Monday, 29 October 2012

Young David Picturebook Exhibition

Exhibition Preview: Friday 9 November, 7-8.30pm
Exhibiton: 12-25 November

The Holy Biscuit is excited to be hosting a Children's Picture Book exhibition, by our very own Intern and illustrator, Amy Barnes! The exhibition will feature original illustrations from the Young David Picturebook series by Fiona Vietch Smith and will also include a sneak preview of work in progress for the upcoming title David and the Lonely Prince. For more details on the series go to Crafty Publishing

At the exhibition preview on Friday 9 November, there will be free cheese and wine, and if that's not enough to tempt you, there will also be an opportunity to buy signed copies of the books (by Amy and Fiona). They are ideal Christmas presents for children 4 - 7.

If you can't make it along to the preview, please come down and have a look at the exhibition which runs from 12-25 November, gallery opening hours are 11.00-16.00.

For more details, go to the Facebook event

Friday, 19 October 2012


Hello biscuit bloggers, first off let me introduce myself.

I’m Andy Barker, an intern here at the Holy biscuit, a Fine Art Graduate, photographer, music lover and someone who believes that art and God, or to put it another way, art and faith, can work together to form something beautiful. Not only that they can, but that they should work together, in conversation, but it seems to me that all too often Christians don’t like to engage with art, but why?

Well, “Faith” and, to a slightly lesser degree, “art” are words that bring to mind dusty rooms full of mystical things. With faith we think of monks reverently going about their holy duties, or if new-atheism’s definition is more your thing then we imagine someone choosing to close their metaphorical eyes and ears to logic and leaping forth into fairy tales and ancient myths, but faith is far more relevant than you might think.

At its most basic, faith is simply believing in something, whether that be a deity who we entrust with all aspects of our life or the chair I trust to hold my weight. Both are acts of faith based on a belief we hold in the object of that belief. We all exhibit faith to some degree.

Now art is a muddled subject at the best of times and as soon as you prefix it with “modern” “postmodern” or “contemporary” then God help us if we want to understand what it’s going on about… right?

Art, as seen in the Tate modern and Turner prize lists, may appear to be non-beautiful, elitist and confusing but art, like faith, points to something other than itself. If, for instance, the object of one’s faith is God, so, in much of today’s art, the object of one’s art is an idea or concept. Both Art and Faith direct our attention to something beyond themselves.
Let’s take an example we might recognise; Damien Hirst’s “The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living” aka his Tiger Shark in formaldehyde is a piece of art which conveys a concept. Hirst aimed to use the preserved shark as a way of forcing us to consider our own mortality. A shark, one specifically chosen because it is capable of eating a human, is suspended in a life like state in a way that allows the viewer freedom to observe it, all the while knowing that were we this close in the shark’s natural habitat things wouldn’t end well for us. This is art as a vehicle for a concept, regardless of your view of this work’s merit or its effectiveness at communicating its chosen concept, we can begin to see how faith and art are not worlds apart; they both draw our gaze past themselves and onto their chosen object.

Art has always dealt with concepts, some big, some small, some commissioned by monarchs and some dreamt up by surrealist revolutionaries. But a concept without a vehicle for engaging with it is nothing more than a thought, and the same applies for faith without an object.

I guess what I want to ask is: If art is accustomed to dealing with concepts, why, when it comes to concepts of faith and belief, are they often presented by those who believe them, in thinly veiled and shallow ways? Mr Hirst may have posed the question of death and mortality to his audience with his suspended Shark but he didn’t offer any answers. He simply (and effectively) asked big questions. So where are the debaters, the philosophers, the thinkers and the believers who could rouse our thoughts and feelings by posing their own ideas, their concepts, their questions and their faith in equally engaging and compelling ways?

