Aspex Gallery, The Vulcan, PO1 3BF
Monday 01 October 2018 – Wednesday 31 July 2019
Image: Natasha Rosling, Threshold: Above (detail), 2019, drawing based on the fabrication of Threshold for the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail.
Our Artist of the Month feature aims to promote artists' work and raise issues in a quick, informal way. May's Artist of the Month is Natasha Rosling.
Hello, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Natasha Rosling and I work across installation, audio and writing, exploring the ambiguities of what it means to have or be a human body. I’ve always had an obsession with visceral things – perhaps because my own body often felt awkward, painful, unruly and confusing to me when growing up. This then shifted into a fascination with how our emotions and imagination interplay with our physical wellbeing. I am constantly intrigued by the unique ways different people and cultures confront mortality, and am currently exploring these branching interests in relationship to public health.
Where are you based and how long have you been there?
I’m based in Bristol and have been here for six years now, having previously lived in London and Amsterdam.
Where do you work?
I have a studio at Spike Island which I like to use as a sort of ‘mixing pot’ – a base to develop and test ideas, and connect with others. I prefer to work in direct relationship to people and places, so my work often involves collaboration, periods of travel, embedded research or executing works on site.
What’s the best thing about the area you live/work in?
I live on a boat in Bristol Marina, directly behind Spike Island, which is almost too close to my studio but it does mean I’m rarely ever tempted to work from home. I really enjoy the diverse and down-to-earth community in this area, in addition to Spike Arts there are active ship building yards and warehouses for prop and set building – a hands-on culture that I find stimulating, set against the rhythm of the harbour and local people just getting on with their daily lives.
What does 'success' mean to you?
Feeling fulfilled creatively and emotionally where work and personal life mutually support and enrich each other.
Do you earn a living from making art?
For the last two years I’ve managed to make a modest living from art but it’s always unpredictable what the next year might bring. When I have gaps in funding or artistic income I also do freelance project managing for other creative companies and deliver public engagement activities. Food and cooking are also hugely important to me, and so from time to time I enjoy catering work if it’s for people or a context I care about.
What makes a good artwork?
Like an unconscious alchemy, it evades any clear formula but usually requires a stark honesty, and makes something ‘speak’.
What have you been up to recently?
I’ve just launched Threshold, a new permanent commission for the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail in Gloucestershire. It is a large, tactile, walk-through crevice, cast from sections of an ancient iron ore mine beneath the forest, and inspired by the history of subterranean labour through the marks left by miners in the rock.
I’m also in the early stages of a series of medical humanities collaborations hosted by Bristol University, which include making a film about the lived experience of grief; researching chronic conditions and their narratives in healthcare, and examining the history of senses and new modes of sensing.
What have you got coming up?
I’ve just arrived in Amsterdam for a collaborative project, It Happens Anyway, with two fellow artists Sachi Miyachi and Nina Glockner for the W139. Together we are building a large-scale architectural environment inspired by the digestive system and ancient practices of fermentation. This structure will integrate a programme of activities interventions using fermentation both literally and metaphorically to explore symbiotic connections between body and environment; social growth, disintegration and transformation. The project launches at the W139 on 31 May 2019.
Natasha Rosling (London 1985) studied Sculpture at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, and has an MFA from the Sandberg Institute Amsterdam. She has presented work internationally at institutions including: We the Curious, Bristol, UK; Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden; Wellcome Gallery, London, UK; Pinacoteca Museum, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Fei Centre of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China; and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan.
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