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  • Claire Orme, High Street

    Claire Orme, High Street

    Courtesy of the artist
  • Sophie Dixon

    Sophie Dixon

    Courtesy of the artist
  • Simon Merrifield

    Simon Merrifield

    Courtesy of the artist
  • Siegfried Habeck

    Siegfried Habeck

    Courtesy of the artist
  • Shona McGovern, Head and Hands under Red, 2014

    Shona McGovern, Head and Hands under Red, 2014

    Courtesy of the artist
  • Delia Perrigo

    Delia Perrigo

    Courtesy of the artist
  • Nee Hune

    Nee Hune

    Courtesy of the artist
  • Mai Spring

    Mai Spring

    Courtesy of the artist
  • Jonathan Webb

    Jonathan Webb

    Courtesy of the artist
Wed 17 Sep - Sun 2 Nov 2014

This autumn, we are showcasing the talent of emerging artists from Kent, as part of the Platform Graduate Award.

The Award aims to support graduate professional development and nurture new talent.

This year’s Platform exhibition showcases the work of nine graduates from three Kent Universities: 
University for the Creative Arts; Siegfried Habeck, Simon Merrifield, Mai Spring
University of Kent; Claire Orme, Sophie Dixon, Jonathan Webb
Canterbury Christ Church University; Delia Perrigo, Shona McGovern, Neel Hune

The artists’ work in a wide range of media, from film and performance, to painting, printmaking and ceramics. Their work draws on themes of war, nature and perception.

You can see performances and film screenings as part of the exhibition at regular times - see below for details.

The Platform programme is a coalition of visual arts organisations in the South East: Turner Contemporary, Margate; Aspex, Portsmouth; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill; MK Gallery, Milton Keynes and Modern Art Oxford, and has been initiated by CVAN (Contemporary Visual Art Network South East). Each gallery showcases the work of recent graduates from their region, selected from university and college degree shows. Details of the exhibitions at the other partner galleries and updates on Platform events: can be found here

One artist from each gallery will be put forward to be considered for the Platform Award 2014, comprising a £2500 bursary and a year of mentoring from an experienced art professional. 

Platform performances and film screenings

Simon Merrifield Performances 
All performances will take place from 11am – 5pm, unless otherwise stated.

I Am Who You Say I Am
Saturday 18 October
Listen to an improvised talk, during which the speaker’s personality, accent, topic, and other factors, can be manipulated and changed.

The Gift Exchange
Saturday 20 September and Tuesday 14 October
Submit an object to be gift-wrapped and given away to someone else, and receive a gift in return.

Eclectic Band of Tour Guides
Thursday 25 September 
Select a guide with their own unique personality and tastes to show you around the gallery and discuss the works on display.

Sensory Scavenger Hunt
Sunday 28 September 
Take part in a scavenger hunt through the gallery and Margate, in which you will be sent to find and document a unique experience using sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

Untitled Story
Tuesday 7 October and Sunday 26 October
Become part of an improvised story in which the storyteller uses the audience as inspiration for the characters in the tale.

One Artwork, Several Artists
Sunday 12 October and Tuesday 21 October
Help create an artwork, which will be edited and adapted as it is made, based on audience suggestions.

Platform Graduate Award 2014 Film Screenings

Sophie Dixon
Wunschendorf, 2014
Duration 35 minutes
Film times (unless otherwise advertised): 10am, 12pm, 2pm

Jonathan Webb
The Man Who Loves Barns, 2014
Duration 27 minutes
Film times (unless otherwise advertised): 11am, 1pm, 3pm

Screening dates and times:
Wednesday 17 September (12 – 3pm only)        
Saturday 20 September 
Thursday 25 September
Friday 26 September
Sunday 28 September
Tuesday 30 September
Friday 3 October
Sunday 5 October
Wednesday 8 October (2 - 5pm only)
Thursday 9 October
Friday 10 October
Sunday 12 October
Tuesday 14 October
Thursday 16 October 
Friday 17 October
Saturday 18 October
Sunday 19 October
Tuesday 21 October 
Saturday 25 October
Sunday 26 October
Saturday 1 November (10am - 12pm only)
Sunday 2 November

Platform artists' statements

Claire Orme
University of Kent (BA Fine Art)
Claire Orme investigates the histories and secrets etched within and upon spaces and objects, attempting to unlock the landscape of mysteries hidden by the conventional methods of experiencing the world. The structural framework of certain objects and locations can absorb energies and memories as time passes, and through their personification and sonification, Orme attempts to discover their concealed stories.

