AirSpace Gallery Graduate Resident, Alice Walter
presents her first solo exhibition - multi media, process-based, CLOSE explores physical and architectural form but in an underworked way, challenging notions of professionalism, craft and finesse in order to open a state of opportunism and playfulness.
There is a freedom in embracing this apparent ‘dumbness’, and this can manifest as a scruffy realism within the work: imitating the way that much of our surroundings are pale or in shadow, or that most things are scuffed, or that a supposedly functional, quickly drawn diagram can work better as a finished drawing than an actually finished drawing.
Walter finds value and meaning in the strange echoes between disparate things, and her personal experiences and outlook, particularly formed during her immersive residency experience, feed the work, in an unassuming way rather than overtly consciously or logically. This approach, and her stranger-in-a-strange-city detachment allows her regurgitate her surroundings non-specifically and consequently, if indirectly, literal personal narratives often crop up by accident.
Of CLOSE Walter says
I want to articulate the sensible but that which seems non-sensible within a system of language. Like a weird dream or the way a thought is formed, the inescapably sentimental, bruised or strange is not glossed over, and neither is the dumbness of honesty or humour or that which is too quiet to be exciting. The vague suggestions and connotations in each work seek to act as pathways in which I hope conjure a different way of seeing, or an understanding that different ways of seeing can be pursued in the medium of painting– even if just by its sticky mind-set regardless of physical medium.
Its viscosity in thought mirrors the way that different things get caught up in each other, things around us that are declared to occupy supposedly separate territories and realms. In reality they echo and repeat, overlap and remind and find warmth in so doing. The inescapability of sentimentality is the knot that leads to more knots, but it is also the vehicle for seeing as it feels intuitively rather than studies abstractedly. I want to probe into the sentimentality I attach to various freedoms and restrictions as I cast a medium through the whims of spontaneity and chance through and within its present sensibility in the material.
The AirSpace Gallery Graduate Residency Scheme, running since 2012, seeks to tackle graduate retention in Stoke-on-Trent and offers new arts graduates an opportunity to bridge the gap between education and a professional arts career. Residents receive free personal studio space for 6 months, and full access to the Gallery's facilities. There is an emphasis on professional development, with a series of monthly mentoring meetings, led by Gallery directors and invited artists. The scheme offers two exhibition opportunities within the Gallery - an interim exhibition in the AirSpace Window Space and the final all-important solo exhibition.