Member Showcase September 2019 - Jenny Pope

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Sep 4th 2019

Every Month we will showcase three Visual Arts Scotland members, spotlighting their work & practice.

These showcased members will be chosen by a monthly guest curator. The invited curator will select makers & artists that interest them from our amazing membership. This will be based on a theme of their choice. 


September 2019

Curator: Hugo Burge

Theme: Sculpture

Hugo Burge's life long love of the Arts and Crafts Movement and Sculpture has lead him to dedicate much of his energy to nurturing artists and makers.

Having restored Marchmont House in the Borders, Hugo activley supports sustainable arts and crafts and Scotland's creative community. Most recently Visual Arts Scotland and Marchmont House worked together with Craft Scotland and The Scottish Gallery to create the wonderful Conversations in Wood event. 

The forthcoming Sculpture event at Marchmont House will bring together a world class group of speakers, an interesting mix of artists, curators, auctioneers, dealers, to explore Sculpture.

"We have an upcoming event in Sculpture on the 21st September, so perhaps I am now descending into a blinkered world of looking, seeking and trying to understand sculpture, but it is an excuse for selecting 3 sculptors. 

Selecting sculpture is a very personal and visceral instinct, perhaps unfair without having met the artist and heard about their story first hand, but that is the terms upon which I select 2 out of 3 of these artists work. I naturally feel myself drawn to things that I feel have a sense of permanence, typically relate to nature and are pleasing to my eye. 
I selected Jenny Pope’s work because it stood out and made me want to learn more about her practice. I am very glad to have done that."

Jenny Pope

VAS Professional Member

I am a visual artist producing work from small delicate objects to large-scale sculptural pieces. At the core of my practice is experimentation with the limits and possibilities of materials. I use the analogy of weathered objects to suggest the uncertainty and changes we face as human beings. Recent research has led towards the edge of textiles, creating personal sculptural spaces in response to the tension between comfortable containment and restraint. 

Currently I am creating tools using old objects exploring psychological change, to capture the intangible way in which we make decisions, inform personal changes and deal with anxiety.


Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education

I have always been a maker and collector of objects, early childhood memories are of finding shells, sticks and stones on the beach or in the woods and cataloguing them at home. I have always had a strong desire to make thing with my hands and this has taken many forms, sewing as a child, pottery as an adult. I took a ‘sensible’ route through higher education, studying physics, (careers advice- “you can always do art as a hobby”) then working with people, as a nurse, social worker, community care worker and advocacy in mental health field. Later I went to art college, ECA, as a way to finally express my whole self, first a BA in Ceramics, then an MA in sculpture. Since then I have divided my time between art practice and working with people, now as a life coach.


Could you describe your practice?

My practice explores impermanence in all its many forms. I am still a gatherer of an eclectic mix of objects, collating, sorting and making links between them. My studio is an Aladdin’s cave of inspiration; pieces are laid out as I work in series, going back to older ideas and reworking and re configuring as I go. I have a fascination with the why and the how of materials and processes, I love learning and experimenting and continually teach myself how to do new things, use limecrete or dye with indigo, but always with an intention to express ideas. I am drawn to the alchemy of making, the physicality of eroded surfaces, the malleability of material. I think as I make as I create 3D doodles. Fundamental to my practice is drawing as a way to record inspiration from museums artefacts, geology, and everyday life or develop half formed shapes in my head. I also play with words, psychological concepts and their meaning and relate them to objects in a playful, yet serious way. 


What are your art influences? Which contemporary artists/makers do you admire and why?

Some of the many artists I admire- 

Mona Hatoum, for her hard hitting deceptively simple sculptures.

Louise Bourgeois, for her mix of materials and deeply personal accounts of inner psychological processes

Robert Callender and Will Maclean, for the influence of the sea and their construction of collages, worn surfaces and objects. 

Eduardo Chillida, with beautiful monumental forms, rusty surfaces and great titles (El peine del viento Wind Comb)

Anya Gallaccio for her poetry and beauty with an unsettling underlying message


What makes a good day in the studio for you?

Sunshine, people working in spaces nearby (I am at WASPS in Albion Road) a big cup of tea and then playing with my collection of objects, finding groupings of 3 or so pieces which work together and having a series of half made pieces which I find the final bit which brings them into a whole piece, and allowing my mind to wander and come up with random titles till one sits well. Also drawing on the floor with lots of different materials, more like messy play than considered ‘work’.


In the studio – music, audiobook, podcast, Radio 4 or silence?

Silence, unless I have a very repetitive task, like sanding porcelain, then it’s Radio 4


What is coming up next for you and where can we see more of you work?

Currently I am on a Land Mark residency with Art Walk Porty, and will have an installation on Portobello Prom in September.  Next up is a show with Liz Douglas and Felicity Bristow, ‘Tools for Survival’, which opens at Hawick Museum, late October, a continuation of an exhibition and conversation we had at Briggait in Glasgow in August. I currently have a piece at SSA exhibition ‘Utopia’ at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries. I also have 2 works in the Royal Society of Sculpture annual exhibition in London, which runs until 14/9/19. Next I am going to be working with the Edinburgh Printmakers, taking up the prize I was awarded at last year’s SSA show, to have a limited edition of prints professionally made with them. I am also going to develop different ways to show my  ‘Tools for Change’ series, including box and floor based works as well as instruction manuals.