Natalie Finnemore

A collection of items sit on my studio shelf. Reliefs for failed wood cut prints, a found post card of the Giants Causeway. An edited image of the inside of an envelope that looks now like a dancing figure and a bunch of novelty wax crayons shaped like crystals. These are objects I have mostly accumulated; several are items that have been given to me.

Giants Causeway, 2014, found postcard

Giants Causeway, 2014,found postcard

Fit in your hand scale models are scattered along the shelf and have been the beginnings of new works. These are made from paper and eventually become digitally re-designed and fabricated through my instruction. One model in particular links closely to a work created for an outdoor play sculpture proposal for THINK.PLAY.DO at The Tetley in Leeds. The idea took influence from Bruno Taut’s children’s game Dandanah – The Fairy Palace, produced in 1919-20. The game consists of coloured blocks that make up a structure of a palace. The purpose is for the player to reconfigure the blocks to create different formations. There was a similar principle to the outcome of the grey board maquette that I made. As the stickiness of the tape wore away that held the pieces together, they eventually separated. I created a new form of the 18 sided shape that collapsed and similarly to the game, I reconstructed it.

The play sculpture proposal investigates the inhabitations of a child’s inner nature to explore.

Untitled (collapsed maquette), 2015 Digital drawing, pen on paper

Untitled (collapsed maquette), 2015
Digital drawing, pen on paper

Going slightly off topic, I recently saw a gallery visitor reaching out to touch an unframed wall work that was intrinsically folded and made from paper. She was unaware that she wasn’t supposed to touch the artwork. The reaction to touch something is instinctive, a combination of a physical and emotional response. Whether it’s an urge to touch something for pleasure or something to make you cringe.

In a recent exhibition at The Bluecoat, Left Hand to Back of Head, Object Held Against Right Thigh, curated by Adam Smythe, there is a narrative within the show that investigates how art works act on our bodies. I found there was often a flipside response, physically and emotionally, from the viewer and perhaps some works were difficult to experience.

Both Untitled works I included concentrate on the physical experience towards sculpture. I employ techniques and other gestures that suggest to the viewer that the work might be functional. The cut out handles on the works surface encourage the audience to question how the work has been lifted into the space. The reality of these designs is quite the opposite. There is no framework to reinforce the structure and when lifted they are probably just as fragile as the paper sculptures. The works feed into my interest in ergonomics, furniture design and approaches towards display. Unlike Untitled (collapsed maquette), where the sculpture physically accommodates the viewer, these new works anticipate a body.

Untitled, 2016 MDF, screws, paint (Image Courtesy of The Bluecoat)

Untitled, 2016 MDF, screws, paint (Image Courtesy of The Bluecoat)