Lovers PCA 010

Our Journal

Migration, social making & elephants in Matthew Raw's Tactile Change

A packed out exhibition opening kickstarted artist Matthew Raw's solo exhibition in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, running from 19 September to 16 November 2019, exploring migration, movement and social making through clay. See all the photos from the opening night...
Following a talk by artist Matthew Raw at our Making Futures: ‘People, Place, Meaning - Crafting Worlds & Social Making’ 2019 symposium, attendees and speakers were invited to join students, staff and the public at the opening of Matthew’s new solo exhibition ‘Tactile Change’ in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art.
48763813466 70f22935d9 k
48763488688 8fb37a6063 k
48764000717 507af35837 k
48763489358 316e33152c k 1

Funded by Arts Council England, Plymouth College of Art and The Box, Plymouth (the city’s major new cultural and heritage centre, set to open in 2020), the exhibition builds on Matthew’s previous works in clay, and responds to the history of Plymouth Zoo (which opened in 1962 and closed in 1978) using it as a catalyst to scrutinise themes of progress, examining what society equates to progress and how individuals react to change.

‘Tactile Change’ features ceramic prints taken from carved wooden blocks, large-scale interactive doors, and fencing clad in ceramic tiles which restrict movement around the exhibition space.

“Plymouth is a hub for contemporary arts within the South West and it has been a privilege to commission an artist as accomplished as Matthew to develop his personal response to the history of the city, as his second national solo show.”
— Leah Harris, Producer for The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art

Artist Matthew Raw said: “I grew up in post-industrial landscape Manchester, which felt like a place where old and new architecture was always meeting in harmony or clashing around me. Since then I’ve found myself drawn to investigate the architectural scars of every city that I visit, investigating what impact industry and progress have had on the communities that form there.

"Working in Plymouth has been a delight, learning about the history of the city and the forces that have shaped it over the past century. I’m fascinated by the mixture of buildings new and old, and by people’s relationships to the notion of progress in the city; the things they hope will change and the things they want to stay the same. I’m impressed with the way things are done in Plymouth.”

48763489638 712240fc3b k 1
48763490143 236a72c231 k
48763490353 0893636cc7 k 1
48763490443 db886c48ec k

Matthew worked with children from Plymouth School of Creative Arts (PSCA) to create elephant designs in response to a short story about an elephant that travels to Plymouth Zoo from its home overseas. He asked the children to think about ideas of migration and the animals that were placed in quarantine in Plymouth before continuing their journeys around the UK. 50 designs – a selection of the children’s drawings – have formed repeating motifs for new ceramic tiles that will be used to create lasting impact for the city through their installation as permanent pieces of public art at Central Park and PSCA.

Speaking of his workshops with PSCA, Matthew said: “I’m currently working with architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios on my largest commission to date, part of a large mural on their new Arts & Humanities building at the University of Warwick. When I found out that they also worked with Plymouth College of Art on the design for Plymouth School of Creative Arts, a school with making at the epicentre of its curriculum, I knew that I wanted to work with children there for ‘Tactile Change’.”

48763811606 c0834456a3 k
48763812491 957b382672 k 1
48763815071 25fc7c41c2 k
48763817451 d9d9fd154b k

Working in collaboration with BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts lecturers and technical demonstrators at Plymouth College of Art, Matthew commissioned students Laura Brooks and Benjamin Kew to fabricate key ceramics elements of the exhibition.

Matthew has had a ceramics residency at the Victoria & Albert Museum, in addition to winning a Jerwood Makers Award in 2014. His work spans projects in galleries, residency formats and education establishments. Matthew Raw is a founding member of Studio Manifold, and his work has been shown across the UK and internationally in galleries within the USA, France, Germany and Denmark.

48764000257 2911b91fc6 k
48764003097 f5339deede k
48764004012 00239cf80d k
48764004277 93be04bf1c k

Paris-based contemporary visual artist Matthew Raw’s second solo exhibition, ‘Tactile Change’, will be hosted in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, from 18 September to 16 November 2019.

mraw.co.uk

Photos by Sarah Packer, BA (Hons) Photography alumna.