The artists presented and discussed their recent exhibition In and Out of Sight at UH Galleries, in the context of their individual practices and wider group activity.
Catherine Bertola creates installations, objects and drawings that respond to particular sites, collections or historical contexts. In her new work she will use film and photographic processes to re-animate photographs of empty domestic interiors through the inclusion of her own presence.
Cath Campbell’s work encompasses drawing, photography, sculpture, digital printmaking, installation and large-scale architectural interventions. For UHGalleries she is making a new architectural work that will house an ongoing sound installation exploring traditions of social singing and collective voices, using found film footage to provide the lyrical content.
Jo Coupe’s work is rooted in a fascination with impermanence. From photography to installation, video, objects and sound, she creates works which investigate transience, precariousness and unpredictability. For In and Out of Sight Coupe will use the human voice to create an immersive sound installation.
Jennifer Douglas creates large-scale paintings, sculptures and installations to explore relationships between inherent function and renewed significance. A new series of paintings will explore the physicality of mark-making and reference the working environments of heavy and light industry and their painterly equivalents within the history of modern and contemporary art.
This group of independent female artists all have their own established successful careers, but come together to exhibit alongside each other and discuss their work together. This form of working together does not have a name as such - they are not collaborating and are not a collective, but support each other and work together on exhibitions. There are links between their work, both formally and conceptually, but these are not forced to produce coherent themed exhibitions. It seems that the group trust each other and know that the work will gel together in the way that they co-operate so well together as a group.
I do not think it is a coincidence that the artists are all of a similar age and have families. Yes, their individual practices have been affected by such factors, but I am eager to refrain from dwelling on these circumstances for too long. I feel the work deserves to be discussed and talked about for what it is, and I do not get the impression that any of the artists are making work about being a mother or because they are a mother.
Naturally the topics of discussion did include gender and parenting, and I began to think about whether this would have been the same if it were a group of 4 artists who were in the same circumstances but were male. Would we have been asking them how they manage their working lives as fathers? Indeed, would their practice have shifted since having children?