Thursday, 3 March 2016

'Walking Towards The Mountain' by Laura McGlinchey at Grays School of Art!

'Walking Towards The Mountain' is the culmination of a year spent in the studio by Graduate in Residence at Grays, Laura McGlinchey. I say a year but its probably closer to two months for all the actual free time she's had. In between making enough to pay the rent, eating and sleeping it doesn't really leave a lot of time for making new art. But somehow Laura managed to fight through and has completed a rather stunning body of work. 

Continuing where her degree show left off (spy her work here and here) the new works expand upon her process intensive method for producing these vast 3 dimensional slabs which somehow rest on the wall without bringing it down. It wasn't til I spent an evening fiming with Laura as she prepared for the show that I really started to understand the pieces, how they come to be and what goes into making them. Hours spent ripping up cardboard into strips, constructing frames, layering up and adding colour not to mention leaving paint to dry on plastic sheets to get those luminous flakes are all part of the process. Its only when I saw Laura moving about the studio, adding bits, chipping away at others and finally moving a large piece to the floor that I understood how much energy goes into her work. The pieces hold their own physichal presence, especially the larger ones but this is ultimatley reflected in the process of their creation.

It was a great suprise to see the finished works on the opening night, many of the colours I'd seen had changed dramatically, bare cardboard now looked like fluorescent candy while the corner canvas had become a dark moody slab of earth, infused with that incredible hue's of blue and purple. Also the giant piece I'd helped lift off the studio wall a few weeks earlier has become a monolithic totem, sitting upright on the wall, almost too large for it! I spent a bit of time filming the new work both from a far and in close detail, picking out the lines and shapes which almost morph before the camera. Each piece looks unique even though they've come from the same space and shows that all the hours Laura spent stressed out in the studio have paid off. The use of cardboard to create these layers could be likened to geographic layers which is an analogy I came back to when I noticed flakes of paint sitting on the shelf like edge of the big painting, broken off and left to drift off on their own. I struck me that the work is changing all the time, morphing and evolving with its environmen, a unique quality which made me appreciate the work even more.

Its always great to get into the nitty gritty with art and Laura has been a real champion. 'Walking Towards The Mountain' will be closed and the works will be off to their new homes but ill hopefuly have some good footage that highlights the beauty and struggle thats gone into each piece which ill share as soon as. I guess when your battling with yourself there's not so much a winner or a loser but at least Laura has something to show for her battles! Check out more of her work here and her VA Unit profile here. Thanks for the hang times Laura!