- Sam Scorer Gallery
- East Midlands
Speaking with the artist of the Possible Becomings exhibition it is hard not to acknowledge her radiating enthusiasm. Chalmers expresses this enthusiasm as well as joy in the telling of the shows appeal to the youth of today, with a young male graffiti artists being drawn into the show by one of her large paintings adjacent to the door. The show does offer much to be captivated by; young or old. From painting to sculpture, fabric work to glass casting, an eclectic array of materials have been used representing the experimental nature of Chalmers practice.
The paintings, which are abstract in their entirety, resemble the manic and chaotic through their paint application. Bold colours are unashamedly thrown together, form and content are not prevalent and it is clear this is an intentional decision. Instead the paintings offer a viewing experience through the expression of energetic being, with each painting capturing the progression of Chalmers’s development in a medium. With painting occupying centre stage within the show, this medium represents her hand to canvass vigour, the process most personal, the malleability of the acrylic allows creation without the necessity of equipment.
Conversing with Chalmers she reveals that the paintings are repainted over several sittings in a process of working and reworking giving their appearance a temporal existence, one that is fluid. This extends in the paintings development in moving beyond the parameters of strictly being paintings. Chalmers use of mixed media infiltrates her process and the paintings start to dimensionally shift from two to three. The building of layers and the relationship between what is visible and covered relates to the nature of Chalmers subject matter.
Although not visually blatant, the viewer soon learns of the strong connection between Chalmers background in medical ethics and physics to her artistic practice. Bringing attention to the piece Cathedral of physics and chaos there is a distinctive wave pattern visually present. It displays an ‘uncontrolled waveform’. With Chalmers artworks it seems it can be impossible to predict the end outcome whilst the work is in the process of creation. Furthermore, several types of energies are used to create the waves within the paintings: light, heat and kinetic energy of the body all contribute and are crucial to the excited and energetic outcome of this piece. The artists agenda becomes clear: that the viewers feel the energy that is transferred through the creation to the viewing of these artworks.
I think it is important to note how Chalmers’ artwork relays an individual narrative to each viewer, offering different perceived understanding depending on their persona, culture and taste. Speaking to a viewer present at the exhibition, here is their take on the piece, Possible landscape, 2017 (parergon series)
“The vertical lines of colour suggest a thick wintered forest in the midst of which there is the focal point of a river crossed by a bridge. The river is otherwise concealed in the prolific covering of the forest, captured in a noise of contrasting colours, vertical ascension and the impasto application.
It seems impassable, the eye ever focussing around the trunk of colour to seek out what lies in the distance. It is the areas of off white and slight colour saturation that make this landscape come to life. The winter wind sails through the sky’s cold whites, harmonising with the greys and ashy blues within the trees, where hardy evergreens are the only life to have survived the apparent autumnal purge. The Lowry-esque contrast of black on white draws the eye between the trees into the distance where there is much more forest to navigate.”
The exhibition as a whole gives off an exciting and energy filled feeling of potential, of further possibilities. The progressional development from painting into sculpture gives a scope of application for the subject matter. As briefly mentioned above, it is apparent through Chalmers artworks that the removal of control is an important aspect to her artworks. When making, sculpting or painting Chalmers insists that the end result of her artwork remain a mystery, leaving it open to the many possible outcomes.
In this respect the sculptures in the show delve into a realm of anomaly through production method allowing the possibility of the differing outcome of each cast. The reliance on the chemical energy of the process dictating the aesthetic factors are a clear extension into this supporting subject matter; utilising the mediums characteristic nature through the execution of process enables the chaotic. This is best displayed in the ceramic works supernova. 2017, where the resulting colour formation is decided within the heat of the kiln. Each ceramic looking as though it has been retrieved from the depths of a mineral rich chasm. No two the same; they are organic and individual, it is a stark contrast to the series of possibles, which through abiding to a unified form differ through surface, colour and transparency alone.
The curiosity that lingers in my mind regarding the finished/unfinished aspect of the artworks is particularly apparent for me in a sculpture that has been positioned on a plaster covered trolly. It seems the sculpture was created on the trolly and has been deliberately left on the trolly for display. This decision in display gives the sculpture more of a sense of impermanence, kinetic energy and character to it, like its about to be wheeled off to a kiln for further processing. There are other works that offer this insight into the process. In a corner on a plinth sits Becomings III. 2017, a terracotta pot with set glass seemingly flowing from within. A sculptural still life documenting the process and the possibility of what would have been being made.
That is the concluding factor of this show, there is the sense of the possible. Using an eclectic arrangement of work Chalmers succeeds to fill the space with an energetic and exciting atmosphere, resonating the artist’s personality, and science interests within the art. I congratulate Chalmers on successfully opening an exhibition that visually invites a variety of interests, ages and personalities whilst managing to give each and every artwork an air of individualism.