Litsa Aris

The work of Litsa Aris focuses on strategies for ecological survival in the context of global climate change. More recently, such concerns have interwoven with a personal understanding of health and ageing over the last few decades, aligning toward a creative investigation of acceptance through focussing on the wider world.

Litsa is currently working on a series of site-specific interventions entitled ‘Archive of Impermanent Strategies’. The first of these concerned symbiosis between tree species – the outcome being a series of co-dependent tree fragments exhibited in a half-renovated Edwardian glasshouse. Caught between death and decay, the uniquely intricate natural forms could only have come about by growing together. A more recent work takes inspiration from entropy as well as decay: when a closed system breaks down it inevitably makes way for a new one to evolve, whether that be on the scale of ecological relationships, societal infrastructure, the family, or the individual.

Although predominantly focused on site-specific projects, Litsa also produces other works in a variety of media, including cast objects and reliefs, printmaking, photography, and film.


@sistashoesoeur

Robin Bray-Hurren

Using traditional embroidery techniques, cyanotype printing, patchwork and appliqué, Robin Bray-Hurren explores queer and non-normative bodies, identities and histories through textiles.

Working by hand is central to Robin’s practice. Through quiet, intimate detail, he invites people to get up close and spend time with images and objects. The effort spent in making the work underlies the fact that his subjects are also worth care and attention. The repetitive nature of hand sewing provides a meditative space for work to develop slowly, with the hand of the maker always present as a reminder of the human lives integral to the work.

Robin is also interested in exploring the ways that societal constructs overlap and interact with the less defined boundaries of the biological world, using visual art to examine various methods of understanding and organising our world. He seeks to make work that challenges inequalities in a way that recognises the diversity of experience within every audience.

@inkysloth


Philippa Clarke

Grubby fingers and muddy boots are indicative of Philippa Clarke’s studio practice and her investigations into contemporary landscape. Frustrated by binary thinking, she uses the tonality of her paintings and drawings to express a more nuanced version of the world. 

Having studied at the Royal Agricultural College in the early 1990’s, Clarke maintains a keen interest in how land is used and managed. She is curious as to how the countryside is shaped by those who own it, work it, live in it, and encounter it. Clarke’s ongoing research focuses on the areas where art and agriculture come together. By paying attention to this intersection, Clarke prompts questions about farming, food production, and the way we regard rural life.

In her Dairy Farm series Clarke rejects the artifice created by traditional representations of landscape, drawing on her own photographic source material gathered on farm visits throughout the year. After selecting images based on complexity, degrees of abstraction, and narrative possibilities, Clarke translates her photographs into large-scale charcoal drawings.  These depart from photographic exactitude by employing energetic mark making, tonal intensity and a sheer enjoyment of the expressive possibilities of charcoal – the most ancient of drawing materials. The resulting work provides rarely seen views into the workings of a British dairy farm, confronting the viewer with the bestial physicality of the dairy cows as they relate to one another and the agricultural environment.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Clarke produced a series of drawings and writings that documented daily life in extraordinary times, recently published as The Heavenly Moment between the Argument and the Wasp Sting (2022).

www.philippaclarke.com

@philippajclarke

Janet Dorey

Exploring ideas of light and space in a post-human city, Janet Dorey works across painting, sculpture and printmaking to explore anthropomorphic organic matter. Using combinations of analogue and digital technology, her abstracted imagery repeats across multiple layers and surfaces – matte, glossy, transparent – their focus emphasised and offset by shimmering effects of colour and reflected light. Dorey focuses on visual plasticity as an integral quality to be developed in the studio. Dorey also works with found images. Retired books are playfully overlaid with an otherworldly aesthetic that opens existing texts, diagrams, and photographs to new interpretations. Blurring the emphasis between two and three dimensions, Dorey attempts to re-compose associations between form and colour, slicing into images and presenting them as ambiguous suspensions. Drawing on influences as diverse as post-modern architecture, microscopic cell structures and matter in near-orbit space, Dorey often works in series.


@jadoreartstudio


Lena Finn

Lena Finn is an artist living and working in rural West Sussex. Her current body of work is an intimate exploration of her dual role as artist and subject matter, exploring the conceptual dialogue between the two. Although the bodies in Finn’s drawings and prints are her own, they are not traditional self-portraits. The figure is cropped, fragmented, exaggerated, often to the point of excluding the head. Such proximity and connection with the body-as-subject is both familiar and uncomfortable – an unsettling quality that is heightened by the use of dark tonal materials.

These intense, honest, yet anonymous drawings form part of a sensitive process of self-reflection that questions themes of female objectification and the male/female gaze. Finn’s scrutiny appears to break down the female figure as she questions how our bodies define us as women, especially in the context of the long-standing tradition of women as model or muse for the male artist and audience.  The work examines notions of beauty and desirability, addressing its attention to the perceptions of the aging female body within a culture that favours the youthful.


@lenafinn.art

Annie Hardy

At the heart of Annie Hardy’s painting practice is a combination of observation and recollection. These processes are transcribed as a stream of consciousness before coalescing into what Hardy calls ‘abstract memory maps’. These retrospective diaries develop in intuitive and spontaneous ways, emerging as both sets and series. Through processes of addition and subtraction, multiple layers of acrylic paint suggest mysterious landscapes of memory accumulating.

Time spent living abroad, in Australia and Africa, is reflected in a rich colour palette, which adds another dimension to the work. The resulting images are both curious and familiar, provoking a visual sensation that is often beyond words and rational thought.


@inkysloth

Ruth Heaton

Ruth Heaton’s work explores the perception of spatial complexity and terrain-as-composition across drawing, painting, sculpture, and installation. Combining the abstract and figurative in an exploration of form, space, and colour, Heaton’s approach reflects an ongoing dialogue between precise visual placement and intuitive mark making.

