Exploring inside the box

Recent works by
Tineke Bruijnzeels and Cally Trench

An exhibition at Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot
8th September - 6th November 2022

Cally Trench's homepage

Exploring Inside The Box

Rules can liberate. By limiting some aspect of a project, the imagination can be freed. In business, people are asked to think 'outside the box' - that is daringly, unconventionally. However, it can be exploration within a box of your own choice that can generate the deepest thoughts, the biggest surprises, the most extraordinary experiences, and the greatest daring.

The work in this exhibition by Tineke Bruijnzeels and Cally Trench at Cornerstone Arts Centre emerged out of rules, confines and restrictions. Tineke explains that: 'Rules create a limited space in which I explore how far I can go with materials and objects. The limits I set myself are the boundaries in which I make my work.'

Cally Trench, Hands of Afsoon with 'My Third Hand'

Cally Trench
Hands of Afsoon with 'My Third Hand',
17th September 2019

Tineke Bruijnzeels, Circles

Tineke Bruijnzeels
Circles (2019-2020)
52 photographs printed on banner

Guide to Exploring inside the box

A short Guide to the exhibition, with original writings by Mary Yacoob, Annie Rapstoff, Guy Tarrant, Alan Franklin and Cally Trench, and images of Cally's and Tineke's work, is available to buy (price £2) from the artists.

Guide to Exploring inside the box

Tineke Bruijnzeels: Circles and Cally Trench: Artists' Hands

At the heart of this exhibition were two year-long photographic projects, which the two artists undertook in parallel, posting one photograph a week each, side by side, on this website: Circles and Artists' Hands

Tineke's year-long Circles project was informed by the idea that: 'No whirlpool in a stream is alike. Apparently different and separate, but essentially the same' (Rupert Spira). A whirlpool is a temporary form, which is formed and dissolved in a stream. Tineke's project was to photograph many varieties of a circle, and show them flowing together as one colourful stream, presented as a banner.

Tineke Bruijnzeels, Circle
Tineke Bruijnzeels
Circle (2020)

Tineke's photographic project Circle form the previous year was presented on an oval 'table', taking the viewer on a visual journey, with no beginning and no end. For years Tineke has noticed visual links, especially in nature. She is amazed at how the wind shapes clouds, and how water shapes sand and snow. Very different things can look similar: the trunk of a tree can look like a pattern on a beach. In the built environment patterns and shapes are often inspired by the natural world. For this project, she took an element from her previous photograph and used that as the starting point for the next one.

Cally Trench, Hands of Julia Maddison with FRAGILE tape
Cally Trench
Hands of Julia Maddison with FRAGILE tape,
28th June 2020

Cally's sixty Artists' Hands are photographic portraits of artists; for Cally, hands are as expressive and individual as faces. The photographs were taken over a year, and the exhibition included seven of her own hands, photographed during lockdown when she couldn't visit other artists.

Cally and Tineke have worked together on several long-term rule-based drawing and photography art projects since 2003. By working in parallel, they provide motivation and company, and the projects take both artists to places they would not have explored alone. They choose not to discuss their work, but notice synchronicities and shared interests.

Tineke Bruijnzeels: Rule-based Drawings and Daily Projects

Tineke sets herself rules. She enjoys working with a pencil on paper within a certain size for hours, or looking for images according to a chosen form, such as a circle. She is keen to find out what happens when she repeats a single act tens or hundreds or even thousands of times.

Tineke Bruijnzeels, Daily Doodle no.22

Tineke Bruijnzeels, Daily Doodle no.23

Tineke Bruijnzeels
Daily Doodle no.22 (2022)
Materials used: drawing paper, 8B pencil and acrylic medium
Daily Doodle no.23 (2022)
Materials used: drawing paper, fineliner and acrylic medium

The exhibition also featured some of Tineke's 'daily projects', where the essential rule is that the work must be completed within a day and every day for the designated period. Examples include her Daily Doodle, her One matchbox a day project, where she challenged herself to find out what she could do with an everyday object, and her A4 project, which involved using a sheet of A4 paper. These projects were presented as books, photographs and objects.

Tineke Bruijnzeels, Matchbox Day 5

Tineke Bruijnzeels,Matchbox Day 7

Tineke Bruijnzeels
Matchbox day 5 (2021)
Materials used: Materials used: a matchbox and a craft knife
Matchbox day 7 (2021)
Materials used: a matchbox

Cally Trench: Metamorphosis drawings, original board games, and short animation films

Cally's Metamorphosis drawings show hands from which feathers are sprouting. The hands are not yet wings, but can never go back to being hands. What does it feel like to be halfway between the person that you are ceasing to be and the bird that you are becoming? The rules that Cally sets herself for these drawings is that the hands are lifesize, and drawn from life, which means that her left hand is drawn with her right hand and vice versa.

These drawings of Cally's own ageing hands are in pen and ink (and sometimes watercolour) on watercolour paper. One influence is Victorian scientific textbook illustrations, giving the drawings an air of old-fashioned scientific accuracy.

Cally Trench, Metamorphosis (Bird) I

Cally Trench, Metamorphosis (Bird) X

Cally Trench
Metamorphosis (Bird) I (2021)
Pen and ink on watercolour paper, 30 x 24 cm
Metamorphosis (Bird) X (2021)
Pen and ink and watercolour on watercolour paper, 40 x 30 cm

Cally's original playable board games are fun, but they also explore social and economic issues, such as death, debt, and environmental change. The basic 'box' within which Cally works when inventing the games is that they should be playable, fun, short, and easily understood. One of Cally's games - Gravestones and Dry Bones - was present in the exhibition for visitors to play. Others were played by visitors at a board game afternoon on Saturday 8th October.

Cally Trench, Gravestones and Dry Bones

Cally Trench
Gravestones and Dry Bones
Original playable board game

The exhibition also included five of Cally's very short animation films: Burial, Feet, Doors, Fossil Fish Film and The First Hard Stare of the Morning.

Cally Trench, Burial

Exploring inside the box

The exhibition at Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot:

Exploring inside the box at Cornerstone Arts Centre

Exploring inside the box at Cornerstone Arts Centre

Exploring inside the box at Cornerstone Arts Centre

Exploring inside the box at Cornerstone Arts Centre

Exploring inside the box at Cornerstone Arts Centre

Exploring inside the box at Cornerstone Arts Centre

Tineke Bruijnzeels

Tineke Bruijnzeels's work varies from layered paintings to minimalist drawings and installations. It often arises from repeating an action, and stems from curiosity. She wants to find out what happens when she repeats a simple action, not three times, but tens or hundreds of times. Each act, however small, is part of the final work, just as every second is an essential part of a day, a year, and a century, and as every breath is part of life.

After living abroad for thirty years, Tineke now lives back in the Netherlands where she was born. She studied for a BA in Fine Art in England, where she met Cally.

Tineke Bruijnzeels, A4 no.3

Tineke Bruijnzeels, A4 no. 12

Tineke Bruijnzeels
A4 no.3 (2021)
Materials used: 1 sheet of A4 paper and a hole puncher
A4 no. 12 (2021)
Materials used: 1 sheet of A4 paper and a craft knife

Cally Trench

Cally Trench makes drawings, original board games, artists' books, and animation films. She has a MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins.

Cally Trench, Hands of Alexandra Holownia (Alexandra Fly)  with a Mrs Vagina shoe
Cally Trench
Hands of Alexandra Holownia (Alexandra Fly) with a
Mrs Vagina shoe, 1st August 2020

Cally Trench's homepage