Artists backstories/biographies

SARAH ARSENAULT

‘Extant’, 2022, 150 x 102cm, Acrylic, ink and water soluble charcoal on canvas

Sarah Arsenault is a British-Canadian artist living in London, who after many years working as a self-taught painter decided to pursue an art education. She attended OCAD University in Toronto, Canada, on an advanced standing entry into the competitive BFA in Drawing & Painting program in 2015. Sarah graduated with distinction and earned the highest award for graduate studies, leading her to London when she was accepted into the MA Fine Art in Painting program at Camberwell College of Arts. She graduated in 2020 with distinction and her graduate work ‘Convergence 1’ was acquired by the UAL Art Collection.

Since graduating Sarah has been involved in several exhibitions, and has been shortlisted, and a finalist for a number of competitive international art prizes. Her work ‘Erasure’ was selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London this year, she was a top finalist in the Beyond Future Art Prize, 2022, longlisted for the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize, 2021, and her work ‘Anticipated’ will be featured in an upcoming American television series titled ‘Slip’, airing this fall. 

Sarah’s paintings explore human ecology through imagined environments where utopias and dystopias exist together. Deceivingly joyous at first glance with her use of bold psychedelic colours and naturalistic imagery, a closer investigation reveals the macabre. Sarah’s work is underpinned by a keen awareness of the climate crisis but inspired by all that is still right with the world.

JEREMY SCOTT

’62/22′, 80cm x 60cm, oil on canvas.

After a career in bookselling and publishing (amongst other things), London painter Jeremy Scott committed to art full time in January 2020. He completed an MFA Painting at Camberwell College of Arts, and has been accepted onto the Turps Studio programme this year.

In 2018, Jeremy’s exhibition ‘TRACE’ at the Pie Factory Gallery in Margate was the culmination of six months roaming the streets of east London picking up orphaned gloves. Paintings and assemblages probed hidden histories, constructed narratives and imagined how each glove had arrived at the place of its discovery. Why was the pristine vintage opera glove lying in a grubby industrial estate in Dagenham? Why was that juxtaposition of object and location worthy of comment? What assumptions did it reveal?

An ingrained distrust of established power structures, particularly patriarchal hegemonies, informs his interest in the metaphorical power of modes of dress. A garment can become shorthand; it speaks for the occupant whilst still acting as a protective husk. Attitudes mutate in the face of perceived permissions and obligations, power and status are projected. Prejudice is implicit. All signposted by the clothes of just another human. 

It is the corrosive nature of this arrangement that drives Jeremy’s work.

ROB GRIFFITHS

‘CRISIS’, 2022, 80 x 100cm, acrylic on canvas,

Rob Griffiths is an Oxford based artist with a background in town and landscape planning which is a strong influence in his paintings.  The contrast of urban and natural forms feature heavily in the paintings which explore buildings, streets, spaces, light and shadows as well as how the differences in the quality of our environments affect how they are experienced.

Rob is a self taught artist exploring different techniques and methods to interrogate how the various social influences can be displayed in abstract form. The paintings attempt to interrogate how development (or lack thereof) limits access to services and lifestyles. In our society, we have created a culture of ‘nimbyism’, where those who have achieved a certain lifestyle seek to protect their own assets, regardless of the cost to others and the fact that this prevents others from achieving the same type of success that they have realised. Preventing housing or energy infrastructure from being delivered limits society’s ability to progress, creates a deeper gulf in quality of life and perpetuates social inequality.

The paintings are an abstract representation of how this inequality and social disfunction manifests, acknowledging that energy and housing security are currently seen as a luxury by some, rather than the right that they should be.

NOEMI CONAN

‘Komary/Mosquitos’, 2022, 130 x 120 cm, Acrylic and Tyskie beer on canvas

Noemi S. Conan currently lives and works in London, and is studying at The Royal School of Drawing. She previously studied Painting and Printmaking BA (Hons) at Glasgow School of Art, 2021 and at Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig, Germany.

The folkloric backdrop to Conan’s work is layered by her early memories of Post-Soviet sex workers appearing in the neighbourhood around her and who at the time, she believed were Rusalki , with their glamorous revealing outfits, leather boots and confrontational, uncompromising demeanour. The combination of influences creates a figurative manifestation of a style of unapologetic modern woman.

 As Conan says: 

‘The women I paint – somewhere between a girlboss and Stakhanovite worker with a pinch of Slavic folklore for flavour – both confront the viewer and maintain their cool disregard to appeal to any sensibilities whatsoever. They will not provide an explanation, or comforting smile… that comes at extra cost and you can’t afford it. Customer service has yet to be invented and nobody is in a rush to look bothered. A narrative of cigarette breaks, sunburn and inappropriate clothing exists between a roadside verge and a primordial forest. 

They are foragers in polyester, plastic debris, caught in blinking rear lights, using boredom as revolution. Countries of the old Eastern Block become edge lands, and are haunted by these modern wild women. Purveyors of feral femininity, with a disruptive disinterest, they are hauntological woodland sprites. They come from the social margins in their full monumental frenzy, larger than life and sparing nobody.’

BOBBIE SEAGROATT

‘Blue Gap’, 2022, 150 x 100cm, Oil, marker pen & graphite on Canvas

As an Oxford based painter with a background in music, bespoke clothing design and illustration, Bobbie Seagroatt’s background is varied to say the least.

Her adventures started at the age of just 16, after she left school and moved to a shared house in south London where most of the band Comus lived. Two of the band were friends with David Bowie as they all attended the local art college in Beckenham.

Bobbie soon became a member of the band, and they started to tour the UK, and later Europe after signing a record deal with Pye Records on the Dawn label. They went down a storm at college gigs, and Bobbie sang in front of 250,000 people at an open air festival in Weeley, Essex.

In 1969, David Bowie invited them to support him at the Purcell Room, part of London’s South Bank complex.

Comus have since become revered as one of the most influential bands of their time – late 1960s, early 70s and their original 1971 vinyl album ‘First Utterance’ fetches £1,500 on the open market. After folding in 1972, and band members going separate ways, they subsequently reformed and signed to Virgin Records in 1974 for their second album, ‘To Keep From Crying’.

After the band’s first split in 1972 and still only 18 years old, Bobbie gravitated towards the idea of going to art college, and she completed a degree in Fashion & Textiles at Ravensbourne in 1976.  

In 2002 she achieved a PGCE, and has taught life drawing, and pattern cutting and production for clothing to students up to MA level at several universities. She currently does some online pattern cutting teaching from her home studio.

In 2020, Bobbie achieved a much dreamed of MA in Fine Art Painting at UAL Camberwell College of Arts, London, and has since curated two exhibitions for her ‘SomeWhereLand’ project.

She makes paintings about her constant themes of the scrutinizing of women’s appearance and how women have been perceived in recent history, via the lens of fabric, clothing, fashion and photography.

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