Now in its third year, the Platform Graduate Award 2014 profiles new talent emerging from universities and colleges in the South East region(see below). Working as part of CVAN (The Contemporary Visual Arts Network, five galleries in South East England – Aspex, Portsmouth; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill; Modern Art Oxford; MK Gallery, Milton Keynes and Turner Contemporary, Margate – each showcase the work of recent graduates from their region, selected from university and college degree shows.
One of the main goals of the Platform project is to develop successful ways for artists to further their practice following graduation. Each gallery puts forward the work of one graduate who will be considered for the Platform Award 2014, a valuable and prestigious award for an emerging artist comprising a £2500 financial award and a year of mentoring from an experienced art professional.
Curatorial and learning staff from the five participating galleries select from degree shows at their local art colleges – choosing from across a range of mediums – and offer graduates the chance to be included in the Platform exhibitions. This includes working closely with gallery staff at every stage of the process and, in doing so, the graduates gain valuable skills and insight into what it takes to work as a professional artist.
This year’s shortlist for the Platform 2014 Award will be announced in the autumn and the winner, who will be selected by a panel (tbc), will be announced at a Special Event on 1 November at Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth.
ASPEX / Portsmouth
Chris Green, Southampton Solent University
My practice looks at how we interact with technology and often asks the audience to re-examine their relationship with it, my current project showing the intrusion of modern technology through a large-scale sculpture of the popular iPhone. The device, measuring over a meter in length, periodically rings with no way of answering.
My other projects include photography, film, 3D modelling and digital work studying how we use computers.
Emily Taylor, Southampton Solent University
My work examines social and political issues around gender and expectation. It is my response to the environment I find myself living in as a young woman. My practice draws attention to what we don’t always see or have stopped noticing. Informing the notion of the female assumption within our society, in a continuous evolving world we live in we still have old-fashioned views when it comes to the roles we are born into and the expectations we are obliviously conformed to. My intention as an artist is to create an environment, which welcomes the viewer, but rather informative, creating an inviting and engaging viewing platform to deliver my message. It invites them, puts them at ease, but asks them to engage with this complex issue of what you/we have inherited and pose questions as to how we should respond.
After discovering that a poll of the top one hundred rated Geniuses consisted of one woman, this finding has been the driving force behind my current works. The notion of the genius plays out in our contemporary society, where the idea of a heroic figure continues to be of male importance. I want to challenge these conventions by toying with portraiture of these genius male figures and feminise them in an obvious and questionable way. With a sense of humour and a light-hearted play with recognisable images, I have reproduced these male figures onto textiles relating to the highly gender based theme running throughout my practice.
Brad Kenny, University of Chichester
I recently graduated in Fine Art from the University of Chichester. In my final year I focused my work on the hospital environment. I took a keen interest in the tubes and other devices that interact with the human body, and the machines acting a surrogate organ. It seems to raise the question “at what point does the artificial become real?”
During this time my style and technique developed with influences as diverse as Frans Hals, (born Holland, 1606 – 1669), and Andrew Salgado, (born Canada, 1982). Studying their style with, in varying degrees, abstract representations, I was influenced to develop a new form of expression for me; interpretation and representation through abstraction. My preferred medium is oil paint on canvas; its versatility and fat-based quality is ideal to represent flesh. I explored this subject through television fly-on-the-wall programmes. Pooler, (2013, P. 125) quotes the opinion of these by French philosopher, Jean Baudrillard as “hyperreal”…”the obscenity of false immediacy”…”representation of reality has become more real than real.” However they provide an opportunity to observe and interpret human conditions and emotions to the very extreme.
I am inspired by Francis Bacon, (born Ireland, 1909 – 1992), when asked by Sylvester, (1999, p. 43), “is it a part of your intention to try and create a tragic art?” he replied, “Of course…one can only want to record one’s own feelings about certain situations as closely to one’s own nervous system as one possibly can.”
Pooler, R. (2013). The Boundaries of Modern Art. UK:Arena Books. pp. 125.
Sylvester, D. (1999). Interviews with Francis Bacon. Singapore:Thames and
Hudson. pp. 43.
Samuel Lloyd, University of Chichester
The manipulation and recreation of surfaces on collections of found objects, that reappraise the recognisable relationship between that objects form and functionality, is the core principle to my artistic practice. Following in the footsteps of artists such as Tony Cragg and Marcel Duchamp, means that we are faced with those original object, simply displayed. The found object is always the main subject of the work, a core that has not been made and a new skin, that is created of individually applied dots of sealant, which replicates what should be, locking its form forever in stasis. The manipulations of these surfaces are linked inextricably to the reality of its original function.
After faithfully recreating the existing surfaces and displaying the resulting forms, I realized it was the gendered functionality of the object that I was trying to remove from its ordinary utilitarian roles. To help me explore this notion of reduced functionality, I created a pattern instead of recreating the original surface. The juxtaposition between these decorative areas and the normal surface further removes the functionality of the mass produced object, whilst placing it in the scope of hand crafted and individual, apposed to mass produced. The new sealant skin adds not just weight to the object but a physical need to handle it; we can see that the texture is wrong and this intrigues us, it becomes a new form that gives satisfaction in the touching and handling.
Working primarily with text and photographs, much of the work interprets the ideas surrounding collection and language, as well as touching upon societal issues around OCD and graffiti. Her pieces reflect her personality and illustrate obsessive compulsions. All text works are printed using traditional letter-press methods and are created with Pthalo Blue ink on crisp white Fabriano paper. Collecting is attributed to her hoarding tendencies. Objects are found and recycled, transforming everyday scrap into objects of value, reflecting the worth which the artist attributes to the objects instinctively. The collections formed are then installed as a narrative, in drawers or boxes, while simultaneously being arranged according to obsessive compulsions.
The framing of the pieces acts as a form of release from the work and the obsessive traits therein. It is therefore done by hand – the consumption of time creating a stronger bond between work and artist, before each cathartic release – every frame created purely for the piece which resides within it.