But we cannot (and shouldn't) all be Damien Hirsts; even Damien Hirst is no longer the same man who pickled a shark and a few farm yard animals. We need artists, art lovers and creative folk who ask the questions that matter to them, hold out the answers they think fit and do all this in a way that reflects who they are, that fits their ideas and that fits, or fights, their culture.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Guerrilla Knit: Calling all Knitters, Yarn-bomb incoming!

"Our street art does many things. It takes a woolly hold on forgotten public spaces and gives them soul. It treats the whole world as an art gallery. It encourages others to bring their own city to life in ways only they can imagine." -Knit the City

The Holy Biscuit are commissioning a piece of public art and we need the help of your knitting group!  
We need people to knit and crochet coverings for our fence to celebrate our green space and to bring a dash of colour and creativity to our community.

Our 'Guerrilla Knitting' event will take place at the gallery on Saturday 17th November, 1-3pm where we will assemble our pre-knitted coverings as well as taking some afternoon tea. We have 224 fence posts to cover so get started as soon as possible.

Do spread the word to all Tyneside knitting groups and anyone else you think might like to be involved and if you have any questions do not hesitate to get in touch! 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Missa: Contemporary Dance @ St Dominic's Priory

The Holy Biscuit is delighted to be writing about Missa, an upcoming dance performance by the Elliot Smith Company. Having premiered in Westminster Cathedral last year, Missa is a contemporary dance work inspired by the structures and gestures of the Mass.

Our good friend Dominic White (founder of Cosmos Dance) is patron of Elliot Smith’s Company and is excited about contemporary dance in the Ouseburn area. He is hosting the performance, this Saturday the 17th October, 7.30pm, @ St. Dominic’s Priory, Newcastle.

Why not come and catch this one off performance in the beautiful priory? With contemporary dance accompanied by live music and lighting within stunning architecture, this is a show not to miss!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Call for Entries : ADVENT & ADVENTURE

Exhibition: December 1-20  
Opening Reception: Friday, November 30, 6.00-7.30pm

The Holy Biscuit is invites artists to participate in our second annual Advent exhibition, ADVENT & ADVENTURE, exploring the season of Advent and Christmas.

Advent is a season of expectation and preparation. For Christians, it is to commemorate the coming of the Messiah and the anticipation of His return. For the Western consumer it is the beginning of the hustle and bustle of the festive season. For some it is both and for some it is neither. We invite you to submit art works that explore these ideas of Advent, anticipation, and adventure this time of year.


We are open to submissions of art works in any form however in some cases, we may not be able to accommodate extra-large paintings, sculptures and installations due to space and hanging capabilities.
D-rings are preferred for 2D works; picture wire is acceptable. Artists working in installation will be responsible for installing their work and coordinating with members of Holy Biscuit staff.

Please submit JPEG images of original works to
The deadline for submissions is Monday, November 19. Artists will be notified by Friday, November 23. Accepted works should be delivered to The Holy Biscuit by Monday, November 26, and must be ready to install.

If delivering by post, our address is:
The Holy Biscuit
1 Clarence Street
Newcastle upon Tyne


This year's Advent exhibition will be juried by emerging Newcastle-based curators, Sheila Gonzalez and Hannah Marsden. Sheila and Hannah founded Situation Rhubarb, a unique non-venue based visual arts organization in 2011. They are currently working with artist Rebecca Travis to produce a site-specific exhibition at a home in Heaton. Sheila and Hannah are active members of the Newcastle arts community and are alumni of Newcastle University's Art Museum and Gallery Studies MA program. 
More information about Situation Rhubarb and their work can be found at their website.


Jurors will give awards for Best in Show as well as other honorable mentions at the opening reception. 

Best in Show will be given the opportunity to have a solo show, or to curate their own show, at the Holy Biscuit. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us directly with any inquiries or concerns, at

Monday, 1 October 2012

Risking Mystery: Contemporary Arts & Sacred Worship

Our new friends at Arts & Christianity Ireland are having a conference on Art and Worship. This would be something great to check out if you are able to get over to Ireland for the weekend. For more information and see their Facebook Page.

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