Graduates 2018: Lucy Bradley: Sculpture

My practice is dominated by thoughts of the uncanny, the tension between violence and violation and the notion of body surrogates.

Hi Lucy, can you tell us a bit about your work?

In by applying Surrealist techniques of fetishism, eroticism and perverse wish-fulfilment to the process of my making, I have been granted to create a duality of repulsion and attraction. I am interested in arousing a curiosity within the viewer, portraying disturbing, unlikely and unworldly scenarios, whilst enticing with the familiar. This is to encourage the viewer to stimulate their imagination and in this way, the plethora of possibilities that the imagery provides, begs the question: does the semblance suggest the animate made inanimate, or vice versa. With a stagnant arrangement of objects, I allude to an arrested state of development, a preservation or perhaps, even, an unwilling submission to its maker.

I explore these themes through a variety of processes, such as sculpture, photography and film. My interest in materiality as a form of language allows me to experiment with an array of components, engaging with soft sculpture, using abject and organic materials and, more recently, exercising the practice of assemblage. I am captivated by the process of creation and the anthropmorphisation of objects, examining such topics through the construction of amorphous and bodily forms and the possible arrangements that such objects have to offer.

The process of making is key to my approach. As the Surrealists explored, the maker is to be invested in the work in order to deem it as fetishistic and uncanny. If I am alluding to the animism of objects, I must believe there is an animism within their inanimate nature.

Lucy Bradley

What are you showing in the Graduate Show?

For the final show, I will be using an array of materials and a process that reflects my practice, such as: Perspex, lighting, PVC, metal, expanding Foam, PVA, honey, plaster, spray paint, frosting Spray, chains, latex and, above all, the Perspex tank will be burying all my previous sculpture works. This is part of the process as I engage with the relationships I have built with my creations and bury them within my piece so that they are unnoticeable to the viewer. This is a symbolic ritual to say goodbye to my final year of the sculpture BA course, as well as capturing my work and forcing it to become an arrested state of development.

I will be displaying ‘Inhibited & Habituated’, a work commenting on the idea of voyeurism, perverse persuasions and fetishism. An unworldly, clinical, incubator-like installation stands before the onlooker, dominating the space with the glow of the central light. PVC strips hang from the ceiling, surrounding a Perspex tank which contains casts of manufactured sex-doll breasts. The utopian-like situation generates feelings of the unknown, the clinical aspect of the work enticing the viewer, whilst creating an unease as the subject appears obscured and inaccessible. I contrast the clinical aspect with the abject expanding foam and latex, creating bodily shapes whilst using the enticing and welcoming colour of candy floss pink. Violence and violation appear to sit in harmony within this space, suggesting the threatening narrative can only exist in your imagination and, in fact, what you look upon is simply a semblance. The viewer can only ever be a witness to an ‘event’, unable to participate with the curious butcher-like scene before them, using Surrealism in all its forms, dark and intriguing, agitating and arousing.

Lucy Bradley

How did you find studying Sculpture at Brighton?

The Brighton Sculpture BA course has expanded my knowledge and understanding of what it means to be an independent artist. Through the guidance of our tutors and the assistance from our amazing technician Helen, I’ve felt we have all been given the opportunity to create whatever we desire. The structure of the course allows plenty tutor to student contact time, as well as teaching the life lesson of independent work ethic and how this can positively affect your practice. The use of crits and group tutorials has meant all three years of sculpture have come together to give feedback and constructive criticism to better our works and generate an inspirational buzz within the studios.

What are your plans after graduating?

For the approaching year, I will be travelling, embarking on residencies and applying for my PGCE. My intent is to become an art teacher, specializing in learning difficulties. This is close to my heart as I am heavily dyslexic and through utilizing creativity as an outlet, I have been allowed to express and address these difficulties through the process of making. In the future, I aim to embark on a masters in art therapy, helping those who view language as a barrier when expressing emotions, and encourage us to approach mental health visually and creatively.

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