Deep Philosophical Thoughts Stole My Bike
Deep Philosophical Thoughts Stole My Bike
Show Date: Friday 31st May- Friday 14th June 2013
Deep Philosophical Thoughts Stole My Bike The finished, polished, and complete works exhibited in a degree show often obscure the journey made. Retrospect can have a smoothing effect, and the trajectory of learning can seem straightforward when we stand at the end point and think back. However from the other end, the first day of first year, it is almost impossible to imagine that one is going to make it to the end of the tunnel, like looking through the wrong end of binoculars. So this year, the last year in Greestone, the catalogue reflects the environment in which this group of students have worked over the last three years. It shows the messy end of the art business, the site of trial and error, terrible mistakes, serendipity, disasters, epiphanies, breakthroughs, and most of all the sites of conversations.
In memory of those conversations Slán agus go n-éirí an t-ádh leat! Keep in touch. Dr. Mary O’Neill
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Exhibiting Artists: Naomi Allan
Jessica Louise Ellis
Aaron J Brady
Exhibiting Artists: Ashley Horsley
Laura Nicole Ince
Claire Elizabeth Slade
Julia Louise Thompson
James Sheer Phaily
Deep Philosophical Thoughts Stole My Bike
Key to my work is the fascination of place in relation to memory. I am interested in how places can hold, provoke, and become memories. I am intrigued by the important roles they play within our lives and how they form aspects of our identity. The work relates to places I have visited personally and the experiences I had there. I have always been drawn to old buildings the sense that they have a history, a story of their own. I am enticed by the mystery of ruined buildings, and the idea that they are degrading and becoming memories of their own. The process of printmaking combined with devore causes the fabric to disintegrate, mimicking the decay of the ruins over time. Where once there stood a building of grandeur, magnificent and strong, now crumbling stones remain, and empty arches, a mere shadow of past glory. â€˜Vastness! And Age! And Memories of Eld! Silence and Desolation! And dim Night! Gaunt vestibules! And phantom-peopled aisles! I feel ye now: I feel ye in your strength!â€™ (Extract from The Coliseum, Edgar Allan Poe (1835))
As German painter Gerhard Richter said, “I blur things to make everything look important and equally unimportant. I blur things so that they do not look artistic or craftsmanlike but technological, smooth and perfect. I blur things to make all the parts a closer fit. Perhaps I also blur out the excess of unimportant information”. Within today’s society, the use of photographic images has had many advantages, although its overuse and forceful nature of the idealistic way of seeing things leads us to believe in a second reality of hyper perfection. The history of photography can be seen as a struggle between the need to beautify and the need to tell the truth; the need to beautify from the fine arts, and truth, from science and journalism. Although in today’s society, photographs set the standard for beauty and acceptance, things are viewed in different ways; the reality of the object/view and the perfectly photographed version. In the blurring and distortion of a photograph we strip away the function of the photograph as a faithful document and immaculate recording. Using paint as a free material to explore the notion of reality, even as a merger of the two fields; I aim to highlight the confusion of reality that we experience in everyday life through the overuse of photographic images.
A Stranger is Abstract
I am a painter who is concerned with the notion that a stranger is an abstract ideal. My work begins with a series of small sketches of strangers. I find that with drawing people I do not know, I can focus on the form and presence rather than their identity. Through this process I have discovered, the sketches become about a very peripheral experience of observing the person whilst the identity of the individual remains largely unknown. Upon return to my studio, these drawings become a catalyst for painting. I found that through the process of transcribing these sketches into paint that I have to scrape and reapply paint repeatedly; forming several layers that overlap which creates further abstraction of the figure and its surroundings. The result is an image that has been informed by an observation and the act of drawing.
My work focuses mainly around OCD. This particular disorder has gradually been delved into deeper. As a result, I have been heavily influenced and now feel drawn to one particular trait; Control. The one thing which stands out in my work is control. Control seems to be endless but is yet confined, having boundaries. However I feel I thrived on this. I had to consider the media more carefully and make the relationship between the media and control work. In my practice, I am interested in the process and material in which I use. I have developed a relationship with both elements. The dialogue between these elements and myself, has created an environment with the freedom to watch, evolve and develop together. This is something I have heavily focused on and the work speaks for itself, taking on its own identity and form. Relationships between control and media have been well considered. In order to do this, I have had to experiment with the antithesis of control, to even the balance, and keep the work visually pleasing.
Keep Within Bounds
Do They Sell Prickly Pears in Morrisons?
My recent work consists of ephemeral installations conjured up and precariously suspended from walls and ceiling in a tenuous constellation. There is a playfulness and theatricality in this mechanism which jerks and bobs as a result of electrical devices. This alludes to the potential energy of the objects, briefly defying the laws of gravity. My installations are an attempt to synthesise with the architecture of the space in which they are contained, buffeting into forgotten corners and extending high up to windows, transforming the space and our experience of it. There is immediate tension in the inter-connecting structure, as resonated is an awareness that the whole construction could at any moment, collapse into chaos. I utilise a menagerie of objects, from the inorganic permanence of objects such as footballs, tights, pretend fruit, cotton reels, and fishing wire, to a fragmentary array of organic perishables; eggshells, oranges, leaves, chillies and grape vines. The objects are seemingly invaluable, leftovers of our quotidian lives, yet I attempt to transcend them into appearing almost aesthetically elegant and precious. I wish to reveal a topsy-turvy view of reality that momentarily disorientates the viewer, drawing them into an alternative perception of our everyday lives.
