ALTERED – AOH exhibition of work by emerging local artists
ALTERED Exhibition – Churchill Square
Photo: Syl Ojalla
ALTERED is an exhibition showcasing local emerging visual artists in a pop-up in the Churchill Square shopping centre. The work reflects how the artists experimented, modified or adapted their practices during the lockdown restrictions.
The 12 exhibiting artists talk here about their work:
Oil paint and soft pastel on calico and paper
“Usually I paint busy crowds of people but during lockdown, without the streets full of people, my attention shifted to those at home and in my bubble. My fiance became my main subject and instead of asking him to sit for long periods of time I painted him candidly while he watched football, had breakfast, or scrolled on his phone. It felt like I was doing the same thing that I did with crowds, which was just recording people doing the things that they do and appreciating that relatable human behaviour. The work became more affectionate, focused and quiet because of the personal relationships I have with the sitters, and the atmosphere that lockdown posed. I also painted my friend, Sasha, who I saw a lot of during this time, and took the opportunity to practice self portraits.”
Morag Caister (born 1994) is an artist living in Brighton, who graduated in Painting (BA), 2019. Morag maintains a figurative and often portrait-based practice focusing on people and moods within images of relatable urban scenes.
Ainoa Burgos Gonzalez
Installation: potatoes, soil, tableware, printed cookbook
“Interested in participatory art practice, I have been looking into ways of sharing and participating during these isolation times, as well as finding ways of creating sculpture from home. The work is centred around the everyday staple of the humble potato that so many can relate to. A muliti-lingual potato recipe cookbook was produced including recipes from around the world and is also presented here, evocatively, as a fully laid dinner table with each ceramic plate sharing a recipe from a different continent.
The Solanum Tuberosum Banquet is a way of sharing during these times of isolation, while exploring the personal space, the domestic space.. and the potato.”
Ainoa Burgos-Gonzalez is a multidisciplinary artist born in Segovia and currently lives in Brighton. Ainoa is studying Fine Art: Sculpture, at University of Brighton; her work encompasses installation, performance, video and photography as well as sculpture. Her artworks explore western beauty stereotypes, ideas of personal space, environmental concerns and visual anthropology.
Lauren Joy Kennett
Black and white photography and hand cut collage
“On the first day of lockdown, I discovered I was pregnant. Previously, my creative practice was dependent on me wandering the streets with my camera. Then, suddenly unable to leave the house, I felt completely uninspired for the first time.
After the birth of my son, I began looking inwards and had a realisation. I had unintentionally been documenting my personal life and experiences over the past six years. I could now collate the work together to show my challenging journey to becoming a mother. By making myself the subject and manipulating existing images, I have found purpose and a new, exciting way to make work from home.
This project, WOMAN, depicts scenes from the passion of new love through the grief and emptiness of miscarriage, eventually, returning to scenes of love and hope as we are reunited and healed by the possibility of a new life.”
Lauren Joy Kennett is a Brighton based autobiographical artist working with photography and hand cut collage. Lauren identifies as a neurodiverse person (dyspraxia, dyscalculia and adhd) struggling to process her thoughts and emotions. Lauren discovered photography and works with it as a tool to help understand her experiences.
Photography and collage / photomontage
“My intentions for 2020 involved an extended project looking at my Scottish Heritage. Due to lockdown and travel restrictions, I was unable to make any of the planned shoots. Instead, I turned to a family archive of postcards linking to Scottish locations, which I then scanned using a cheap home scanner. Previously, my practice would have involved both digital and analogue photography. The method of extended manipulation and photomontage was a new and exciting medium I had never dared to try. I found this was a suitable method of engaging with my heritage while also following the lockdown guidelines in place.
Postcards to Places explores the words and images of a postcard archive of notable Scottish locations collected by my mother, and all sent to my Great Grandparents, William and Mary. The project is an experimental subversion of the traditional postcard, utilising photo-collage to create new landscapes.”
Joy Bews-Pick is a student at the University of Brighton predominantly engaged with architecture photography. Typically, working in a ‘straight photography’ style, with little editing, throughout the lockdown, Joy found herself working more experimentally.
Black & white photography
“Covid didn’t just force us into our homes, but certain events forced some to open their eyes. BLM protests started a few months after the lockdown. After attending, I saw something I had not noticed before and it felt like an opportunity to show others. At the next protests, I decided to flip the camera and photograph all the media and white faces that were there for the profit rather than the support of anti-racism.
