Final Assessment Show at 44AD Gallery, Bath

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A detail of Feather Boa, porcelain and a Dartmoor sheep skull hung on an old wooden board with a metal poem of words collected while walking on Dartmoor strapped at the top.

The planks reference the Body and (un)wearable art, challenging the ‘just’ jewellery tag, highlighting another face of sculpture – that of objects which cross boundaries to inhabit another genre. Things which are playful.

These amulets are protective breastplates, bursting with intention and studded with desire. Porcelain takes texture beautifully from found pieces of plastic, metal, net. Tacks and roofing nails survive a vitrified porcelain firing – some losses are inevitable, but the work is about decay and ageing too, so surfaces can evolve as they get wrapped and unwrapped in packaging. Spotting a dishevelled tassel from a cushion and stuffing it into the amulets was a final inspiration, I loved the floppy nature of the fibres with a slight sheen contrasting with the matt ceramic surface. Nailed to the wall above a radiator in the gallery, the fibres rippled in the warm updraft which further animated the objects, throwing wafting shadows.

In the gallery were warm and cold spotlights which made such a difference to how a piece was lit. The blue light appeared not to make much of a difference to the planks, seeming to flatten the porcelain, but the warm orange light made the surfaces sing. I loved the squiggly shadows thrown against three surfaces by my wire Magpie’s Nest, and the Bones had a halo of thorns, expanding the limits of the sculpture outward, which to me was just as interesting as the object. Something to play with in the future.

Magpie’s Nest was created to house my ‘mad’ rings, but it also referenced my original writing at the beginning of the Masters, where I talked of wrapping and nests, walking and collecting. A circularity of ideas. They ebb and flow, infiltrate your memory when they are needed again.

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To support the work I put together a Look Book with primary research images, shots in the wild on Dartmoor, and studio shots of my jewellery/sculpture. I also showed a video made on Dartmoor looped on a discreet iPad which further illustrated how my work is inspired by walking. This was shot and edited for me by Rob Irving, and was well worth having a professional put together such an important explanation of the assessment work.

Yes, that’s one of my daughters visiting the show (above). Hiring 44AD gallery in Bath for the assessment was a big gamble for me, but because of it’s central location we had constant visitors throughout the four days we were open. This was rewarding for those stewarding, and an excellent advertisement for Bath School of Art and Design. By organising cake and pot sales at the university we raised enough money for the hire, and the Private View wine, with enough left over to offset some of the cost of renting a space at New Designers in July which showcases graduate work.

44AD Gallery. Available at: http://www.44ad.net/

New Designers. Available at: https://www.newdesigners.com/

3 thoughts on “Final Assessment Show at 44AD Gallery, Bath

  1. Love that you incorporated a tassel in the end too Ali. A grand finale to a really circular journey of exploration! Well done, its obvious you’ve worked so hard and have created more than a little magic! I particularly like the drama and presence of your “body” planks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love your work. I can see how you love Gillian Lowndes and maybe Mary Anne Evans too. They are both great inspirations to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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