Our individual projects have led up to this eventual collaboration with themes and interests becoming closely related to one another. The forefront is the subject of touch and memory as well as the use of found objects. We have researched larger art works and installations; for example the works of Ernesto Neto and his desire to involve the audience within his work. This is something which we hope to achieve in our own ventures. We are merging that of tactile and organic-looking components with the narrative of â€˜Memory Collecting.â€™ Experimenting was vital in this work and therefore each component is different from the other, showing different states of growth and development parallel to our understanding of the materials. Our practice has also led us to consider the elements of maternity and maturity within our work. Our trigger objects suggest an embryonic state that allows the memory to incubate. The notion of maturation has been reflected in our use of collaborative teamwork, similarly the concept of maturing is replicated in our developing practice.
Natasha Bisby and Hannah Edwards www.natashabisbyart.wordpress.com www.hmedwards00.wix.com/artbyhedwards
Through The Grey
Everything we do is driven by the subconscious, a thing that is not concerned with rationality. Conscious rationality is distorted perpetually to satisfy baser needs of relieving anxiety and affirming our worldviews. In this aim we often seek out things that support them, and dismiss the things that conflict with them. Also, despite being largely unaware of our true motivations, we make confabulations, fictional reasoning believable to ourselves in order to defend life’s meaning. So it seems then that the presence of meaning is more important than its legitimacy. We must seek it everywhere to buffer the reality of the universe’s regardless nature. I involve processes influenced by automatic drawing to grow the work’s generous substance. I provoke pareidolia, the identification of meaning and structure in random arrangements, to bring about the emergence of meaning from the quiet chaos of dust and smoke. The process is reflective of how meaning is formed in life. As shapes over time manifest from the fog they are like feelings that become notions, then belief.
My work covers ephemerality, consisting of processes that are of an unstable nature. I look into the transitory life of the object and process. Everything in life acts as a cycle in the sense that everything that happens affects the reaction of something else. To present these thoughts my work displays chain reactions that occur to go on to affect something else. It is human nature to strive towards permanence in all things; this is evident through our entire length of recorded history, contributing to the comfort we find in stability. Impermanence can be devalued, as it is instinctively aimed for permanence to be achieved. We naturally hope for permanence because as a species we find it difficult to comprehend that our lives may be that of a transient nature. Through the growth and development of evolution we are now aware of the nature of time and the temporary qualities that it has. This awareness of space and time allows us to appreciate the lack of longevity that many reactions have. A reaction may last one second but its affect could be enormous. Put twenty of these short-lived reactions together and the transformation between the first and last event could become vast.
Jess Boyd www.jessboyd.co.uk
The reason for my chosen media being photography, graphics and illustration is because I am naturally drawn to these as I find them the most appealing to me. I believe it communicates a strong message no matter what or whom the subject is, and is often seen as an honest way of communicating to the audience. My goals and aspirations, artistically, are to explore my own identity through pushing the boundaries of my own abilities and developing work that not only uses digital media but traditional fine art media also, such as printing onto canvas or different materials, to make my work more appealing. Through research and gallery visits around the UK, artists such as Stephen Wiltshire and Barbara Kruger have influenced me. I am also influenced by events in my life, like youth culture and social pressures on British males in society. Shane Meadows explores these aspects in This Is England, a film about what it is like to grow up in an urban environment and a subculture. Currently, I am using photography, digital manipulation and film to explore aspects of language and learning. I would like to objectively translate my experiences of written languages and make them visual through image and text.
I wear a face mask, gloves and lab coat. My implements are scissors, scalpel, needle and thread. I set to work on the animal by removing its vital organs; skinning it, then I implant metal objects and circuit boards into the flesh. I break their arms, legs and neck and force them onto botched bodies of wire and latex. With these new bodies the naturally preserved animals are given a new life and with it a new range of behaviours. Pigeons become meat-eating predators and rabbits become experimental scientists. Originally my work focused on the ethical issues of using animals in medical research and scientific experimentation. Although there are still elements of this, I feel that the work has moved on to giving the cobbled together animals their own narrative.
Utilising found objects and materials, I assemble sculptural constructions and installations. These materials act as a reflection of the place from which they were found. By altering only the context of the material collected, I am allowing the spectator to observe the materials as they would have been in their original situation. These elements are presented as evidence of my interaction with them and decision-making methodology throughout my studio process. The materials are left in their raw, found state. I refrain from altering and manipulating these materials, thus allowing them to remain in their factual state. As an artist, intentionality plays a significant role during the studio process. By interrogating the materiality of objects, and evidencing them as they are, I assemble aesthetic relationships that are presented as wholly formed, factual material, constructed without editing their actuality. The constructions interact with the space in which they are exhibited, allowing the spectator to engage not only with the art, but also its context within the space. This encounter is integral for my practice, as my constructions do not end at the material they are created from but envelop the whole environment of the space in which they are situated.
‘Je suis l’espace ou je suis’ In translation ‘I am the space, where I am’. This quote has become the pinnacle inspiration for my practice, giving rise to the exploration of becoming one with space and becoming one with an environment that I have authored. My works attempt to investigate the notion of ‘The Everyday’ through temporary invasions of site-specific spaces. ‘The Everyday’ is unrealised in its own materialisation which, regardless of the significance, cannot be actualised due to the moment passing. These moments are background noise of ‘The Everyday’, therefore there is nothing to know; it is unformulated information. Thus my installations delve into asking what happens when I illuminate the usually unacknowledged. What happens when nothing happens? Why, if ‘nothing happens’, is there the affirmation that something essential might be allowed to happen? In effect I begin to create a reformulation of what is common knowledge, bringing the uneventful and overlooked aspects of lived experience into visibility. I entwine my installations with elements of the land art movement, allowing natural entropic processes to live the work through to its end, converging into an indeterminable spectrum.
