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Sink or Float : An Artificial Island, 2022 by Jessica Wetherly

Sink or Float a Curated Selection by Zinzi Minott

This month we have invited artist Zinzi Minott who’s work focuses on the relationship between dance, bodies and politics, to curate a selection of Axis Members' work using the Axis Gallery. Featuring: Joanna Mowbray, Andrew Hardwick, JAYKOE, Jessica Wetherly, and Henny Burnett.

Sink or Float

I am taking the name of my short little text from Jessica Wetherly’s work. Being an artist is precarious. I have been practicing for almost a decade and I see the way our industry is not built for longevity, sanity or the respect of artist.  It is nigh on impossible to practice for a lifetime and yet many of us, despite the failing working conditions, adequate pay, equity of gender, race, class, sexuality, disability to name but a few continue to try to sink or float on this artificial island called the art world.

So here is to us. The artist, the ones who are mostly underpaid, overworked. I implore you all to read Structurally F--ked - it is not cute bed time reading. But it will enable you to see that the problems are industry wide, and not just you my dear.

I’ve chosen these works because they make me want to keep making art. That is the thread. There are many real reasons that make me want to exit my practice in a giant ejector seat, projected upwards to a 9-5, holiday pay, respect (possibly), a pension, and never having to be infantilised by an institution again. Alas, I have now seen these works, and I am again reminded of the deep joy of making work, and so I will put my coin in the slot, and play again. I hope for all of us, we only play as many rounds as serves us and we stop playing when it does not. In the meantime I pray you make and find work which lifts your spirits as these have mine.

Take care,
Zinzi Minott

‘A home for my son’

Henny Burnett

‘A home for my son', 2023 by Henny Burnett

 

‘A home for my son’ is a new thread to my work which deals with concepts of belonging, displacement, environment and inheritance. To date I have cast houses in a range of materials that include sustainable and temporary materials such as earth, plant roots and mycelium. I’m beginning to answer questions about the materials I use and their environmental impact. I like to think these houses are transient: the binding plant roots will die, the earth will crumble. The shape of the cast houses echoes Monopoly board pieces, once wood and then plastic, along with many ideas about profits, gambling, and winners and losers. The four houses are: Mycelium house, Root house, Earth house and Home Sweet Home.

 

Sink or Float : An Artificial Island

Jessica Wetherly

Sink or Float : An Artificial Island, 2022 by Jessica Wetherly

 

Sink or Float takes its name from a simple physics game, guessing the result of dropping an object in a body of water. Whilst the subtitle, An Artificial Island refers directly to the city of Portsmouth and a nearby manmade nature reserve, documented in photographs which adorn the gallery walls. True to the two part title, Wetherly’s exhibition is both playful and deadly serious. Pops of bright orange and blue are scattered across the space like game pieces but in the creation of unsustainable habitats (littered with discarded oyster shells), the soil elsewhere dries out or is so polluted that we risk losing the rich biodiversity of ecosystems like mudflats and seagrass meadows. Potentially fatal for much-loved and much-needed species.

 

Overstand (Postcolonial Sampler)

JAYKOE

Overstand (Postcolonial Sampler), 2019 by JAYKOE

 

Culture Outlasts the Systems of Oppression I, a collaboration from 2017 between JAYKOE and Neil Kenlock. A project which led to a two-person exhibition featuring the work of Neil Kenlock and Jaykoe, curated by Christina Mitrentse and Jaykoe. Kenlock and Jaykoe created a dynamic series of collaborative works for the exhibition, which coincided with Black History Month. Jaykoe sampled and transposed a variety of images of life in Brixton before, during and after the 1981 riot – including original photographs taken by Neil Kenlock in the 1970s – to create a series of mixed media screen prints. The work forms part of Jaykoe’s research for his upcoming solo project, RADIX, which focuses on the UK riots in 2011. Kenlock was born in 1950 in Jamaica, moving to Brixton to join his parents in 1963. He went on to work as a staff photographer for one of the first black British newspapers, West Indian World. He spent his career documenting his local community, including the UK Black Panther movement. He later co-founded ROOT magazine in 1979, showcasing black British fashion, as well as Choice FM in 1990, London’s first legal radio station dedicated to black music. Kenlock’s work documents the history of civil rights struggles in London. His images of British Caribbean residents in Brixton in the late 1960s and ’70s formed part of the exhibition, echoing his inclusion in the Tate Britain show “Stan Firm Inna Inglan”. He also captured unique images of Jamaican singer Bob Marley at one of his last UK performances in January 1977, at London’s Rainbow Theatre, shown for the first time as original photographs and sampled to create new works by Jaykoe.

 

Concrete Floor and Sheep Track

Andrew Hardwick

Concrete Floor and Sheep Track, 2024 by Andrew Hardwick

 

A lot of houses and factories may be built on former sheep tracks. I felt it would be fun be recreate one of these tracks in the studio.

 

My two copper pots

Joanna Mowbray

My two copper pots, 2023-2024 by Joanna Mowbray

 

My two copper pots’ This small sculpture comprises of two soldered forms constructed from 0.5 copper sheet. The whole work depends on the relationship between the forms, how closely they are positioned, the angle of the forms and the space in between. Natural light, changing throughout the day, creates shadows and reflections of the copper from one side to the other. The top part of the forms is delineated by copper strip sections in contrast with the sides, space can be seen through and beyond and the other space is hidden. How the curved shaped sides of the sculpture touch the ground/base imply a sense of suspended movement and there by also stillness. The sculpture title is derived from a little white sugar pot that a friend gave me years ago which I have always loved, and it always reminds me of that friendship.

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