Thursday, 27 October 2011

Found photographs

A collection of found photographs, accumulated over the past year.

Each one has a distinct appearance/feature/composition that I intend to take forward. The physical condition of the photograph, with is crumpled edges and folded seams: the composition of the portrait: the over-exposure: the blurry appearance: the typography beneath the portrait: the materiality of the photography: the pallet of photographic shades...

To inspire a body of drawings...or something of the sort.

Who are these people?

How long did they sit for the duration of the photograph?

And on a more personal level:

I encounter this photograph every time I visit home. And I remember having it taken. A family holiday at Butlins. I was 6 years old. I sprained my ankle by falling down a rabbit hole. My ankle has been weak ever since.

I'm in love with the discoloration. Day in day out, daylight has rendered the photograph in aqua tint. An natural form of sepia maybe...?

A huge source of inspiration at the moment:

If I had the funds, I would purchase and crown it as my 'bible'.

Certainly something to take forward.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Upcoming performance at 25 Stratford Grove

Saturday 19th November at 25SG. Attendance via invitation

Having abstained from performance art for the past 7 years, Ive decided to bite the bullet and re-visit this territory for a one-off event at 25SG. 

A performance in the garage gallery – currently untitled  – will explore issues primarily from the seat of the self; my ‘self’, this being a purely intuitive performance devised from a momentary vision I had early one morning, several weeks back now.

I'm always conscious to secure the ‘universal’ reigns on all my artworks, so to stir them towards the path of others and restrain from becoming to self absorbed. But inevitable, they derive from me, and so, are essentially exploratory of ‘me’. This performance is no different, and if anything, serves as a greater challenge to the dissipated and self-indulgence for creative expression.

The concept...

From day to day, how conscious are we of our bodily presence? The space our bodies occupy and the profile we project onto our environments and others? On a sunny day, we may encounter a distorted view on the pavement, or experience a sense of our bodily boundaries during sexual intimacy...
From day to day, we layer ourselves in clothes to adorn, conceal, conform, accentuate, disguise our bodies’ profile.  Do these garments make who we are? Do they determine the feeling of being embodied in ones own skin?

Take away these fibrous layers and we are confronted with our skin; the ultimate layer that seperates us from the world. Confronted with this world, we embody this skin to protect, insulate, classify ourselves.  

What happens if this skin, and the body it shrouds, feels diseased, toxic, filthy, foreign, possessed, dangerous? What if the profile cast by such corporal form appears unruly, strange, deformed, unsafe?

The performance will explore the routine shedding and dressing of skins, using the artificial garment by proxy. It questions our subconscious consent or aversion to map our bodily presence, and the authority this has over our emotional and cognitive existence. The mapping of the body in motion - changing shape - leaving varying weights of traces - holds a mirror up to our self, our bodies and our skin, confirming the flux we breathe through.

To purge all pain, 2005
To purge all pain, 2005

To purge all pain, 2005

To purge all pain, 2005

 25 Stratford Grove

Desperate Artwives

A previous exhibition acquaintance emailed me the other day, forwarding the details of an arts group they felt I would be interested in...

We are a group of women and artists who have been putting our “artistic needs” on hold to attend to our family and work duties, but who have also never forgotten who we really are at heart.We are now ready to reclaim our artist status and are looking for others who feel they belong to this category to join our group.

Desperate Artwives aims to be a starting point and a common platform to gather artists and artwork that will make our project unique. We are looking for work that is entirely created at home, in between chores, family and paying bills.

All artwork will be showcased on this site, while a smaller selection will join the Desperate Artwives group in our upcoming exhibition in London next year.

And so, I expressed my interest to the organiser, who promptly reply "you are totally up my street! I love your miniatures, they are so incredibly powerful!"

Needless to say,  I submitted 26 artworks for the website, and proposed a new body of miniatures for the upcoming exhibition in London.

Rachael Allen's artwork for Desperate Artwives

Desperate Artwives on Facebook 

Sensualising Deformity: Communication and Construction of Monstrous Embodiment, University of Edinburgh, 15-16 June 2012



I emailed one of the key organisers of the conference, proposing an exhibition of my artwork to compliment the conference papers. She expressed great interest in my visions but had to decline my offer due to limited space and ongoing negotiations. 


She encouraged me to submit an abstract for the conference, which could, potentially, encompass my artistic interests and talents relating to the theme of human deformity.

Untitled, 2011, pencil on paper, 10.5 x 13cm

From freak exhibitions and fairs, medical examinations and discoveries to various portrayals in arts and literature, images of deformity (or monstrosity, used separately or interchangeably depending on context) have captivated us for centuries. The result is a significant body of critical and artistic works where these bodies are dissected, politicized, exhibited, objectified or even beatified. Nonetheless, there remains a gap, an unexplored, unspoken or neglected aspect of this complex field of study which needs further consideration. This two-day interdisciplinary conference aims to bring the senses and the sensuous back to the monstrous or deformed body from the early modern period through to the mid-twentieth century, and seeks to explore its implications in diverse academic fields.

We hope to bring together scholars and students from a wide range of disciplines to engage in a constructive dialogue, network, and exchange ideas and experiences, connecting a community of researchers who share a fascination with deformity, monstrosity, and freakery.

Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):

● Spectacle/fetishisation of monstrosity and deformity; monstrous sexuality/eroticisation
The monster as a catalyst of progression/ historical perspectives
Monstrous symbolism, prodigality, or beatification
The racialised body; exoticising difference
Monstrosity in medical literature; disability narratives
Monstrous becoming; the ‘sensed’ body
Deformed aesthetics; monstrosity in the visual arts
(De) gendering the deformed body; humanisation vs objectification

Deadline for abstract is 31st January 2012

Scribbled napkin notes and post-it ideas are underway...

Monday, 24 October 2011

Artwork for 'Ribs' by Nately's Whore's Kid Sister


I was invited to design the artwork for the cover of the band's EP Ribs...

Nately's Whore's Kid Sister are a band set out to develop the audio and visual aesthetics of contemporary popular music. Formed in 2010, the Newcastle based five-piece comprise of members from the acclaimed Grandfather Birds and [now defunct] Flowers of Evil, with the intention of making loud, stimulating, and creative audio.

Given the individual histories of each member, and their previous involvement within the capitalist mainstream of modern music, Nately's is a natural response to the false pressures, and the malaise endemic with today's music industry. Where convention no longer cuts, Nately's focus intently on invention.

The strong band character can be seen distinctly in their live performances. Building a set around impact, the band include both strong visual content (in the form of costume, presence and projections), and stimulating sonic textures, sampled from day to day life. This is all interspersed within their staple of bold riffs and haunting vocals.

The band are currently looking to take their recorded music and live shows across Europe.

If you get the chance to see this band, do. Their outlandish stage performance and dark beats leave one feeling equally fascinated and traumatised.

Nately's Whore's Kid Sister on tumblr
Nately's Whore's Kid Sister on myspace
Nately's Whore's Kid Sister on Facebook