Spotlight on Free Range: Art Week (until 9th July 2018)

Every year, Free Range hosts several weeks of exhibitions at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch showcasing the best emerging artist and creative practitioners from across the country. Covering art, design and photography, Free Range is a bit different in that it gives art schools from outside London the chance to exhibit in a central location. My biggest interest is the art week, which runs from 5-9 July 2018, so a short run. The list of art colleges exhibiting this year are pretty extensive: Northbrook College Sussex, Hereford College of Art, University Centre Somerset, UCC Colchester School of Art, Leeds Arts University, Arts University Bournemouth, Norwich University of the Arts, Lincoln University, University of Northampton, University of Hertfordshire, Carmarthen School of Art and University of Kent.

I've picked two artists who have caught my attention: Maria Ramzan, graduating from Arts University Bournemouth and Hannah Jean Moulds from Leeds Arts University.

Work by Maria Ramzan, image courtesy of the artist.
www.mariaramzan.co.uk

Maria Ramzan says about her work: "My aim is to create metaphors about the barriers women face in Western culture. I incorporate objects which epitomise specific stereotypical identities in society. The use of such objects narrows my focus of discriminatory issues concerning those who are both female and religious. 


I believe the incorporation of strength and power conveyed through bold colours represents an emancipated and defiant state for religious women in society."

Work by Maria Ramzan, image courtesy of the artist.
www.mariaramzan.co.uk

It is easy to imagine Maria's photographic pieces in dialogue with other works in an all-female exhibition, and the use of rich reds and draping fabrics is stunning to behold. On a purely aesthetic level, the way in which the light catches the light on the material is reminiscent of Dutch Golden Age paintings, and upon unpacking the work further the act of dramatically concealing a woman's face is arguably more of a political gesture now than it ever has been, despite the glare of the historical male gaze.

Hannah Jean Moulds, from the series The Unnameables. Image courtesy of the artist.
www.hannahjeanmoulds.wixsite.com

Hannah Jean Moulds says: "...Something lurks on the walls and floors - moving, creeping, pushing through. Creatures squirming through rafters and underneath floorboards. The aim of my practice is to create unease through the creatures that I call ‘The Unnameables'; these creatures are invasive, furry, alien growths that squirm and take over a space. Faux fur makes the creatures life-like, giving them a sense of realness. I see them as biomorphic: they have a resemblance to living creatures, but they exist in their own right. Their swarm-like behaviour in the space is important, the threat of their mass, together, taking it over, whether that is on the floor, walls or above. They are a hive, a flock, a mass. The environment is a large part of my practice. I like to choose domestic or typically ignored spaces, as this idea of something foreign coming in and invading creates unease."

Hannah Jean Moulds, from the series The Unnameables. Image courtesy of the artist.
www.hannahjeanmoulds.wixsite.com


Hannah Jean Moulds' desire to disrupt and err the viewer is done with a distinct sense of humour, where we see the coming together of sculpture, performance, photography and installation as Hannah's furry creatures, both full of and lacking a life source, wrap around different spaces. They are, naturally, inert and static objects, but the artist's decision-making about how they are made and where they are positioned ensures that Hannah is present in the viewer's experience. 

The Art Week at Free Range runs until 9th July 2018 at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London. More information at: www.free-range.org.uk



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