Wherewithal is a showcase exhibition that brings together four diverse, emerging artists who are all completing a year-long Acme studio award for recent graduates.
Alison Ballance graduated in 2015 and is the holder of the Goldsmiths MFA Studio Award. Her deft organisation of hand woven textiles, print works, watercolour drawings and texts, is a restrained yet emphatic way of talking about doubt. In the new body of work Ballance’s practice focuses on the act of becoming, and the condition of the works’ production through quickly made drawings of half-remembered dreams, imagery from leftover video stills and written notes made to expand at some perpetually hypothetical future moment.
After graduating with an MA from The Slade School of Art in 2015, Rutie Borthwick was selected for the The Adrian Carruthers Studio Award. Her practice focuses on how the human form in its entirety is a receptor – how the tactile can be a powerful trigger for the fundamental preverbal emotions and desires we have from birth. Borthwick creates a new immersive den-like structure, similar to one perhaps produced in childhood but made from fabric and latex in pinky flesh tones. This space of protection and nurture for audiences to explore, is constructed to also be viewable from the street. The large glass window becomes a space where the protective skin is peeled back, leaving us vulnerable to onlookers, but also perhaps a welcome possibility for exposure.
On completing his MA at Central Saint Martins, London in 2015 Hugo Brazão was awarded the Helen Scott Lidgett Studio Award. Brazão has long been fascinated with the imaginative possibilities of pareidolia – a psychological phenomenon wherein the mind’s eye wilfully perceives and interprets a familiar pattern of something where none exists, such as the man in the moon or animals in cloud formations. His work at PEER inverts this notion. This time he starts with a found photograph of a family holidaying at the beach, which is then analysed and dissected into infinitesimal parts. These tiny fragments, which bear no apparent relation to their original source, are the basis for new work.
Harriet Foyster completed her BA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts in 2015, and is the recipient of their Studio Award. At the core of her practice is an examination of the notion of labour, and how it is understood, measured and rewarded in the context of late capitalist economics, which pervade our everyday lives. Adopting the language of self-improvement and life-coaching, Foyster's new installation playfully proposes that success is a ‘private religion’ and asks us to 'question where control, responsibility and desire for progress really lies’.
Acme’s Residency and Awards Programme was established up in the late 1990s to help alleviate the increasing pressure on fine art graduates to find ways to live, work and sustain a practice in the capital. The Programme works in partnership with a range of art schools to support artists through the transition from college to professional practice.
Julia Lancaster, Acme’s Senior Residency & Awards Manger has commented that; “Research shows that the majority of artists will need additional support for their practice for a minimum of six years post-graduation. It can then take between 15 to 20 years for an artist to become sufficiently established to make a living from their art. Acme’s partnership with PEER aims to provide a crucial component of the support needed for these emerging artists to successfully progress from education to professional practice. It gives recent graduates a rare opportunity to showcase their work at an internationally renowned gallery – one whose ethos is synonymous with Acme’s own.”