Designing the Ecocentrix exhibition has been a fantastically rewarding challenge. The work on show is incredible and it has been a privilege to meet and work with the Ecocentrix artists. More info in news section.
In 2005 I was commissioned by PM Gallery to create Please Touch The Artwork. This installation exhibition aimed to break down barriers between artwork and visitor. 8000 visitors saw, touched and participated in this colourful show.
THE DOLLS HOUSE photos formed the practice element of my final dissertation for my MA Art & Design in Education. This is the statement that accompanies the images.
Despite a production being a collaborative effort, the designer is a very lonely animal Ralph Koltai
There are so many methods that lend themselves to academic research, and yet artists may not feel comfortable without art practice being part of their investigations. In my case this is certainly so, for my practice is embedded in the happy accident, the fortuitous mistake that years of experience and experimentation have taught me to let happen.
For me, my symbolic artefact, namely a slightly battered 1960s dolls house, has become the catalyst for productive questioning and, sometimes uncomfortably, contemplation. I have named it my ‘provocative companion’. It has undoubtedly led me to thoughts and feelings that might not otherwise have emerged. By locating the dolls house in different spaces I have been encouraged, even forced, to consider the parallels between the different spaces in which I work. The performance spaces that exist in both the theatre and hospitals have become my artistic home. And yet, why? The dolls house, situated in isolation or congregated in the photographs, brings about affective responses, even practical insights, often unexpectedly. It is this element of surprise that artistic practice can bring to academic research, exactly as experimentation in all fields should.
Please encourage your gaze to wander to and fro across my dolls house photos. What do the images reveal for you?
Drawing performers enables me to understand the body in space and the shape of the performers body under the costume. Without frequent drawing I simply would not have the ingredients I need to fuel ideas. Drawing has always been the process I turn to first to investigate and think through ideas. Encouraging others to do the same reveals all sorts of different understandings. The last image here is of a student of mine drawing with flour and charcoal. This allowed questions about volume, space and scale to emerge.
My grandmother Nancie Isabel Stephenson (1901 - 1995) wrote 'off to plot' many times in her diaries. Whilst I know that this means that she was going to her allotment I enjoy the notions of planning, conjuring, storytelling and inventing that this phrase suggests. The images here are of my own plot.....
Susan Loppert (Art Consultant & Valuer/Arts in Health Consultant) commissioned my work for Chelsea and Westminster. I have found all my hospital projects to be incredibly rewarding despite as a child saying to my parents, who both worked in hospitals, that I would never work in one.
These huge silk covered light boxes and twisted silk sculpture provide a much needed blast of colour in this huge entrance hall. At night they can be seen through the glass front of the building. I used silk to honour the fact that for many years silk weaving was Macclesfield's main industry.
In 2010 I created all the artwork for the Keats Children's Outpatients Department at North Middlesex Hospital. I worked with local primary and secondary schoolchildren on this project. The theatrical style models allowed the children to tell me stories as we created the images. I collaged the images for the 'Butterflies over London' light boxes from my own photographs and actual artwork from Northumberland Park pupils.