AirSpace Gallery is pleased to present our second Graduate Residency exhibition of 2019. Charlotte Dawson
marks the end of her 6 months in Stoke-on-Trent with her inaugural solo exhibition.
Over her six month graduate residency at Airspace, Charlotte Dawson has spent her time immersing herself in the physical debris of the area, and the relics of an industrial past still ever present in the foundations of the city.
Set in Sediment
excavates the material language of Stoke-on-Trent, as the gallery is transformed into a space of explorative navigation containing multiple sculptural infrastructures, alongside cultural debris, fabric and moving image pieces. Set in Sediment in part is comprised of materials sourced from the earth of many post industrial sites throughout the city and questions more widely our personal relationships to the physical fragments with which we find ourselves surrounded.
‘The act of collecting as a form of memory making is a ritual common throughout generations, sourcing pebbles from beaches, or clovers from meadows in order to commemorate and immortalise a moment in time. Over years the materials we collect begin to weigh down on our persons, we cling to fragments of the past that are often unrecognisable and so begin to lose whatever emotional worth they once held. This exhibition tries to navigate the complex relationships we have with the objects we are surrounded by. Initially I was intrigued by the habits of scavenging birds risking their lives on the sides of busy roads to carefully select grit to digest their food. The concept of an animal that relies on flight swallowing an agent of weight feels like quite a symbolic metaphor for the overall concept of the exhibition. I found whilst living in and exploring Stoke-on-Trent that there is an immense weight placed on the city's industrial history, a weight that can often feel smothering when talking about the regeneration of the area. The objects throughout this exhibition grapple with the boundaries of weight and worth as well as the methodology of searching and collecting. My own route for finding a way to understand and delve into the past of Stoke came in a similar way to the birds. I found myself searching for remnants of the past in the ground, for the discarded pieces of Stoke's history. Often overlooked is the fact that the ceramics that are heralded throughout the city originate from the earth, and similarly overlooked are the shattered pieces of these ceramics scattered all throughout the cities foundations.
- Charlotte Dawson, 2019
's work explores the intrinsic relationship between objects and the formation of narratives, memories and social histories. Creating object based installations as well as moving image, she plays with boundaries, utilising materials that clash or compositions that wrestle with weight, balance and the cusp of collapse. Her work often grapples with the border between the natural environment and the domestic, intersecting natural components amongst or within heavily manufactured objects. The intentions of her work are not to communicate her own narratives to the audience but to provide viewers with familiar yet compromised materials, to inspire intrigue and dissection. Charlotte Graduated with a BA Hons in Fine Art from Norwich University of the Arts (2018) and has previously exhibited in group shows such as Free Range (Truman Brewery, London, 2018), Bloc Projects Members show (Sheffield, 2018) & Nunnsyard Gallery (Norwich, 2017).
Each year, AirSpace Gallery’s Graduate Residency Programme offers two new graduates a fantastic opportunity to be part of an exciting and innovative artist-led space in Stoke-on-Trent, providing 6 months free studio space, ongoing professional development support, mentoring and guidance in those crucial first months out of higher education, and an end-of-residency solo exhibition. Now into its 7th year, the residency programme is an attempt to tackle and highlight a problem with graduate retention in the city, offering early stage professional development support to artists.