Cumbrian Artist of the Year Shortlist: Focus On Jocelyn McGregor

The Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2016 exhibition features over 100 artworks by 47 artists working, living or from Cumbria.

Of these artists 6 were shortlisted for the award. We will be featuring each artist over the coming weeks until the exhibition close on 13th November.

This week, Jocelyn McGregor from Kirkby Lonsdale;

 Where is your studio based in Cumbria (or where are you from in Cumbria)?

I’m from Kirkby Lonsdale originally. I’m currently living down in London, studying my MFA in Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.

Can you tell us a about your practice and the work submitted to the Cumbrian Artist of the Year exhibition?

Half landscape/half domestic interior, half goddess/half monster; I create formless landscapes out of a combination of the fragmented female form and synthetic nature. Each element, material and process involved defines the character, the dichotomies and the history of each sculpture.

I have two sculptures on display as part of this year’s Cumbrian Artist of the Year Exhibition. The first is ‘Olympia’, taking her name form Hoffman’s ‘Olympia’ in Nachtstuken (‘The Sand Man’), a life-like doll or automaton with real human eyes; Manet’s ‘Olympia’, an uncompromised reworking of the tradition of the female nude; Mount Olympia, home of the gods.

My ‘Olympia’ is a synthetically created landscape simultaneously in the process of creation and ruination. A series of islands made from cushions of moss created from towels, duvets, velvet and oil paint; sprouting intestinal, silicone cables; with a slumped glass breast sinking into it. I often use glass in my work as it is one the first manmade/synthetic materials – It’s transmutation throughout history can reflect the changing values and technological developments within our society. The glass I used is textured float glass taken from a condemned office block on the outskirts of London.

‘Scratching Fanny’ takes its title from the Cock Lane Ghost Story of 1762. The ghost of Fanny Lyons posthumously reported her own murder through a series of knocks; one for yes, two for no; making loud scratching noises in response to impertinent questions. This earnt her the nickname, ‘Scratching Fanny’.

My sculpture is made up of antique pool table legs with bed-sheet bloomers. These kick out from underneath a duvet made from towel, painted in the colours of an Autumn mountainside. The found objects (the legs) act as the ghost in the work; half woman, half furniture; a figurative element emerging from the formless landscape of domestic materials (bed sheets and towels).

What sort of artist would you describe yourself as?

A sculptor

Professionally what is your goal?

My goal is to pursue a career as an artist working in the public sector. Alongside my artistic practice, I do a lot of charity work and teaching, as well as organising group art projects, exhibitions and residencies. I think it is important we all work together and do our bit for making arts and culture accessible to a diverse audience, as I believe that its benefit to the wider community, both socially and economically, is invaluable.

What do you think of the exhibition as a whole?

When I arrived at the Rheged Centre to install I was met by John Stokes and all the young curators, who had put the exhibition together. I was impressed by how considered the placement of all the artworks was; what relationships each artwork had to the one beside it, opposite, etc. It felt great to take a step back from my work and see how others interpreted it and saw how it fit within the exhibition as a whole.  What a wonderful idea to have a group of emerging curators put the show together like that! Every gallery should do it!

I was also struck by the sheer number of artworks included – there was loads! – which means there are a lot of artists working in Cumbria at the moment. It looks like I will have plenty of like-minds to engage with when I come back after studying!


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