The De Fortibus Galleries
In this gallery we open the festival of Islesolation with a series of exhibitions by guest curators. visit a new exhibition every month. If you would like to be guest curator please get in touch
This exhibition has been curated by Trudie Wilson, an interdisciplinary artist based on the Isle of Wight. She returned to the island after completing her Masters degree in fine art at The university of Chichester in 2018. (she is also the site designer for the festival gallery and a creative practitioner with Independent Arts).
“I am an interdisciplinary artist Based on the Isle of Wight, much of my art practice is landscape and environment based, when I’m not creating art you will find me out fossil hunting on the coastline”.
– Trudie Wilson
Find more of her work here
“A journey through materiality, this is a key element in my practice, when I began creating this exhibition I noticed correlations between the interest in the works, a lot of the time when I see or discover a work I’m asking ‘but what’s it made of’? I hope you will enjoy an eclectic take on what can inspire an artist, and hopefully find some inspiration yourself”.
– Trudie Wilson
Andy Goldsworthy is a sculptor, photographer and environmentalist, his work speaks to me and my practice through his connections with the environment. By using found and natural materials Goldsworthy creates works that sit within nature working in harmony with their environment. The works vary through mediums and scale from complete weaving of materials such as willow to staking of slate creating vast stretching sculptures, all these works connect to the earth. There are often naturally shaped in his work many of his pieces contain circles or the suggestion of circles such as a literals void being created in the centre. Colour also plays a large part in Goldsworthys work, some examples of this is by using bright leaves branches and ground surrounding trees to create ephemeral bright incandescent pieces. As an artist deeply interested in nature and the environment I really enjoy the process of working with nature and natural found elements to create works Goldsworthy inspires me through his elemental practice and allows the understanding that you can create art from anything, it is the thought and creativity that matter and that make you an artist.
Gerhard Richter is a visual artist possibly known best for his squeegee paintings, born in Germany in 1932 and regarded as one of the most influential contemporary artists, Richter continues to create work today. Richter’s work initially began with highly realistic Murals but after fleeing to western Germany he began a journey into abstraction.
Introducing some of Richter’s drawings something he is possibly less known for, we can explore his use of tone line and texture, considered perhaps as moments, works such as 20 drawings 40 days explore elements of time and daily activity. The various creation of tones and textures on paper, becomes about the act of drawing and a signifier of the artists presence rather than depiction of an object, this idea of creating work about the medium itself is something I have recently been engaging with in my own practice.
“Art is the highest form of hope.” – Gerhard Richter
This personal interest in revisiting drawing has recently come through lockdown where I have started to develop a new drawing portfolio discussing edges and boundaries inspired by the current containment. “Art is the highest form of hope”– Gerhard Richter. This quote seems incredibly relevant to me especially now when so much is taken away art is what so many including myself fall back onto.
Richter’s work becomes very of the moment and feel spontaneous, often the works themselves are instillation based and become completely immersive for the viewer. This even translates into his paintings which are so vast that they envelop visualy.
Sarah shaw, when painting speaks about painting. Continuing the theme of materials discussing themselves Sarah Shaw brings paint to life creating semi abstracted works continuing ghostly elements and distorted imagery. Sarah Shaw studied painting at Falmouth university and now works from her studio in Brighton. In an interview Shaw was asked what made her become an artist “I can’t imagine life without making work. It’s a huge part of the way I think, see and make sense of being alive and in this world”.
I personally resonate with this way of thinking art is like a language that some of us need to make sense of things (or not), it is a way of life not a choice, you may put an artist in any job but they will still remain an artist it is a state of mind a way of being a coping mechanism for existence. I find Shaws work engaging through the blurred layers of paint along with a fairly natural palette, Her use of fine lines with vast fluid colours intrigue me I often find my drawings reflect a similar sense of energy.
“The world is spinning around”, I feel that this painting is very poignant at this current time, there is a sense of discord and confusions yet days still exist but we constantly loose track. The palette of this Painting gives a ethereal distorted view which is furthered by the layering and removing paint. The monolith series discuss ideas of presence and death, inspired by flowers on lampposts on walks to school these paintings contain some of the darker themes behind the work yet transcend into abstracted chaos.
