South Square Gallery | Press Release


Carole Griffiths & Michael Stewart | Couples | 06 – 31 January 2012

Couples is a collaborative project and exhibition between artist Carole Griffiths and writer Michael Stewart that explores cross-disciplinary narratives between the two artists through text, drawing, sculpture and performance. The project’s starting point is writer Michael Stewart’s series of 22 texts which are presented in pairs or couples. Each pair forms its own discursive relationship where both halves reflect on and relate to the other.

For example, a text called ‘Me’ faces ‘You’, or a text called ‘He’ faces ‘She’. The texts work individually but when read together form an additional meaning. In this way, the work hopes to say something about the condition of being a ‘couple’. Many of us, at some point in our adult lives, find a partner. Very often they have qualities that make up for deficits in our own personalities, but whose immediate compatibility is not obvious. Observing couples together in public spaces, and generating writing inspired by these encounters, the writer felt that there was a visual element to these pairings that could be developed by collaborating with a fine art specialist.

Artist Carole Griffiths has responded to and drawn from these texts, new meanings and interpretations that has inspired her to create the work in this show.

The objects are inspired by the functional and domestic. However, once reconstructed, manipulated, placed and rearranged, they then become symbolic of opposing relationships. For example, the hook and eye could be seen as hooked up and secure, however once connected there is a struggle to pull them apart and this tension is visible. The juxtaposition of some of the pairs reinforces the complicated issues of relationships. The domestic parts, such as the knife and fork, could be perceived as quite a violent pair. They are both sharp and have an aggressive action. When they are connected or forced together as forms this again could be seen as a disturbing visual representation of a couple.

The works are formed and created to interact with the poems and vice versa, however both the text and art works are able to stand alone. Materials include clay, fabric and shellac.

A limited edition souvenir book is available which shows the text pairs placed side-by-side and incorporates Carole Griffiths’s fine art inspired by the images located in the texts. Stewart will be reading from the book during the opening evening event. The tone of the project is blackly comic but also reflective of human relationships. The visual style and writing style draw heavily on post-surrealist influences.

South Square Gallery   |  South Square  |  Thornton   |  Bradford   |  BD13 3LD

Artists’ Biographies

Michael Stewart is a multi-award winning writer, born and brought up in Salford, who moved to Yorkshire in 1995 and is now based in Bradford. He was the winner of the BBC Alfred Bradley Award in 2003 and his plays have been performed in Bradford, Leeds, Manchester, London, and extensively throughout the country. His radio play Excluded was shortlisted for the Imison Award 2008. His fiction has been published widely in anthologies and magazines. His debut novel, King Crow, was published in January 2011 by Bluemoose Books. It won The Guardian’s Not-the-Booker award in October 2011.

Carole Griffiths is a fine art practitioner based in Yorkshire. She has a BA Honours degree in Sculpture from Wimbledon School of Art and an MA in Visual Arts from Bradford College. She is a recipient of the Jerwood Charitable Foundation for  Prison and Community Arts Award, among other honours and awards. Her work has been exhibited at South Square and Bradford College Gallery. She lectures in Art and Design and Creative Design for Stage and Screen at Bradford College.


South Square is a visual art resource centre based within a Grade II listed building in Thornton, Bradford, West Yorkshire. It is home to South Square Gallery, a grassroots exhibition space committed to providing a professional and supportive resource for artists and emerging curators. As a test bed for new ideas, the gallery hosts an ever-evolving dialogue between artists and their audience. The square also incorporates a community space, artists’ studios, fine art framer, café and exhibition spaces for local artists.

Opening Times


Exhibition open: 06-31 January 2012

Launch event including live poetry reading: Friday 13th January 7-9pm 2012

Opening times | 12 – 3pm| Tuesday – Sunday | And by appointment


For further information contact David Knowles

Telephone:          +44 [0] 1274 834 747



South Square Gallery, South Square, Thornton, Bradford, BD13 3LD


Michael Stewart




About headspam

I'm a writer from Salford, now based in Bradford. I've written for theatre, radio and TV. And the following books: King Crow (novel: Bluemoose Books); Couples (poetry: Valley Press); Cafe Assassin (novel: Bluemoose Books); Mr Jolly (short stories: Valley Press) Author page:
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