Thursday, 3 August 2017

Rising Talent - Martha Tanner

Please tell us something about yourself and your art?

I was born and grew up in Hastings with a heavy artistic influence throughout my life, being surrounded by a family of artists. Though I enjoyed many of the academic subjects throughout school and college, I always knew that it would be a career path within the Arts that I would eventually succumb to. There was always an anxiety about pursuing this for me, the pressures of making a success of oneself within the arts world in a way that allows financial stability in conjunction with continuing to be true to my artistic practice. It wasn't until I had an underwhelming, excruciatingly boring experience working full time in an aquarium after studying on the Foundation diploma that I decided to join the University of Brighton (at SCCH) to study contemporary crafts (BA Hons Designer Maker). 

Since I was a child I have always loved working with a multitude of materials and processes, and so a creative course that was tailored towards learning processes and material manipulation throughout a range of disciplines was a natural direction for me to take. It was during my first year that I fell in love with working with glass. There is something special about the way one material can evoke so many responses to it and be used in so many ways. For me, the material itself became a medium of exploration of conceptual matter, its elusive transient nature representative of themes of identity, memory and the fragility of life.  

The driving force behind my recent work is a constant analysation into the relationships we share with the world around us, the way we become attached to our material possessions and particular spaces, the constant search for meaning, associations, sense of self and identity. My practice seeks to expose something that may be particularly overlooked in the everyday-how our perceptions of the physical world and the processes of our internal minds are complexly interwoven, a constant to and throwing through interaction, interpretation and experience. 

The glass stair case on show in this exhibition was a response to my exploration into the concept of space, in particular relation to the home. By casting the stairs and balustrades from my family home, the translation of marks and wear from the surface of such structures into glass provides a tangible representation of the significance a space can hold; an archival mapping of life, memory and existence. I wanted the work to be suggestive yet unimposing, a relatable and accessible piece to silently absorb the responses from those who experience it; to be thought provoking and meaningful. 

Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration stems from a range of sources. My work usually is idea led, concept before construct. To pin down what it is that I am trying to convey or explore, I use a range of research methods to gain knowledge and inspiration, usually reading around philosophical interpretations, historical and contextual connotations, and a range of other artists work and how they use materials to explore similar themes. 

The development of ideas for the glass staircase were particularly inspired by artists such as Rachel Whiteread and Doris Salcedo along with the literature of western philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s ‘The Poetics of Space’  and an intriguing article by architect Juhani Pallasmaa ‘Identity, Intimacy and Domicile. Notes on the Phenomenology of Home.’

Why is making art important to you?
I find myself analysing everything I see, hear and know through an inquisitive mind, constantly seeking answers and looking for meanings. Making art for me becomes a therapeutic type of reasoning, a way for me to understand and make sense of the world we exist in. Making is an essential part of life that takes on many varying forms for many different people. Art should not be seen as a mere add on to the basics of everyday life, but is an essential part of our existence and expression of who we are, it is woven into the fabric of life and allows a true representation of our internal self, exposing a voice in a world of many. 

What would help you to develop your art further in the future?
To be able to continue my experimental work in the discipline of glass, I aim to acquire a studio space and the equipment needed to do so, most importantly would be to get a kiln. As well as continuing my own artistic practice I would also like to run more adult and children’s workshops in the basics of kiln formed glass and perhaps develop some ideas for community projects, creating environments in which art and ways of making become accessible to all.  

website:     Martha Tanner 

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