After the first Brighton Black Lives Matter protest in June, I noticed that a lot of photographers and media moguls there to document the day were white. It made me question why there weren’t more Black and People of Colour documenting the news. As a Black woman in the creative industries, I’ve had to work twice as hard to get to where I want to be, striving to be as successful as I hope to be.”
Jade Hylton is a mixed Black British photographer, art model, writer and artist from Brighton. Alongside being a creative working with a multitude of media, she is learning about her ethnicity and cultural heritage and hopes to educate not only herself, but others through her creative journey.
Liquid emulsion prints
“With no access to the darkroom, the only feasible option was to translate the analogue process into a digital one, whilst still maintaining some element of involvement in the work by manipulating the prints as I scanned them. Over the past year I have completely dedicated myself to mastering liquid emulsion printing.
Unfinished (2020) is the final form of my major graduate project. For a long time it remained untitled – I wasn’t sure how to title a piece of work that had undergone so many transformations. After the first half of 2020, all I wanted was to return to the roots of my practice, enjoying the photographic process and shedding the expectations and pressures I imposed on myself. The result is a series of liquid emulsion prints that are an ode to all the things I love; photographs that simply exist for no other reason than to bring solace in uncertain times.”
Caitlin Irving is a recent graduate of Photography at the University of Brighton, currently expanding her practice by returning to painting and collaging. Caitlin is of Somali descent and the child of a refugee. Themes of racial and cultural identity are often present in her work, as well as motifs of trauma, belonging, and politics.
“My passion is in ceramics; during the first lockdown, when all the workshops closed, I began experimenting with firing pieces on the beach using a tiny twig-burning stove. The results were surprisingly effective and I’ve carried on, trying new methods and materials. I’m now able to biscuit fire my pieces first, but the fire still adds an interesting effect and I can incorporate metal clays for additional textures.
These works are a mixture of earthenware, raku clay, wild clay and Parian china. Most of the bigger pieces have been pre-biscuit fired. I try to explore challenging or complex subjects with humour and curiosity. My work is usually very small and intricate, inviting the viewer to look closer and from a bird’s eye perspective.”
Helene is a pathologist-turned-artist. She finished her foundation art diploma (distinction) at the Brighton Met in 2020 and is currently studying 3d craft and design at Brighton University.
“As a lover of electronic music and dance I have begun to feel a lot of nostalgia for the way things were pre-covid. The video (loosely inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Euridice) tells the story of my digital alter-ego learning to navigate this new, and often isolating, landscape. I started working almost entirely on my laptop due to restrictions caused by the pandemic and have learnt new digital skills, most notably in 3D animation.”
Julia is a 21 year old Illustration student from Somerset living and studying in Brighton. Her interests are in film and animation and the work often deals with the absurd and surreal as well as motifs of isolation and journeying.
“As a result of the lockdown and the collective moment in which we were all much more isolated, I had time to reflect on my own identity and who I am without the influence of other people. This led to me experimenting with how I communicate my identity through clothing, language, and my art. As a result I started playing with much more colour and started exploring the beauty of peoples differences, with a focus on female and non-binary bodies. The series depicts figures in their lockdown outfits.”
Willow is a freelance artist working with illustration, music, writing and video game art. Most recently, she has taken the role of lead facilitator for the creation of Level 3, a video game art festival created for and by people with autism and other neurological differences.
Hazel Davis, Adam Laurence, Elsa Monteith
Carrying Us (2021) Film, 5 mins
Carrying Us is an audio-visual patchwork that explores the past, present and personal of Brighton’s high street through spoken word and video collage. Imagining the high street as a vessel – a container of both commerce and community – that can be held up to the light, three young Brightonians interrogate what pockets we want to preserve and protect. This is their high street, a place of potential, imagined and collective hope for a different future.
The film is a collaborative project created by Elsa Monteith, Hazel Davis and Adam Laurence, participants of the Lighthouse Young Creatives programme 2019-2020.
Produced by Lighthouse, Commissioned by Historic England.
Hazel Davies and AFLO. The Poet Spoken Word performances Saturday 12th June 1-2pm.
ALTERED is curated by Claire Wearn. She is an independent creative practitioner who works on a portfolio of visual arts projects. She is committed to creating opportunities for artists and audiences, wherever they are, to find and encounter art. Currently she is festival director at Photo Fringe, co-director of Corridor and founder of Curated by Mums. @clairewearn
This exhibition is open weekends only from 5 – 27 June, 11am – 5pm.
Follow us online for details of talks and events.
ALTERED is part of the June Artists Open Houses festival.
AOH is grateful to Churchill Square and Brighton Fringe for their support and partnership in presenting this exhibition