Unfixed, Unspecified, Unstipulated.
radio, tape player, record player, walkie talkie, record player, amplifier, walkie talkie, tape player, walkie talkie, amplifier, speaker, tape player, walkie talkie, record player
Luke Croft www.lukecroft.webeden.co.uk
Everything is chaos but there is also an order to everything, a paradox. Within my work I want to explore this paradox. I first started working with sound because I was unsatisfied with my paintings: they were too fixed and too linear. In a way they started to bore me. I wanted to find something more exciting. I work mainly with hacked electronics making them work in unconventional ways. Through the use of various forms of audio feedback and distortion I have created a sound mass, which is built out of a series of patterns. However feedback by its very nature is random so sometimes the patterns change and are distorted in unpredictable ways. The patterns are at first unclear as they repeat at different intervals, some taking seconds, some an hour. The machines are turned on at very specific but seemingly random times so there is an order to the work just not a clear one.
This work is an exploration of hyper realism, a genre of painting that has its roots in the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard and “the simulation of something which never really existed.” Hyper realism presents a false reality, it utilizes pictoral elements, with a great emphasis on minute detail to create an illusion that is based on the simulation of reality. I explore the relationship between this style of painting and the photograph; the link between reproduction and the original, and the way that hyper realists work, influenced by artists such as Pedro Campos, Steve Mills and Alberto Bernardi. I was fascinated by these artists’ ability to make a depiction of the mundane extraordinary. This work is a reflection of my fascination with the hyper realist genre, like them I seek to elevate the ordinary and the mundane to the height of the extraordinary.
‘Surface’ acknowledges the relationship between photography, textiles and sculpture exploring the concept of identity. I take photographs and create casts of my subjects, obscured and distorted with fabric and material; thus, taking a critical view interfering with facial features and removing a sense of individuality. The boundaries between the mediums intertwine and the three work coherently to create an interesting collection of elements. The photographs depart from the framing of traditional portraiture. The viewer is not given an entire bust of the subject, rather the frame zooms into up-close angles of the face. The casts on the other hand are concentrated to frontal perspectives of the face. The flesh becomes abstracted, modified by the use of material within the photographs and plaster. The use of four uniquely different models, both in appearance and personality, and the act of covering their faces creates an analogous surface, muting the identifiable attributes of each. This is a way of adjusting the audience’s means of identifying them. Textures are given precedence over portraying a likeness to the models. The act of manipulating their characteristics becomes the focus.
My art is based upon the notion of construction via destruction. It is generally sculpture produced by burning large paper spheres that I craft myself until they take on another form. The act of me creating the sphere and then altering the structure with fire is the action of ‘create to destroy’. A reoccurring theme that appears in my practice is Entropy, which represents the change in state from the paper to ash. No matter what I burn it all becomes equal in the end. My work is greatly influenced by Gustav Metzger as his ‘Auto-Destructive Art’ destructs and creates in the same instant as the chemicals eat away at the material. Another influential artist would be Cornelia Parker as her work is concerned with how change can create something completely new. In my own work I aim to portray the powerful destructive capabilities that fire possesses to create change.
When making work I am drawn to natural organic shapes, tree forms, landscapes and the sea. I would consider these to be my influences. Using the organic structures produced within my work, I aim to configure high relief sculptural pieces. The work is concerned with the notion of process and the gestures which are accidentally established during these processes. Exploring mediums such as paints, inks and white spirit, these forms and gestures are established. I like to experiment to see how the different mediums work together to create different effects. I believe the movement generated in the work is important, as this carries the viewerâ€™s eye leading them to discover new readings within the work. The work originated as flat paintings in square canvases however this did not make sense as the work is influenced by natural organic shapes. Therefore my intention is to overlap abstract painting, sculpture and installation.
The installations I construct submit a view into an adjacent reality and invite viewers to venture into an immersive and evocative landscape.Formulated entirely with found objects, scrap material and commonplace junk, the chaos presented relays intangible narratives concealed within hoards of decaying articles. Crammed full with inexplicable refuse, the installations comprise material often accumulated from the grimy corners of suburban locales. A process of reconfiguration then occurs to form disquieting environments which attempt to issue indeterminate narratives of potential neglect, abandonment and peculiarity. When precariously stacked, and cast under dismal lighting to spread dark shadows into the murky surroundings, stockpiles of refuse can appear almost sinister; evocative of an apocalyptic space frozen in a moment in time. It is this atmosphere of sinister uncertainty that I intend for viewers to experience when immersed inside. Resonated throughout the bleakness and obscurity of these milieus, there is perhaps a fragmentary trace of an absent and ethereal existence; an individual or creature who has impetuously abandoned his former squat, leaving behind the unfathomable residues of his goings-on. I seek to impart onto viewers a state of questioning; where the origins of such an arrangement may lie, why the space has come to be inhabited, and by whom.
