Aspex Gallery, The Vulcan, PO1 3BF
Monday 01 October 2018 – Thursday 31 October 2019
Image: Alice Jennings, Form No. 23
Our Artist of the Month feature aims to promote artists' work and raise issues in a quick, informal way. March's Artist of the Month is Alice Jennings.
Hello, what do you do?
Hi! I am a sculpture-based artist working mainly in the medium of clay and metal. Along with these forms I like to create soundscapes to form part of my pieces. My practice primarily explores the theme of texture and colour, questioning how viewers relate to it through sound, shape and form.
Where are you based and how long have you been there?
I have been living and working in Bristol for the past 6 years. I attended the University of the West of England where I studied Drawing and Applied Arts. Since graduating I have carried on living and working here in its vibrant and engaging communities.
Where do you work?
I am an active member of the collective CHAMP, which shares a communal studio space based at the Brunswick Club, which was formerly an old social club. I regularly use this space to create my work but it is also used to host experimental music performances, talks, workshops and other events such as New Year New Noise, THORNY and BEEF: The Brunswick Light-ray Process. We are currently raising funds to keep this community space’s existence safe, so I thoroughly recommend keeping up to date with forthcoming events. Let’s try and keep the Brunswick Club!
I also enjoyed brain storming and having meetings at The (late) Surrey Vaults, until it was sadly shut down due to noise complaints. I now tend to do this at the Stag and Hounds instead. I find having these vibrant centres a good way to meet creative, forward-thinking practitioners and to broaden my mindset.
What’s the best thing about the area you live/work in?
The best thing about this area is the amazing creative community that exists, with such diverse and talented people. I have a close affiliation with a lot of stimulating artists, musicians, performers and collectives, such as; Noods Radio, BEEF and Bad Tracking. All of which are comprised of some of the most talented people across a variety of disciplines.
Having been cocooned in this culture it has changed the way that I perceive space and sound. Through these immersive experiences I have found myself taking inspiration and have been creating shapes and forms.
What does 'success' mean to you?
For me success really isn’t how much money I have in my pocket but to be recognised for what I do, and for my work to define a style and meaning of its own.
Do you earn a living from making art?
The honest answer is, not really, but within this field it is a slow process and it is something that I will have to invest a lot of my time in to until I see some returns. Recently though, I have finally been seeing some earnings which has been great. I can only hope that the time I put in will pay off.
What makes a good artwork?
For me great artwork is something that encompasses a variety of different levels such as depth, style and ingenuity. Combined, these qualities can break boundaries and stand out. I also admire an anomaly, as there is an air of defiance and self-confidence in not following the crowd.
One piece that springs to mind is ‘The Ambassadors’ by Hans Holbein. When viewing this piece it is so captivating with its vibrant colours and the peculiar form contorted across the centre. It was also way ahead of its time in terms of colour, composition and detail, at a time where art in England wasn’t recognised as important.
What have you been up to recently?
Recently I have been awarded the Ruth Tait Sculpture Prize! For the award of a grant, I put forward an idea of a large-scale sculptural piece to be shown at the Friends of the Garden’s summer exhibition ‘Celebrating Art in the Garden’ at Urchfont Manor.
I presented my ideas with a maquette and drawings in front of a panel of judges. One of the judges was Johannes Von Stumm, an internationally recognised sculptor and previous chair of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, who was an incredible artist to meet.
I also had an exhibition at Pound Arts in Corsham showcasing the body of work that I submitted for the award, along with the other participants. We also had an open studio event at The Brunswick Club, with a programme of experimental performances, sound art, film and sculpture.
What have you got coming up?
At present I am preparing for the summer show at Urchfont Manor, which is very exciting. I have been taking sound recordings of the site that will be used during the making process. The ceramic form will have a soundscape relating the viewer to their senses and their surroundings. This hidden aspect of the piece should not dominate but instead entice and intrigue like the many organic shapes and forms that surround and seduce us.
This will be an incredible opportunity for me to showcase my work outside, among a variety of professional sculpture artists in an incredibly beautiful garden. This show will run from June 22nd – July 8th and is one of the highlights of the sculptural exhibition season!
Alice Jennings practice encompasses the physicality and visceral language of clay. Her work exercises a language formed through physical bodily gestures deriving from the intrapersonal relationship with her Down’s syndrome brother. Through this innate visceral language she connects the viewer with our senses through texture, shape and form.
This intrinsic connection has provoked her to query what people’s idealisms of ‘beauty’ are. Her intentions are to provoke people into examining their preconceived ideas of beauty and challenge them to identify and change their prejudices through this innate visceral language.
Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.
Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network