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WITHIN AND BETWEEN: Women, Bodies, Generations, MA Illustration Course Leader's new exhibition

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The exhibition is a collaboration of work from three female artists; Clair Chinnery, Janice Howard and Lisa Richardson and BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design students, open from 1st April 2019, at Oxford Brookes University. The exhibition will also tour to TheGallery AUB in 2020.

‘Within and Between: Women, Bodies, Generations’ considers the public and private worlds of women on the cusp of change measured through life-altering events, and points out the ‘in-between generation’ from being a child to a mother.

The exhibition explores the physical transformations of motherhood which are not the only transitions that occur during pregnancy, and that further changes await. It is through such processes that selfhood is often sacrificed to the more urgent drive to ‘nurture’ the next generation whilst ‘negotiating’ the deteriorations of the previous one. It probes that, at times physiological changes experienced across extended families collide creating a complex terrain characterised by the ‘metamorphoses’ of puberty, menopause, illness and death and that these uncertain territories can test the strongest of bonds.

With this ‘landscape’ as the backdrop to their current work Chinnery, Howard and Richardson have chosen to bring together varied practices to explore themes and expand the discourses of ‘intergenerationality’ and ‘autoethnography’, examining how these are addressed by contemporary art, literature and thought.

For Within and Between, each artist has produced new works which reflect not only a diversity of experience, but also different approaches to thinking, making and dissemination.

Chinnery uses methods of taxonomy and analysis to reconsider the physicality of human bodies as they emerge, grow, mature and die. She makes objects and images informed by material residues left behind by such rites of passage.

In her film and video works, Howard engages with philosophical thinking, translating and embodying complex ideas through poetic juxtaposition using footage and text sourced from differing times, locations and contexts.

Richardson merges found and fabricated elements to make objects ‘activated’ by performance. Sometimes beautiful, often absurd, elements of her work take on playful and—at times—theatrical qualities through which women’s varied attachments across and between generations are referenced and enacted.

Three AUB BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design students were also involved in this exhibition.

Namie Ma Delgado is a third-year student, and one of the three students involved. She tells us why she joined the project; “I was very intrigued by Lisa’s work and approach to fine art as a maker and performer. When I was taking Visual Arts in High School, I studied performance art out of my own curiosity and filmed a piece I made. I wanted to revisit that side of art that I don’t usually get to delve into in my course, so I thought that collaborating with Lisa was the perfect opportunity.

We presented designs based on her exhibition’s themes, such as motherhood and attachment, and then proceeded to create quite experimental pieces. It was very interesting to hear Lisa’s ideas for our separate pieces and see how they slowly materialized into wearable artwork. I look forward to seeing how she will incorporate them into her performance art in the future”.

Another BA (Hons) Costume and Performance student working on the exhibition is Maia Jordan, who has produced works such as a three-woman dress to span the generations of women in a family.

“I’ve loved working on this project, it’s been an eye-opening, enriching and collaborative experience which has made me consider how we can challenge the boundaries of traditional costume and clothing construction by combining technical skills and fine art concepts. The process has made me realise that despite doing a costume degree, my work is not limited to purely making costumes but can also be used to express more conceptual ideas.

This was particularly relevant to one of my pieces of work I created for this exhibition; the 3-woman dress. Unlike traditional costumes, this piece was constructed to fit 3 women in at the same time, symbolising both the physical and emotional connection between women across 3 different generations. I also created a bird helmet which ties themes of protection and nature together. It symbolises the protection that mothers provide to their children, whilst echoing the cycles of life that exist in nature which mothers play an integral role in.”

The third BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design student, Kristina Raidma, focuses her work around using waste less, reusable materials, creating a huge set of fabric boxing gloves for the exhibition.

She explains her involvement in the exhibition: “I absolutely loved the collaborative nature of this project. Working with Lisa Richardson was such an inspiring and valuable experience. From designing and making to curating the actual exhibition, it allowed me to observe the process as a whole.

The main goal was to create a prop item, which would fit the concept of the exhibition and would be suitable for use in a performance. Representing motherly protection the choices for colour, theme and fabrics were feminine yet strong, tied together with a humorous viewpoint. In my work I try to reflect waste less principles by up cycling and using leftover materials.

For the Within and Between exhibition I made a pair of absurd and oversized boxing gloves by re-purposing scraps of leather, off-cuts of semiprecious stones and unused fabric leftovers from previous projects. “

TIME LAPSE OF EXHIBITION SET UP BY JONATHAN HUMPHREY

The exhibition will be taking place from the 2nd April – 1st May, 9am -5pm at Oxford Brookes University. (Glass Tank Gallery, Abercrombie Building, Headington Campus).

Find out more about studying MA Illustration at AUB here.

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