Congruous is a group exhibition by five final year BA (Hons) Fine Art students from University of Suffolk. It showcases new work by Shauna King, Ella Lockwood, Michaela Shorb, Elgin Thwaites, and Kieran Wilson through a virtual exhibition.
Originally the artists planned to develop a physical exhibition of current work in Art Station’s Project Space. However, due to the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the artists have developed site-specific works in response to assigned spaces within each of their individual homes and present the work through an online film.
This film takes you on a virtual tour of their site-specific installations in domestic spaces to create a collaged collective home. You will encounter work that challenges notions of objectification in the kitchen, environmental concerns in the dining-room, an inhabited den under the stairs, an immersive painting on the stairwell and a labyrinth of memories under the eaves.
Shauna King’s work has a direct relationship with nature, incorporating the ephemerality of organic material that change and deteriorate over time.
Natural Displacement brings the outside in. King chooses common, but non-native house plants, alongside found wood and moss installed on the wooden man-made, mass-produced dining room table, highlighting the delicate balance between the natural and man-made world, and the important role that plants play as part of the ecosystem.
She uses a combination of plants and natural materials collected whilst on a walk in her local area: wood from a conifer tree, two pieces of common beech wood and pin cushion moss. These are combined with house plants and flowers: maidenhair fern, baby’s-breath and green chrysanthemum. Mirrors are used to reflect the natural material as well as the domestic space where the artwork is installed to create a sense of displacement and disorientation for the viewer.
Ella Lockwood’s work integrates themes of feminism, nudity and the control women have over their body in relation to sexual objectification. She uses a range of media including clay, plaster, photography, film, light and performance to create striking immersive installations of the female form.
In Are You Watching? Lockwood has combined small, hand-made clay breast sculptures together with vibrant digital projection to distort perception of scale in a small space within the kitchen. Breasts are a representation of the female form and are ultimately sexualised. Lockwood is confronting these ideals with the disorienting relationship between projected image, and 3-d forms, by exploring the depersonalisation of the female body through sexual objectification within physical realms and display of the cinema, daily life, as well as ideas of patriarchal roles of the kitchen.
Michaela Shorb’s creative practice explores the theme of childhood, memory and the psychological theory of ‘Magical Thinking’: the perception and belief that one’s own ideas, words, actions and use of motifs can influence or even change the course of events in the real world. This thought pattern is often prevalent in a child’s abstract thinking of self, others and their environment and is considered the base of childhood imagination. It is this link of childhood imagination, recollection and memories perceived as an adult and its interpretation that is of particular interest to Shorb.
In Hide and Seek, Shorb has created a den under the stairs, much as a child might make. Within this hidden space, randomly hung textile heads and fabric-covered bendable pipes take on a strange presence through the manipulation of form and lighting to create an immersive space. The childlike naivety of the textile heads is emphased through a simplicity of shapes and stitching. This crowded grouping offers the viewer the tactility and movement of imaginary persons. Fear and danger (a manifestation of childhood and memory) is incorporated in a representation of the unknown, and emphasised by the spotlighting of areas and the recessed darkness of others.
Elgin Thwaites’ work Transcend the Cube is an immersive abstract painting which moves up the walls of the stairwell within her home. The painting is a permanent mural that is installed in this space to be viewed in situ. The painting is initially a movement of fluid colours which flow into each other all around the viewer. As you look closer, you can begin to focus in on the details, small words, sentences and marks become apparent. The painting is disrupted by the handrail and moves in response to this, flowing upwards through the space reaching high up into the roof space.
Thwaites’ abstract painting works are automatic, where she reacts to the space, making initial marks with silk paints and chalks based on chance and responds to them using heavier layers of watercolour, acrylic and mark making with pen. The words and sentences are a subconscious flow that are not predetermined or edited.
Kieran Wilson’s work Studium and Punctum explores the theme of memory and the use of family documents as a method to aid memory. Wilson exhibits found photographs and letters from his family’s own albums as a way of physically representing memory. The string that the photographs and letters hang on intertwines and crosses over with itself, the photographs do not belong in any particular order – they come and go just as memory itself does.
The title was inspired by a concept put forward in Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida. Barthes’ explains that in every good photograph there is the studium (the overall aesthetic of the photograph) and then there is the punctum. The punctum is the thing that engages the viewer and ‘punctuates’ the photograph. It is what makes the photograph stand out. The punctum of a photograph can be different for every single person. Wilson argues that this is the same for memory – each memory has its own punctum that makes it stand out, and it can be something different for everyone.
Wilson’s practice over the past three years has looked into the theme of memory and how it is presented in the art world. He works in a range of media, including watercolour, ink, charcoal, sculpture, and photography. He also uses found archival materials in the form of old family photographs as his reference material.