Thanks to all that could make it to the Arts & Health Hub’s first group of the year! The group has grown from a little baby of 4-8 or so people a month in 2015 to 25 people this month. In the coming months there’ll no doubt be a couple of changes (based on your feedback) about how the group grows, develops and accommodates more (very welcome!) members.
We had our usual 4 presenters this month. Here’s a bit of info on what they presented and where to find their work.
Naomi Woddis presented the second instalment of her nude (and not-so-nude) self-portraits exploring her Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Naomi commented on how actually doing the work had made her feelings worse, but that it’s better to work through it than avoid it. We talked about the editing process and starting to bring images together, when to edit, and whether to just keep making the work. Naomi showed work from different styles — some softer, more abstract, whilst others were more expressive. Sisi mentioned about journaling through the process to help Naomi understand what the images mean to her and how they relate to BDD.
Zaklina Anderson presented a new series of images combining double exposures of landscapes and her children. Her previous works have focused on the war and her country disappearing. She made a wonderful comment about wanting to make and leave something for her children in her own unique style. She had some images that were double exposures of landscapes in Bath made in-camera, whilst another series were triple exposures combined with portraits of the children. We talked a bit about the longevity of the project (continuing to document her children) and this project exploring their culture and upbringing in reflection of her other work. Rachel mentioned the artist Sandra Bartocha as a reference.
Marie Smith brought a selection of prints from her project Blown out like a candle, exploring her mother’s death. Marie is interested in creating a zine (a more DIY version of a book) to help her explore narrative. We talked a bit about the materiality of the project as it features records, photographs, handwritten notes and objects. We talked about how the project can be presented in different ways (i.e using the objects as part of an exhibition). There was a bit of a discussion about how explicit Marie’s project needed to be — when and how did the viewer need to know who Marie was and what the project was about? Daniel mentioned Laia Abril’s project The Epilogue as a reference for a book that combines records, letters etc.
Zara Carpenter presented prints from her project Distress, works created around the body, pain and invisible illness. Zara has been working with photographs created in lots of different formats (printed on to standard paper, polaroids etc) and then looking at ways of distressing them: covering them in chemicals, letting snails eat them in the garden, soaking them in salt solutions. The resulting body of work is enormous and feeds into her OCD, creating a huge amount of work to represent her conditions. We talked about ways to present the works in such a volume, or even how to present them given how delicate they have become. Andy mentioned Alexa Wright’s Piecing it Together project where she re-photographed collages and blew them up to get a sense of scale from a very tactile piece. Rosie mentioned Clare Strand’sworks. Someone else mentioned Helen Chadwick (sorry, can’t remember who!).