EphemeralMag visited DISORIENTATION, an exhibition created by year two, Fine Art and Art History students at Goldsmiths, University of London.
The theme of disorientation is as broad as it is complex. Goldsmiths’ second year fine art students demonstrated the numerous possibilities in which a sense of ‘disorientation’ can be created and conveyed, from explorations of the environment we live into considerations of the body and the potential it holds. What unfolded was an exciting and eclectic body of work featuring mixed media pieces of sculpture, installation, painting and digital art.
Held at the Ecology Pavilion in Mile End, the theme of disorientation was embodied within the space. Each work in its own conception unique and expressive of different convictions, juxtaposed against one another creates a disorientating sense for the viewer. The work captures the essence of the creative process in which the students can develop and realise their interests and potential.
Eva Crossan Jory, curator of the exhibition, had this to say about the event:
From the start we knew that we wanted to put on an exhibition outside of Goldsmiths because we didn’t want the course or the university to define us or for the work to be pre-judged, so we started off by looking at areas in South London. However, because I am on a half scholarship with Goldsmiths and Tower Hamlets (for bringing art into the community) it made sense to have the exhibition somewhere where we could get a reduced price, but more importantly somewhere the exhibition could be publicly accessible.
The space itself was amazing and had great lighting. We knew there were going to be quite a lot of sculptural pieces so it was important that we had space to show all of them without it looking too cramped. Presenting 32 peoples work that didn’t necessarily fit with a theme was difficult, but we decided we didn’t want to limit the artists to a theme because one of the best things about this course is the diversity of the work and ideas, that seemed like something too precious to loose. There were works that naturally worked well with each other, for example there were a couple of themes that kept re-occurring, such as materiality, exploration of textiles, architecture, how we interact with the city, amongst others. I think the most important thing and the aim of the entire exhibition was to expose the works of all these incredibly talented and diverse artists. It is great that we were able to incorporate so many different mediums and themes within one exhibition.
When placing the works we wanted to create a pathway that the visitors could travel through. We were aware that some of the visitors may not frequent exhibitions all that often so we aimed to make it accessible to those perspectives. It was also crucial for us to make sure that every piece of work was seen with equal importance and this proved difficult with many works being so large, colorful and pronounced. However, we tried to make sure that none of them became overshadowed by those surrounding it. I feel like the work was presented in the best light it could have been and that ultimately nearly everyone’s display worked well in the space. In a strange way it all complimented each other.
We interviewed a few select artists at the exhibition about their works and working methods.
One incredibly intriguing sculptural form at the exhibition was a piece created by Sophie Balding. It consists of several tubes of knitted yarn suspended from the ceiling; within each, plaster balls are sporadically nestled. The solid, perfectly round plaster balls juxtapose beautifully with the softness of the delicately woven tubes. Sophie has not titled this work, and in general prefers to avoid titling because she considers her practise a fluid process. Often, installing her work involves elements of pieces coming together under a different configuration. Sophie takes inspiration from visual artist Ernesto Neto, as well as the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari; she believes a certain level of critical engagement is necessary to justify her practise.
Satisfaction is a stark yet perceptually pleasing alignment of colour and clean lines, consisting of perfected rectangles placed on a blue background that interacts with the artists use of colour relationships. Lauren Stevenson explains that “the name of my piece is ‘Satisfaction’ because the first comment made about this work was that the colours looked really satisfying together and that feeling of satisfaction is something I wanted to create in my works. This piece is a major step forward for my working practice both in size and style. My work is slowly becoming more minimalist and bold, I take inspiration from Abstract art, Colour Field paintings and Pop art. This is reflected in the changes my work is taking as I move away from abstraction towards Pop art and Minimalism.”
She continues, “I really admire Richard Hamilton for being so far ahead of trends and creating his own style and genre while resisting categories. I also admire Mark Rothko for believing so strongly in the power of his work to make changes and standing up for what he believed in, in the same way I admire the futurist movement for wanting to change the world through geometric forms.
Lauren’s prominent use of colour is evident and striking. She professes”my process for choosing colours came from wanting to move away from using dark colours such as browns and blacks but wanting to make an impact with my work. I have always been interested in colour combinations and wanted to create something that might not seem to work together but does. I have always worked on a large scale but this is the largest work I have made so far, I hope to keep making large scale works in the future!”
SOPHIE NICOLE CULIERE
We find Sophie Nicole Culiere drawing directly onto her work at the exhibition, leading the spectator on a journey through her imaginative process. Though this piece has not been given a definitive title, Sophie has tended to refer to it as “One”. She doesn’t find titles completely necessary but applies them to give an insight into the context of the work. “Drawing and especially the ‘one’ project, considering the length of the project, are a lot about the process that goes behind it. I find that drawing in front of the audience communicates ideas of continuity and process rather than focusing on the finished object.”
While drawing live, do you find the gaze of the spectator changes the way you work?
Not that much, I tend to completely phase into the drawing when I work on it. But a lot of people came up during the show and it made it a bit more interrupted, which I found actually more exciting and interesting than bothering. Someone came up and kiddingly said “I didn’t know whether I should interrupt, I was taught not to touch or speak to artworks” but having people around who were interested enough to strike up the conversation was great.
“Drawing has always been one of the primary mediums I’ve been working with but in the last couple of years I’ve mostly been experimenting with photography. I feel that drawing is often undermined but I find the process exciting and challenging. I’ve found that my way of drawing has also become quite influenced by my photographs – in the sense of exploration of bodies, illusion, detail, double exposure/layering – but they remain very different. I switched to drawing this year because I wanted to explore other subjects – most of my research revolves around space and environment, and I’m trying to build a sort of map about how we perceive nature through history of art (ie Ophelia), science etc. by intertwining these different perspectives onto one surface- I’ve been working on it for a few months so it’s not only about the final work, but rather about the whole thought process that goes behind it. It constantly evolves.”
Sophie admires both artists who are not necessarily related to her current work and those who are, a few being Julie Mehretu’s use of fragmented urban spaces, Emma McNally, Alexis Rockman and Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq.
Sabrina Settle’s crotched dress, suspended between two columns on invisible thread, stands out for its charmingly personal quality. Sabrina’s mother taught her to crotchet, and she developed her skills further with help from the Textiles Lab at Goldsmiths. Crotcheting appeals to Sabrina because it gives her the freedom to create form as she goes; fabric on the other hand is a medium that needs to be shaped. Sabrina’s practise is informed by a range of sources, often images from magazines, but also from fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and multimedia artist Josh Faught. Her biggest inspiration is her grandmother, a jewellery maker, whose work ethic she praises. Somewhat surprisingly, Sabrina aspires to pursue a career in video-game design. The links between her current practise and programming may not be immediately obvious, but Sabrina recognises strong connections between the two. She makes an interesting comparison between the importance of patterns in both weaving and coding, referring to weaving as “The first form of programming.”
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