MA Fine Art graduate Peggy Cozzi talks about forming Project V, a collaboration with other Masters graduates and their residency in the CMR Gallery in Cornwall.

“I’ve always been interested in movement and the body but I have never shown works that have actually been in motion during the show.  Although, I did make a piece with Larissa (a fellow MA Fine Art graduate) where we rotated a rectangular canvas throughout the show, there was an element of mischief to it. My work is based in painting but also kinetic painting and there are elements of influence of mainly two artists Jason Martin who’s about gesture and the performative and then Bridget Riley who’s all about the optical. I’m also trying to link painting to performance, I’ve been involved with collaborations with dancers which began during my MA and have continued afterwards also.

What made me decide to do an MA? Well I have a child with a disability so I have been working on getting a program implemented for him, so that had taken up quite a lot of my time.  I continued with my practice throughout and I got selected for a show about art made by mothers and that was a real boost.  I was the only painter in the show which was also a big boost, I thought maybe I have got something to say.  There are all these things that I wanted to be part of my work and around this time I began to think that there was a way of opening up my practice and developing it further so I decided I would do an MA. The work that I do now is very different.  Before it was very centred on painting on canvas and  it was figurative, I used photographs but there were very separate. But the MA helped to bring all of the aspects of my work together. Probably not in a way I would have foreseen. It helped me think about the performative aspect and the crossover between movement and sculpture and installation as well as painting. But it was a difficult time, I have to say it wasn’t easy.  I found it very hard to settle in and I had to change supervisors a couple of times.

I came up with the reasons why we (Project V) should show our work together and made the proposal to CMR Gallery which resulted in this residency and exhibition. It’s a membership project so you become a member when you take part in their programme and so they will have a members’ show which we can take part in but it would be great to come back and do a short term piece.  I think what I’d like to do is tour this show that we have here. I’d like to see this group; Project V develop and grow and I feel this has been a great project with an outcome that has the potential to go elsewhere.

It’s a privilege really to be curating this.  I really love all the work in the show and I wouldn’t have been able to write that proposal without caring about the work.  Working with other artists there can be friction but we are respectful and I certainly find other peoples input very valuable. I mean I did the initial concept and writing but when it came to installing the show it was a collaborative effort.

Actually that’s another thing I got out of the MA , I did the curatorial unit and at first I thought it wouldn’t be something I would like to be involved in but that it would be interesting to know more about how the process works. It was probably the key thing for me, because a lot of it was about making it happen which I have a lot of experience in. It’s great when you do something like this and you realise that you can do it.”

What is your One Piece of Advice?

“Make the most of your peers, really, make good contacts.  It’s a tough world out there and you need all the support you can get.  Your peers will have a similar experience and understand where you are coming from and can be an amazing resource.”