Beneath the Waves Radio 4 documentary

Radio4

I’ve been making a programme for Radio 4 about artists who work underwater, which comes out on the 12th November.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00013nr

Artist Emma Critchley meets filmmakers, photographers, sculptors and painters who are drawn beneath the sea to create underwater art.

Julie Gautier performs a graceful, lyrical ballet on the floor of the deepest pool in the world. Without a tank of air or mask, she dances magically through crystal-clear waters across a sunken stage.

In the azure waters of the world, sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor uses the seabed as his canvas. He has installed hundreds of life-sized, concrete people on the sea floor. Fish weave through his couple playing on sea-saw, tourists taking photographs or migrants huddling in a raft. As Jason works towards the opening of his first cold water installation, Emma asks what draws him to the sea, the meaning of his work and how audiences can engage with underwater art.

She explores the unpredictability of working with the sea, hearing stories of storms, seasickness and near drowning.

Suzi Winstanley is petrified of the deep, but her passion for documenting wildlife has taken her to the remotest and coldest places in the world. With fellow artist Olly Williams, they collaborate to paint, lightning-fast, their experience of encountering white shark and leopard sea.

Emma braves the wintery British waters to talk concentration, boundaries and time with artist Peter Matthews who immerses himself in the ocean for hours, sometimes days, floating with his drawing board and paper.

Sunlight dances on the twisting fabrics of headless bodies in photographer Estabrak’s pictures. For her, working in Oman, underwater is the only safe space to tell stories.

For some the pull of the sea is political, for others environmental, but all the artists find extraordinary freedom in this huge untapped underwater world.

Producer: Sarah Bowen

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209 Women

209 Women End Card

Fantastic to be part of the 209 Women project, photographing Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West.

Marking 100 years since some women achieved the right to vote, Open Eye Gallery in collaboration with photographer Hilary Wood are replacing the entire contemporary art collection at the Palace of Westminster with new photos of every female MP, shot exclusively by female photographers, and making it free and open to the public.

On 14th December 1918 women voted for the first time, and in the same year the first female MP was elected. 100 years on, this project marks that significant moment in history, whilst also highlighting the ongoing need for gender equality across society.209 Women is a national artist-led project that aims to champion the visibility of women, particularly in male-dominated environments, and challenges issues surrounding gender inequality. The exhibition will hang in the Palace of Westminster from 14th December to February 2019.

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Ocean Imaginaries: RMIT Gallery, Melbourne

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Ocean Imaginaries focuses on some of the contradictions and conflicted feelings raised by how the ocean is imagined in an age of environmental risk.

05 May 2017-01 July 2017
RMIT Gallery, City campus, Melbourne, Australia

Curator Linda Williams.

Artists: Anne Bevan, Emma Critchley and John Roach, Alejandro Durán, Simon Finn, Stephen Haley, Lynne Roberts-Goodwin, Chris Jordan, Sam Leach, Janet Laurence, Mariele Neudecker, Joel Rea, Dominic Redfern, Debbie Symons, Jason deCaires Taylor, teamLAB, Guido van der Werve, Chris Wainwright, Lynette Wallworth and Josh Wodak.

Responding to a recent turn to the ocean in the environmental humanities, this international exhibition considers how reflections on the ocean are aesthetically reconfigured when viewed from a contemporary urban perspective. Though artists have always responded to the nonhuman world, it is really only in the past three decades that environmental critique has become a major theme of contemporary art. Most environmental art of the late 20th century focused on more terrestrial ecologies while the ‘oceanic turn’ in the arts and humanities occurred more recently with the acknowledgment of the ocean as our ‘evolutionary home’ and the ancient site where biological life first emerged. From the early modern era of global maritime expansion in the late 16th century, the ocean has been valued as a conduit for colonial expansion and trade in raw materials and consumer goods, most of which continue to be shipped across the world today. During this period the ocean was also used for its apparent capacity to absorb waste: from the industrialised waste of heavy metals to radioactive material and plastics. Effectively, the most insidious forms of oceanic pollution remain invisible to the human eye, while the serious effects of ocean acidification, mercury poisoning or pollution by micro-plastics, along with the gradual effects of ocean warming, are slowly, but surely, afflicting every ocean on earth. The sea has long appealed to the romantic imagination as a compelling metaphor for the sacred mysteries of nature, yet given the escalation of global modernity this romantic view now incorporates a countervailing imagery in which the slow violence of ocean pollution not only represents a risk to human interests but also to a diverse range of marine creatures threatened with extinction. While the wild, pristine imagery of the ocean still persists in contemporary culture it is now conflicted by an imagery of pollution, destruction and loss. Increasingly, the oceans represent a channel for greater engagement in the urgent need to protect environmental resilience and biodiversity. These divergent views suggest powerful imaginative contradictions that Ocean Imaginaries explores through artworks evincing responses to global oceans in our era.

Ocean Imaginaries is an exhibition that addresses research undertaken by the AEGIS Research Network led by Associate Professor Williams in the School of Art. She remarked that the high level of professionalism at the RMIT Gallery means that it is an ideal partner for bringing international research collaborations in the field of art and ecology into the cultural life of Melbourne.

Art + Climate = Change 2017

Part of CLIMARTE’s ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2017 – a festival of exhibitions and events harnessing the creative power of the Arts to inform, engage and inspire action on climate change.

Present Tense exhibition opens

EmmaCritchley_THEY_Film.jpgAn exhibition of works that explore disrupted space: cultural, political, emotional and physical, selected from Phoenix Brighton studio artists.

This exhibition, located in a site of multiple artists practices and drawn from them, considers how ideas can transcend a physical space, yet are grounded through different forms of making and display.  It brings into play an exploration of cultural and political space, opening up discussions around how individual lives and histories inform and shape the articulation of a practice. The exhibition offers a slice in time, a moment of shared connections and isolated thoughts. It encompasses drawings ; on paper and on the wall; discreet surveillance manifesting as photographs and kinetic video; sculpture and paintings that speak to absence and presence, actions and affirmation.

Present Tense is curated by Lucy Day.
Artists: Jon Carritt & Dan Palmer, Rachel Cohen, Emma Critchley, Jane Fox, Caitlin Heffernan, Oliver Hein, Fergus Heron, Bernard G Mills, Paul Morley, Patrick O’ Donnell, Wendy Pye, Ruth Rix, and Kiki Stickl

Phoenix Brighton
10–14 Waterloo Place
Brighton BN2 9NB

6 May – 4 June 2017
Open Wed – Sun 11 am – 5 pm