Five new commissions by early-career applied artists Maisie Broadhead, Linda Brothwell, Adam Buick, Nahoko Kojima and Roanna Wells brought about through the biennial Jerwood Makers Open. Each combines a high level of technical skill with imagination and intellectual adventure, constituting a fresh and exciting direction of each artist’s work.
Maisie Broadhead has made four photographic tableaux featuring props inspired by Renaissance painter Paolo Veronese’s series Allegory of Love (1575). Maisie has developed costumes and handmade props from wood, glass, plastic and metal to use in each of the scenes, which reinterpret Veronese’s works Scorn, Unfaithfulness, Respect and Happy Union with contemporary symbolism, wit and humour.
Linda Brothwell has made a series of handmade tools, including hammers, chisels and shims to document the equipment being used to restore Portland Works, a heritage-rich site that was Sheffield’s first purpose-built cutlery factory. The work extends Linda’s existing practice of exploring traditional craft process, increasingly rare techniques and regional heritage.
Adam Buick has made a series of hand-thrown porcelain bells, installed in a variety of natural spaces such as hidden sea caves found in his native Pembrokeshire. The work presents these bells alongside video and photographs of them in situ, highlighting the striking architectural properties of these often overlooked environments. Best known for his handcrafted Korean Moon Jars, combining sculpture with film for this exhibition is a new direction for the artist.
Nahoko Kojima has made an intricate sculpture of a swimming polar bear created using kiri-e, a form of Japanese paper-cutting that she is known for spearheading in Europe. The 2.5m piece, called Byaku, is hand-cut from a single sheet of Japanese washi paper with one continuous line and hangs from the ceiling to allow the piece to play with shadow and light.
Roanna Wells’ large-scale embroidery work was inspired by the Kumbh Mela celebrations in India. Commissioning her own aerial photography of the event, Roanna used hand-stitching techniques on sheer silk and wool to map out the spontaneous patterns and abstract representations of the crowd as seen from above. The work extends Roanna’s interest in the boundaries between drawing and textiles.
The five artists were selected from over 200 applications in response to an open call for self-directed projects from UK-based makers within 10 years of establishing their practice. Each artist received a bursary of £7,500 to support experimentation and the making of new work for this exhibition. The five artists were selected by an independent panel comprising internationally-acclaimed designer Edward Barber; Director of Stanley Picker Gallery David Falkner; and artist and editor Bonnie Kemske.
Jerwood Makers Open was established in 2010 to promote the significance of making and materials within the visual arts arena, seeking to support exceptional skill and imagination. Since 2010, Jerwood Charitable Foundation has awarded commissioning funds totalling £180,000 directly to artists through this project. It has supported 24 major new commissions, offering a rare opportunity for artists to freely develop creative ideas central to their individual practices. It looks broadly at how contemporary artists are defining or challenging the boundaries of what has traditionally been described as applied arts. Alumni include Keith Harrison, James Emmanuel Boos and Matthew Raw.
From 2015, Jerwood Makers Open runs on a biennial basis.