Celebrating our Social Club.
On a Monday afternoon at the Woodlane social club, you'll find me appreciating afternoon tea and learning to dance. This weekly meet has become a ritual, where friends catch up, and life is enjoyed.
It's not rare to find places like these all over our country, where elderly communities come together to organise daily activities. The club is a special and positive place, and its doors are open to all ages.
These events occur often beyond the knowledge of the general public, and I think that everyone is missing out on a great deal of fun. There is an etiquette in these tea dances that I deeply appreciate and isn’t often found in the way my generation socialises.
The Woodlane social club is located on the same road as our art school, and although it is walked past by many a student on a daily basis, very few people know what goes on inside. I wanted to make work that celebrates the Woodlane social club and its members. Through dated mediums often associated with the elderly, I set about glorifying my normal, local social club. The elderly have many skills that can be overlooked and unappreciated, and through getting to know the members as individuals I was able to learn more about the activities they enjoy.
My work has always had leitmotifs of modernity in collocation with the past. A plasma screen sits alongside a large fabric banner, which I made whilst learning the techniques of embroidery and banner making; a medium that is often thought of as dated. This combination makes comment of the two generations being together in nostalgic harmony, despite disparity. I attempt to break down social barriers and lessen the relevance of age by taking a subject out of context. The work being in a neutral, contemporary setting helps the viewer to see each generations influence as equal within the works.
Alongside my exhibition I am also putting on a tea dance on the night of the private view, inviting all to share in the joyous event and participate too. This dance will signify the end of my working relationship with the members of the tea dance club, but not my friendship.
Within my work reoccurring themes revolve around being open and receptive in my environment; I organise boring, sometimes almost irrelevant singular images based on place, into grid formats, incorporating similar images of similar objects. The images are of my whereabouts, an almost cartographic mind map from which my location is registered. The collective body of my work makes comment on my location, and my place within my community.
The final products of my work sit on a wall, mounted, placed or framed. The ideas and images all stem from the varying social situations and architectural elements that I encounter in the life I lead and the places I visit.
Printmaking is key to my practice. It enables me to process and collate my recorded images whilst simultaneously transforming them into something fresh - paint on paper. This process allows for agitations that develop the final print from its original photographic form.
The photographs are taken from unplanned journeys and daily events.
It’s this process of sourcing images that allows me to see artistic possibilities every time I walk out of the front door.