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This October saw me stage my ninth Perfume as Practice exhibition, which was held at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol and featured 18 perfumes, each a portrait of another artist and created using my well-established process that begins by asking artists the question ‘why do you make art?’ then responding to the answer received through scent design; capturing the essence of the artist.

As well as the core principle of subverting our expectations of perfumery by placing it in a contemporary art context, each Perfume as Practice exhibition strives to develop the project as a whole. Previously this has included incorporating visual elements, working towards specific themes and even placing the project alongside the work of another artist: All of which aimed to devise and assess different ways visitors may encounter perfume in a contemporary art space.

So, what was it about this incarnation that developed the project? Well, this was the first time that the perfume portraits were exhibited alongside visual work created by the artists themselves. So the audience encountered 18 perfume portraits and 18 corresponding works of art, and as such they were able to associate the perfumes with the artists involved in a direct and meaningful way.

This added a new and welcome dimension to Perfume as Practice, as visitors took visible delight in connecting each perfume to each visual piece and ascertaining how I arrived at each perfume portrait. This actually made my perfume making process all the more transparent, as I was able to physically show audiences the work of each artist, and each artist elicited a presence within the exhibition. It was also interesting to witness audiences utilising both scent and vision to fully experience the exhibition; intuitively connecting one sense to another through engagement with art.

Was it the most accomplished Perfume as Practice incarnation? Quite possibly. Though that’s thanks in no small part to the artists themselves, who were as follows:

Sue Burley
JanCarlo Caling
Marisa Culatto
Stig Evans
Jenna Fox
Andrea Freeman
Liz Griffiths
Catherine Higham
Jeff Hunter
Lady M
Grant Lambie
Heather Fiona Martin
Sharon Mossbeck
Helen Sills
Agatha Smith
Clare Smith
Robert Verrill
Myfanwy Williams

It was also fantastic to exhibit at Centrespace, which is a wonderful gallery (you should check it out, seriously!) I would like to thank Arts Council England for their support too.

So now to secure a few gallery spaces for Perfume as Practice in 2020…

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This week sees the opening of my latest Perfume as Practice show, which will take place at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol from 4th – 9th October 2019.

As ever, Perfume as Practice AW19 will look at the artistic potential of perfumery and how it can be used to create portraiture. The exhibition will comprise 18 perfumes, each a portrait of another artist. These perfume portraits are achieved through my well-established process that begins by asking artists the question ‘why do you make art?’ Then, through a method of intuition and investigation, I create perfume relative to the answer received – capturing the essence of an artist.

In an effort to forge tighter connections this exhibition will provide the artists involved a chance to exhibit their own work alongside their portraits under the overarching theme of ‘voyage’. This theme alludes to Bristol’s history as a port town and acts as a metaphor for the careers of each artist. As ever the exhibition promises to subvert your expectations of scent, perfume and portraiture in general!

I’m really looking forward to exhibiting in Bristol as it’s a city I’ve never visited so it will be great to immerse myself in it for a week. I am also really happy to have secured Arts Council funding for this particular exhibition, which I always feel validates Perfume as Practice somewhat, with particular regards to how perfume can be perceived as an artform.

Many thanks to Centrespace Gallery for the opportunity, and to the artists involved, whose perfume portrait and own work will be on display: Sue Burley; JanCarlo Caling; Marisa Culatto; Stig Evans; Jenna Fox; Andrea Freeman; Liz Griffiths; Catherine Higham; Jeff Hunter; Lady M; Grant Lambie; Heather Fiona Martin; Sharon Mossbeck; Helen Sills; Agatha Smith; Clare Smith; Robert Verrill; Myfanwy Williams

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