Robbie Lowden, University of Portsmouth
‘Ofsted’, is a photographic works, documenting the interiors of a former shore establishment of the Royal Navy, H.M.S St George. Property of the Ministry of Defence, the photographs allow reference to the site’s past, as well as allowing for suggestions to be made regarding the undeniable sense of authority that the site still today holds. The uniformed and regimented approaches of the photographs reference the military history of the building, mimicking in a sense, marines shoulder-to shoulder, awaiting inspection. Elements of decay seem to invade and spread throughout the structure, promoting visual impressions of a war-torn location. Furthermore, the lighting elements hanging throughout the interiors create lines, as if tracing the trajectory of military planes, falling from the sky. These references of war relate to the former purpose of the site as a Ministry of Defence building and enhance the perception of the buildings authority. The series also focuses on aspects of an educational space. The blackboard is a key signifier, seemingly commanding the interior before it, observing, representative of an authoritative figure that once occupied such spaces with great control.
The title ‘Ofsted’, therefore, relates to the uncanny sense of power that is passed to the observer of the photographs. The photographs themselves become a representation of authority. The uniformed interiors align, and the remaining authoritative presence of the structure is presented, awaiting an observational judgement from the rear of the classroom.
Kirsty Smith, Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton)
‘An experimental method in music means listening: first of all, all the time, before, during, after. Because the object is strange, courage lies in going on to define its humanity and beauty, in seeking reassurance not by pursuing the kilometric path, the white pebbles of measurement, but because we have used our taste, made a choice.’ (Schaeffer, 1952) The ambiguity of language has presented itself to me with unlimited possibilities of abstraction, deconstruction and reconstruction. The words, letters and sounds have lent themselves to be altered.
The work Substitution plays on these possibilities, creating a reformation of communication. The dead weighted space between these forms that we have coded into a language speaks of a different system, allowing these opportunities of associated meaning to be played upon. The sequences of image and sound create a language system of their own, as the curious nature of voice and letterforms come into light. The rhythmic nature of the sequence directs us to be attentive to this, with areas of recognition leading us into a pleasurable state of familiarity.
Peter Driver, Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton)
In my diverse practice, I use printmaking, drawing and performative action to question the way the world is. My current work is about the existence of optimism in the world, considering how the ideas of gift and generosity challenge economic and social norms. The ‘March for Optimism’ (2014) was an expression of those interests, involving about seventy people parading ambiguously positive slogans along a city high street. The large banner bears a quote used by Dr Martin Luther King Jnr at the height of the US Civil Rights movement. I am interested in putting this statement in front of people for them to consider what it could mean for them.
Another aspect of my work is the ‘infinite’ woodcut edition ‘I’m Glad You’re Alive!’. I continually make and give away these small prints bearing that slogan, either from a print-stack in all my exhibitions, or as a direct action: giving them away free of charge to people in public spaces. My works usually involve English language texts because I am interested in hermeneutics – the way we interpret texts, including ‘sacred’ texts and apply them to our lives and judgments. I enjoy the multiplicity of possible interpretations carried by even the simplest of phrases. I want my work to challenge assumptions and open spaces for conversation about meaning, environment, community and uses of power.
Robin James Sullivan, Arts University Bournemouth
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Steve Moberly, Arts University Bournemouth
In 2012 in a children’s playground I went partially blind for twenty minutes. Sometimes I think the making of these paintings is an attempt to recapture that sensation. Paint pots, cling film, rags, torn up pieces of digital prints scattered about the studio in an unmanageable chaos that finds itself somewhat reflected on the surface of the painting.
But there on that surface, it is bludgeoned into some sort of cohesion. An order that I would like to think is out of reach and indiscernible. An unrestricted pallet, an unrestricted range of techniques and an unrestricted pool of source materiel leads to something disgusting. Each mark or rendering is given a new context by the following marks and renderings that alter that context far away from that which they were intended. It’s an attempt to remove any knowing, a contrived attempt to remove its own contrivance.
An ultimate sitting on the fence by postulating all painterly options, never ruling out any single position. A cancelling out narrative that is less than the smallest potential; ‘the coin spun in the air for an inordinately long time before eventually landing on headstails’ – how it might read were these paintings to be words. A nod to that highly overrated concept, the concept of fairness; a true source of misery. Authentic/inauthentic art from an inauthentic individual in an attempt to become authentic.
DE LA WARR PAVILION / Bexhill
By choosing this collective work, DLWP raises questions about the different ways that artists work and communicate in the contemporary art world. Is collective working a viable response to the economic strain felt by so many graduates? How do galleries and funding bodies respond to this? What opportunities does online interactive technology bring to share the work with audiences? For a collaborative approach to succeed, the participants themselves need to be challenged, change and develop in the process. We believe that this group of young artists are doing just that. De La Warr Pavilion’s has chosen two works, both based in performance, but differing widely in their execution and method of presentation.
Art Fare: The Shop
This piece was produced by a group of thirteen students who have recently graduated from the Fine Art: Critical Practice course at the University of Brighton. As their work comprised completely of performances and installations which took place on Brighton and Hove buses over a two week period during May 2014, they had to consider carefully how to present these works in a gallery context.
The group decided to set up Art Fare: The Shop, creating new pieces and products that relate directly to the performances which took place on the buses. Products such as posters, key rings, books and photographs are all available to buy and will be displayed in a freestanding, fully functioning shop, created within Gallery 2.
Working outside the galleries is Fine Art BA graduate performance artist Izabela Brudkiewicz, who presents ‘Not so, after all’.
For seven days, eight hours a day, Brudkiewicz will be on Bexhill seafront, pushing a large ball she has created from layers of blankets, wire, paper and felt. By pushing the ball on a route that moves back and forth along the promenade and circling the Pavilion, she will create an intriguing performance, provoking interest from passers by who will be invited to write down their thoughts on notes that are then added to and become part of the work. The work will finish when Brudiewicz pushes the ball in to the main foyer of the De La Warr Pavilion at 5pm on the 14th September (during our Dear Serge event (link) , leaving it in position and then walking away…
Brudkiewicz undertakes performances that push herself to the very limits of her physical and mental endurance. Through these actions she explores how the near-endless repetition of pointless and physically demanding tasks, act as a trigger for us to explore concepts of sacrifice, failure and spiritual contemplation.
