Exhibition Artist Talk
“Materiality draws attention sideways”, Marte Johnslien, Artistic Research Week 2020.
Marte Johnslien presents new sculptures in process and gives an artist talk based on her recent investigations into the practice of late British artist Gillian Lowndes. The works will be presented in an upcoming trio exhibition in FOLD gallery, London, with Gillian Lowndes, Lydia Gifford and Marte Johnslien.
“If the environment is defined as the substrate of human culture, materiality is a term that applies more evenly to humans and non-humans. Materiality is a rubric that tends to horizontalize the relations between humans, biota and abiota. It draws human attention sideways, away from an ontologically ranked Great Chain of Being and toward a greater appreciation of the complex entanglements of humans and non-humans.”
Jane Bennett,Vibrant Matters, page 112.
In her PhD project Circumstantial Sculpture (spring 2020), Johnslien investigated the significance of combining conflicting materials in ceramic works, based on the technique steel-reinforced ceramics which she developed during her Research Fellowship. In her written reflection, Johnslien stated that she had developed the technique without reference to any other artists who use steel in the construction of ceramic sculptures. Later that spring, she was pointed to the experimental work of the late British artist Gillian Lowndes (1936-2010).
Gillian Lowndes’ work can be said to be bricolages of ceramic and non-ceramic materials which the artist fuses through firing the pieces in a kiln. She combines metals, clay, fiber glass and found objects in small, mesmerizing sculptures. The works immediately became a source of inspiration and investigation for Johnslien and offered a way forward in her research of ceramic sculpture.
In February 2021, FOLD gallery in London will open an exhibition with Gillian Lowndes, Marte Johnslien and the British artist Lydia Gifford. During Artistic Research Week, Johnslien will present works in process for this exhibition, and give an artist talk about Gillian Lowndes and what she believes is a mutual material approach between the two of them.