By Emily Thompson, Intern at The Arts Institute
Plymouth Contemporary 2021 is curated around the broad theme of ‘making it’, featuring the work of 29 national and international artists. This is the third open exhibition since 2015, and runs across two venues: The Levinsky Gallery and KARST, in partnership with The Box, from 7 July to 5 September 2021.
The exhibition explores the subject matter of ‘making it’ through the perspective of an array of media, including oil paintings, physical sculptures and performance art. Each artist explores this diverse theme within their own interpretation, whether it be an analysis of the physical process of the creation/curation of art and the influences embedded, or the meaning and ability to ‘make it’ in contemporary society as an artist or individual.
Significant themes provide the ability to create something out of everyday and overlooked objects, such as Caroline Bugby’s abstract submission of Orange Vista (2019), created from chicken wire, plastic and a high-vis vest. Caroline interacts with ordinary objects that may have been neglected or omitted, creating unique and abstruse pieces of art, epitomising this theme through her expression.
Similarly, Harriet Bowman juxtaposes leather with the unnoticed and harsh realities that lay behind creating such pervasive objects. Bowman’s piece Weatherbeeta (2020) features a large section of vegan leather accompanied by an audio recording that conveys the process of – quite literally – making an Audi car. Using repetition and changes in the speed in which she speaks, Bowman creates emphasis on the severe and overlooked, macabre process of producing leather.