MK GALLERY / Milton Keynes
Sophie Fowkes University of Bedfordshire, (BA Photography and Video Art)
Sophie Fowkes describes herself as a performative artist. Using a range of media such as video, photographs, and appropriated footage, Fowkes’ work draws inspiration from ideas and concepts that relate directly to personal identity and experience. In the past her artistic practice has engaged with themes as diverse as vegetarianism, colour, and childhood memories, but Fowkes’ most recent work uses the medium of video to explore the imagery and ideas within dreams.
Her final degree show presentation investigated ‘false memories’, in particular how colour and colour preferences relate to memories and childhood experiences. Filming in deserted rural and urban settings, Fowkes used a range of materials to create atmospheric visual effects, including smoke bombs, coloured paper, coloured powder and blocks of colour, resulting in a surreal and unsettling video work.
Holger Kilumets University of Bedfordshire, BA Photography and Video Art
Holger Kilumets’ body of work entitled ‘Maps & Territories’ is an elaborate exploration of the meaning of representation through a series of slightly disparate images, designed to relate to each other through the notion of free association. Borrowing elements from the history of art, photographic practice and advertising imagery, the series attempts to reveal the fragility of the mechanisms that sustain representations and raise questions about photography’s role as a representational device.
Representation, by its very definition, can’t be the thing it represents. Representations don’t merely recreate existing objects or elements of the phenomenal world; they beautify, improve upon, and universalise them. As a result, things get caught up in simulacrum, spectacle and fetish, creating a fictional world, a plastic postmodernity of illusions, appearances and images in which there is no capacity for a non-mediated relationship to reality.
Increasingly, in the contemporary world, our first exposure to objects is through the images we see of them. There is a shift towards the process of the replacement of an object by its image as representations in the form of photographs have become the dominant way through which we perceive and interpret the world around us. Because of this it seems vital to face the fundamental questions about the act of representation, its influence on our perception and understanding of reality and the habitus, modalities and the productive capacity of it.
Suzannah Holford University of Northampton, BA (Hons) Fine Art
Suzannah Holford’s artistic research revolves around the impossibility of mapping, and the inherent tension between the processes of mapping, and the “reality” of the land. A rock taken from a particular geography becomes no less part of that territory once it has been removed. It acts as a model for the whole, a tiny ergonomic version of reality. An agent of geological data.
In addition to these geological models, map-making and cartography are also mere simulacra for the land. The land can only be measured on a singular scale, yet the land presents us with a scale which spans from the micro to the macroscopic. In order for us to study the land, we have to edit and destroy certain information to be able to process it in terms of map-making. This promotes the map to a certain iconographical status. We are drawn to the romanticism of the map, just as we are attracted to the sublimity of representational landscapes. Yet neither are an accurate depiction of the original. This is corruption is necessary when we try to flatten our unflat lands to fit them into maps and atlases.
On a human level, the map becomes more valued than the land itself. Whilst this makes practical sense (Lewis Carroll’s fictitious map drawn to a scale of 1:1 blocks out the sun to his Kingdom and is discarded, Jorge Luis Borge’s map of equal scale is abandoned to the desert) it raises questions about the role of maps. If, as Korzybski said, the map is not the land, then what is it?”
Jacob Austin, The University of Northampton, BA (Hons) Fine Art
Jacob Austin’s practice attempts to visually represent his concern with contemporary culture and technology, and how this informs and reshapes the nature of the individual.
The work aims to create a discourse addressing the function of narrative within a contemporary context; a context where the landscape has become fragmented by screens. These portals allow us to traverse culture in profound new ways which begin to deform traditional routes of media exposure. The linearity of past media consumption has given way to an evolving planar rhizome with the advent of the internet. A new paradigm for the consumption of information has arisen, one which Austin believes directly effects the nature of narrative and in turn that of the individual.
As a timeless cloud, the inter-netted virtual realm pervades every aspect of the contemporary screen landscape. It fragments the cycles of the seasons, and the days, with the instantaneous digital now. Paul Virilio believes that the world has become flattened by speed, and so, Jacob Austin would argue that the individual has become augmented by virtual telepresence. How does the individual adopt this new realm? How does this proliferate into an increasingly ahistorical and globalized culture? These are the questions that inform Austin’s artistic practice, and support his attempts to articulate experiences of contemporary life.
The form of Austin’s work is mostly resolved through video and print based practices. Appropriation and collaging methods are employed to create juxtaposition and surreal imagery. Contrast often exposes the quirks of our time.
Contiguity, 2014, Dual Screen Video Installation & Audio track
Contiguity, 2014, Dual Screen Video Installation & Audio track
Maxwell Kirwin, Bucks New University, BA (Hons) Fine Art
Maxwell Kirwin is interested in using space and scale to produce a physical experience, using collaboration between line and plane to create illusionary space. By using minimal forms and lines drawn in space, Kirwin aims to enable the viewer to enter into a heightened sense of spatial awareness, as an enquiry into how spaces can change and impact a state of mind. He uses simple materials such as elastic cord to create tight, specific lines in space which contrast with their context. These lines focus the viewer’s attention, and are free to be explored in a three-dimensional space.
Kirwin’s intent is to produce a relationship between the work, its context and the viewer. For Kirwin, the viewer is active in completing the work by perceiving the lines and illusionary forms, and his work aims to open a conversation between the viewer’s perception and perspective.
Using a site-specific approach, Kirwin starts with an open space which he then deconstructs to produce his own design. Kirwin is drawn to immediate and simple processes, and endeavours to allow a stream of consciousness around what the work means or represents to stimulate the work.
James Haggas, Bucks New University, BA (Hons) Fine Art
James Haggas draws on the process of discovery and learning, to create colourful and often humorous installations with found objects, paintings and sculptures. Motivated by ‘things that he does not understand’, Haggas playfully explores his own world and the constantly changing kaleidoscope of stimulation within it. It is this infinite abundance of experiences that stimulates new, intrinsically original, aesthetic excursions.
The happy accident, takes centre stage – as his process of enquiry, of continually testing and pushing his environment, sometimes yields creative by-products.
