "West Coast" sound.


Artist’s statement

I use photography, video, sound, music and words. Each has strengths and weaknesses according to the message to be communicated. I look for collaborative partnerships with other specialists whenever possible. The subjects that interest me often include the socio-historical, although my intention and method is rarely to use explanatory narrative.

‘The Sea’ is part of current project on the subject of tinnitus, from which I have suffered for 7 years. The condition alters perception, both as unwanted noise, and also acting as an emotional influence. The sound of the sea is one of the few effective masking devices for me.

Waves and water motion act as a visual analogy for sound waves, but in this video the sound of the sea is replaced by an original sound track, created by the musician Pete Aves. In the first part the viewer’s perception is divided between the visual and the aural; in the second, which is accompanied by smooth, generic music, the visual stimulus comes to the fore. This results in another interpretation for two reasons - less ‘interference' and a different emotional state.