Susie Pentelow talks to artist HelenA Pritchard about her current solo exhibition, ‘Encounters’ at TJ Boulting, London.
You originally trained in painting, but since then your work has developed to encompass the sculptural, too. How did this shift come about?
I guess it was a natural progression. When I was younger I use to arrange objects into still lives, groups, according to their physical and formal connections, mostly color as far as I can remember. Then I painted objects, now I make object paintings and sculptures.
Tell me about the title of the exhibition, 'Encounters’. How does it relate to the body of work you will be showing?
It appeared in my mind like a space invader, I like the look of the word and the sound too, but mostly what the word conveys. The material suggests a context; the history of the material and the encounters in which the materials have been acquired; found, given, stolen. The stories behind the work, the other stuff, that’s what drives the work, the connections you can’t see, the informal encounters, these are all layers, some you see some you don’t.
Part of the exhibition space is dedicated to a collaborative piece by yourself and Ilenia Bombardi. How will viewers encounter this piece, and what is its relationship to the rest of the body of work?
The dark side or the light projections, that work is all made by myself. I wanted to collaborate with Ilenia on future projects we have discussed, so I decided to get her involved in the installation to see how we worked together.
Within one work you employ a huge range of materials, from those traditionally employed in art-making, like watercolor, oil, and gold-leaf, to those which are perceived as much less 'precious’, like packaging and tape. How do you begin teasing out potential relationships between these seemingly disparate things?
I think the tension between traditional materials and the everyday says a lot about the world we live in, a playful way of pointing out the.. yes.. darker aspects of society (all very sci-fi). My work engages in the attraction of the opposites.
What is coming up next for you?
I would like to participate in a few residencies with the installation aspect of my practice. I have some future projects, a few themed exhibition which is closed and finished ideas and somewhat conceptual, a bit of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ meets with popular culture artwork of different countries. The other is a large-scale sculpture project called ‘The Confessionals’, an ambitious outdoor project, which will entail some funding.
‘Encounters’, HelenA Pritchard’s solo exhibition at TJ Boulting, London W1W 7EG continues until 7 May. For more information, visit http://www.tjboulting.com.