Camberwell Space presents a solo exhibition of new works by Hannah Skinner, recipient of The David Troostwyk / Matt’s Gallery Studio Award, 2018-19. The award, given each year, provides the recipient with a rent-free studio for one year at Martello Street, E8 — the SPACE studio where Robin Klassnik first opened Matt’s Gallery in 1979. Alongside this Skinner has received mentoring from Klassnik and Camberwell Lecturer Leah Capaldi as well as access to workshop facilities.
Skinner’s work explores themes of queerness, mimicry, and humour translated into soft sculpture, detailed metals and embroidery. She uses materials to create a sense of opulence — though inexpensive, their shiny luxurious qualities portray wealth, creating an ambivalence between the perceived and actual value.
For this exhibition, the artist presents a kinetic sculpture, referencing high fashion, while abstracting conventional form through weight, tension and balance. Created from soft fabrics with intricately designed skeletons, as in previous works, Skinner uses air to propel the sculptures to animate the space.
Adlais Hynafol, Ancient Echoes
Camberwell Space presents Adlais Hynafol, Ancient Echoes, an exhibition of new work by Gwenllian Spink, recipient of The Vanguard Prize 2018-19.
The Vanguard Prize allows Vanguard Court to help new artists grow and develop and reinforces Vanguard's strong links with Camberwell College of Arts. The prize, launched in 2010, is for graduating students of the College. The winner is offered a year's free studio residence at Vanguard Court along with ongoing mentoring and support from Camberwell College of Arts to help with the development of their personal and professional practice. Previous winners include: Murray O'Grady, Philip Li a.k.a Le Fil, Philip Booth, Lauren Allen, Alexander Devereux, Queenie Clark, Billy Crosby and Rosie Grace Ward.
Metamorphic rocks are a transformation of ancient sediment. Heat and pressure cause new atomic structures to emerge, a new material that echoes its former self. Gwenllian Spink’s work is a cultural and historical metamorphism, the crushing and reforming of the world around her.
In this exhibition at Camberwell Space, the artist mimics Neolithic remains scattered across the landscape of her home in Wales using the visual language she has acquired from living in London. Structures that echo Neolithic burial chambers loom large, cloaked by webs of woven hairbands in an effort to encapsulate a new cultural identity. Reconstituted infant trainers imitating prehistoric axes decorate the gallery walls, status symbols reformed as tools of war, each brand a clan competing for our attention.
Spink makes instinctively. Materials are gathered from her immediate surroundings, chosen not just for their aesthetic qualities but often because they are commonplace and overlooked. Intense labour goes into the production of her work; traditional craft methods meet mass-produced materials and near-infinite repetition. For this exhibition, materials have been scrutinised for their social significance and unconscious symbolism. Weaving and stitching are the crafts of choice, appropriately used to combine and encapsulate.
The sculptures are adrift - cultural and historical hybrids that embody dislocation. The legacy of globalisation underpins the exhibition; identity, no longer geographically tethered, floats freely in search of belonging. Disparate histories are reformulated under the intense pressure and heat of the artist’s imagination. Once they cool, the resultant matter is something new - yet an echo of something ancient.