Graduates 2020: Anna Mays: Printmaking

My interests within my practice are around how the human body is perceived in contemporary western society and how it is constantly being shaped by rapidly advancing technologies and medicine.

As a society we are generally less active and are becoming more dependant on these technologies. I am interested in how our contemporary lifestyle may lead to a sense of disconnected-ness between ourselves and the flesh of the body and a deterioration of the intuitive understanding a person has of their body. I see this as a breakdown of the relationship which consequently results in a fear of what is going on within us – an unknown. Responding to this, my practice explores the internal body with fascination rather than fear. I make work through a variety of media where I can fragment and abstract the body, to emphasise a sense of the unknown and increase ambiguity.

Touch is fundamental to human desire. It is also what shapes a person’s understanding and perception of the world. Within my practice I explore the internal body both through the digital realm, using microscopic and radiological imagery, and as physical and material flesh, body and skin. Through the digital approach a distance is created between a person and their body. It becomes sterilised and depersonalised and is translated into an inorganic state. These digital avenues of work form tensions with work of more raw and intimate value that are linked to life directly through touch and the incorporation of transitory materials.

I create assemblages that combine contrasting approaches to making and visualising in an attempt to articulate the relationship between the organic and synthetic body that moves intermittently between conflict and balance. Through my practice I aim to question the notions of the tangible and intangible in relation to human experience and to suggest something beyond the body in its most literal sense.


How have you found your time at Brighton? 

My time at studying at Brighton has been exciting and engaging at all times, oh how it has gone so quick! It’s very interesting to look back to the first year and how incredibly different the work we were all making was. Each year offered something new; Our first year introduced us to all areas of printmaking, it gave us the opportunity to find our feet and get to know each process. During the second year, we put our feet in a bit deeper, realised we could be confident within our work and that mainly, we didn’t have to fear it. Within the second year, I experimented with screen printing and how I could push its boundaries. Finally our Third year, needless to say a few rocks have been thrown our way this year, but we have got so much out of it. Every single one of my course mates has thrived in their work regardless of what has happened and I think that shows the capability and the talent that we have all achieved over our studies. I was in Dublin when the lockdown started in the UK meaning I couldn’t come back to see the workshops or move my stuff out, I was devastated. On reflection, this was a good sign of course I’m going to be upset, it would be weird if I wasn’t because I really have had such a wonderful and inspiring time over the past three years.


What are your plans after graduating?

It’s really hard to say what’s going to happen next at the moment. My plans were initially to travel for a few years and to try and maintain a creative practise through artist residencies. For now, I am thinking I’ll either move back to Dublin for a little while and apply for as many artistic opportunities as I can! What is really wonderful is how open and the kind the creative community has become as a result of this pandemic, so I am really excited to be a part of that.

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Find out more about Printmaking

See more of Anna’s work at the Graduate Show 2020

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