Every year new artists are selected from the huge amount of recent and past graduates to take up the position of graduate in residence at Grays School of Art. The graduate programme gives the artists a chance to create a new body of work while accessing the facilities at Grays and also gives them a bit of hands on teaching experience. Past residents have included Caitlin Hynes, Laura McGlinchey, Sophie Will and Julie Ann Simpson.
This year saw Ane Smith and Harmony Bury take up the posts and creating a fine selection of works. Anes statement reads "My creative practice is centred on the use of Folklore as a means of observing a society. I've drawn upon my childhood in Norway and Scotland and their folklore, incorporating the knowledge and emotions instilled by these tales to explore ceremony and ritual within the context of my own identity. I have been inspired by the Norse mythology surrounding the Rowan tree, as it is believed that this is the tree from which the first woman was created, and the Ash tree, the first man". I'm unfamiliar with Anes work but the combination of elements with her hand made garments creates an interesting mix of materials and history.
I remember seeing Harmonys work at the degree show last year and really liked her use of insect wings and plant material to create these delicate sculptures and photographic works. Her new work continues in this vein but steps away from the softness of previous works and instead looks at the more defensive tactics employed by plants and insects. Her statement reads "My work revolves around the relationship between humans and nature. I use natural materials such as insect wings, thorns, feathers and eggshells, objects which embody transformation, biodiversity and protection. I aim to make work that highlights our reliance on the natural world and emphasise the control and dominion humans enforce over other species". Certainly the use of different natural materials is interesting to see and I loved the hair unfurling from the blue, quite a strange and slightly unsettling sight.
Sadly the show was only up for a few days but you can check out some snaps of the work below and previous Grays shows here.