We are a group of eight fine art students studying at the University of Leeds. We all feel that the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected our studies and that we've lost a sense of intimacy in our practice and lives. As a traditional exhibition was not possible, we've decided to come together to create this website, and Intimate Space for anyone, anywhere to view our art.
What 'Intimate Space' means to us and our practice:
Eliza Turner -My work explores the human desire to be intimate. Our individual existence and character is moulded by our experiences, environment and relationships with other people and even strangers. The pandemic has deprived us of human intimacy. There is now this sense of unfamiliarity when it comes to being intimate again after the pandemic. On the 14th of January a large crowd formed in Hyde Park and took place in an illegal snowball fight. The BBC news reported that a £10000 fine was given out to the organisers because 'their actions encouraged hundreds of people to be in close proximity to each other'. This event resonated with me because of how our previous familiarity of being in a crowd, coming into contact with strangers, has been changed by the prolonged period of isolation that the pandemic has inflicted upon us. My work focuses on reforming the desire to be familiar with being intimate again in a social setting. The subject of my work is 'crowds'. The idea of a crowd is uncomfortable to process at this time, and I want the crowds to provoke the viewer to address how they feel about unfamiliar intimate space. To further explore how we have become unfamiliar with interaction, I took part in a collaborative piece with Ruby and Holly exploring our perception of the experience of a student in Hyde Park, and this involved forcing the public to interact with our art. This experience highlighted how interaction has become out of the ordinary as a result of the pandemic.
Eve Macdonald -What "intimate space" means to me, is the space between people, the one we create when we touch each other. I wanted to celebrate what is currently missing from all of our lives due to the pandemic, which is so small and yet so incredibly important: touch. It was inspired by how me and my housemates got increasingly more intimate. We saw our boundaries got blurred as the pandemic raged on, and we couldn't see our other friends. We started to touch more, and our friendships got deeper, we nap on each-others beds, and will have a cuddle as we watch television. Our hands are our way of inviting others to hold us, to comfort us, to tell us that we are going to be ok, and on the other hand, our way of comforting others. My practice is looking at this intimate space that we create when we hold and touch others. The connection created builds an intimate space that allows us to be vulnerable with the people we love. Tied into it is the urge to invite the viewer and audience to touch the artwork, so I have also been exploring texture in relation to the intimate. In exploring this theme, I have decided to use gold leaf to highlight the pseudo-religious celebration of touch, this was inspired by medieval and byzantine mosaics, and by Gustav Klimt's work, also looking at Russian orthodox iconography.
Holly Windebank - In the midst of a very distant and yet claustrophobic world, the idea of an 'Intimate Space' to view art seemed important for us to create. My practice involves looking into the intimate connections I have, with friends and housemates, and creating portraits that reflect this relationship. I am looking into what defines each of these individuals, something perhaps only those with a close understanding of them would know. Portraiture as a style is a very intimate form of art in itself as the artist must often study a face in great detail. As well as my individual pieces, Eliza, Ruby and I have collaborated on a separate piece solely for the exhibition. We looked into the space that surrounds us, Hyde Park, and examined our own personal intimacies and knowledge of it and then depicted this in each of our own styles. We created a large scale painting, with the intention of bringing it back into the space it represents. We then showcased the piece around Hyde Park, bringing our personal depiction of it to anyone that would happen to walk past. Many of the people who saw and commented on the art, recognised specifics in the piece, creating a connection/intimacy to the work for them too.
Jessica Carter - The title 'Intimate space' compliments my current project perfectly. It is automatically made Intimate because I have been observing growths found within nature very closely looking at their form, size, elevation, surface and colour. For this exhibition, I have machine embroidered onto abstracted brightly coloured oil and watercolour paintings I did from photographs I took of lichen which I found in their natural environment. I'm fascinated by the juxtaposition between the natural and man-made. I have integrated these two polar opposites with one another to see what effect this has on the viewer. I am curious about the space these naturally occurring growths are left in and how this may change after creating an amalgamation of them both. But, what I find most mesmerising is that 6-8% of the earth's surface is covered in lichen as they grow easily on any surface. Lichens grabbed my attention because of the endless colours, sizes and forms they come in. Every form is entirely unique and will never grow again. I wanted to emphasis this in my work. Each piece will never be able to be replicated In the same way again. Every brush-mark of paint is entirely different and every stitch pattern is entirely unrepeatable. Furthermore, the two sides of finding bright colours in nature excite me as we can sometimes be drawn to things that are poisonous e.g. yellow lichens but, still find them beautiful. For this exhibition, I have been inspired mainly by the work of Hannah Streefkerk and Sue Hotchkins two incredible female artists.
