‘Bridge the Tamar’ brings South West artists together
‘Bridge the Tamar’, a group exhibition hosted by MIRROR at Arts University Plymouth and curated by Hannah Rose and Elaine Sinclair, will take place from Thursday 30 March 2023 until Saturday 27 May 2023. The exhibition will showcase the work of twelve Plymouth and Cornwall based artists, inspired by an image from the Plymouth city archive of activists demanding a bridge over the River Tamar.
The exhibition explores the local and global challenges of connectivity between peoples and societies. A free opening drinks reception will take place on Thursday 30 March 2023, from 5pm to 7:30pm.
Image courtesy of The Box © Mirrorpix
The twelve local artists selected to participate in the exhibition are: Rachael Allain, Bridgette Ashton, Nicola Bealing, Sovay Berriman, Samuel Bestwick, Naomi Frears, Sophie Ingram, Dean Knight, Molly Erin McCarthy, Rhys Morgan, Steven Paige and Ben Sanderson.
Rachael Allain is an artist and researcher based in South Devon. Rachael’s practice-led research is made through a rigorous investigation and embodied phenomenological exploration of watery sites, often using artist residency as methodology. She has just returned from participating in the international art and science expeditionary residency in the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard and is currently undertaking a practice-led PhD in Art and Media with 3D3 (UKRI funded) at the University of Plymouth. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, including at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), Exeter; Exeter Phoenix; CAST in Cornwall; Tate St. Ives; London; in the USA and South Korea.
Rachael Allain, Severance, Threshold Return. Film still.
Bridgette Ashton’s practice includes sculpture, ceramics, print, publications and participatory walks, making objects, models, depictions and proposals engaging with histories and narratives, sites and locations. She has exhibited in galleries and museums in both solo and group exhibitions including Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance; Space Station Sixty-Five, London; Auction House, Redruth; Russell Cotes Museum, Bournemouth; Transition Gallery, London and Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. Recent commissions have been hosted by The Box, Plymouth; B-Side, Dorset and Royal Cornwall Museum, Cornwall and she currently lectures part time at Arts University Plymouth on the BA (Hons) Illustration degree.
Bridgette Ashton, Wall of Wonder, 2016-2017. Install Shot. Courtesy of the artist.
Nicola Bealing is a painter based in Cornwall. She studied at Hertfordshire College of Art and the Byam Shaw School of Art, London. Her work is figurative, anchored strongly in narrative, laced with dark humour and pulsing with surreal unease. She has had her work shown at ArcadeCampfa, Cardiff; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; MIRROR, Plymouth; Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury; GroundWork Gallery, Norfolk; Levinsky Gallery, Plymouth; Auction House Project Space, Redruth; Royal West of England Academy (RWA), Bristol and Gimpel Fils, London.
Nicola Bealing, Long Distance Swimmer, 2013. Courtesy of the artist, and Matts Gallery, London
Sovay Berriman is an artist based in Cornwall. Committed to questioning balances of power, Sovay uses her practice as a structure and prompt for action and discussion, focusing on areas she wants to learn more about, and which arise as needing to be better understood from multiple perspectives. Using a breadth of processes to create artworks, they often manifest as careful situations of multiple elements, these fragments and pieces work together to create whole supportive structures and shared stories. She regularly invites contributors and participants into her work.
Sovay Berriman, Resting Post, (Molluscs Hunt Wizards). Install shot, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.
Samuel Bestwick is an artist and filmmaker currently based in Cornwall. Primarily employing the use of moving image, his practice explores narrative in conjunction with place and social history, often re-contextualising these ideas within a modern context. In addition to this, his work is often concerned with the act of looking and by extension, philosophies surrounding the camera itself. Over the past year, Samuel has exhibited at multiple venues throughout the South West, such as Grays Wharf Gallery, Penryn and Bath’s Fringe Festival as well as co-curating the exhibition ‘King Dog?’ at the Miners Institute, St Agnes. He most recently completed a four-month residency at Back Lane West, Redruth.
Samuel Bestwick, Dowr Tamar / Great Water. Film still. Courtesy of the artist.
Based out of Porthmeor Studios, St. Ives, Naomi Frears is a visual artist and filmmaker. She works across multiple platforms including painting, printmaking and film, and is well known for her enigmatic and subtly haunting paintings. The themes frequently presented in her practice are the use of text and image to plot emotional states, forms of everyday choreography, ambiguous gestures, disembodied dialogues, humour, pleasure and the tension between distance and intimacy. She has had her work shown at Exeter Phoenix Gallery, Exeter; CAST, Cornwall; The Exchange Gallery, Penzance; Tate St. Ives; University of Canberra, Australia; RAMM, Exeter; Falmouth Art Gallery; Auction House, Redruth; as well as her Exeter University Commission ‘Red River’ screened at COP26 in Glasgow.
Naomi Frears, All Going Nowhere Together (Cars). Film still.
Sophie Ingram works across a variety of media with a particular focus on mark making, line drawing, collage and printing processes. She is interested in the identity of places, and the aesthetic and emotional experience of living in or visiting particular locations. In her most recent body of work ‘Wet Concrete’, Sophie explored the landscape of Plymouth, paying attention to her love of the architectural and coastal aspects of the city. Through this work she was able to express a love for the city she has lived in for the past ten years, and hopes to celebrate Plymouth through the experience of viewing her work. She has shown artwork at Plymouth Art Weekender 2020 as well as exhibiting across Devon and Cornwall, notably at Ocean Studios in Plymouth and Fish Factory, Falmouth.