Orme holds an innate desire to believe in something beyond the physical world, expressed through her pursuit to uncover the unseen – to see the invisible and to hear the silent. Her practice is research-led, using archived material, interviews, the internet and personal experience to examine and explore specific moments, people and eras within our history. These narratives are transported into the present through a meticulous interlacing of fact and fiction.

The scenarios that Orme, and her alter-egos, invent reference disparate moments in space and time and endeavor to create arenas in which people can communicate both with the work and with each other. This idea of communication is a wider concern in her practice, examined through appropriating connections between technology and spirituality and exploring the blending of human and machine. As Orme’s work responds to and explores the location that it exists in, it can take on many manifestations, embracing installation, sound, video, sculpture, music and performance.
Sophie Dixon
University of Kent (BA Fine Art)
"The refugee, the displaced person, the migrant is the emblematic figure representing ‘the quintessential experience of our time" John Berger

Over the past century, war, population transfers, shifting borders and globalisation have resulted in an increasingly displaced existence, discordant with our need to locate  ourselves within idealised and stable surroundings.

Working with video, Sophie Dixon explores the complex dialogues created between ourselves and our external environment, dialogues which are constantly reshaped as we traverse the fragile spaces of memory to find our own sense of belonging in the present.

Jonathan Webb
University of Kent (BA Fine Art)
Jonathan's work looks at the world of 'Slow Cinema'. His films slow down shots to give the audience more time to adjust to what they are looking at; longer sequences with few edits and cuts immerse viewers in the world of the story they are watching. There is often less dialogue in slow cinema as it focuses more on the internal dilemma of the characters and their conflicts. Typically slow cinematic films can reach well above 3 hours long (and in some cases up to 10 hours); however, Jonathan's screenplays are made as short films to be easily accessible; he plays with the idea of short stories being long, favouring long tracking shots over traditional Hollywood jump cuts.

Siegfried Habeck
University for the Creative Arts (BA Fine Art)
Siegfried Habeck’s large-scale paintings explore the relationship between land and nature. Trees are a dominant motif, repeated across his canvases reflecting a fascination with these natural structures that form part of dramatic landscapes across the world. Trees are everywhere you look, from massive expanses of forests and woodland areas, to smaller parks and singular trees within our cityscapes. Walking through a forest, surrounded by these tall natural structures; diverse but with a sense of repetition can create a sense of disorientation.

Habeck uses a repeating tree motif across his large canvases to explore this sense of repetition and disorientation found in nature but also as a vehicle to experiment with the process of painting itself. Habeck’s paintings are often made up of a number of small sections that rework and recycle elements of older paintings and create dramatic contrasts between areas of flat, painted surfaces with heavily textured, abstract areas. He combines acrylic paint with a range of found house-hold paints such as emulsion, spray paint and paint pens, experimenting with different brush strokes, varying the thickness of the paint and the painting tools to create a range of textures and finishes that merge the contemporary with the traditional.

Simon Merrifield
University for the Creative Arts (BA Fine Art)
Simon Merrifield’s participatory performances engage the viewer both physically and intellectually. In his search to combine the emotional style of entertainment with the cerebral form of art, the audience is invited to take part in a series of constructed scenarios that distract, immerse and most importantly entertain.

Each performance places a strong emphasis on the giving and receiving of products of both a physical and emotional nature, a process which is triggered by the viewer’s interaction with the work. The role of the viewer is explored in relation to how involved they are within the creation of the piece; what they can be made to do, what they anticipate from the experience, and their willingness to participate for the benefit on offer.

