2011 British School in Athens, residency
2010 - PhD The representation of youth in sculpture, Manchester Metropolitan University
2008 European Ceramic Work Centre, Herzogenbosch
2004-6 Irfaran - Travel and Work
1998-99 ICI Visual Arts Fellowship, Teesside
1993 Henry Moore Sculpture Fellowship, Winchester School of Art
The research I will to conduct at the British School at Athens is rooted in my current studio practice and a recognised gap in critical knowledge in the field outlined below.
In the cultural context of the late 20th and early 21st Century which is recognised as a post-industrial and digitised leisure society that regards itself as perpetually young, youth is primarily understood as a period located between late childhood and the commencement of adulthood; a period of vulnerable identities, loneliness, early responsibilities, tough competition and the potential of early success through the media (eg Facebook, X Factor).
I wish to explore how youth as a period of uncertainty and unstable identity and sexual ambiguity is represented through sculpture.
My own studio practice has increasingly been drawn towards notions of play and youth, both literally (eg Waiting Girls, 2009) and performatively (Free Play, 2007). During last year’s residency at the European Ceramic Work Centre in Den Bosch I commenced a series of figurative sculptures that express the shifting identities of youth and coloured ceramic cubes that fit to the size of young adult hands. During the international artist residency at IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin) in July and August this year, I will work with young adults to perform a series of play sculptures.
The portrayal of youth as a time of vulnerability is pertinent in today’s British urban context where curfews, increased commercialisation of ‘public spaces’ and ‘youth dispersal orders’ add to overtly negative images of youth. The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester has asked me to put together an exhibition plan and sculpture proposal for their forthcoming developments in the adjacent park that focuses on youth.
Though there has been a tendency in 20th century art, to depict man as analysing, broken or destructive and to finally break with the classical canon of humanistic idealism, I think, there is an urgent need to at least try to imagine the complete. During the Hellenistic and the Classical period youth was celebrated through sculpture and pottery. Whilst in Athens I would like to study sculptures that mark the transition from child to youth and sculptures that “idealise” and “celebrate” youth in the collections of the National Archaeological Museum ( i.e. Artemisian Jockey; Boy), the Benaki Museum ( i.e. figurine of a seated school girl; figurine of boy with bag of knuckle bones; funerary statue of youth) and other relevant museums.