The work that I am making for the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize 2015 is the development of a sculpture I made for my MFA degree show at the Slade School of Fine Art in June 2014. The installation I made for my final exhibition at the Slade was titled ‘Obscure Garden’,2014. The work involved several objects representing different features of an environment of my own creation. These were: a portal, a fossilised life form, a display structure, a cast of characters waiting on the sidelines to be displayed, a navigator, a looking moss and an undergrowth of dark forms. The work investigated both landscape and ideas around collections and display. My previous work can be viewed on my website: www.juliamckinlay.com
I was born in York and I am currently living and working in London. I studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in the Postgraduate Sculpture Department from 2012-2014 and gained my MFA with Distiction. I studied for my BA in Fine Art: Sculpture and Environmental Art at the Glasgow School of Art and graduated with a 1st in 2009.
I am currently working at a paper suppliers to support my practice and I spend the remainder of my time in my studio in South London. I am currently preparing for a 2 month expedition to Iceland as I was awarded the Boise Travel Scholarship at the end of my time at the Slade and I will be using this scholarship to explore the diverse landscape in Iceland. I will be taking part in two residencies while I am in Iceland, Skaftfell in the East and Listhus in the North.
I also work in a collective of printmakers called Printers Symphony. We are currently developing and using a portable print studio that can be taken anywhere and used to make prints outside of the studio. Our previous work can be seen here: http://cargocollective.com/printerssymphony
Now that my work is finished and installed at Broomhill I want to say a big thank you to the London Sculpture Workshop who allowed me to use their facilities to make my sculpture. The technicians Mellis and James were incredibly helpful and made it possible to get a lot done in a very short time frame. I would recommend the workshop to anyone making sculpture in London.
My sculpture for the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize 2015 is now finished and on display. I had a fantastic time at Broomhill installing the work and I am very happy with the work and its location.
Friday was install day at Broomhill Art Hotel. After exploring the grounds I chose a place to install my work that was isolated island of land between a pond, a ditch and group of trees. This created a natural stage that I could then frame my work within.
My friend Lauren Wilson helped me install on the day. It was a busy day fixing the sculpture together and then finally setting the sculpture into cement filled trenches.
It was an exciting day on Friday. I found out that the powder coaters had finished working on my sculpture and I arranged for it to be delivered. I had to race from work to meet the delivery team at my studio where they were dropping off the work.
The powder coating has been the only process through the making of this piece that I have handed over to someone else to do. However it has been necessary because I do not want the sculpture to rust over the next year when it is installed at Broomhill. I have always wanted to have something powder coated because of the vibrant smooth colour that can be achieved. The Broomhill National Sculpture Prize has enabled me to finally experiment with powder coating and I am really pleased with the result.
I chose two different finishes for the sculpture. The main body is coated in a clear matt lacquer. I wanted to keep the original colour of the steel to act as a neutral between the three coloured elements in the piece. The lacquer has made the steel colour deeper, which I hadn’t anticipated but I am really happy about. I chose the clear lacquer was because I like the burn marks from the different processes I used in constructing the sculpture such as plasma cutting and welding. I am interested in showing these processes in the work as it is a really important part of the development of the piece. I prefer to make as much of my own work as possible because so many decisions are made while I am cutting a shape out or welding sections together. My sculptures always change a huge amount from the original drawing or plan once I have started making them. I mistake with the plasma cutter might lead to a really interesting shape and this might change the whole piece.
One change I have made to my original plan for the work is that I have made the ‘Moss’ a separate entity from the main body. This was because I decided it needed some space from the main body. I want to play around with the positioning of the ‘Moss’ when I am on site and installing. Making it a separate section has also allowed me to powder coat it in a bright yellow to contrast to the steel and work with the red and blue pieces.
I finally finished the main steel body of the sculpture today. The most challenging part of this was creating two joints in the structure that would allow me to take the sculpture apart for transport, but be very strong when bolted together. Once this was finished I was able to weld on the steel uprights which will be supports for the wooden elements that will be attached. These I positioned thinking about multiple viewpoints of the sculpture. I am interested in how I can create several different images within the work depending on where the viewer stands. I also want there to be an element of discovery in viewing the work, how when you move around it you will see a new colour or form.
The work has grown much larger than I anticipated, I think the final length will be approximately 5m.
Once the uprights were welded on I then cut out using a plasma cutter the steel shapes that will be welded onto the uprights and will then be the means off attaching the wooden characters. Using a plasma cutter is a very much like drawing and therefore I feel that I am finding a shape in the steel as I draw it out. It is a very inventive way of working with metal.
The steel plates were then welded onto the main structure and I was able to work on the element that will represent a moss. This is made from steel pipe that I have bent into a form that hopefully gives the impression that the metal is feeling out into the space.
My last task for the day was to weld onto the underside of all four sections the reinforcement bar that will be sunk into the ground and act as an anchor for the work while it is on display at Broomhill.
I have used the fantastic facilities at the London Sculpture Workshops to do all of the metalwork for the sculpture and the team there has been extremely helpful during the development of the piece.
Now the steel is ready to be taken to be coated.