Den of Disillusion
Three Piece Suite
Jessica Louise Ellis
My work is balanced between the known and unknown. The known is what is visually communicated through displaying recognisable found objects, and by making some of my work in site specific environments. The objects and spaces have an intellectual meaning associated with their image. The unknown are the forms produced by a process combining fabrics and inks and coating them with salt. The reaction of the salt visually and physically transforms the original state of the material, resulting in a formless physical image. Using spaces and found objects has given me the chance to attach their formal elements and the meanings associated with them to the process. The familiar features of their aesthetic allow me to manipulate and guide the meaning of my work. Items of domesticity have filtered more into my work, becoming a series of experimental sculptural objects. Not only encrusted with dried salt and fabrics, plants have been embedded into the depths of the material, emerging in an unexplained and arcane manner. The recent development of these experiments has seen a ubiquitous collection of sofas transformed into a laboratory. Life, death, time, evolution and materiality are examined.
My practice focuses solely on the painted portrait, specifically exploring the face. Intimacy and essence are key factors in the pieces I create, my intention being to bring to life a memoir without words, and allow the viewer to feel part of a private event. Through each brush stroke, I strive to create portraits which exude the lives of those depicted; acting almost as a visual biography, drawing the audience in and holding their attention. Detail is also significant in the way I choose to create my paintings. Working mainly with acrylics, I take great pleasure in spending time exploring and analysing the face through colour and texture. Most importantly in my practice, before I create a piece, I like to speak to the people I plan on painting, to get an insight into their life and personality. This I feel makes the piece more intimate, and ultimately more enjoyable to pursue. They tell me their stories. I paint them.
Through the process of making my work, I have experimented with the idea of using found imagery and manual editing. Human animal communication and bonds can come into question when something new occurs. With the idea of dogs being ‘man’s best friend’ challenged by the ever increasing need for dangerous dog legislation, my studio work aims to question and explore the connection between human and animals. How does each affect the other lives and where are the similarities and differences? Do we have a more animalistic nature than we could imagine and are we the ones to blame for the dog’s change of place in our modern society? I am exploring ideas of containment, communication and interaction using photographic images and drawings with the forms of mouths and faces. The mouth, for both the human and the dog, is a means of communication and for eating; both very natural occurrences. The mouth is also a means of defence and attack, which could lead to containment. For the dog, such defence and attack is its bites and growls. For a person, the mouth can be used to offend others with words said. Both of these uses could lead to persecution, containment and security, but also interaction and strong relationships.
Animals and humans are often said to have things in common with each other, whether that is behavioural traits or physical likeness. My work looks at Anthropomorphism; this is the attribution of human traits onto a non-human, but for my practice I am looking specifically at Anthropomorphism that involves animals. The Higher Mammals is a piece about how humans recognise animal behaviour similar to our own, and, without thinking, project our own interpretations of what is happening and why the animal is doing it. It is this idea that I have exaggerated within my videos to create a crossover of the two species. A dancing bear for example, is not a natural sight that one would come across in the wild. The reality is that actual dancing bears are not funny due to the cruel treatment the bears experience to be made to dance like a human. A person seeing what they want to see is why Anthropomorphism is such a big part of the human psyche
The Higher Mammals
Ribbon Series, 2013
Injecting a space or place of entropic beauty with something subtle yet captivating has become a fascination of mine. A local unused Church first stimulated this experimentation, due to its exterior appearing neglected and disheartening; seeking back its initial appreciation and importance in the community. Celebratory materials, such as balloons, were key elements for this video piece, to engage the frequent passersby to the playful and unusual addition to the empty site. Of late, my video works capture a piece of ribbon tied in various lonely and deteriorated locations, fluttering and stirring freely whilst also intimately interlinking photography and video practices. My curiosity for exploring abandoned or run-down places has consequently evoked both an emotional and physical connection. At the same time, I also endeavour to express an articulation of how these â€˜forgottenâ€™ places could relate to society. The video pieces relocate the memories and subconscious thoughts of places and spaces, of which we all can ignore and dismiss, encircling subjects of loss and the unseen.
My artwork takes a critical view of the process of political, social and cultural debate. By using text as my main focus, I am able to target an opinion highlighting the dynamic of an internal state of materialization in people or spaces. I evolve my work by the usage of textiles and printmaking with contextualization to the tradition of protest, which includes banners and posters and artifacts found in the aftermath of a protest. My work continues to be driven by the opinions created by the media on a number of political and social issues, in time leading to the creation of manufactured opinions. I feel that only faces and words are changing within our political climate but yet the opinions are still the same. Various opinions and moods occur that need to be brought out to a wider audience of which are not manufactured. Therefore, I strive to inquire into and expand my visual language skills to create work that can question my own understanding and inform the experience of others.
My work takes a critical view of social and political issues. It aspires to focus particularly on the issues within British society; a topic which has always been the main inspiration for my practice and continues to accommodate me with ideas. Within this work, I also explore the relationship between art and language, and the importance and involvement of the use of text within a piece. The influences for my work are diverse, ranging from first generation conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth to second generation conceptual artist Gillian Wearing. The combination of these influences and other sources of inspiration create a new way of showing how we apply prejudice within our current society. Language, more specifically the involvement of text, has always been in some way incorporated within my work but has recently become the main focus. By combining both the political context and the involvement of language, my practice aims to look at how we identify a person by basic information and first impressions, to which we then categorize a person to a social class within our society today.
The absence of language and meaning is what informs my most recent work. The frequently nonsensical nature of language is explored by looking at the ambiguity and emptiness of the language that we can encounter in everyday situations. The work focuses particularly on the limitations of language; how it can prevent us from communicating our ideas clearly, or expressing the things we find difficult to say. There are moments when we simply have nothing to say; and it is because of this that the gaps and the pauses between language, the moments when we are thinking or are lost for words, can become the most intriguing.
