artist residencies, online projects and creative enterprises...


A Brooks Art is delighted to announce the first of a new series of A Brooks Art online art projects for 2014 hosted on the A Brooks Art website.

Clip Cut Gel by artist Julia Riddiough is an ongoing series of artworks that are presented on the A Brooks Art online space and also in local high street barber shops in Kent and London. These new works by Riddiough consider what it means to be a man today; caught in an undefined and contradictory state this work explores masculinity from a range of perspectives.

Clip Cut Gel will include the exhibition and online hosting of four works that address male grooming, masculinity, gender politics and the gaze. These include: the photographic series; ‘Toy Boy’, ‘Rough Trade’ & ‘Play Boy’; the artist film ‘Clip Cut Gel’, the artist’s book ‘Barber Shop’ and ad hoc live performances by a Barber Shop Quartet.

The photographic series ‘Toy Boy’, ‘Rough Trade’ & ‘Play Boy’ suggest male identity as role-play and how we subsume ourselves from the world of images we are fed. Our engagement with culture is often rendered as a form of enmeshing or even interbreeding. Empathy can be read as metamorphosis: when we identify with an idea or character, we often adopt their vocabulary or physical characteristics. We can see that the media forms whilst forming.

The artist film ‘Clip Cut Gel’ tells the story of three men portrayed in the male hairdressing magazines the artist has collected from the 1980’s onwards. The portraits reveal amplified masculine characteristics; drawn from male stereotypes that we see in the visual language that surrounds us everyday; intentionally inverting male anxiety by injecting humour and anecdote. ‘Clip Cut Gel’ plays with the way the male is looked at and builds it into a spectacle itself. Here the image of the man is seen as passive and raw material for the active gaze of the spectator (perhaps a woman?) as another structure of representation.

‘Barber Shop’ is a limited edition artist’s book showcasing a collection of still images and anecdotes drawn from the informal screenings and artist residencies taking place in local high street Barber Shops. A chance to encounter camaraderie and community in what has been seen to date as a male space; catching up with men as they are groomed, transformed and socialise together. This world of male poses and self-as-image is explored in the continual circle of transference and transformation.

Ad hoc live performances entitled Men’s Lives at various Barber Shop locations (filmed and screened online). The Barber Shop Quartet present a reconstituted word-for-word dialogue previously said by the men in the Barber Shop setting this to traditional Barber Shop Music. Here ventriloquising real men’s concerns with a different kind of verbatim performance borrowed from Verbatim Theatre.


The film Clip Cut Gel and the accompanying photographic series can be seen online at A Brooks Art and at the following events:

  • Whitstable Biennale Satellite: 31 May – 15 June 2014  (map here)
  • Folkestone Triennale Fringe Open: 30 August – 2 November 2014 (details here)

Look out for event updates and information about Clip Cut Gel including the artist book and the Barber Shop live performances on Facebook and Twitter.

Clip Cut Gel Project Documentary Film 2015

This documentary film charts the story of Clip Cut Gel and is filmed in Margate where the project first began in 2014. We meet the artist in situ in the Barber shop where the original artist residency took place, where we encounter camaraderie and community catching up with men as they are groomed, transformed and socialise together in their own space. As the Barber says style is not born – it’s groomed!

DVD: Colour and Sound 5’01”
Thanks: Simon Williams, Barry The Barber, Mario, EKCetera and Ken Flaherty


Julia Riddiough is a Margate based artist creating vivid film & photographic essays that combine fact & fiction using found imagery often from the archive. Engaging in the debate that surrounds authorship and authenticity and the dilemmas these pose both to the author and the audience. Riddiough has shown her work in London and across the UK including The Whitechapel Artist Book Fair, The Folkestone Triennial Fringe, The Whitstable Biennale Satellite, Multiplied Art Fair/Christies, The London Art Fair and WW Gallery.

Link to artist’s website

Clip Cut Gel © Julia Riddiough 2014