Merrifield’s anthology of performances is created in response to surveys where participants are invited to select and rank a variety of concepts from a provisional list. Scenarios range from dressing and styling the artist using materials provided, to joining him for a romantic dinner and being serenaded by a love song). The most popular concepts are then transformed into physical scenarios, making the audience a collaborator at each stage of the process and questioning the roles of both the artist/performer and audience.

Mai Spring 
University for the Creative Arts (BA Fine Art)
Mai Spring uses a variety of media, combining more traditional elements such as drawing and sculpture with lens based media, installation and film. Her work deals largely with issues around mark making and perception, approaching these through a visually stripped expression.
The circular shape, used in Mai’s work can be read as a symbol but also reveals the inexactness of the hand, thus referring to a limit of the human body; the aim of making a perfect circle is contrasted with the insistence on handmade. This fascination with inexactness is also explored through Mai’s use of analogue film. Holes punched through the film by hand are enlarged when projected. The light and the shadows cast by the projection expose the varying shapes and sizes of the holes.

Through the presentation of her work Mai investigates the relations between the intentional and seemingly unintentional, to what extent the viewing experience can be guided and how the exhibition space affects this experience. The work aims to draw attention to what affects our conceptions, but also to evaluate the senses through which we experience the world.

Delia Perrigo
Canterbury Christ Church University (BA (Hons) Fine and Applied Arts)
Society presents us with many pressures to live up to. The stereotypes of beauty we are presented with; images of women who are ‘perfect’? The majority of these images become a lie, as the media manipulates and uses makeup and photomontage to achieve what has come to be considered by society as ‘beautiful’. What these images don’t show is the dark side, the physical and mental pain that men and women have been subjected to, to feel accepted. Plastic surgery is one such ordeal that individuals put their bodies through. The world casts a blind eye to the agonising journey of surgery undergone to achieve the standard of perfection that the media presents to the world.

Delia Perrigo’s self-portraits seek to dispel these beauty myths, searching for beauty in the grotesque, or some grotesque in beauty. Her drawings and prints are intensely personal, focusing on her own insecurities and flaws, and reflecting on her experience of undergoing surgery.

Perrigo’s mark-making process is very physical. She uses a scalpel to slice directly into the surface of the plate and works back into each plate once printed, further abstracting and exaggerating her drawings to create a series of self-portraits that gradually become more and more distorted.

Shona McGovern
Canterbury Christ Church University (BA (Hons) Fine and Applied Arts)    
Shona McGovern is a painter and sculptor whose work aims to represent human emotion. She responds to stance, gesture, gaze, investigating the indefinable spirit that is unique to a person. Like the painter Sean Scully, McGovern feels that painting and sculpture answer a human need for mystery and authenticity which technology can never satisfy. 
Although figurative, her ceramic sculpture is often inhuman, even monstrous in appearance, but within these imaginary beings; clowns, puppets, fetishes and grotesques there is always something recognisably human; a look, a facial expression, perhaps mere stillness. It is such fragments of expression and the evocative quality of simple gestures which interest McGovern. Through her painting too she strives to embody fragments of hidden personality and feeling in the hope that the spirit of the subject is made visible.

Neel Hune
Canterbury Christ Church University (BA (Hons) Fine and Applied Arts)
“When I walk in a city, the spaces between buildings, a broken brick wall or something dislocated grabs my attention and becomes the reason for making a work. It is like a puzzle that I need to solve. I want my work to become an extension of that inspiration”.

Neel Hune’s work is often founded in an idea or concept originating in the urban environment. She is both inspired by, and works directly in the cityscape. Her ideas vary in form and content but are all inspired by man-made structure, shape and life. Hune does not restrict herself to a single working method, instead selecting the most appropriate materials to communicate particular ideas.

Her work explores the relationship between reality and fiction, embracing various narratives that aim to stimulate reflection, encouraging the viewer to take their own journey through the work. 

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