"By taking different elements, certain objects, textures and figures, and placing them beside each other, I’m able to start a new conversation, introducing emotions and reactions, looking in a different way and asking more questions from the work."
Could you tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been a practising artist and where did you study?
I have been living in London for the past 13 years. I stayed after graduating from an MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins and now seem unable to leave. I specialised in illustration, learning design and narrative as well as being encouraged to push my practice and the boundaries of what illustration could be.
It was only near the very end of that course that I started to explore juxtaposing images, using found objects with photography to create stories.
As my practice progressed, it moved away quite quickly from illustration into fine art as my interest in experimenting with different mediums grew. I now work with a variety of formats, from photography and video to fabric and ceramics, creating artworks and occasionally illustrating on projects for friends. I feel that this background has given me a strong base to pull from for the work that I produce today.
Your work often uses the technique of dual imagery, could you tell us about these videos?
Juxtaposing imagery in order to create narratives is something that I have explored for a long time. It is in my 2D imagery as well as my video pieces to date.
My work often aims to show the history of people and their relationships and past actions within a certain space (primarily a domestic environment). By taking different elements, certain objects, textures and figures, and placing them beside each other, I’m able to start a new conversation, introducing emotions and reactions, looking in a different way and asking more questions from the work. I enjoy filming a moment, an emotion, and building a narrative.
Having unset jelly running down a wall juxtaposed with a shot of the back of a women’s head running her fingers through her hair, I wanted it to suggest her emotion of distress, of tears. But this isn’t what everyone is going to read from it and that’s okay. I purposefully leave things very open to allow the viewer to place his or her own emotions in to the piece.
In your series of works titled "Conversations 547 - 891" you displayed photographs with objects and material covering up parts of the imagery. Could you tell us about these works and the thoughts behind them?
I finished Conversation 547-891 in July, it’s been about a year in the making. It coincides with the Conversation 669 video installation. I gave myself the year to try and play more and not put so much pressure on myself with regards the final outcome. I tried introducing new techniques that I have always had an interest in incorporating into my work, ceramics, 3d scanning and printing and embroidery. It was trial and error really, but some of what I deemed complete failures at the time ended up being used in the final pieces. Luckily my inability to throw anything away came in handy.
The piece documents a symbiotic relationship between emotional repression and the passage of time, repeating the ‘conversation’ and its changing form. From case to case the dialogue evolves, as do the physical pieces inside. These ‘conversations’ are made from the raw materials that are used to make objects for everyday function in the home. I experimented a lot with porcelain clay and paper clay fibres alongside torn muslin cloth to create hollowed broken roses and leaves, embroidered wallpaper patterns and love bird skeletons.
It is these elements that are used to block out certain sections of the images and figures. They represent the unspoken, the history of emotions, a stain left to decay and spread. All of these materials have their rightful place in the home, though not in the way they are presented. That idea ties into the narratives hinted at throughout the work.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
Last week I visited the V&A to have a look at the Women’s Hour Craft Prize display. Phoebe Cummings had a massive influence on me beginning to introduce ceramics into my art practice. The idea that this beautifully detailed, delicate piece made of raw clay will slowly deteriorate as water runs onto it throughout the exhibition really spoke to me. In my own work I am always trying to blur the lines between the beautiful and the ugly, the changing forms between the two states.
I also went to see Perfume Exhibition at Somerset House, it was part research and part pleasure. It was such a great, immersive experience and one that was completely new for me. Introducing scent as an element is something that I am currently working on for a new piece, so it gave me a great opportunity to see how it is used in contemporary art as well as a chance to listen to a very interesting, very knowledgeable olfactologist.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day/studio routine? What is your studio like?
My daily routine can be quite varied depending on what project I am working on. It can be filming jelly running down a wall all day to get the right shot to trying to find inspiration at Spitalfields Market on a Thursday. I have a studio at home at the moment in north London as well as using a ceramics studio in Shadwell.
I collect a lot of objects and found photographs from the 1950’s through to the 1970’s so I also try to visit flea/vintage markets on a regular basis. Finding an object is usually what helps me to start a new project, whether that’s a piece of clothing, a roll of wallpaper, a photo or a teacup
How do you go about naming your work?
It has varied slightly, but I generally have the idea of the work/project in my head ahead of starting it, and I would have thought of a title for it. In a way it helps me to clarify things, it’s part of the thought process in the early stages of my art. It will usually be one title for the whole body of work.
I sometimes go through the title options with my husband. He’s a songwriter, so it can be helpful to get his thoughts.
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
I’m hoping to show Conversations late this year in London. I do have a final part to conversations that I have just started working on, the aspect involving scent that I mentioned earlier. It’s a fledgling adventure, but I hope with this idea to explore how scent effects the way the work is viewed, triggering both memory and imagination. Asking the viewer be immersively involved in the artwork, rather than just to be an external spectator.
All images courtesy of the artist
Publish date: 28/09/2017