Untitled (Evidence of Absence)
‘Weary of all those who come with words, Words but no language’. Tomas Tranströmer
Rarely medium specific, my work utilizes a variety of media, including but not limited to found objects, photography and drawing, as a means to create a visual reflection on the fragmentation of memory, decay and the process of forgetting. My practice negotiates the futility of the internal struggle to claim ownership over our memories and cerebral deterioration; a struggle which is ultimately lost to age. Individual pieces reflect on mortality through the decay of memory and this concept is visualized through the ephemeral nature of the photograph and other sentimental items. Utilizing a combination of family snapshots and archived footage, I use video to explore memory as a succession of passing images that skip like a damaged record between states of lucidity to complete distortion. My film work is accompanied by collections of found items that reflect on traditional museum and archive techniques. The objects are arranged in such a way that encourages conversation with the past to reveal the objectsâ€™ previous lives and histories. Dust and other organic matter are an important part of my practice as they are imbued with history, and help communicate ideas relating to the disintegration of memory.
This installation is used for gathering new and existing bacterial data on areas that are commonly known for transmitting illnesses to and from people. This space is used for gathering data and processing it so that it can be used to warn and help produce a medicine that can be manufactured quickly and efficiently when a virus is identified. The importance and severity of bacterial infection is a subject of great interest to me. My work explores public reactions to bacterial outbreaks and how the government tries to control the outcomes on such a large scale. The quote “prevention is better than cure” by philosopher Desiderius Erasmus, is not always taken seriously. My work aims to show how the effects of neglected general hygiene can cause major epidemics in public health. To encourage better hand hygiene I have collected bacteria samples from ‘hot spots’ in public areas and analysed data from the hands of volunteers. The results of this process are contained inside labelled Petri dishes within the installation. The space is an interactive area to which almost everything may be used and explored. However such interaction will only be allowed with certain precautions that are enforced upon entry.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Earthly Delights & The Curious Nature of our Being
Laura Nicole Ince
My work looks at the notion of using the museum as a medium. I am attracted to the idea of capturing the antiquated quality of 19th century displays within the museum. It is the vitrines that function in my work to display and preserve the unique essence presented within four transparent walls. I draw upon the Cabinets of Curiosities as a stimulus for investigation, reinterpreting the language of display; presenting this piece as contemporary art and also an artefact. The aesthetics of natural ephemeral objects are something I have used as a medium within my work. These materials provoke me to produce utopian miniature landscapes depicting a natural visionary world. I would like to think this process reflects the power and beauty of nature. These earthly worlds made from my creation combine historical, religious, and mythic narratives that are left absent, hidden, and untold within these artificial worlds. This approach to my landscapes has created the ability to portray a paradoxical concept mimicking nature, entering the realms of Naturalia and Artificialia encased within my installations.
“There is a correlation between the way we create
‘Landscapes’ and the way we interact with nature”. Gregory Euclide
I explore the life cycle of organic material, from freshly cut flowers and foliage to trees, as I am interested in their entropic and ephemeral nature. My work is site-specific; I initially focus on passages and doorways. Trapping the plant matter in the clear encased construction in these sites creates an element of preservation and archiving, however this is impossible in terms of organic material. The constant change and transformation of the plant matter demonstrates the ephemerality that cannot be frozen in time. Having items documented or preserved in this way also gives the impression of something exquisite, which is what they are rarely viewed as. However the constant rebirth of organic material demonstrates the cycle of life. Although this cycle is repeating the plant matter is never the same as the previous, whether that is in size, shape, pattern, colour, aroma or process of decay. Framing these natural elements encourages viewers to become more aware of what is usually taken for granted or that goes unnoticed on a daily basis in relation to contemporary society. Throughout the Victorian era every flower conveyed a unique message, and many Victorians felt that â€œno spoken word could approach the delicacy of sentimentâ€? of a flower, (Irina Stepanova). However, in modern times bouquets of flowers are given as a gesture with very little meaning behind them.
Galanthus Nivalis and Narcissus
Trip 36: Sunderland to Hexham
Using exhibitions as a metaphorical post box I am sending letters to people who helped me on my hitch-hiking journey in the summer of 2012, addressing their actions and the problems they chose to open up to me about. I used paint as my chosen medium due to the vast range of colours it provides. Using the language of colour, I twist and amplify the overall tone of message to reflect my feelings on the experience. When hitch-hiking, names are not required as there is often only one other person you could possibly be talking to, and addresses, phone numbers, and email information are seldom shared with strangers. However, the most personal of information will often be shared with a stranger who knows none of the family or friends of the person in question. They know it is unlikely that they will ever meet again. This puts me in a unique position, and creates a desire to contact a person only known through anecdotes that were possibly only ever told to myself.
I was born in 1992 in Manchester and moved at the age of 8 to the East Midlands. Always having a keen interest in anything creative I left school at the first chance at 16 to go to college and study Interactive Media. Without knowing what I wanted to do as a â€œgrown upâ€? I decided to follow my passion further and go to university to study Fine Art. Now In my 3rd year I have tried every type of art to broaden my skills, ranging from painting, drawing, printing, etching, photography and using dark rooms, to sculptural works. I have found a love for conceptual art based on the acceptance of death. My work approaches this dark topic in a light and comedic way. Once I graduate I plan to continue with art and become a full time artist, furthering my love and knowledge of the topic.