In this world of ephemeral importance, on any given day, Haggas may find himself pursuing fresh lines of enquiry – up to a notional point of ‘resolution’ – at which stage his interest invariably fades and he moves on to something else. His installations reflect this approach, as each work sits as part of an eclectic whole – an immersive celebration of the everyday.
Superman, 2014, Acrylic and Oil on Canvas
Installation view, 2014, various
MODERN ART OXFORD / Oxford
This year the Platform programme will be structured differently from previous years. To make the most of the opportunity presented to the artists involved and provide a more varied programme for its visitors, Modern Art Oxford has selected a single artist from each of the graduate shows at Oxford Brookes University, Ruskin School of Art and the University of Reading.
Details of the selected artists are below, along with a few lines about why they were selected. Each of these artists will have two weeks in the Project Space which they can use in any way they wish – as a studio to develop new work, an exhibition space in which to show existing projects, a performance or screening space – it will be up to them.
The two things that are required of the artists will be that the space is open to the public throughout and that they produce at least one public event during the course of their project. This could be an open studio, a talk, a performance, a screening but should provide some context to their work and practice and will be produced in collaboration with MAO.
Matt Girling, Brookes University
Matt was selected for the confidence and humour of his final degree show for which he made a sculptural environment through which a model railway was running, carrying a camera on the front of the train. A film of this footage was then show on a monitor beside the installation. The project stood out for it’s unique simplicity. Matt’s wider practice incorporates performance, music, film and sculpture.
My approach to making is experimental and playful. I enjoy the working with found objects, plant life, and sculptural forms in collaboration to create interactive and immersive landscapes. Conceptually I’m interested in exploring humans with nature and what it is to be alive.
Rachael Minott, Reading University
For her degree show Rachael created an installation of a small regional museum in Jamaica which she then filled with a number of fictional artworks, for which she also constructed a fictional history both of the work and the museum itself. Alongside this she also presented a conference, using real academics, to discuss various aspects of Jamaican cultural and social history.
Her work stood out for the confidence and attention to detail of the installation but also skilled use of the meta fictional narrative in conjunction with real world academicism to produce something subtle and layered which benefitted from both approaches.
Minott’s practice has migrated across several platforms, but has always retained a hand-crafted look. Her subject matter dwells on her Jamaican heritage, making use of narrative storytelling and icon sampling to generate works of intimacy and national significance.
Rosamund Lakin, Ruskin School of Art
Rosamund stood out at the degree show for the quality of her installation and the depth of her film about how we use the internet, Google, language and it’s pervasive and often corrupting quality on society and the individual. Rosamund was also selected to show work in the Ruskin Film Night which we hosted as part of Test Run.
My work explores the intimacy and dependence of our relationship with technology, but one in which the conventions of normalised interaction are disrupted. Digital spaces and screens are treated as a liminal zone, encouraging non-linear thinking, eruptions, transformations and a different reality.
TURNER CONTEMPORARY / Margate
Claire Orme, University of Kent (BA Fine Art)
Claire Orme investigates the histories and secrets etched within and upon spaces and objects, attempting to unlock the landscape of mysteries hidden by the conventional methods of experiencing the world. The structural framework of certain objects and locations can absorb energies and memories as time passes, and through their personification and sonification, Orme attempts to discover their concealed stories.
Orme holds an innate desire to believe in something beyond the physical world, expressed through her pursuit to uncover the unseen – to see the invisible and to hear the silent. Her practice is research-led, using archived material, interviews, the internet and personal experience to examine and explore specific moments, people and eras within our history. These narratives are transported into the present through a meticulous interlacing of fact and fiction.
The scenarios that Orme, and her alter-egos, invent reference disparate moments in space and time and endeavor to create arenas in which people can communicate both with the work and with each other. This idea of communication is a wider concern in her practice, examined through appropriating connections between technology and spirituality and exploring the blending of human and machine. As Orme’s work responds to and explores the location that it exists in, it can take on many manifestations, embracing installation, sound, video, sculpture, music and performance.
Sophie Dixon, University of Kent (BA Fine Art)
“The refugee, the displaced person, the migrant is the emblematic figure representing ‘the quintessential experience of our time’” John Berger
Over the past century, war, population transfers, shifting borders and globalisation have resulted in an increasingly displaced existence, discordant with our need to locate ourselves within idealised and stable surroundings.
Working with video, Sophie Dixon explores the complex dialogues created between ourselves and our external environment, dialogues which are constantly reshaped as we traverse the fragile spaces of memory to find our own sense of belonging in the present.
Jonathan Webb, University of Kent (BA Fine Art)
Jonathan’s work looks at the world of ‘Slow Cinema’. His films slow down shots to give the audience more time to adjust to what they are looking at; longer sequences with few edits and cuts immerse viewers in the world of the story they are watching. There is often less dialogue in slow cinema as it focuses more on the internal dilemma of the characters and their conflicts.
Typically slow cinematic films can reach well above 3 hours long (and in some cases up to 10 hours); however, Jonathan’s screenplays are made as short films to be easily accessible; he plays with the idea of short stories being long, favouring long tracking shots over traditional Hollywood jump cuts.
Siegfried Habeck, University for the Creative Arts (BA Fine Art)
Siegfried Habeck’s large-scale paintings explore the relationship between land and nature. Trees are a dominant motif, repeated across his canvases reflecting a fascination with these natural structures that form part of dramatic landscapes across the world. Trees are everywhere you look, from massive expanses of forests and woodland areas, to smaller parks and singular trees within our cityscapes. Walking through a forest, surrounded by these tall natural structures; diverse but with a sense of repetition can create a sense of disorientation.
Habeck uses a repeating tree motif across his large canvases to explore this sense of repetition and disorientation found in nature but also as a vehicle to experiment with the process of painting itself. Habeck’s paintings are often made up of a number of small sections that rework and recycle elements of older paintings and create dramatic contrasts between areas of flat, painted surfaces with heavily textured, abstract areas. He combines acrylic paint with a range of found house-hold paints such as emulsion, spray paint and paint pens, experimenting with different brush strokes, varying the thickness of the paint and the painting tools to create a range of textures and finishes that merge the contemporary with the traditional.
