Stumbling across art in unexpected places delights me; sometimes it makes me smile, sometimes it makes me think, and it always makes me curious! Consequently, I take great pleasure in installing my work in unusual places. I love seeing how my soft sculptures can be site responsive and how they become something ‘other’ in a non-traditional setting. I really enjoy the challenge of finding surprising ways to hang my work. Working in listed buildings, for example, with the restrictions that they impose, has inspired me to show my work in some wonderfully quirky and creative ways.
My soft sculpture, Other 5,
installed at Privy at The Edwardian Cloakroom, June 2016,
in one of the Ladies' toilet cubicles!
(Please click on the image to read more)
My soft sculptures, Heart of darkness,
installed at Synecdoche's Bodies residency
in an empty shop in the centre of Bristol, September 2016
I know that the environment in which work is shown can also amplify its impact. Although much of my work normally evokes an abject response, possibly somewhat surprisingly, it can also provoke a wide range of conflicting responses. Maybe introducing surprise elements makes someone smile? Or weep? Or feel uncomfortable? Or laugh out loud? Or experience all of these responses in quick succession? I want my work to do this! Why? I think it’s because I want to be moved by art so I want my art to move my viewer. I also think that extremes of emotion are often the flip side of one another; fear/safety, love/hatred, attraction/repulsion, horror/hilarity, grief/joy. And somehow, for me, knowing that helps. I love witnessing the different ways that people respond to my work.
My installation of soft sculptures, Multitude,
installed at PRILIC, Jacobs Wells Baths, a former swimming pool in Bristol, Dec 2017
Exhibiting in different settings inevitably influences the way that the work is experienced. The history and associations of a space can change how the work is perceived. Involving multiple senses can also make the work more immersive; if a space is cold, dank, dark or smells it will change the experience of the viewer. Curiosity and wonder are also important aspects of my installations.
Nobody 3 installed at Unravelling; an exhibition of knitting and crochet art
at Bow Arts Ice House Studio, London, October 2016
I also want to find ways to make fine art more relevant and accessible to people who wouldn’t normally engage with it.
Safety net, a site responsive, participatory, socially engaged installation
at Refuge: in search of safety, Fringe Arts Bath, May-June 2017
I am excited to have two opportunities coming up this year that will give me the chance to explore these ideas further. The first is in June when I’m setting up an exhibition with Gina Baum at Trowbridge Arts and there’s a twist; we’re using 2 very different kinds of spaces in one exhibition. There’s a first floor, rather grand white cube gallery....
and when you look up, there is this astonishing ceiling....
...and contrasting with this, in the basement, there is a series of interconnecting cells....
This is a dream for me, as it makes me think of Louise Bourgeois’ Cells.
I’m really excited about the prospect of installing my soft sculptures here and potentially making work in response to these spaces. Fortunately we have a few months to plan and then a week to play with the spaces during set up.
Oh, and there’s also a curious display cabinet on the landing awaiting refurbishment which has also sparked our imaginations; again it has echoes of Louise Bourgeois’ vitrines.
Might it possibly house a collaborative piece?
We’re also wondering about facilitating some kind of socially engaged element, so watch this space….
Then, in September, I’m exhibiting at Walcot Street Chapel in Bath with Clare Thatcher.
This is yet another stunning environment to experiment with. I can’t wait to see what we do in this setting as well!
These exhibitions will be at Trowbridge Arts, Trowbridge Town Hall from Saturday 9th June – Saturday 14th July and Walcot Street Chapel, Bath September 17th -22nd. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with the details.
Looking back at the unusual or unexpected spaces I’ve worked in so far gives me great pleasure. I’ve installed my work in a semi-derelict dance centre which used to be a swimming pool, several empty shops and buildings, an industrial space, a museum in Cirencester, some Ladies toilets, a shop window, a Primary School, a University café and in Bristol City Hall’s cavernous Vestibules so far!
I’m always interested in installing my work in unusual spaces, so if you have a quirky idea do get in touch.
For more information and images of these installations, have a look at my Other exhibitions, Synecdoche exhibitions, Installation and site responsive works page and maybe my Social engagement page as well.
Here are the details of all these exhibitions:
2017 PRILIC with Impermanence Dance Theatre at Jacobs Wells Baths, Bristol, December 8th-16th
2017 Synecdoche presents [dis]place residency at The Vestibules, College Green, Bristol, September 4th to October 2nd
2017 My future at St. Werburgh's Primary School Aspiration morning, Bristol, with My future, my choice, July 6th
2017 Refuge: in search of safety, Fringe Arts Bath, curated by Mike and Dona Bradley, May 26th to June 11th
2017 We need to talk about clothes, with Threadcounts - Atelier Stroud and University Of Gloucester's Fashion Design BA - at Hardwick Gallery, Cheltenham, April 26th-29th
2017 Window Wanderland at 212 Gallery, Bristol, curated by Sarah Thorp, February 4th -10th
2016 Unravelling: an exhibition of knitting and crochet art, Bow Arts' Ice House Studios, London, October 6th-16th
2016 Bodies: a group residency by Synecdoche, The Unit, Bristol, September 1st -29th
2016 Privy at The Edwardian Cloakroom, Bristol with Lou Baker, Maura Zukina and Nicola Pearce, June 22nd -29th
2016 The Cartesian Cut? at Fringe Arts Bath, curated by Eloise Govier, May 27th -12th June
2016 Pattern at Fringe Arts Bath, curated by Laura Waite and Nicola Pearce, May 27th -12th June
2015 Symbiosis at the Phoenix Café, Bristol, curated by Jennifer Dudley and Eloise Dunwell, April
2013 Unearthed, with Drawing and Applied Arts, UWE at Corinium Museum, Cirencester, June
2013 New Movement Gallery, pop up, Broadmead, Bristol, June-September