Five new commissions by early-career applied artists Sam Bakewell, Marcin Rusak, Laura Youngson Coll, Juli Bolaños-Durman and Jessica Harrison brought about through the biennial Jerwood Makers Open. Each combines a high level of technical skill with imagination and intellectual adventure, constituting a fresh and exciting direction of each artist’s work.
Sam Bakewell has a history of working with clay, for this exhibition he uses wood for the first time. He will make a series of polychromed objects, carved with a chainsaw and chisel, which will form enlarged abstracts with details referencing historic carving. These will include water, fire, hair and animals, expanding on his interests in the philosophy and symbolism of the spiral as archetypal form.
Marcin Rusak’s work reflects on consumer culture, his work for this exhibition will be an installation made from perishable objects. The product designer will create several pieces using organic composites, such as waste flowers, shellac, beeswax and resin in different stages of decay. Playing with the processes of destruction, renewal and reconstruction, the work will stimulate questions about history and possible future scenarios.
Laura Youngson Coll’s work uses knowledge of sculpture, book-binding and leatherworking to create a fictitious yet scientific depiction of the natural world in her work. Her work for the exhibition is a series of pieces made from vellum, which is calf skin parchment, examining the cellular morphology of lymphoma, personally significant after the illness and subsequent death of her partner. This microscopic perspective, familiar in her practice, reflects the idea of assimilating events in a highly personal way and will examine the reconciliation of scientific explanation with personal experience of illness.
Juli Bolaños-Durman’s work for the exhibition will explore the journey of transformation which takes place as she converts ordinary objects into objets d’art. She will make a colourful large-scale glass installation made of many intricately cut sculptures, using found and blown glass and create an intimate atmosphere between the creature-like figurines which come to life with dramatic lighting.
Jessica Harrison’s work for the exhibition will be a new body of sculptural objects in porcelain and bone china that explores the notion of the collection, as an aspiration, a physical grouping and a framework that structures the viewer and their movements and sensory experiences.
The five artists were selected from over 271 applications in response to an open call for self-directed projects from UK-based makers within 10 years of establishing their practice. Each artist received a bursary of £7,500 to support experimentation and the making of new work for this exhibition.
Selectors: Deirdre Figueiredo MBE, Director, Craftspace; Skinder Hudal, CEO/Director, New Art Exchange; Geoffrey Mann, Programme Director, Glass at Edinburgh College of Art; Clare Twomey, artist and Sarah Williams, Head of Programme, Jerwood Visual Arts.
Jerwood Makers Open was established in 2010 to promote the significance of making and materials within the visual arts arena, seeking to support exceptional skill and imagination.
Since 2010, Jerwood Charitable Foundation has awarded commissioning funds totalling £180,000 directly to artists through this project. It has supported 24 major new commissions, offering a rare opportunity for artists to freely develop creative ideas central to their individual practices. It looks broadly at how contemporary artists are defining or challenging the boundaries of what has traditionally been described as applied arts. Alumni include: Keith Harrison, James Rigler, Matthew Raw, Nao Matsunaga and Will Shannon.