Grace Marlow. Image courtesy of the artist.
Award-winning visual artist, Grace Marlow, has produced a staggering amount of high quality work considering her young age. Her oeuvre (which includes performance art and sculpture) focuses on powerful themes, such as gender and post-colonialism, and has been exhibited at various locations, such as FELTspace. In our latest Artist Spotlight, she talks gender representation in the art world and her favourite art spaces in Adelaide.
Q: Hello Grace! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
A: Hi! I’m a visual artist currently studying Honours at the Adelaide Central School of Art.
settled/unsettled, video still, full duration continuous loop, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist, Grace Marlow.
Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?
A: So much inspires me! Marina Abramović and Frida Kahlo were huge influences for me as I was transitioning from high school to art school. At the moment I’m looking into Rebecca Horn’s body extensions. I like how the sculpture objects are interesting in themselves because they suggest how the sculpture might have been used in a performative context. I also really love Ramesh Nithiyendran’s work showing at the Samstag gallery at the moment for the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art. I really love his work because his work is personal but it still speaks more broadly about political issues surrounding gender and colonialism.
Q: Do you have a preferred medium?
A: I like to work across disciplines. I think of an idea I want to convey first, and then I think about what medium would best translate that concept. At the moment I’m playing in the studio with sculpture, video and performance.
Sucurity Blanket (detail), wool blanket, plaster casts, dimensions variable, 2015. Image courtesy Harry Marlow.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I guess like Nithiyendran, the foundation of my practice is driven by my personal experiences. I’m interested in my identity as it is socially and culturally constructed so I base my work around my direct experiences of gender and my relationship to colonialism.
Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?
A: For me it depends what medium I’m working in at the time. Generally, though, as I work through an idea physically I also resolve ideas conceptually too. So I might have a loose idea of what I want a work to do and I jump into playing around in front of a camera for a video work, or playing with materials laying around in my studio for a sculpture. Once I start to physically play with the idea the concept becomes more clear to me and it is easier to rule out things that aren’t working.
TREEspace, video still, full duration continuous loop, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist, Grace Marlow.
Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?
A: I think it’s hard to plan a freelance art career. It’s not an avenue that you can expect to have a regular source of income, and people expect a lot from artists for free. It’s especially hard trying to project into the future given the current attitude towards the arts – there are major cuts being made to our funding opportunities in Australia at the moment. Artist Elvis Richardson did a study on gender representation in the Australian visual art sector here. Having said this though, I am hoping that my practice will open up opportunities to take up residencies interstate and overseas. I’ll hopefully develop relationships with other artists to work and learn collaboratively; I love learning from artists working in different disciplines. I am really motivated by working in a shared studio space, so I’m sure I will continue to seek that out.
Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?
A: Only one, that’s so hard! I’ll go with Sarah Lucas. I can never get her work out of my head so she must be good!
The Girl Wasn’t Going Anywhere, video still, single channel video projection, continuous loop, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist, Grace Marlow.
Q: What is your favourite gallery?
A: Adelaide has really great galleries! The Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia is really great. So are the Australian Experimental Art Gallery and FELTspace! They are galleries that have opportunities for both emerging and established artists, which is really important.
Q: Where can we find more of your work?
I’m also going to be showing some work at FELTspace in August!
Domesticated, video still, full duration 00:12:55, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist, Grace Marlow.
Q: Who is your all time favourite character from a novel?
A: I just finished Miranda July’s novel ‘The First Bad Man’. It was such a good read! She writes this character, Cheryl Glickman, so well. People are always jumping to conclusions about how she feels, so she falls into really complicated situations. She has a lot of trouble being heard by the people around her. The narrative drives her through really banal yet surreal events that really pushed me out of my comfort zone.
– Masya Zabidi