ADVENTurous is an open submission exhibition exploring the christmas narrative, which we're staging in 3 UK venues during advent this year : at Engedi in Colwyn Bay, Leftbank in Leeds and the Union Chapel in Islington, London.

The work exhibited at Union Chapel will also be part of the one-day ‘ADVENTurous' conference, hosted by Greenbelt Festival and partners.

On this blog we'll be posting regular updates about how plans for the Leftbank Leeds show are progressing, with information about the contributing artists, and possibly some previews of the work being created for the exhibition...

Friday, October 19, 2012

introducing... Elizabeth Loren

Left Bank: Hi Elizabeth, welcome to ADVENTurous!
We're quite excited to have you onboard and exhibiting in the show - just for starters can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Elizabeth Loren: Firstly, I'd like to say thank you for including me in the show - I'm very excited to be a part of it. Where to begin? Well, I'm a Yorkshire-based figurative artist who's recently graduated from Leeds College of Art's Fine Art BA(Hons) course.
Art has always been present within my life - from a very young age it was apparent I was creative, I was encouraged to develop and when growing up it became a comfort. Now it's a passion that I have committed to.
I work figuratively because the human form fascinates me - it is a vehicle of expression that words cannot capture. It is very hard to make the body lie because there is always one part of it than cannot help but speak the truth. I make work that I can relate to otherwise it becomes soulless.
In the last 3-4 years I have moved away from painting and towards sculpture - for me I find I can communicate emotion with my audience through a more tactile medium. However, painting is still paramount in my practice in terms of development and in the construction of 3D works. I use familiar scenarios and everyday objects to ground the sculpture into domesticated reality.

LB: You have some work in a show that's currently running in Leftbank...

EL: Yes, I'm currently exhibiting my degree show sculpture "...IT'S LIKE EVEN WHEN WE'RE NOT TOGETHER, WE ARE" at Northern Young Artist's month-long 'Awakening' exhibition, which ends on 16th November.

LB: Your work is definitely figurative, but it feels that you're also pushing things towards abstraction at times - in the cropping of the heads, hands and feet in your form photographs or the piece '...It's Like, Even When We're Not Together, We Are', for example. 
As a result, there's something beautifully elusive and intriguing about those works... I find myself imagining a narrative and a back story [no pun intended!] for those figures... and I'm wondering what sort of response you've had from other people to those pieces?

EL: You're right, the works are steeped in narrative and the figures take on personas - my own personal one that is suggested in the title and the ones that people make when viewing the work. I intend for the audience to relate to the conveyed emotion, and it can be like a trigger for some viewers.
I have been told the work is endearing, calming, saddening, menacing and creepy. A real mixed bag, but I do believe it is down to the mood and mentality of the individual, and all these responses are viable.
As for the work being abstract - I have never personally viewed my work as abstracted, more obscure, although I can see how it can appear that way to an audience. I tend to strip back a figure to the key elements that are required to convey a specific emotion or feeling because, and this may sound ridiculous, I have always remembered my English teacher telling me only to include the important words when writing poetry and to use other words as anchors - and to me, the work is poetry, therefore I see limbs as anchors - often if I feel the work needs grounding I will include feet. Heads and hands are far too literal and are more deceiving than torsos and feet.

LB: One of the very positive things about the ADVENTurous shows is the way that we're showcasing the work of seasoned professionals alongside pieces created by younger up-and-coming talents like yourself.
You're in quite an interesting place just now, having just graduated from Art school and embarking on your career as an Artist - how are you finding that transition...?

Oh my God. it's bizarre! One minute you're surrounded by like-minded people all bursting with enthusiasm and being shepherded for critiques, and the next you find yourself setting up a shared studio in a draughty redundant chicken house on a farm, dashing about & organising meetings, trying to grab 1 minute inputs from family and friends and generally feeling like a very small fish in a gigantic pond!
I think this transitional period is actually very interesting - it really makes you evaluate where you're at and what you're aiming for and through being involved with exhibitions such as ADVENTurous one gets to see what can be achieved  with dedication because, in all fairness, there will be recently graduated artists who are experiencing self-doubt.
I am really happy with the dawning of my artistic career, however for the past couple of months I have found myself really stripping back and doing a lot more painting of late; until I have the studio all set up, bigger works are in planning. On the plus side, I will be a very busy bee when I get settled in my new studio, so much so that I won't feel the cold.

LB: You also had some work in the recent 'Free Range' show down in London. How did that come about, and how did it go?

EL: Yes I did! The Free Range show is an annual degree graduate exhibition, held in the old Truman brewery on Brick Lane. It houses five or six shows over the period of about six weeks and it's an intense week of logistics, curating and exhibiting but 100% worth it. Leeds College of Art's Fine Art course has been attending for the past few years and each third year student can select whether they wish to exhibit or not.
This year was a brilliant show with a real diverse mix of work, from ceramics to metal work, and I found it eye-opening with regards to how other courses presented themselves. For myself, I exhibited  "...IT'S LIKE, EVEN WHEN WE'RE NOT TOGETHER, WE ARE." along with a photograph from the "HOW IT FEELS" series - this is where i received most of my audience response and got the opportunity to meet some very quirky characters.

LB: Finally I wonder if there are any of your peers whose work you think we should be looking out for?

EL: Well, as I said, there was a real blend of art being created by my peers but I really connected with Annie Driver's ceramic floor sculpture in which she addresses pregnancy in a beautifully delicate yet alarming way - Cristina Ciccone's bleached pattern canvases that represent the artist's home life, and Chris Freitag's interactive cast iron sculptures that allow the viewer to realise the importance of materiality.
In the foreseeable future, there will be a collaborative work between Chris Freitag and myself combining figurative elements with a presidence in materiality.

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