Artist Award Scheme in focus: Nicola Ellis, Rachal Bradley and Stuart Whipps
Recently, the Henry Moore Foundation awarded more than £60,000 of funding to directly assist 40 artists in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Each week will be focusing on a selection of those artists and celebrating the work that they do.
Nicola Ellis, 5 Panels in Ritherdon Mix Grey, mild steel sheet metal covered in 'Dead Powder'
Photo: Jules Lister
“I am very pleased to receive a Henry Moore Foundation Artists Award. The award will support a period of interdisciplinary research and the development of new work in the coming months.”
Nicola Ellis is interested in systems of value, function and circulation found in the places and processes of industry. She has worked within these settings, such as metal enclosure manufacturer Ritherdon & Co Ltd, to recontextualise the often harsh and repetitive processes of mechanical labour.
Her work 5 Panels in Ritherdon Mix Grey is typical of this. Inspired by the industrial technique of powder coating steel, she collected the 'dead powder' that naturally accumulates over a day's work in the Ritherdon paint shop. Overloading this powder onto metal screens, the resulting 'paintings' are highly sculptural, their thick, textural surfaces a far cry from the company's usual sleek, polished products.
Ellis' work often features loaned or waste materials in this way, referencing recyclability and fluctuating physical states, and brings a freeing sense of chance and discovery to environments designed to eliminate these variables.
Find out more: nicolaellis.com
Rachal Bradley, Untitled (black), 2020, acrylic sheet, metal components, conservator's adhesive tape, metal filing cabinet, rubber seal, wood, magnets, adrenal stress diagnostic test, Borago officinalis, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Passiflora incarnata, Withania somnifera, Rosa Damascena
Image courtesy of Galerie Gregor Staiger and the artist
“Receiving this award was a very welcome surprise. I am delighted my work has been supported at this particular time through this grant.”
Rachal Bradley's work explores the everyday and the internal, and typically examines with the way our bodies interact with the environment and processes surrounding them.
Her series of works Light Grey, Mid-Grey and Black, each consisting of plants delicately pressed between glass panels and held aloft on correspondingly coloured filing cabinets, are illustrative of this. The result of gallery staff taking stress tests and consulting with a medical herbalist, these plants are personalised remedies sourced and grown by the artist herself. Framed in the space of the galleries, her work a reflection on the bodies occupying and interacting with that space.
Stuart Whipps, installation view of Reflections on the Death of a Procupine [sic] at UH Arts, University of Hertfordshire
© Rob Harris
With a background in traditional photography, Stuart Whipps confesses to making "work about things he doesn’t understand and doesn’t know how to do". This experimental attitude has led to a diverse output of work: recent projects have included restoring a 1979 Mini with the assistance of former British Leyland workers, training to make geological thin sections at the University of Birmingham, and propagating Begonias at West Dean in Sussex.
Often starting with archival material or oral histories, Whipps explores the changeable natural of cultural values. Playful and serious at the same time, his work questions the adherence to established narratives on historical events, framing archives in a new light to uncover different viewpoints and contexts.
His project Reflections on the Death of a Procupine [sic] began in this way, with research into New Town architecture across a number of sites in Essex and Hertfordshire. Quickly though, local people were invited to nominate overlooked or unexplored places that held personal significance, unearthing histories and voices that had been conspicuously absent in the historical documents.
Find out more: stuartwhipps.studio