I first discovered Shaw’s work as an album cover by the band Daughter, here I discovered more about the artist and she was actually a fellow of my university I’m sad that I never got to meet her and she never gave a lecture while I was there. I find her work so engaging and intriguing there are so many layers and under layers with so much detail I could look at them for hours and simply get lost amongst the paint.
Adolfo Serra is a Spanish illustrator and author, primarily working on children’s books he also produces art books and has illustrated poetry books for adults. Relatively unknown Serra plays with imaginative figures spaces and places, usually creating whimsical characters that bring colour and joy to the pages they inhabit. These fun works are a complete juxtaposition to the other artists so far in this exhibition both in there purpose and their style. Illustration differs from fine art a lot of the time due to it being part of a book or story it has a point or reasoning beyond its own existence yet I find Serras work often contains the works own existence without the need for accompaniment.
I discovered Serra this year and really engaged with a course he created about freeing the hand, Serra focuses on the enjoyment and fun of creativity, something that can be lost along with development as an artist. Serra thought me how not to be afraid of exploring and being free with my imagination again, I have also been keeping a sketchbook since I took his course a habit I had gotten out of since leaving university.
Tacita Dean is a contemporary artist who primarily works in film and is an elected member of the RA. Her works span through various media other than filmmaking here I would like to draw attention to her drawings. Simple media can often be the most effective using chalk on blackboards in the exhibition “The ‘Fatigues” Dean creates large realistic spaces which a hint of the sublime, these pieces engage the viewer into concepts of and time space. The media used contains the ephemeral, how easy would it be to simple wipe the blackboard clean erase the traces of the chalk on the surface.
Her collection of round stones also intrigues me, I find her exhibition of her encounter with landscape similar to my own, she often returns back to Falmouth as I return to the cliffs.
In other works such as “Majesty” Dean uses photographs and gouache to create large work that spans over overlapping sections of finer based paper. The surrounding area is painted using gouache to isolate the trunk and branches creating a strange state of unidentifiable existence. “Dean’s methodology is a combination of idea-driven research with an openness to chance, accident, coincidence and poetic associations which she allows to direct her processes”- Tate 2009.
Ainslie Henderson is a puppet maker and animator from Scotland he is known for several award winning videos and mostly uses stop motion animation. Similar to the work of Serra, Henderson’s work becomes about the joy of making, the fun of creation and the interest in found objects. By recycling old objects and natural elements the peice Stems comes to life right before the viewers eyes.
Poppy Ackroyd is a musician and composer full of experimentation, using unorthodox methods with just a piano and a violin she creates multiple layered rhythms and pieces that enter a strange melodic world that enrapture the mind. Henderson and Ackroyd have collaborated several times I highly recommend watching through their collective works on Vimeo. I often find Ackroyd a great composer to listen to when creating work the rhythms seem to engage with something in my mind especially when creating abstract drawings.
Victorian monographs, these have inspired me since 2017 when I first got the chance to look through an original at Dinosaur Isle where I was volunteering. I became so inspired by the level of detail created in these prints depicting fossils and bones. I also become intrigued in how drawing can still be useful in palaeontology even with todays technology, as accessible as photography is, it can often flatten specimens making it more difficult to understand depth and hiding details.
After understanding this I began studying specimens myself creating detailed pencil drawings of real specimens whether it was huge sauropod bones in the lab or a study with my own small collection. This is still a big part or my artists practice and is also a great way to stay sharp when it comes to drawing. I like to continually push myself when it comes to these studies so this year I challenged myself to create a life-size colour illustration find the full blog on the process here.
Brancusi, many of you will be familair with this piece of work, it is of course “Bird in Space”. Considered by many as a pioneer of modernism Brancusi is known for his clean geometric lines and balance within sculpture. Studying initially in Paris then working under Rodin, he Left Rodin’s workshop and is quoted to say “Nothing can grow big under trees”.
Brancusi is also very much about materiality and uses materials in very hands on way, photographs of his workshop show piles of maquettes and preliminary sculptures from a variety of media.
Personally as an artist I enjoy the clean aesthetic and reduction to form, I also find the materiality of great interest I think this is due to my background in sculpture. Having previously worked with bronze myself I understand the physicality and manipulation of the material, I find it inspiring to see a modernist take on the same material.