max+noa are two people formerly known as sheaf+barley. Their old biography used to read:

Our work cobbles together tools responding to now and directed towards the future, through research, action, and belief. The work is a public sharing of this, in dialogue with everyone who comes into contact with it. We think belief is a radical act, and to interrupt hegemony we must be in a constant state of uprising.

They see much of their work as telling stories and creating spaces where these stories can be told and exchanged -  temporary spaces of comfort and stability in a world that is otherwise in freefall. max+noa create a set of tools that can be used by themselves and others.

Previous work by max+noa includes boat-building in Suffolk as part of Live Art Development Agency’s (LADA) DIY professional development programme in 2017, a six week residency in Taiwan supported by Artist Home Swap and commissions from festivals such as SPILL (Charm for Rebirth, 2016) and Folkestone Fringe (Stone to Sand, 2017)

Currently max+noa are artists in residence with the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) looking at ideas of neighbourhood and laying down roots. They are also the recipients of LADA’s first Garrett Centre Commission and have been working to foster ties between LADA and other inhabitants of Bethnal Green, mainly helping to run the after-school arts club at the social action organisation Simple Gifts. max+noa have also just been awarded an Artsadmin Artists’ Bursary 2018-19. They had this to say about their current development:

“We feel that our practice is changing a lot recently, and the simple task of writing (or more accurately copy and pasting) a bio threw up a lot of questions that we have been having in the last months. We feel that sheaf+barley has been chafing at us a lot, although we’re sure that they’re lovely and well-meaning mythic archetypes. The insistence on the specifically English/Saxon iconography and language is strange considering Noa’s heritages and roots, although we both grew up in England so we were appropriating it to our own means (but how far can one fuck with something that can so easily be subsumed into nationalist discourse? That was probably always the point). The aesthetic that has grown out of the sheaf+barley practice, natural-ness and organic things, is constrictive. The lack of the living experience both of us could project into these archetypes seems counter-productive, for example Noa’s trans-ness and recent experiences with this. And so on and so on...

The project and practice remains that same, we’re just trying to find a new language and a new frame for our making and living. Reconceptualising our relationship to what we want to make, reframing it, finding a new language and aesthetic to speak about it with. We don’t want to be tied down to a singular thing or way of making. We want the work to directly reflect, or perhaps simply be, our life. The language of sheaf+barley and cunning folk got us so far and will still be useful, but there is more that needs to be spoken and we need new voices to speak it with.”

Categories: Featured Artist

Date Posted: 27 July 2018