Simon Merrifield, University for the Creative Arts (BA Fine Art)
Simon Merrifield’s participatory performances engage the viewer both physically and intellectually. In his search to combine the emotional style of entertainment with the cerebral form of art, the audience is invited to take part in a series of constructed scenarios that distract, immerse and most importantly entertain.
Each performance places a strong emphasis on the giving and receiving of products of both a physical and emotional nature, a process which is triggered by the viewer’s interaction with the work. The role of the viewer is explored in relation to how involved they are within the creation of the piece; what they can be made to do, what they anticipate from the experience, and their willingness to participate for the benefit on offer.
Merrifield’s anthology of performances is created in response to surveys where participants are invited to select and rank a variety of concepts from a provisional list. Scenarios range from dressing and styling the artist using materials provided, to joining him for a romantic dinner and being serenaded by a love song. The most popular concepts are then transformed into physical scenarios, making the audience a collaborator at each stage of the process and questioning the roles of both the artist/performer and audience.
Mai Spring, University for the Creative Arts (BA Fine Art)
Mai Spring uses a variety of media, combining more traditional elements such as drawing and sculpture with lens based media, installation and film. Her work deals largely with issues around mark making and perception, approaching these through a visually stripped expression.
The circular shape, used in Mai’s work can be read as a symbol but also reveals the inexactness of the hand, thus referring to a limit of the human body; the aim of making a perfect circle is contrasted with the insistence on handmade. This fascination with inexactness is also explored through Mai’s use of analogue film. Holes punched through the film by hand are enlarged when projected. The light and the shadows cast by the projection expose the varying shapes and sizes of the holes.
Through the presentation of her work Mai investigates the relations between the intentional and seemingly unintentional, to what extent the viewing experience can be guided and how the exhibition space affects this experience. The work aims to draw attention to what affects our conceptions, but also to evaluate the senses through which we experience the world.
Delia Perrigo, Canterbury Christ Church University (BA (Hons) Fine and Applied Arts)
Society presents us with many pressures to live up to. The stereotypes of beauty we are presented with; images of women who are ‘perfect’. The majority of these images become a lie, as the media manipulates and uses makeup and photomontage to achieve what has come to be considered by society as ‘beautiful’. What these images don’t show is the dark side, the physical and mental pain that men and women have been subjected to, to feel accepted. Plastic surgery is one such ordeal that individuals put their bodies through. The world casts a blind eye to the agonising journey of surgery undergone to achieve the standard of perfection that the media presents to the world.
Delia Perrigo’s self-portraits seek to dispel these beauty myths, searching for beauty in the grotesque, or some grotesque in beauty. Her drawings and prints are intensely personal, focusing on her own insecurities and flaws, and reflecting on her experience of undergoing surgery.
Perrigo’s mark-making process is very physical. She uses a scalpel to slice directly into the surface of the plate and works back into each plate once printed, further abstracting and exaggerating her drawings to create a series of self-portraits that gradually become more and more distorted.
Shona McGovern, Canterbury Christ Church University (BA (Hons) Fine and Applied Arts)
Shona McGovern is a painter and sculptor whose work aims to represent human emotion. She responds to stance, gesture, gaze, investigating the indefinable spirit that is unique to a person. Like the painter Sean Scully, McGovern feels that painting and sculpture answer a human need for mystery and authenticity which technology can never satisfy.
Although figurative, her ceramic sculpture is often inhuman, even monstrous in appearance, but within these imaginary beings; clowns, puppets, fetishes and grotesques there is always something recognisably human; a look, a facial expression, perhaps mere stillness. It is such fragments of expression and the evocative quality of simple gestures which interest McGovern. Through her painting too she strives to embody fragments of hidden personality and feeling in the hope that the spirit of the subject is made visible.
Neel Hune, Canterbury Christ Church University, (BA (Hons) Fine and Applied Arts)
“When I walk in a city, the spaces between buildings, a broken brick wall or something dislocated grabs my attention and becomes the reason for making a work. It is like a puzzle that I need to solve. I want my work to become an extension of that inspiration”.
Neel Hune’s work is often founded in an idea or concept originating in the urban environment. She is both inspired by, and works directly in the cityscape. Her ideas vary in form and content but are all inspired by man-made structure, shape and life. Hune does not restrict herself to a single working method, instead selecting the most appropriate materials to communicate particular ideas.
Her work explores the relationship between reality and fiction, embracing various narratives that aim to stimulate reflection, encouraging the viewer to take their own journey through the work.
LAST YEAR’S PLATFORM GRADUATE AWARD 2013 ARTISTS’ PAGES
ASPEX / Portsmouth
Platform show is divided into two parts: Platform 2a which runs from 28 August-11 September 2013 and Platform 2b from 16-30 October 2013
The aim of Bulezuik’s work is to create a tangible connection between the art object and the viewer. Many people perceive conceptual art as unapproachable and he wants to remove that barrier and fully engage the viewer. He wants to make things happen and in order for this to be achieved the viewer must be fully and completely a part of the work, which heightens an awareness of the relationship between the objects presented and the space in which they are shown – the proportions of the gallery, its height, colour and light.
Sophie Cottrell: Winchester School of Art
Cottrell is interested in everyday materials and shifting their associations and hierarchies. She used various found materials to experiment with different methods of display and arrangement within a specific site. They juxtapose traditional methods of exhibiting photography with the casual and discarded nature of the materials. Her works encourage the viewer to question what is intentional and, by using colour and textures, she forms links between the individual structures of the works and the site in which they are installed.
Olivia Kattenhorn: University of Chichester
The post-digital era is overrun with visual data. Portrayals of landscape are repeatedly used in advertising, postcards and television; distancing the viewer from the actual experience of nature. Kattenhorn became interested in the uncanny space between reality and the dislocated relationship humans now have with landscape. Her ‘amateur’ snaps of the Canadian wilderness became an essential spoiler of the unreal, picturesque reverie. It was by pure accident that she stumbled across the source to control her imagery – an inkjet printer. Low on ink, the printer started to assert a more prominent role in her images, losing the battle with colour and organisation.
