Delving deeper into Lost Is Found

We hear from three of the nine artists featuring in our next group exhibition Lost Is Found

Emily Speed explains some of the ideas behind her work…

I work out of The Royal Standard in Liverpool, a space that I’ve been in for around two years now. I use a lot of things to make work, including my body, but generally I like things with a previous life – found objects, often given a new purpose or form. The idea of shelter and the inhabitant is at the core of much of my work; how a person is shaped by the buildings they have occupied and how a person occupies their own psychological space. I am also interested in exploring the temporary and the transient through reference to architecture, its forms seem to represents the most poignant example of transience; man’s attempt to create permanence and legacy through building.

The small eggs in egg, nest, home, country, universe that feature as part of Lost is Found at Cornerhouse originally came from The Hunchback of Notre Dame – there are some incredibly vivid descriptions in the book of Quasimodo’s relationship with the cathedral that stuck with me. There was also something about the way in which we all occupy our own thoughts as a space or place to live. The eggs are cast solid because I wanted to say something about that private relationship with a place and to make them impenetrable.

When I was thinking about the body as building like this, Bosch’s Tree Man came to mind – a man with an egg shaped posterior. The perversity of adding architecture to an unstable thing such as an egg was the thing that I really liked about the idea; what use is a dwelling that its inhabitant can’t rely on?

Richard Proffitt discusses the inspiration behind his piece Louisiana Blues, Anywhere which features in the show…

The majority of the work I make takes inspiration from a number of different sources that collectively relate to ceremony, sacrifice and ritual. As the work is made, these interest points become intertwined and entangled to eventually form a hybrid.

Louisiana Blues, Anywhere was made for an exhibition at The Bluecoat in Liverpool called Global Studio, and the piece was created with the idea of a connection between what could be considered ‘global’ and ‘local’.

Initial inspiration came from an interest in the stereotypes and clichés of motorcycle culture that are particularly American, generally received through film and photography. The idea of a number of secular, underground organisations engaging in activities that could be considered dangerous, frightening or peculiar became interesting to me. In the work lies the idea that perhaps some of these goings on border on occult or mythical activity. This interest point was then crossed and compared to something more local, the notion of childhood and adolescence and alternative forms of gang activity present in suburban areas. This sort of activity presents a landscape of dereliction, a wasteland where various ruins, rubbish and discarded items are located. It is a hinterland where urban living meets rural, a suburban ghost town.

The moped is the sacrificed object, an object that is both symbolic of and at the centre of an imagined ritual. It sits between the idea of a motorcycle gang and the idea of a suburban wasteland. It exists as both a physically ‘burnt-out’ object and as a relic of a shamanistic ‘burning’. The work assumes a physical presence that is akin to that of a historic relic or museum piece.

However, the moped is decorated with objects and materials that may be perceived to be of some shamanistic importance but are perhaps too ridiculous to be considered authentic. The t-shirts bear stereotypical motorcycle imagery, more associated with consumerism than counter cultural activity. The fur is a synthetic mass-produced material that takes the place of an animal hide and the sheep skulls are crudely decorated with cheap paint, nail varnish and blu-tack. The materials instead aim to create an object that is to be re-discovered as a relic of a non-existent past or a post-apocalyptic future.

Eileen O’Rourke gives us an insight into her work…

My work investigates the fundamentals of the process of drawing. For over thirty years, the style of my drawings has been introspective mad doodles, which sometimes were refined but lacked evidence of any intellectual input or questioning.

The process of fundamentally investigating drawing exposed me to a whole array of questions: What am I doing? Whom am I doing it for? Why am I doing it? What audience is it aimed at? My examination of ‘Who am I’… ‘Who are we’…turned into… ‘What am I’; albeit a subtle change, I wanted to centre on something real, unquestionable, in fact an un-doubtable truth.

As a twin, I have always had a vague interest for biological make-up of the human body but whilst struggling with this identity question, the biological aspect of self, or rather I, became foremost and I researched twins and genetics. The ‘physical’ self seemed to be the only un-doubtable truth. My working-practice progressively explores this aspect of self.

Work produced for Lost is Found consists of a series of four hair pieces created solely for this exhibition. The notions behind this work comes from the relation between drawing and identity. Rather than using drawing as a tool to investigate, I use the inherent qualities which are encoding in strands of hair.

I came across this quote by Antonio Damasio who works as a neurobiologist “The entire fabric of a conscious mind is created from the same cloth-images generated by the brains map-making abilities”.

I am interested in the idea of internal mapping, rather than an external image. Through investigation and research I wanted to explore how the imagination involves art and what that means to have an identity. Human beings all have an imagination, not just artists; this led me to produce images that were not from my imagination. Most work is created from a mental notion within an artist’s mind, and by proxy could be influenced by biographical or social implications. For me the impulse to create begins with an autobiographical context drives my work. The hair is filled with memories, personal influences, personal attachment and a physical connection with an individual. By leaving room to think, for space, I’m able to work with the material and can somehow relate to all my other concerns, such as natural history, physics etc.

Lost Is Found opens in Gallery 1 on Sat 14 Jan. It is a show curated and developed by the Creative Stars, 19 talented young people from the Greater Manchester region. We hope to see you there.