Laura Bull - My work explores the intimate space between the recognisable and unrecognisable, using colour to walk the line between abstraction and figuration. In taking time to paint the people I love and the moments I value, my practice itself has become intimate. Therefore, there is an element of irony in exposing this to public viewing. However, making the private become public interests me, particularly when working in tandem with the concept of recognition; obscurity and clarity. What in my paintings is distinguishable to you?
Ruby Dice - The exhibition title "Intimate Space' resonates perfectly to my practice, which is currently focusing on texture within portraiture. My aims are to capture the intimate quality of a face, disregarding the specificity of an identity. The ambiguity of identity has been an ongoing theme throughout my exploration this academic year, which perhaps is an unconscious reflection of the challenging times, we as students have been through during the covid crisis. The importance of colour and form can be clearly seen in each portrait, blurring the lines between familiarity and unfamiliarity. The texture left by oil paints helps me achieve the required effects, as layers of colour emit a more 3D quality, which I find quite interesting in my work. To further explore my practice in regards to this exhibition, Holly, Eliza and I, collaborated and produced a piece incorporating our individual outlooks on Hyde Park, and it's connotations. We used, acrylic, spray paint and oil pastels to capture a colourful lively depiction. To further analyse this idea of 'Intimate Space' we then carried our piece around Hyde Park, physically bringing our exhibition to members of the public. The juxtaposing intimacy of us engaging with strangers allowed us to get a taste of what a live exhibition might entail.
Suilven Hunter - Our exhibition title "Intimate Space" feels very poignant to my practice this specific point in its development. My current artwork aims to focus in on objects and aspects that recur in our day to day environments in 2021, elements of our being that perhaps have become habitual, and even go unnoticed. The unwelcome presence of discarded man-made objects in our immediate natural habitat is increasingly being regarded by many as inevitable, even normal, especially during the Covid crisis. Discarded items, unwanted, and undesirable for whatever reason, have become the centre point of my practise, as I aim to transform them to the extent that they become unrecognisable, and lose all previous associations. I demonstrate this process in my large oil painting 'Disposables of 2020' in which I have zoomed in on a discarded rubber glove, an ever-increasing phenomenon, but chosen not to focus on its repulsiveness as a littered item, but rather to highlight the beauty of the graduating blue tones, and the naturalistic qualities of the distorted rubber as it decomposes, and the flowing brushstrokes. I want to exploit the moment my paintings are seen, the momentary pause where the artwork is perceived in a neutral and ambiguous way, a small moment of sensory appreciation of what lies in front of you. I then hope that following this moment of mesmerisation, viewers will undergo the unsettling process of recognition and understanding. That what may initially seem visually attractive and even beautiful, can be contradicted by a more sinister and uncomfortable truth. I have chosen to work with themes that have arisen in my own 'intimate space' (currently my workplace) one of the many Covid vaccination centres in England. In this environment I have become preoccupied with observing how PPE is becoming a natural part of our lives, and the impact it has on our behaviours and nuances: how it is cultivating our identities, and our own 'intimate space'. I am also struck again by the unsuspected beauty and awe that can be found in mass amounts of objects within my workplace, my curiosity in this has led me to explore works of art by Chris Jordan, and even Andy Warhol's pop art through which he draws upon themes of mass consumption through print.
Wilhelmina Bedford - The title "Intimate Space" in the eyes of my practise, proposes the open-minded, sociable and familiar world that we live in. The idea of what surrounds me and what we have mentioned as "space" is certainly the fundamental idea of my practise. I want to demonstrate and incorporate within my work, everyday objects that bring us all together, what we are all familiar with and closely connect us with everyday life and to one another, something that in fact feels quite touching due to this particularly strange time we are living in. This idea started at the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic, when abruptly there wasn't the freedom to go out and explore. However, this lack of choice almost led to something far more interesting and motivating; the idea of appreciating what was around me. Hence why the theme of my practise surrounds commonplace still life objects that have all been effortlessly accessible to me, many in fact that appear in front of us all and we use every day. Still life has been a genre of art from around the 16th century and has been particularly popular due to its freedom to experiment with the arrangement of objects within a composition. My current artwork draws attention to kitchen objects, a place that brings people together and within a time of crisis can often lift people's spirits. The man-made objects I have focused on in one of my paintings include a teapot, teacup and jug. I aim to make these objects vibrant and exciting through my use of colours, tones and shadows that should contribute to the life of my painting. The background of my painting constitutes of two block colours (perhaps more unnaturalistic) splitting up the canvas to give a sense of enthusiasm and a different turn on traditional still life paintings. I believe Covid-19 has led us all to appreciate so much more, be grateful for what we have; something that is at the foundation of my current practise.