In retreat, the printer’s desperate attempt to use every last droplet of ink results in irregular tones and seeping shades of magenta. The printer’s role as the artist in these interrupted images, inspires her to mirror its movements and characteristics marks with oil paint on board. Noticeably imperfect, they document visual shifts between aesthetics and functionality. Her process of painting aims to eliminate human relationships from the landscape, using systematic, robotic movements to distort the scene.
SELECTED FOR NEXT STAGE: Alex Padfield
Padfield is informed by traditions of presentation such as the modern office lobby, corporate plaques, semi-exotic plants and monitors. He remakes still lives from music videos, which investigate how such images might function in their original context. One aspect of the look of these is specific to the millennium, an ambitious period when design seemed to respond to an anxiety about fulfilling past dreams of the future. Much of the film featured in his ‘Spa’ installation involves the idea of dressing a space, where visual seduction is important. He uses physical objects to flavour each space in which the work is installed and to reinforce the sensibility of the film. The guise of the Spa announces an indulgence in aesthetics and transformation.
Emily Scott: UCA Farnham
Scott’s paintings are re-interpreted, imagined spaces that sit comfortably within simplified pictorial planes. They occupy an in-between space that creates ambiguities and encourages attempts to decipher what they are, in fact. They stem from reminiscences of past encounters of characters that the artist had briefly met. The characters or personalities within the paintings are formed solely through the act of painting and heightened by the ’1970s’ names as titles, which bring out humour and failure within the work. This humour and failure happens as a result of casual interaction, where dialogues between painting, object, title, viewer, pictorial and physical space all converse simultaneously.
SELECTED FOR NEXT STAGE: Pascale Wilson
The way we live can be said to be absurd when lifted out of context or observed objectively. We all conform to varying extents to the ‘machine of life’ without considering its humourous consequences. Wilson creates sculptures and costumes that are used in performances. They are carefully constructed out of found materials, aiming to elevate their childish aesthetic. They are colourful, tactile, and often quite garish, resulting in a celebratory and theatrical appearance. The method of construction is visible to the audience, which is important as the work retains evidence of the genuine effort that has been applied for what is essentially a futile purpose. A release of sound often accompanies Wilson’s work, creating absurd soundscapes that animate the creation. It attempts to demonstrate the ‘machine of life’, celebrating the futility of this ‘machine’, releasing the audience from it in the same way a carnival releases the masses from the constraints of their daily lives.
MODERN ART OXFORD / Oxford
Jakob Rowlinson’s practice explores human facial expression and the use of choreography as a method through which to move the face. Facial Poetics is the title of a series of choreography created by Rowlinson specifically for this purpose. His instructions – written, drawn or spoken – must be carefully deciphered and followed in order to be performed. In this way the artist’s role becomes one of conductor, puppeteer and magician, and the face is used as an ‘instrument’. As the facial expressions are generated by instructions from Rowlinson and not by the performer, they are devoid of their usual emotional content; instead they become movements that seem disembodied and open to the interpretation of the viewer.
The video Facial Poetics Appendix: (Puppeteering), 2013, shows three performers whose faces are controlled by the unseen artist. Following a written score, Rowlinson slowly pulls and releases threads attached to small patches that are adhered to their skin, altering their expressions at an uncannily slow pace. Rowlinson’s scores, printed and often displayed alongside his video work, reveal the methodical scripting behind his performances
Jakob Rowlinson studied Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford. He currently lives and works in London.
Lewdjaw is an ongoing collection by the artist Jack Wilson, which acts as a base from which work is articulated. Et, Und, And… (Oxford Leisure), 2013, is a collection of sculptures, videos, posters and multiples, that interweave a range of subjects including popular culture, communication, design and the language of display. Presented as a large installation, the collection is characterised by a ‘house style’ with a unified typography, family of colours, and a collection of ephemera labelled after the name Lewdjaw. Foreign languages are interwoven with English, demonstrating in a literal way how the work is designed to be read at different levels
Lewdjaw’s posters show the influence of sportswear design, portraying models dressed in the football shirts of famous players, their names translated into Russian. Distinctive black sculptures resemble enlarged symbols and Cyrillic letters, yet also suggest exhibition furniture or shop interiors. Monitors show appropriated film and video: Holly Valance’s music video ‘Kiss Kiss’ is twinned with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds; Lewdjaw’s video Oxford Leisure features the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Boards, mirrors and framed posters lent up against the walls are structural objects that form the backdrop of the installation, but also suggest themselves as materials ready for re-positioning elsewhere.
Lewdjaw addresses a wide spectrum of concerns, such as the processes and tools of communication, where ownership lies with something that has been appropriated, and what it means to form a collection; creating spaces to re-visit and reconsider, with different elements gaining and losing significance on each encounter.
Jack Wilson studied Fine Art at the University of Reading. He currently lives and works in Reading.
Comprising over thirty bright and tactile objects, Rosanna Reed’s installation In the garden there was nothing which was not quite like themselves, 2013, represents an exploration of the process of seduction. The vivid colours – scarlet, day-glo orange, blue – in pools on the floor or partially concealed inside chalk-white sculptures, invite the viewer to navigate through the field of objects. Eclipsed by this intense colour, the materials from which the objects are constructed are not immediately clear. Made from either polyeurerthane foam or jesmonite, the stark contrast between these two materials – one spongey and elastic, the other strong but brittle-edged – gradually becomes apparent.
The objects exist as individual pieces but are carefully placed to reflect their intrinsic relationships to one another, yet also in response to the achitectural spaces in which they are exhibited. Individual pieces relate to each other formally, in shape, scale, and colour. Pairings of objects work together or in direct opposition to one another. Threads of colour and material running through the whole installation trace Reed’s process of production, charting the evolution of this body of work from one piece to the next. As evoked by the title of the work, Reed creates a landscape of objects to be explored, enjoyed and examined from different perspectives: formally and materially; individually and in context.
Rosanna Reed studied Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford. She currently lives and works in London.
SELECTED FOR NEXT STAGE:Dom Callaghan
You are necessary here, 2013, is the title for a growing body of work by Dom Callaghan, including paintings, hand-made furniture and clothing. The works are characterised by their vibrant palette, the traditional and humble materials from which they are constructed, such as dowelling, fabric, oil paint and pine, and by a keen exploration of pattern. Callaghan is fascinated by the way pattern can attract the gaze without allowing the eye to fix on one particular point. He is also intrigued by its ambiguity: that it is devoid of practical function and yet we use it abundantly; it may seem to be insignificant and yet it is ever-present.
