Saturday, 26 March 2016

DECAPOD - Meet the Artists - Olivia Turner and Jo Lathwood

Ten years ago, as AirSpace Gallery was opening its doors for the first time, Stoke-on- Trent was a very different city. David Bethell and Andrew Branscombe opened the gallery as a space for artists to make and show new work, and as the city’s first non-commercial visual art gallery. Since opening, AirSpace has worked with hundreds of artists, both within the gallery and in the buildings and streets of the city and beyond.

Here we take the opportunity to reconnect with some of the fantastic artists and curators that we have built relationships with over the years, by asking them to nominate a rising star for inclusion in the Decapod exhibition. In this way we are continuing with our ethos of supporting the next generation of artists, something which has always been at the heart of what we do.

Ten Years, Ten Selectors, Ten Artists.

Olivia Turner - selected by Jo Coupe (2011)
Currently a Fine Art undergraduate at Newcastle University, Olivia Turner’s practice encompasses sculpture, video, performance and drawing. Her work is deeply rooted within the idea of knowledge gained through making. Turner’s presence is felt throughout her work, gaining elemental understandings of material and matter through the haptic, primitive validations of touch and observation.

The Clay That Spluttered the Mouth presents an installation of new video and sculptural works, in which Turner explores the communicative capacity and material memory of clay. The work focuses on the authenticity of touch, attempting to recover a direct experience of the world around us. Turner’s video works investigate a sculptural existence of language, whereby words are shaped into material, non-verbal forms. Her sculptures, through their mottled and fingered surfaces capture the remnants and qualities of experience. The unfired clay holds both a permanence and a temporality, exposing a fragility of sensation and ephemerality of material.


Jo Lathwood - selected by Rich White (2012)
Bristol-based, Jo Lathwood has developed a highly experimental, site-specific, play-filled sculpture and installation based practice, driven by a curiosity of how things are fabricated. Lathwood uses a wide variety of materials to educate and reveal forgotten, or sometimes re-appropriated, techniques. Her alchemical practice varies from experiments with making her own bronze to developing a methodology to cast with tree resin.

Site specific work also plays a key role in her practice. By exploring the history of a location she believes it is possible to introduce an audience to view a familiar landscape in a new context.

Play is essential to Lathwood’s work and development. It is often through experimentation that new ways of working can be found and developed. Regular themes in her work include natural phenomenon, structures and movement. 

Mark maker
bone china and graphite

Using traditional methods and materials Mark maker is a homage to Airspace gallery and Stoke on Trent.  A Pencil, a simple and ancient tool is the ideal symbol for potential.   Pencil leads are normally fabricated by mixing clay and graphite together and then extruded into thin cylinders.  Mark maker is a mixture of bone china and graphite.  After the exhibition, these 10 pencils will be given to Airspace Gallery to use for making future plans.

Easy come easy go
paper and graphite

Easy come easy go visualises the alchemic experiments of Antoine Lavoisier, who in 1772 managed to transform a diamond into pure graphite.  This ground breaking discovery proved that diamonds and graphite were actually the same element; carbon.  In turn, this started a race to create synthetic diamonds from lumps of graphite.  The prestige associated with diamonds is established in many cultures and the possibility to manufacture this prised object leads to question our understanding of value and wealth.  


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