We picked five artists from”In The Company Of, TJ Boulting, London and asked them five questions about their work on view.

 

In The Company Of, TJ Boulting, London, a group show curated by Katy Hessel, exploring the relationship between historic and contemporary women artists, it highlights an important shared artistic language between these artists past and present – be it a fascination in the surreal, a sensitivity to surroundings, to materials, form or human relationships. The actions of the historic artists paved the way with their bold untethered actions to create art, that the contemporary artists continue to thrive in today.

Could you explain this work?

This painting was from a larger group of paintings made in 2017 titled ‘Hemispheres’. It was a small version of what went on to be a large painting. I have been working within pure abstraction for a few years now, the colours and surface of the work being the most important elements. The meaning is different for whoever is looking at it, but I want them to be full and empty at the same time. I also make small monochrome figurative paintings that I show alongside these abstracts. There images are generated through and about the painting process. I use Internet algorithms to search for them.

 

What does this piece deal with? 

I use the formal elements of colour and surface to talk about philosophy. The paint is layered, cleaned and sanded in between layers. Colours are decided intuitively. I try to remove my hand from them so they are in no way gestural but completely instinctive.

 

What medium and techniques did you use?

Oil paint and brushes.

 

What were the struggles of making it?

Keeping my brushes clean. Following my gut instincts. Not afraid for it to be ugly.

 

What is the purpose behind this work?

To make you feel something.

Could you explain this work?

‘Study for Three Maids’ is part of a recent series of women at work, and the result of time spent shadowing hotel housekeeping staff. This scene shows three maids in their morning briefing. They interested me in particular because they were sitting together in the same space, but each individually somewhere entirely different, absorbed in their thoughts.

What does this piece deal with? 

All my paintings explore the in between or overlooked moments in women’s everyday lives, but this series in particular seeks to make visible those who invisibly work around us in the city, in the service industry. Housekeeping, by its very nature is a job designed to be unseen, with guest and worker occupying the same space of the hotel, but destined never to meet.

What medium and techniques did you use?

This work is oil paint on paper, and is a study towards a larger painting on the same subject. I work rapidly, completing the paintings on this scale, in one sitting making intuitive decisions which I then build on in the larger works.

 

What were the struggles of making it?

The biggest struggle with this work was in gaining the access and trust of the women I wished to paint. This project took months to bring together, as finding the right hotel and the willing staff had its complications.

 

What is the purpose behind this work?

With this painting and this series as a whole, I want to ask questions about who we choose to represent through painted portraiture. I’m interested in the roles that women occupy in the workplace: which women do which jobs, where they are from, how that work is valued, and how we position them in society at large.

Could you explain this work?

This is one of a group of nine black and white analogue photo-collages where I cut up and glue together between four and five images of my own body. I’m photographed with 120 film, in my friend’s living room with a dark sheet behind me and I am in many variations of bowed over, or concentric positions.

 

What does this piece deal with? 

This collage is from a series called ‘Concentric’, and deals with what a generation of modernist dancers, starting with Martha Graham, considered to be a safer or more natural method of moving. In opposition to ballet’s tendency to push the body up and open, Martha Graham began exploring contracted, curled over movements for their expressive capacity. This work was made the year after I seriously injured myself making sculpture, and began to explore lots of movement therapies like Alexander Technique, Gyrotonics, etc.

 

What medium and techniques did you use?

It’s hand printed black and white photographs on matt paper, cut and glued with archival grade glue. I mocked up the final collages with photocopies beforehand, so that I wouldn’t mess up the prints.

 

What were the struggles of making it?

The interweaving of the body became at times very confusing to me, and I liked it. I’d catch myself losing sense, for instance, of who’s arm that was – the photo where I’m crouching or kneeling or leaning over. I accidentally ruined a couple of prints by cutting parts I shouldn’t have cut, despite having models and a clear idea of what I was doing. I like it when an artwork throws me deeper into an idea than I imagined I’d go.

 

What is the purpose behind this work?

I use my body like an actor or dancer uses theirs, and I use photography often to explore time. With this work, I am aiming to generate time as somehow failing to maintain the body/self together. It is as if this body’s lifetime of movements and poses have accidentally ripped time, offering up a mutation instead of a unified self with a past. I see this as a new body that emerges from a lack of erasure of the past. Its actions are physically multiplied, as opposed to disappearing, as they are forgotten when the past becomes the present and future.

Could you explain this work?

No, I always believe the work will explain itself, but it doesn’t have to.

 

What does this piece deal with? 

It deals with things that are on the edge of falling apart, and turning in to something else.

 

What medium and techniques did you use?

Cut card and Acrylic.

What were the struggles of making it?

There was no struggle.

 

What is the purpose behind this work?

To give people something to look at and think about.

Could you explain this work?

Furlings are drawings or paintings made with coloured synthetic strands of synthetic hair. They imitate elements in nature that slowly grow and attach themselves seemingly from nowhere, on rocks, fences, statues, and houses, creeping up insisting on existing, like mould, moss or lichen, dust and decay, simultaneously beautiful and grotesque.

What does this piece deal with? 

It deals with drawing where each strand of hair is like a line on paper. At the same time it’s in 3D, bringing depth to that drawing, making it into a microcosmos of entangled web like a synthetic hyper nature.

What medium and techniques did you use?

The Furlings are made using only a tangle of various colours of synthetic hair extensions. When I have a curious combination of that tangled coloured lines, in my hands I carefully help to barely keep the shape, and set it with a heat gun, melting the fibres together.

What were the struggles of making it?

The melting process is tricky, because you have to really use the heat gun to keep the fibres together and stay in a certain way that you have decided, however, the heat gun is a collaborator as you can only control so much. The fibres are quick to melt and evaporate if you are not careful, and you have to find that thin line where you do enough to hold it together as an art piece before it burns up and looses the airy way it is tangled. Too much heat and it both evaporates, turns all brown and simply looks burnt, the challenge is to heat it and keep the beauty in the mess.

What is the purpose behind this work?

I’ve been drawn to creating work that exaggerates nature, creating unreal hyper natural looking objects that are on the brink of either falling apart or coming together. The Furlings are even trash like in their likeness to dust and dirt swept up from under your sofa, and part of the human landscape of existing. I take something so utterly synthetic and mass produced and transform it into something precious and fragile, and far removed from the original purpose of that particular material. Transformation is the purpose.

18.10.18

Words by Martin Mayorga

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