Q1: Tell us about your pathway into the Arts?
My pathway to the arts was very natural. I was always interested in aesthetics and history, begging my mother to take me to the National Portrait Gallery from a young age and trying to understand the feat of artistic creation. I had an amazing Art History teacher who, amongst others throughout my education, allowed me to realise I express myself most effortlessly in discussing images and its societal context. I say to many... images predate words, so what better way to understand the world and its beauty? Curating shows came out of my writing, I see the exhibitions I curate as visual essays.
Q2: What are your values within the arts – why do what you do and what do you wish to champion and develop within the art world?
I champion the exploration of identities and how multifaceted they are. This is made more accessible due to current discourse on the many nuances of identity and expression. I champion art that nods to the past and looks to the future. As an art history geek at heart (I studied at the Courtauld Insitute) I love to see new artists create exciting works and understand how they fit within the canon of art history, or if they don’t, why that’s necessary. I am very into painting about painting, so works that refer directly to the process and the materiality. But in the same vein I am so into objects, like the disintegrating works of Dominique White and more ephemeral works and performance, like Jamila Johnson-Small, where her dance exists most potently when present and not from documentation.
Q3: Tell us about your recent past projects
I spent most of last year exploring with my writing; reading the great art critics and expanding on my own writing style which has been hugely therapeutic. I worked as the Digital Editor of Phoenix Magazine, which allowed me to develop my writing further and engage with different technologies and modes of presenting words, images and ideas.
Q5: What kind of art attracts you? (we know this is a really broad and simplistic question but any comments would be great)
Something visually impressive that prompts a response. And whilst paying homage to the canon it sits in, seeks to say or present something new and reflects the issues and questions that interests a contemporary viewer.
Q6: If there is one thing you would like Artists who approach you as a Curator or Critic to do what would it be?
I am always so humbled and flattered when an artist has read, watched or familiarised themselves with my work. But I seek to engage with artists on a similar level to them, not as part of a patriarchal power system in the art world. I would love artists to consider intricate collaboration between curator and artist. As a critic, it is hard to attend and have opinions on every artist's show or work I come across, but I love speaking to artists and am open to letting such conversations complement the opinions I make in my writing.
Interview by Caitlin Smyth
Oaktree & Tiger Team
Art experts giving advice to emerging artists to build their careers and find success. Organisers of the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize 2020, artist agent and art consultants.