Donâ€™t Forget to Think
My work revolves around societyâ€™s relationship with animals; how they are categorized and organized into a hierarchy of importance with different animal rights. Some animals have rights, some do not. Some have more rights than others, some do not have the right to live but they do have the right to not suffer when they are killed. Some say you cannot put a price on life yet pet shops do, vets do. It is this idea of worth that inspires my studio work. It is important that my work generates discussion about aspects of animal treatment that are overlooked as if pre-decided as either extreme cruelty or commonly acceptable. Why? My aim is to encourage the individual to question the accepted to make their own judgements; ultimately asking them what they believe is the value of a life. I incorporate animals not only as the central concern but also as a medium in my practice. I only use animals that have suffered accidental or unavoidable deaths. If they are living, I ensure they do not suffer as a result of being included in my work.
The work I create is an exploration of the ways in which an artist or I might alter perception. I want the pieces themselves to allow the viewer to question what they actually are; how the viewer sees the work is a vital aspect of my practice. I use projections and small installations to manipulate the imagery I create, which, is already manipulated itself. These original images are produced by twisting, turning and editing photographs but they in turn are used to make the audience believe the image is something it isnâ€™t. The forms that are created sometimes produce unlikely objects and interpretations of sexual organs. I am especially intrigued by childrenâ€™s toys which offer a similar affect such as a kaleidoscope, and I reinterpret this product for my own artistic device. Using the kaleidoscope in my work provides an entrance, offering a visual connection to something which familiarises the audience with the beloved toy. It opens a door for them to first start to engage with the images and installations.
Primarily, my work explores notions of the abject. Julia Kristeva’s book, Powers of Horror, was the introduction to this subject which inspired me to continue with this area of work. She defines abjection as the human “reaction to a threatened breakdown in meaning, caused by the loss of a distinction between subject and object or between self and other”. My work focuses around this reaction, as I am interested in creating work that initiates emotions of disgust, and deals with issues of transgression. Throughout my work, I have focused on the abject body and areas of the living body that can be deemed as repulsive. Bodily fluids and elements have become main aspects for me to manipulate in my work, in order to acquire this horrified reaction from the audience. The work consists of casting from a certain area of the body to create a mold and filling the mold with these bodily components. They are to be frozen and then placed out of the mold to melt within their own time, retreating into their original state. With these sculptural pieces, I intend to engage the viewer in contradictory feelings of revulsion and fascination when observing my work.
The process of collecting has a predominant role within my practice. Through the use of cheap durable materials such as everyday value plastic carrier bags and cling film, I create large scale interactive installations that allow the audience to become a part of the work entirely. My installations draw the audience in and allow them to interact with the material via the element of touch. This aspect allows the viewer to explore the inside of the installation, eventually becoming surrounded by large scaled multitude and mass. Size and scale are two key components that are always taken into consideration when I am developing these interactive installations in order to give a sense of invasion within the space that is being used to display the material. Through the process of taking over a confined environment to the point of complete suffocation, an immersive and interactive experience is formed and obstructions are caused.
ZAP! THATâ€™S WITCHCRAFT!
James Sheer Phaily
The ethos of my art practice centres around the concept of the artist as occult practitioner and esoteric renegade. My main inspiration stems from the art and magical philosophy of Austin Osman Spare(1886-1956) and the magical current that charges this aesthetic, propagated by London based purveyors of Fine Press Esoterica, Fulgur Limited. My other influences include Kenneth Angerâ€™s Magic Lantern Cycle, and the sounds of the Underground Drone Metal scene released by American label, Southern Lord. I assume as my artistic standpoint the intention that one wishes to create a distinctly esoteric visceral liminality by the often subliminal juxtaposition of image, sound, performance and text; my remit being the Shamanic tradition of bringing visions back to the tribe.
I am studying Fine Art and Illustration. I like to explore different ways of making art, in different media. I am not currently fixed to one particular type of media, but I mostly enjoy working with painting and drawing. My work is based on nature, highlighting and raising awareness of problems, such as deforestation. At the moment I make sculptures of tress out of clay, plaster, or found objects, linking to my love of nature since childhood. I often like to go walking to find good places to observe nature and animals, as a way to experience first-hand the feel of the animals and nature. These places include forests, farms and zoos. There is a real difference in experiencing the personality and essence of a live animal, to the museum experience of viewing stuffed, dead and lifeless forms. I am heavily influenced by Yuken Teruya, who helps to widen the possibilities of my work.
Terminus Ad Quem
Jette Rasmussen www.jettesart.co.uk
Terminus Ad Quem is a sculpture made of fence netting, steel and sheep fleece from the ancient breed of Lincoln Longwool Sheep indigenous to the local area. Through a visual juxtaposition of materials, I confront the viewer with a naturally farmed product to raise questions about the sustainability of our lives in relation to environmental issues. By displacing the fleece in both location and time, I seek to connect food production and consumption today with a time in the past when environmental factors were of less concern and people lived closer to their food sources. In addition to highlighting the conflict between wealth generation and protecting the environment, my work pays homage to Arte Povera in the choice of materials and echoes the simplistic and refined shapes of Minimalist Art.
A hermetic seal is one that so tightly surrounds an object or space, it blocks the passage of all air. It can acts as a prevention and isolate the object from any and all outside interference or influence. This definition forms the basis of the work. Coating branches, trees and other plant life inside a thick, glossy varnish that forms the hermetic seal. Thereby preserving the energy and state of life inside, whilst furthermore disconnecting it from the natural cycle of energy. Previously shown works have been a materials based study. All naturalness, colour, and life is removed. Leaving behind only a fragile shell, which will eventually crack and break, and turn to dust. It will not decay as it should, and not provide the energy for new life. Original influences for the work came from philosopher Gaston Bachelardâ€™s Poetics of Space, as well as texts on Zen Buddhist theories of emptiness and nothingness.