Heaton intentionally questions boundaries between two- and three-dimensional work, in that both sculptures and paintings are informed by disrupted grid systems and fragmented perspective. References to landscape, and the embodiment of her experience of walking through the northern mountains, permeates the work. Seasonal variations provide a lens through which to explore kaleidoscopic abstractions of colour and shape.

Having built up a sense of rhythm through the repetition of compositional structures, the paintings nonetheless provoke a perceptual ambiguity, leaving the viewer free to navigate an uncertain path through the spatial complexity of each image.

www.ruthheaton.com
@rutheheaton



Chrstine Howell

Christine Howell is a contemporary textile artist. The layers of wool that ground her abstract compositions are the result of an engagement with the meditative process of feltmaking, in which paper, textile, paint and thread build up as complex combinations of markmaking and surface detail. Simple raw materials become transformed into intense, minimal works in which a repetition of marks and texture emphasises a serene, elemental quality.

Howell’s work is inspired by expansive landscapes in which one’s thought can extend and where anything seems possible. Her work seeks to convey the atmosphere of  this ‘infinite possibility’, openness and awe. She is also intrigued by smaller details of the everyday and her work merges these contrasting perspectives with its essential ambiguity.

The focused time spent in the process of making and capturing an atmosphere in the textured monochrome is an important focus of her work. The work invites the viewer to take a closer inspection of its potential meaning.


@christinehowell99

Sarah Johns

The work of Sarah Johns challenges us to reconsider the material qualities inherent in the relationships we attribute to our experience of the world. Properties of different materials are contested in this process: fluid forms (derived from tears or Suminagashi marbling) are replicated in the non-fluid medium of woodcut printmaking; solid forms (such as rocks and stone) are created through drawing, and an ink wash automatism, derived from the Surrealist practice of Decalcomania. Used in conjunction, they create ambiguity and disorientation in images that are both microscopic and cosmic in scale, suggesting an interconnectedness between things we traditionally view as separate. The use of automatism combined with the quality of repetition of the woodcut print allows for different interactions to emerge.

Sarah’s work also explores deep time. She makes work about forgotten, imagined or hidden stories, often allegorical, using archetypal symbols to convey narrative. The work distils universal ideas into simple forms and patterns. Woodcut printing is central to this approach: a medium that creates a singular effect and which has been used historically to convey folk histories, esoteric concepts, as well as to inform and incite. 


@skjohns.01

Jemima Moore

Jemima Moore is an artist working primarily in oils to create large abstract paintings. The paintings are unplanned. The first brush mark leads to the second, which leads intuitively to the third. Sections of the paintings are built up and overpainted in turn. Figurative objects appear and are then obscured. Areas of space are constructed, then constricted and conflated with the flatness of the canvas. For the artist, painting becomes an arena to enact a state of flux and becoming.

Space and narrative is constructed through colour and rhythm. Thinner constructing lines are employed to delineate areas of textured colour and areas of flat colour are used to create space within highly worked surfaces. The interplay between colours creates depth within the surface of the canvas.

The paintings are supported by smaller works on paper, for which the artist uses oil pastels. These are experiments in composition, colour and forms and inform the larger works indirectly.

The final paintings are often exhibited on unstretched canvas. The artist aims to draw the viewers’ attention to the materiality of the paintings and to create works which respond to the particular environment of the exhibition space.

@jemima_moore_


Chantal New

The work of Chantal New negotiates tensions between presence and absence. Working predominantly in drawing and collage, she critically examines sites of controlled visuality – such as the archive and the prison - through methods of erasure, distancing, and close observation. Chantal’s subject is expressed in the gaps and deliberate omissions within her images. She communicates through what is hidden or unseen, raising questions about the power structures implied by what is visible. Using both digital and physical photographic archives as departure points, found images are deconstructed both physically and conceptually. Existing texts and images are appropriated and combined to suggest new readings, leveraging the complex interaction between language and image.

The minimal yet emotionally charged works offer a sardonic view of the world highlighting the unjust hierarchies of our social structures. The politics of the everyday are examined both analytically and poetically, as part of a critical dialogue with the systems and structures that surround us. Using both a representational and conceptual approach, the work reflects Chantal’s efforts to find meaning in a dramatically changing and unstable world.

@chantal.new


Sylvia Radford

Sylvia’s work engages with notions of nostalgia and belonging. As a biracial British-Singapore Chinese artist who has lived both in South-East Asia and in the UK, she meshes her varied life experiences in her work, exploring a hybrid identity about the feeling of cultural ambiguity that arises from being caught between worlds. Her subject matter engages her generational inheritance, globalisation, and her experience of cultural osmosis. 

Images of fleeting memory, contingent on information that is variegated and constantly edited is key. She develops ‘portraits’ that capture the strangeness and fragments of a remembered subjectivity, framed around the unreliability of memory. The re-telling distances us further from objective truth. She is interested in the familiarity of family photographs and exploring appropriation of imagery and its re-contextualisation. In shifting and reframing the imagery, she takes ownership of the narrative.

Her approach is investigative and she often works on several pieces at the same time, articulating possibilities of narrative and composition, provoking avenues for expression. Her work highlights an emotional content beyond what the eye perceives in the physical image. Her paintings are also about exploring the vocabulary of paint. In the Park Run series, she experiments with colour keys and paint application to create alternative narratives.

@sylvia.radford


Katie Sonnenberg

                There was a young artist called Katie

                Her thoughts and emotions felt weighty

                To give herself worth

                And purpose on earth

                She exclaimed her feelings with great glee


@katie_in_studio



West Dean College of Arts & Conservation
West Dean, Chichester, West Sussex
United Kingdom  PO18 0QZ