Pattern is used in different ways across this body of work: the painting Abundance, 2013, draws the eye in with its vast but intricately patterned surface, revealing further layers of pattern underneath; the collection of hanging ponchos in Wardrobe (try one on), 2013 and the bench You Complete This, 2013 explore the use of pattern in more familiar ways, adorning clothing and furniture.
Callaghan seeks to break down the customary barriers that exist in the gallery environment, where artwork is often perceived to be at one remove from the viewer. His work is intended to be reachable and is to some extent incomplete without the viewer’s involvement: he would like us to interact with it, take control of it, enjoy it. We are invited to sit on the painted bench, to wear the hand-made garments hanging on display, and to explore the gallery whilst wearing them; in this way, the playfulness and generosity of Callaghan’s work is able to flourish.
Dom Callaghan studied Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford. He currently lives and works in London.
Gemma Davies’ autobiographical work examines the concept of space as a metaphor for the psyche, in an attempt to further understand manifestations of anxiety. The triptych of photographs In Camera, 2013 (a play on the Latin phrase meaning ‘in private’), looks at the dichotomy between the perceived sanctuary of the home and the exposure of the external environment.
These large-scale, immersive photographs show rooms in the artist’s home: the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen/utility room. The first two were selected for reflecting the privacy of the individual, and in contrast the third was chosen as a communal space. In each of these rooms, Davies staged a camera obscura – an optical device that projects an inverted image of an object’s surroundings onto its interior surface.
On closer examination, Davies’ photographs reveal the outside world projected in great detail onto the interior walls of these three rooms, transposing one time and place onto another.
Davies’ sculptures, The Two Ways of Life – Camera Obscura, 2013, recall portable camera obscura devices. Each sculpture contains a video of the artist’s bedroom and bathroom as if set up for the In Camera photographs. However in the videos, the outside world – trees and passing traffic – has been projected onto the walls of those rooms artificially, blurring the boundary between reality and illusion. In contrast to the expansive photographs, these sculptures stage an intimate viewing experience and one that celebrates the technical side of their making.
Gemma Davies studied Fine Art at Oxford Brookes University. She is currently studying Theatrical and Special Effects Make-up Artistry at Lancashire College.
SELECTED FOR NEXT STAGE:Louise Fitzgerald
Louise Fitzgerald’s work uses performance as a method through which to reflect on contemporary identity. Her video Untitled (The Studio), 2013 explores the potential of staged images and performative video to expose stereotypes.
Set within the colourful mis-en-scène of an artificial studio, the piece shows a group of young amateur actors who portray contemporary identities and anxieties with regards to their future. Utilizing her own identity, Fitzgerald also places herself at the centre of the work, performing a first-person monologue. Speaking disarmingly close to camera, the artist delivers a visceral, semi-autobiographical performance, addressing topics such as the criticism of her work, the advice she receives and her financial situation.
Although she talks specifically about her position as an art student, she reflects states of mind – self-doubt, scepticism towards advice, fears about the future – that are universal and speak to us all. Subtle shifts in her pitch, diction and emotion merge different class stereotypes and media standpoints, inviting the viewer to reflect on their own position. Through the editing process, Fitzgerald has constructed a film that continuously shifts – from the protagonist to the group in the studio, from polemic to silence, from real time to mediated time – creating a disjointed rhythm whose unpredictability is captivating
Louise Fitzgerald studied Fine Art at the University of Reading. She is currently doing an MA in Fine Art at the Royal College of Art.
MK GALLERY / Milton Keynes
Edward Clayton: Bucks New University: Translation 18-24 July 2013
Edward Clayton, a final year student at Bucks New University, celebrates the materiality of paint with a series of oil paintings on aluminium. Clayton explores the concept that paint has the potential to represent itself purely as a medium whilst simultaneously suggest something other than itself.
Whilst the paintings are often derived from Clayton’s observations, they avoid any specific interpretation by suggesting rather than describing imagery. By creating abstract works in this way, the artist creates imaginary forms that are an amalgamation of past observations. The viewer is encouraged to consider the duality of the painting medium in the physicality of the paint and in their own interpretation of the subject matter.
Scott Kells: University of Bedfordshire: Interactions with Public Art 15-21 August 2013
A final year student at the University of Bedfordshire, Scott Kells creates ‘late photography’ – a term used to describe the documentation of a scene after the action has taken place. In particular Kells is interested in public art works in urban spaces that are used as structures for skateboarding activity.
Kells draws attention to public sculpture – which often goes unnoticed as part of the built environment. The photographs encourage the viewer to look at familiar scenes in a new way and to question the multiple hidden functions or ‘lives’ of public spaces.
Holly Kemish: University of Northampton: Spatial Drawing: An intimacy in the Imprint of the Hand: 1-7 August 2013
Holly Kemish is a final year student from the University of Northampton, and her practice centres around the tactility of paper and its ability to adapt to a variety of processes and methods.
Kemish works by allowing the paper to influence the progression and the making of work through its own materiality and the limitations it presents; using a range of processes from destructive gestures such as tearing, crushing, piercing, and shredding to productive actions of assemblage, collage and moulding. By creating discreet, intricate work in this manner Kemish encourages the viewer to look closely and intimately engage with the work.
SELECTED FOR NEXT STAGE:Cally Shadbolt: Bucks New University: Fit for Purpose: 8-14 August 2013
A previous MK Gallery Showcase 2012 exhibitor, Cally Shadbolt is a final year student at Bucks New University. She uses sculpture and drawing to explore the evolution of form in relationship to function, drawing attention to the aesthetic forms of objects that we disregard in our everyday lives.
Shadbolt adapts and alters objects, making material and formal changes that suggest new associations or act as clues to an alternative function. Through a process of appropriation and re-presentation Shadbolt aims to raise the status of the utilitarian object. Alongside the sculptural work, Shadbolt presents a series of observation drawings that explore the structure of objects and their potential for transformation.
