Close to Direct Sunlight

Rebuilding community post - COVID

Our world is constantly moving and as we exist within it, we too are in constant motion - until the pandemic started. For many of us everything changed. We became hermits in our own homes, and for the first time in what feels like forever, we stopped moving. It was daunting, the uncertainty weighed like heavy fog, but slowly it started to show us something new. Even though we weren’t moving things were changing, the time to stop and think had produced a desire for something fresh, to envision a different world. To engage directly with the imminent threat of climate emergency, systemic racism and contaminated governments that pollute the world around us.


Trying to face the looming threats against our future, as young artists we realised how hard it was to experience this alone. So we started to work together to create a space in which we could challenge our feelings and lived reality. We want to step back into the sunlight, to see the dawn of a new world, standing directly in the glow that so often tries to blind us. For all of us involved in this project, this exhibition is about vision, exploring the power we have to create something new while we unpack the world around us. The pandemic highlighted a need for change and a reinforcement of community. Through our work we hope to form a new one by engaging with our viewers and fellow artists.


Our focus in this exhibition is on collaboration, as a group of artists we will be creating collective work that explores both our own art and current outlooks. But our aim for connection goes beyond our singular group. The collaborative work will extend to the gallery viewers themselves, large sheets and tapestries will be hung for people to draw and embellish on, there will be seating areas, dens, and communal spaces to encourage interaction. For us, this exhibition is about opportunity, it stands to create a community that is welcoming to everyone no matter who they are. 


We want to challenge the traditional structure of a gallery space, where the viewer often plays a passive role as they observe the work rather than being invited to engage. For the opening night we will be hosting a music program of DJ sets and live performances led by some of our artists and young musicians, including Amber Uttley, Stella Howe, Jake Wheatley, Gus Binnersley and others. The performances will also be accompanied by collaborative video, lighting and projection art. Music has always been an incredible force for unity, we see this as a chance for people to experience live music and the kind of public interaction that has been so sorely missed.


Working alongside Studio 18 has given us the space and freedom to fully enact our vision, whilst being provided with incredible support and resources, collaborating like this has been especially important to us as young artists. It re-enforces the idea of community and allows us to be proactive and engaged with the actual construction of our show, the space also allowing us to expand our range of media as artists to explore light, sound and installation. 


The world is often suffocating, but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that we have more power than we imagine. As young people we can define our future, we sow the seeds of a world we want to bloom and the more we nourish our freedom to create the further our horizons stretch. This exhibition celebrates the power of unity. We encourage you to join us in exploring who we are and the community we can create.


The glare of reality can be blinding, but the more we choose to see the more we glow ourselves. And as we glow, the closer we come to being direct sunlight. 


Article by Stella Howe


Some of our artists discuss their work below:


Thom Deane: ‘Greatly inspired by my working-class upbringing, I create works aiming to challenge the ethics of the middle classes, commonly viewing them as the bourgeoise invader. Through the chosen delivery method of rudimentary iconography, the sweeping act of gentrification is commonly approached in an attempt at dismantling.’


Molly Reeve: ‘I am an Art Foundation student specialising in sculpture, usually involving wood carving, plaster and latex. I use both earthy and industrial materials and my work is often very instinctual and playful. My sense of touch is an important component in my work, operating through reciprocal engagement between myself and materials which I use to create my own visual language and mythology. I often explore themes related to our sense of place in relation to the natural world, the secrets and memories the earth holds, our lasting impressions on the land and traces of human presence.’


Jimmy Croft: 'I am an artist who enjoys painting as an expressive release and as a form of therapy. My work is a constantly evolving conversation from confronting fears and worries on some days to celebrating life on others. I work intuitively, practicing sporadic mark making in combination with techniques I've picked up from art school. I enjoy conjuring up bold, playful paintings and wish to encourage others in using art as a release - being free from fears and judgement. I am also half of the dynamic duo Dangervitch and Neptune; creators of surrealist short films.’


Evie-Lola Minney: ‘Studying with a particular fondness of ‘concept’ at art school has given me a lot to think about, with the likes of social history and anthropology regularly aiding my practical endeavours. I am one half of art duo, Dangervitch and Neptune, where we aim to confront the boundaries of normality and encourage open-mindedness via time-based media. These ideas tend to evolve naturally into surreal film, sculpture, drawing and written word. Peace.’


 Artists Include:


Thom Deane – painting, textiles.

Amber Uttley – graphics, photography, sculpture.

Gus Binnersley – drawing, photography, multi -media.

Akira Roe – drawing, painting.

Albie Lucas – drawing, painting.

Chloe Cop – painting, multi -media.

Evie-Lola Minney  – drawing, film, sculpture.

Harry Lunnon – graphics.

Jimmy Croft – painting, film.

Izzy Richardson – multi - media.

Jake Wheatley – photography.

Molly Reeve – drawing, multi - media.

Charlotte Odowd – sculpture, multi - media.

Oscar Barton – graphics, textiles.

Stella Howe – video, multi – media.

Zoe Pine – sculpture, casting, multi - media.

Grace Armshaw – painting,drawing

Tom Dalby – textiles, drawing.