Sophie Ingram, Wet Concrete Diptych Install Shot. Credit Dom Moore.
Dean Knight works across sculpture, painting and drawing, constructing open ended narratives that intersperse the primitive, the comedic, the seductive and the grotesque. Ideas of construction and performance are explored through sets, plinths and stages that are furnished with props, but devoid of action. What might have taken place, or is yet to occur, is alluded to by an array of cultural symbols, including cigarettes, food, clothing, pseudo-relics and sculptural objects, which become ambiguous, fetishes and interchangeable. Dean has had work exhibited at Auction House, Redruth; CMR Project Space, Redruth; Project Space 11, Plymouth and Spike Island, Bristol as well as contributing to Plymouth Contemporary 2021 and Plymouth Art Weekender 2020.
Dean Knight, The Sensitive Gaze, Installation View. Credit: Oliver Udy.
Molly Erin McCarthy works with 3D and digital media to create mysterious worlds and cryptic artefacts that exist somewhere between fact and fiction. Manifesting across sculpture, installation, digital and interactive mediums, Molly’s practice explores themes of reality, progress and power, considering how we form, and are formed by, the physical and philosophical landscapes we reside in. Notably, Molly has exhibited and been commissioned for work by MIRROR, Plymouth; Look Again, Aberdeen; The Arts Institute, Plymouth; Barcu Expo, Columbia; Silicon Valet, USA; Magdalena Art Space, Oxford and Arebyte/AOS, London. McCarthy recently presented her first solo exhibition at The Zabludowicz Collection as part of their Invites Programme.
Molly Erin McCarthy, Western Approach to Paradise. Film still.
Rhys Morgan is an artist and producer based in Bristol. Having studied at Falmouth University, he has been working and exhibiting around the South West and the wider UK since 2014. He is currently undertaking an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, London. His work often explores ideas around information and power structures and how this interacts with queer life. He has featured his work at Antibodies, Exeter; Look Again, Aberdeen; Aspex, Portsmouth; Soapworks, Bristol; CCA, Glasgow and Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth. Rhys responded to British Art Show 9 during its time in Plymouth with his queer sea shanty performances ‘Seaweed in the Fruit Locker’.
Rhys Morgan, Interior: Off Straight Street. Film still.
Despite being born in Plymouth, Steven Paige spent his childhood growing up on the south west coast of the United States. The formative years of living near the coast drew him back to the South West in 2001, this time in the UK, after spending time living and working in London after graduating from University of Ulster with a BA Fine Art in 1994. He completed his MA Fine Art in 2003 at Falmouth University and his practice-based PhD from University of Plymouth in 2019. His enquiring approach to creating works, be it performative, installation, video, photography or print, is in part an attempt to reconcile his dual heritage through a queer and discursive lens, drawn from real and imagined archival encounters and histories. Recent solo exhibitions include Meeting the Archive, MIRROR, 2020, Let's Go Bowling, Plymouth Arts Centre, 2016, A Treatise on Beasts (after Physiologus), Forum, Exeter University, 2015 and group shows include We Lost Our Tails, Proto Gallery / M E N, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA, 2016, Antinous/Acrobats, Plymouth Contemporary Open, University of Plymouth, 2016
Steven Paige, Look. Courtesy of the artist.
Ben Sanderson works in painting, drawing and textiles, often returning to existing pieces and transforming them; monotypes on paper are developed and echoed in printed elements that appear on canvas, canvas is mulched to become rag paper, which in turn becomes a ground for new painting. Ben has shown his work locally regularly having exhibited in Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth; Kingsgate Project Space, London; Kestle Barton, Helston; Pool School Gallery, Redruth; Eden Project, Cornwall, Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance and Auction House, Redruth.
Ben Sanderson, 05.08.2021. Courtesy of the artist.
This exhibition has been curated by MIRROR Curator Hannah Rose and Assistant Curator and Programme Producer Elaine Sinclair.
Hannah is a Plymouth based artist, curator and producer, and in 2006 established The Gallery at Arts University Plymouth (formerly called Plymouth College of Art), building the gallery from a small-scale, informal, internally-focused space to an established and respected, public-facing professional gallery. In 2013, Hannah established the biennial project The South West Showcase, as a strategic response to the lack of talent development in the visual arts sector in the South West. The showcase aims to support contemporary artists working and living in the South West through a year-long programme of mentoring and support with an exhibition outcome. In 2020, Hannah reshaped the Gallery model at Arts University Plymouth, with the support of her colleagues, to establish MIRROR - a model that she hopes will do more and mean more for more people.
Elaine Sinclair is a curator, producer and writer based in Plymouth. Her research includes art theory and practice, with particular focus on curation and community engagement. Elaine studied at Arts University Plymouth, completing her Foundation Diploma in Art and Design in 2017, she then completed her BA in Art History and Curating at Manchester School of Art. Elaine is passionate about professional development opportunities for artists, in supporting the development of the local art scene and engaging with, and building audiences for culture in Plymouth and beyond.
Hannah Rose, Curator of MIRROR, said, “The archive image which inspired this exhibition, showing activists demanding a bridge to be built over the River Tamar, speaks to the need to reach across bodies of water and to have freedom to move across borders, whether for work, friendship, family or safety. At a time when our Government is advocating to ‘stop the boats’ it feels incredibly important to have conversations about local and global connectivity. There is so much to unpack in the artists’ work in the exhibition which speaks to these issues and themes including togetherness, longing, belonging, and how place shapes identity. We’re excited to share the work of these twelve brilliant artists and for audiences to explore this and more through their artworks."