SELECTED FOR NEXT STAGE:Aleksandra Warchol: University of Bedfordshire: Memory Remains: 22-28 August 2013
Aleksandra Warchol, a final year student at the University of Bedfordshire, presents a photography and film installation exhibition. The photographs, which explore childhood memories, nostalgia and the idea of place, are presented as prints and slides viewed through a vintage stereo slide viewer.
To create the work, Warchol photographs real childhood snapshots from Poland against a backdrop of Houghton Regis, the artist’s new home in the UK. In this way, the photographs attempt to create new ‘fake memories’ in an attempt to overcome the sense of displacement experienced from living in a new location. Alongside this, the film work Public Footpath, filmed on mobile phones and presented on two projectors, takes the viewer on a journey through urban and rural spaces.
TURNER CONTEMPORARY / Margate
Platform exhibition runs from 9 October-10 November
SELECTED FOR NEXT STAGE:Hannah Allison-Finucane: Canterbury Christ Church University
Hannah Allison-Finucane’s artistic practice, emphasises the individual identity of prints. Though printmaking is a medium particular for its reproducibility, Allison-Finucane returns to its physical nature, from the carving of a plate to the addition of ink. In each work, unique relationships are created among elements through the process of drawing. Figurative studies leading to non-representational lines and forms are then reflected upon and transcribed to the plate to create an internal dialogue.
The body of work exhibited represents visually, if abstractly, the relationship and commonality of land, animal and self, inspired by eco-feminism and the concept of string figures explored by the philosopher Donna Haraway. Allison-Finucane replaces the materiality of, for example, mud, hair and bodily forms with symbolic mark-making to develop a visual narrative within the boundaries of the paper. The visual juxtaposition and interaction of varied marks and shapes reflects how even disparate ideas can be explored in a single work.
Louisa Love: University for the Creative Arts
Louisa Love’s practice examines the daily working processes and environments in which artworks are conceived and the complex ways in which these are understood and experienced, both in and out of the gallery. She often investigates the studio and production process as a form of archiving, in which material functions as a kind of unresolved ‘data’ or evidence being continually gathered and negotiated.
The Matter of Matter is a durational and semi-performative installation project in which Louisa inhabits and transforms the gallery space into her studio. The work will gradually evolve through a layered and open-ended process of unpacking, examining, cataloguing and re-packing objects alongside producing new ones. In this way, the exhibition serves as a medium and test site rather than an endpoint, putting into question the supposed functions of the production and exhibition spaces.
Rachel Johnston: Canterbury Christ Church University
The unique changing skyline of the Isle of Thanet is the key aspect of this piece. The golden sunsets seen from the shoreline, are combined with water collected from each of the main beaches, reflecting the distinctive geography of the Isle.
The thirteen cubes on the map mark the locations of the Isle of Thanet’s main beaches. On the bottom of each cube a salt layer is formed from evaporated water collected from these beaches. The shadows created by the salt layers convey a snapshot of an always-evolving landscape.
The gold leaf symbolizes the distinct sunsets of the area that have inspired so many before me. The patterns create a three dimensional panoramic view of the horizon from each beach.
Each chosen landscape becomes in itself a time capsule suspended from the eternity of the Perspex box.
Linda Simon: University for the Creative Arts
Linda Simon’s artwork explores the intersection of physical and digital space, technology and textiles, (wo)man and machine. Ctrl represents the Internet as information repository—it shows data being produced, encoded, transformed, transferred and stored. Employing a similar mechanism to the earliest computers, she uses a domestic knitting machine to reproduce punch cards as knitted panels representing data in its rawest form. A series of cards are reconfigured into an ‘evil cat head’, an omnipresent mythical figure that serves as a reminder of the more sinister aspects of online presence.
SELECTED FOR NEXT STAGE:Charlotte Smith: University of Kent
Dust is the residue of moments gone by; light floods through windows and captures the most intricate spaces, whilst time measures the stature and significance of a place. In Ephemeral Rays, dust and light unite within the vessel of a light bulb to reflect the way in which light rests within a space, settling like dust even if just momentarily.
Originally installed at Chatham Historic Dockyard, Ephemeral Rays depicted the volume of a fleeting ray of light beaming through a window of the Galvanising Shop. Specific to Turner Contemporary the work evolves into a new form; drawing on the stunning expanse of sea and sky, the infinite horizon line is the focal point of the composition. Toying with reflections and shadows, the piece guides the eye out to sea and the sanctuary of light beyond. The window is an avenue of light which embodies the dialectics of inside and outside; it epitomises scale and brings the space of elsewhere within.
Harry Tompkins: University for the Creative Arts
These three mixed medium canvases are a combination of oil painting and photographic techniques. The surreal compositions are originally constructed as collage, before being transformed into large scale mixed medium canvases through a combination of oil painting and darkroom photography. The difference between a collage and a painting is important: when viewing a painting or a photograph, it presents itself at once as a single image, so we accept and believe what we see and attempt to understand it. Whilst viewing a collage, however, it is plain to see that the composition is invented and therefore impossible. The photographic methods used provide a closer integration between collage and painting, and allow for the surreal depiction to be viewed as a single image, challenging our understanding of what we are seeing.
This series creates a fictional narrative. Elements are recognisable to the beholder as we identify the figures, the landscapes and the events unfolding; yet they cannot be understood. The more we consider the scenarios taking place before us, the less we realise it. The viewer is left to define the nature of the painting and events unfolding.
Daniella Turbin: University of Kent
Dreams; the psychological space one encounters within them is of fundamental significance to human development. In an attempt to understand dreams, derive order from their chaos, elevate the overlooked within them and grasp their paradoxical nature, Daniella Turbin visually documents dream images in her work. Rooted in contemporary and traditional dream analysis, Aibophobia is a three dimensional drawing which investigates paradoxes encountered within Freudian staircase dreams.
Turbin’s practice is rooted in debates about drawing within contemporary art, and invites the viewer to witness the unfolding of the mark. Aibophobia presents the outcome of a series of two dimensional studies in the form of a three dimensional drawing, juxtaposing mathematical ‘certainty’ against the indeterminable mark. Aibophobia investigates space and light, as the psychological space of the dream comes to interrogate physical space of the drawing.