Thanks to all of you that came out for our July meeting. We had a fantastic group of 22 members, with a number of new faces (hello!) and familiar faces. As always, a fantastic selection of work shared as well as some discussion about where the group is heading and can develop (see below).
Paloma Tendero shared developing works exploring her body as a sculpture, in line with her works focusing on genetic determinism. Paloma usually works digitally but has been experimenting with medium format film photography. In a happy accident her film was actually slide film, and when processed created these incredible golden tones. Paloma has been making work in relation to fertility and her diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease, questioning whether she will have children and the impact of genetic inheritance. We discussed taking the images into the physical realm, printing them on to fabrics, or choices of paper to bring out the texture and and grain of the images. This ‘mistake’ in developing a new creative process seemed like an apt accident, just like in genetics somehow.
Paloma has been thinking of what to call the project. Jo made a great point that abstract works can often benefit from concrete titles, and vice versa.
Georgia Kitty Harris shared her drawing works, focusing on archival materials from asylums known as the Epsom Cluster. Georgia’s intricate drawings of patients housed at asylums brought humanity back into the lives of those that were often seen as unimportant and discarded. Georgia spoke a bit about her own experience of being in hospital and how important drawing was for her. We spoke about where to place the work: it doesn’t fit within the ‘commercial’ gallery space, but within clinical and art institutions that work with archives and health. Museum of the Mind, Wellcome Collection etc. Georgia is exhibiting a piece from the project in an exhibition (details below). Georgia is also hoping to exhibit works in an exhibition as a part of the Horton Chapel Project.
We also spoke about how the work could be used as a stimulus to facilitate conversations within participatory arts projects, looking at both historical and contemporary approaches to mental health. Jane Fradgley’s work, held, was mentioned as a historical take on garments of restraint at Bethlem Hospital. Also Dennis Reed.
Claire Callow posed a number of questions around how to exhibit works in an unusual space — in this instance around a large column in an upcoming exhibition at Brompton Cemetery Chapel. The work, The 10 Stages of Grief, originally exist in canvas format but the group thought lots about working with fabric, materials, something that can be wrapped around the column and engaged with. We spoke about making the piece more participatory, where people could contribute their own grief stories to the work (in the form of acanthus leaves). We also spoke about how the stages of grief are not linear and how that could be incorporated into the reincarnation of the work.