Meet the first cohort of Metal’s TOMA – an artist instigated alternative MA. Proceedings kick off in September.
Michaela Bannon is a contemporary sculptor and draftswoman residing in Canvey Island, Essex, where she was born and raised. A recent graduate of South Essex College’s Fine Art Degree programme, Michaela’s work consists of a triadic dialogue between written, drawn and sculptural works which reference traditional sculptural ideology. With a confrontational attitude developed in response to historic popular aestheticism, Michaela concerns herself with parodying the Alpha-masculine aesthetic though her wood and upholstery manifestations.
Richard Baxter is an established ceramicist primarily working in porcelain making finely thrown bowls and bottles, enhancing the unique forms with gold and bronze banding. He creates intriguing openings on some rims allowing the inner form, as well as the outer, to be considered simultaneously. He specialises in developing beautiful vibrant glazes. Richard also makes art projects around ideas of locality and the passage of time which he will develop through the upcoming year studying with TOMA.
Matthew Curtis-Knights’ practice is ultimately concerned with questioning and analysing the modern human condition. His 2D, video and installation works focus on our relationships with technology, media, our constructed real and virtual landscapes as well as each other.
Through his various ongoing series Matthew seeks to break down societal structures and rework them. From the micro to macroscopic from the everyday to the spiritual be they from the urban environment or the subconscious mind Matthew seeks to create works using subjects that through abstraction, manipulation, digitisation and sometimes direct destruction question who we are today and where and why we go from here.
Emma Edmondson lives and works in Southend. She is interested in notions surrounding material value, temporality and function. Emma explores their connections and disconnections through sculpture, drawing, digital collage and socially engaged projects.
Process driven, the act of making is as important as the artwork, and in the studio she deconstructs discarded everyday objects and reforms them through handmade craft methods such as weaving, paper-mâché or knitting. These physical acts disconnect her from the digital world. She often recycles artworks meaning pieces are only exhibited once before being edited again.
Recently Emma has transported her studio practice to the computer, using found imagery to create digital collages. She is now exploring possible relationships between the digital and physical further within her artwork through virtual reality.
Laurence Harding’s art practice not only explores and challenges the nature of the photographic image, but also investigates the material qualities of the analogue medium. Through her projects, Laurence questions how photography presents us with the illusion of reality, and more precisely how portraiture continues to be a reflection of our society’s aspirations. A photograph is a fascinating document, which is simultaneously a dislocated fragment of the past, a trace, a construction, a social custom, and a vision waiting to be decoded.
Laurence studied at the University of Westminster and graduated with a BA in Photography in 2013. She regularly uses large and medium format analogue or digital cameras, and enjoys experimenting with traditional black and white, colour and alternative photographic printing techniques in the darkroom.
Emma Mills was born in Southend and studied Fine Art at Sunderland Poly from 1985 to 1988. Since then she has lived in Africa and Egypt, taught at secondary schools and trained to be an Arts Psychotherapist at Goldsmiths.
Emma is a painter and her work is nearly almost autobiographical. She uses acrylic paint on paper and board to make marks and layer colour. This practice creates a loose painterly style that means works are often full of movement. For TOMA Emma hopes to further explore the feminist perspective in art, especially in the autobiographical sense.
Tricia North is from Doncaster and studied Fine Art textiles. This background tends to inform the materials used and work she produces. Tricia tends to work in a variety of mediums usually involving cloth or stitch, but combines these with hard elements such as slate, metal or found objects.
Tricia is really interested in processes and materials and how this combination can intertwine to provoke a feeling or essence. Tricia’s inspiration comes from a range of sources and she is currently looking at conflict and materialism.
Painting is at the heart of Ian Ryan’s practice and he is currently based in Chelmsford after spending his early years in East London. The Brutalist housing estates that surrounded him in the 1980s now inform his paintings. These vary from geometric abstractions to looser, gestural works but all feature a consistent grey palette reflective of this subject matter. His interest is fuelled equally by the imposing aesthetics as well as society’s ongoing relationship with Brutalism which lies awkwardly alongside paradoxical needs for conservation and regeneration.
Ian is a recent graduate from South Essex College where he studied fine art.
Anna B. Sexton
Anna B. Sexton is an Essex born, London-based artist, facilitator and educator who works with community groups to realise creative projects. These are inspired by connecting everyday people to our interconnected sense of personal, shared and community histories.
Anna’s work takes place in both formal settings such as museums, archives and galleries as well community centres, gardens, parks and festivals. She uses media such as drawing, photography, sketchbooks, collage, conversation, artist walks and communal eating.
Anna is driven to uncover what lies beneath, what’s left behind and how personal creative expression can find empowered ‘ways through’ change such as relocation, regeneration or ill health.
Imogen Welch was born in Chichester but currently lives and works in Hertfordshire. She studied fine art at Buckinghamshire Chiltern University College. Her mainly sculptural practice typically includes transforming found objects. Using techniques akin to handicraft her sculpture often references women’s work and folk art. Having a studio in a historic paper mill and volunteering for Watford Recycling Arts Project has developed her interest in manufacturing and recycling. Other preoccupations include financial markets and trade, with much recent work focusing on globalisation, quantitative easing and hyperinflation.