My work is concerned with the discarded waste of a consumerist society, and the consequences of everyone wanting more. This is explored through sculpture using found objects and discarded materials. After becoming obsolete, worn out or outliving their intended usefulness, I give these objects a fresh purpose and meaning, by combining them together and forming a different entity and translating them into something new. The figureâ€™s which emerge from the discarded materials reflect the dystopian side of a consumerist dream, one of an endless supply of new products for us to purchase, then discard and replace with what is fashionable at the time. The sculptures draw on the history and narrative properties of the found objects, to bring out the human connection often lost in the glimmer and glitz of an ever growing material culture.
Interaction, colour and fabric as a sculptural form, are significant features within my practice. I am engaging with materials through the sense of touch and how they can be manipulated to change their texture. Developing this piece using the tonal qualities of the chosen fabric, video and cassette tape, to enhance the participation of the viewer. Not traditionally used as a sculptural media, both fabric and recording tape have been integral throughout my process. I progressed on to video and cassette tape as a contrast of texture, tone and the familiar. When immersed by the adverse mediums within the installation, it enables you to experience the media in an innovative way when interacting. Effective use of lighting is apparent, as once one sensory element is decreased it enables your sense of touch to be heightened.
â€˜Touch is the most basic way of experiencing the worldâ€™. Bevis Nathan
An Anatomical Barrier
My practice brings to light the importance of human skin, incorporating elements of ageing, imperfections and patina. I focus on possible effects upon the body as a circumstance that is self-inflicted. My aim is not to shock but to encourage audiences to pause and reflect on my work, viewing what happens to the skin in a different light. Therefore, I create somewhat quiet work through the use of non-literal imagery; working with more symbolic representational sculptures of the bodies’ surface. This symbolism allows my work to become intimate because there is more focus on material and texture when relating one’s own body to the work. The work uses the awareness of substance of material, to allow a clearer understanding of the skin. Its tangible quality creates the connection between material and a skin’s literal texture. My practice relates a more in-depth symbolic approach on the body’s surface which involves abnormalities to the material which is easily understood. This creates a personal connection and understanding of my sculptures.
I am a painter who explores social microcosms, examining the day-to day activity of people in those microcosms, including how we interact with modern technology in the Digital Age. I have used skeletons as a foundation for the paintings, which I create a narrative around. The skeletons have been influenced by the Chemical Brothers music video Hey Boy Hey Girl. They are not meant to be morbid: they represent living people; humanity stripped down to its core. Skeletons are our commonality across the world. I have also taken the imagery of skeletons from the Day of the Dead as an influence, whereby this day is a celebration of life and the need to respect and value it. Painting is a direct, primal form of language and in this age of communication it connects me to our ancestors and their cave paintings using pigmented earth, as well as being a way of visual communication today. I use the materiality of paint, building up the layers like thick mud, then etching into it to highlight the paintâ€™s tactile quality, emphasising its presence. The physicality of the process is important, the evidence of gesture and my total engagement with the paint emphasised by the large canvas.
Rituals bridge the gap between art and life and the everyday unfolding out of the gallery space. Everyone starts their day off with a ritual of some kind, whether it is a purposeful act, like putting on your lucky pants for an interview or rubbing your Buddha’s belly for luck. Everyday routines are rituals that never enter your mind and that are overlooked, like the way you fill your kettle to make tea, or the way you comb your hair in a certain way. Rituals are defined by Webster’s dictionary as, “any formal, customary observance or procedure”. My work delves into the everyday mundane rituals that get overlooked or not taken note of at all. My work for this exhibition focuses on reflection which is seen not just as reflecting back upon something, but as an act of noticing what is happening in the present moment more clearly through the act of reflection, to capture the light from many angles. Rituals can help form bonds between people, help with intimacy and help build trust. This can be seen with sleeping and eating habits.
Noun 1. The sameness of a person or thing at all times or in all circumstances; the condition of being a single individual; the fact that a person or thing is itself and not something else; individuality, personality. Uniqueness, personality, individuality, are words that are connected to one common theme. Identity is important in society and is a complex matter. Many might perceive identity by the way someone looks or acts, their hobbies, or personality. This body of work focuses on identity through our hands and the major contributing inspiration has been Chuck Close and his fingerprint portrait paintings. His work created an important identity signifier, (a face) with a smaller one (the fingerprint). This body of work focuses on fingerprints, personal identity and the physical appearance of hands. In creating the body of work I hope to be able to allow the audience to explore forms of human identity.
Claire Elizabeth Slade
My art practice revolves around the sculptural use of light and reflections. Drawing with light and utilising illusive techniques, light can be seen as a solid structure with infinite possibilities and endless capabilities. Light can create intangible forms unavailable to any other medium, such as temporarily addressing the architecture of a space. Working with light offers the possibility of creating convincing illusions of infinite spaces as well as creating space which does not exist. In my work I hope to immerse the viewer in a seductive interaction between light and its environment. I am interested in the â€œperceptual momentâ€?, as it contains relevance to my work. I am drawn to how a simple shape or structure can alter between shifting perspectives and the psychological and physiological implications that arise from work that incorporates ephemeral elements. The elusive quality of light intrigues me; slight movements causing ever changing images, shadows and reflections that may never occur again.
