Kelly Sweeney and Martyn Riley

Please tell us who you are and what you’ve been working on recently.

KS: I’m a London-based artist with a multidisciplinary practice that encompasses painting, sculpture, drawing and more recently film and installation. I have become really interested in the relationship between place and the energies that inhabit a location or site. Along with Martyn, I am currently involved in a psychogeographical project that explores site, sound and visual responses in collaboration with LUVA gallery. Another recent project included a body of paintings and sculptures for group show Absent Authors at APT Gallery, where I examined autobiographical agents within my practice, considering the witch and the harlequin as life-long archetypal collaborators.

Night Comers gave me the opportunity to create a site-specific installation spawned from a fascination with the elusive Ghost Orchid. The show presented orchid-beings as sentient occupiers of a swamp-like kingdom with an ancient cultural lineage. Martyn produced a soundscape ‘Of the Dark & Luminous Magick’ that captured the otherworldly domain of this vegetal kingdom in sound, bringing the installation to life as it pulsated through the space. Martyn also created the sound piece for my show Witches, Scamps and Things, which comprised an immersive screening room and palette-determined clusters of entities inhabiting saturated domains. The show explored the evolving cosmology that houses my increasingly personal pantheon of beings through painting, sculpture and film and presented my first live performance.

MR: I am a North-London based Sound Artist and Musician, originating from Derbyshire. My Sound Art practise specialises in memory and sound-triggers, by employing a multitude of experimental recording techniques utilizing new and older analogue methods of sound composition. Manipulating sonic landscapes to challenge the listeners perceptions of environment and sound. In the Summer of 2021, I presented my first solo show ‘ANCHOR’ at Equivalent Behaviour Space.  It encompassed sound, photography and objects, including a live performance on each of the two days, collaborating with local based musicians.  ‘ANCHOR’ explored the hold and connection the home has on an individual, and how the memory of sound, visuals and objects can strengthen or deteriorate this over a long period.

For LUVA Gallery’s ‘INEFFABLE’ project  I created a psychogeographic sound piece, as well performing live at its launch creating a longer & evolving composition. I have recently created sound commissions for Kelly Sweeney’s two solo shows ‘Night Comers’ and ‘Witches, Scamps and Things’, and for Equivalent Behaviour Space’s ‘Flightless’ exhibition, I will perform a live acousmatic soundtrack to vintage 16mm ornithology films. I also present two regular radio show showcasing experimental music, ‘Noise Noise Noise’ and ‘Bamboo House’, the latter of which is linked to my Record Label Bamboo House Recordings.

What drew you to each other’s practice?

KS: I find how Martyn responds to places and visual stimulus in a language that is pretty alien to me completely captivating. He has an ability to interpret stimulus in a way that accurately captures the very essence in sonic form. Although we share interests, we also approach projects with different perspectives, disciplines and language, which I think this opportunity will fuse alchemically to create something new.

MR: Collaborating with artists who express themselves in differing mediums develops and benefits my Sound Art practise in many forms. Having known Kelly and her creations for a period of time, this gives a good basis of understanding between us, and I feel working together in an equal collaboration such as this has the potential to take my Sound Art work into new areas.

How will you use the 1:1 FUND?

Although we have worked together professionally within an art context on a commission basis we have yet to cultivate an artistic exchange towards a shared concept. We would like to build on this with a project that will enable a psychogeographical exploration of identified sites on Dartmoor. Post-visit we plan to dedicate a day independently consolidating and processing cross-disciplinary responses based on the fieldwork collected. The final day of the project will provide the time and space for a fusion of artistic thinking that will be archived in a way that can be physically and digitally activated by both artists and their wider networks in the future.



Photo from the set of Colour Me Pink, 2019, featuring Kelly Sweeney. Image: Kelly Sweeney.
Photo from the set of Colour Me Pink, 2019, featuring Kelly Sweeney. Image: Kelly Sweeney.
Martyn Riley performing at solo show ANCHOR, 2021. Image: Martyn RileyPhoto of Martyn Riley performing at his solo show ANCHOR 2021 credit: Martyn Riley