Joanna Billingham , Matt Black, Julie Smith, Rebecca Spicer
BEFORE AND AFTER LINES
This group of small watercolours and digital images develops Joanna Billingham’s fascination with forms which are simultaneously appealing and unnerving; plant like forms and shadowed shapes seem to sprout, balance, writhe and meet in a world of gothic fairytales and Folk Art. The resulting hybrids and mutations suggest a point where the familiar collides with the strange. Objects awkwardly shift - half seen in the picture frame - offering a sense of anticipation as though the drama is about to occur, or may have recently past, as we stumble onto the metaphysical scene of events.
Matt Black is interested in going beyond the surface of things to discover. His work seeks to create openings that allow new interpretations and meaningful connections to flow.
Through a process of mapping, plotting and tracking via mark making he seeks to translate illusory in-between spaces often using film and fiction as starting points. These spaces being interpreted reside outside our own temporal realities - psychological states and physical spaces are in flux. At times the results appear to reflect a disorientating network akin to the digital realm.
Julie's artwork dwells on qualities of quietness and intimacy, cherishing the extraordinary that lies within the ordinary.
“I am inspired by the act of collecting; both physical gathering and the accumulation of thoughts. This is reflected in the materials I choose. I am interested in considering traditional methods through my work. I seek to provoke a balance between a contemplative experience and a sense of fun. Key threads within my practice include fragility, protection and preservation.”
Her work celebrates the time and looking absorbed in the act of making. Art residencies are also part of her work that often can take her in directions that are initially unexpected but remain informed by the act of observing and doing. These have included the Voltaire Room, Oxford, Vale and Downland Museum, Wantage and Woodchester Mansion, Woodchester and the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Chippenham.
She also makes “I call them begin” handmade notebooks, sketchbooks, and journals using traditional book binding methods.
Rebecca Spicer is interested in the Landscape and what makes her human; she has begun to find allegorical and metaphorical ways of portraying the figure in a particular place without being too literal. To explore the feelings of isolation or integration, of confrontation through considering the pebbles on the beach or document the effect of the wind as it passes by, rather than depict the figure in the landscape itself. Her personal memories, sounds, feelings and words are vital as she records these through her drawings. Place is key, and she has chosen to record through sensory experience in drawing, film, photography and sound recordings, the essence of a place that Rebecca has known since childhood and has particular resonance for her - such as, the Ceibwr Bay, Pembrokeshire. In this case the Landscape, the environment she is in, the elements and time become valuable sources. The colours she uses are evocative of that place, directly connected to the stones and pebbles, the sky and the sea. To play with perspective allows Rebecca numerous possibilities; consequently balance and counterbalance, being inside or outside, surface and skin, scale and time. The internal space of a drawing will incorporate the idea of a relationship with the place such as: containment or confinement or freedom or security, employing the emotional state, such as anxiety or joy, whilst considering the metaphysical, the idea of here and now, being mortal or immortal. The legacy of the Landscape artists’ consideration of sublime, in direct contrast to the romantic visual observance of a place, has continued to fascinate her.