This practice is formed of materials, objects and structures that possess visceral qualities that can both elicit a disgust and yet can fascinate. I am interested in the materiality of feminine objects and how they become monstrous through a shift in context or by a process of manipulation. Stockings, hairbrushes, girdles and a diaphragm fall victim to subtle defilement as a series of arousing objects that also evoke a threat of contamination. The objects are rendered dysfunctional as they become transformed into detached body matter heightening their desirable yet repulsive visual nature. Tights suggest forms of human limbs and orifices, sagging under the weight of hand-fed servings of an ambiguous substance that sweats and oozes. The peachy, soiled and sweaty surface of the stretched stockings is tactile and evocative. Feminine objects of vanity like a hairbrush or perfume bottle are re-dressed with a foreign attachment. My practice invites comment on the polarities of fascination and disgust, visceral aesthetics and abjection.
My work revolves around human â€“ animal relationships. I feel a close empathy with the natural world understood through a deep awareness of the underlying tension which exists between animals and between humans and animals. This dynamic interaction is often destructive and complicated because we share the planet. Our treatment of animals ranges from their consumption to the love we bestow on our pets. I am also struck by the continuous cycle of hardships endured by animals in the natural world and their struggle for survival within an ever changing planet. My work is multi-disciplinary incorporating video, performance and sculpture. I use materials in a metaphorical way: feathers, sticks, pins and latex which juxtapose the natural and the man made forcing the viewer to stop, think and empathise with these eternal tensions.
My practice deals with the personal issues and relationships women have with their bodies. Although this is a unisex topic, I have decided to focus primarily on the female form. I believe there is a great deal of history surrounding the way females are portrayed in images supplied by media, as well as male perceptions of the feminine form. These particular pieces that I have created play on the responses to the un-realistic ideals set in place by the Victorian male; with their idealistic and fetish interpretations on the femaleâ€™s status and how her idolised body should be presented. Such subjects which have been a main focus for my research are The Male Gaze and the book Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-De-Siecle Culture, written by Bram Dijkstra. It is with these patriarchal ideals that my work is able to play on the history and hatred behind these issues
Julia Louise Thompson
My practice investigates materiality and manipulation. I work with media such as wool and fabric, exploring the contrast between fragile and delicate, weight and strength. My installations are concerned with the notion of modesty within materiality and space. I chose materials that are both easily available and have the potential to be overlooked. The neutral colours of the media I use, for example, the fabric, flour and twine allow the materials and forms to become the focus of the installation. The manipulation of the simple media through the process of repetitive and intensive labour, imbue the works with the nobility they did not hitherto possess. The work by artists such as Felix Gonzalez-Torresâ€™ Placebo, and Martin Creedâ€™s balloon work are both relevant to my own practice as those pieces incorporate materials that individually are fragile but, when placed together on mass, they can form a visually strong structure.
In every city there is a network of unknown buildings left abandoned and forgotten, and in my work they can be discovered again. As more buildings are constructed they leave behind a detritus of old structures left to decay. Pushed aside by redevelopment, the buildings become abandoned and derelict and with this they take on a whole new character. When exploring these buildings there is a sense of eeriness and a lack of life. New textures, colours and whole new structures appear in place of the old building; experiencing this inspired me to make this series of miniature buildings. Using paper as my medium and utilising the fragility of this, I aim to represent the ruined state of these forgotten buildings. I have been influenced by artists such as Jiang Pengyi who explores the idea of globalisation, reconstruction and destruction of cities. My piece highlights these forgotten buildings in their own right by giving them a purpose again through art.
Things fall apart so that other things can fall together
Within the past year I have taken a more refined interest in the potential of sculpture to interrogate its ability to communicate distinct evocative concepts and narratives. Specifically, I have found the physical art object to be the most efficacious medium through which to transcend and bring apprehension to interests and ideas which I attempt to manifest through my work. In particular, I have discovered that the physicality and immediacy of materials has continually provided scope through which to project and coalesce my own interpretation of ideas found in philosophical and cultural texts. This particular work reflects my continued interest in nuances relating to the study and inquisition of the archive, not only as a repository of knowledge but as an element which brings process to a number of ideas and concerns. The Archive in contemporary practice has served as a reciprocal yet capricious dichotomy between philosophical and cultural theories. The piece exhibited aims to bridge a gap between two schools of thought. Specifically, an idea which arises in Michel Foucaultâ€™s Archaeology of Knowledge where he describes how the study of the archive can enable us to trace our historical past through material remains. Secondly, a Dada theory which rejects the traditional, linear process of archiving and consequently, the objectification of history.
When you try to think back through a day in your past a lot of it gets forgotten, and only a few moments stay in your memory clearly. My work involves building up found and recycled materials on boards to create a depiction of this memory. The found materials I use have relevance to the memories I try to display but also serve the purpose of obscuring part of the work and creating layers. A big part of my work is to try and create a balanced composition through the placement of materials, paint or photography. When using photography in my work I tend to favour the use of old film cameras and cheap film. The low quality of the photos in regard to their exposure, saturation and contrast makes them appear like photographs from an old family photo album. It makes it difficult to place the photo in a timescale which allows them to look like memories. I use a process called ghost printing to apply photographs; this method allows for the image to be incorporated into my work more easily. The fragile nature of wet paper means that the image is likely to distort in slight ways.
Deep Philosophical Thoughts Stole My Bike
Acknowledgements: The third year Fine Art students would like to thank:
Dr Mary Oâ€™Neill
James and Graham (Visual Print)
Oran Oâ€™Reilly Louise Wilson Dave Evans Paul Edwards Andrew Bracey Dr Ang Bartram Dr Andy Pepper Jared Pappas-Kelley
The Degree Show Committee and all of those who have helped with the organisation of the show and production of this catalogue.