Graduates 2020: Rachel Atkinson: Sculpture

My work takes a humorous and light-hearted stance. Making works which confound the expectations of the viewer and creating a new experience of ‘illusion’, by mixing together old and new narratives of trickery.

My practice is most often sculptural, working with prop making, however I also work with video and poetry. I am influenced by all facets of illusion such as: early cinema, magic, theatre sets, and green screen technology. Throughout the history of illusion what is often asked of the audience us a ‘suspension of disbelief.’ They are asked to disregard their understanding that what they are seeing is, in actuality, a trick. My work explores these themes and begins to push these boundaries for its audience. Asking the question: What are you willing to look past to be fooled?

Hand turning a wooden crank

How have you found your time at Brighton?

I have loved every minute of it. I think the course has transformed me into a more confident person. I have grown my love for making and creating as well as found my passion for teaching. I met so many fabulous people along the way and found so much comfort in the wonderful community in ‘Fine Art: Sculpture.’ Before the course I had never touched a drill and was incredibly shy but with the support of all the wonderful staff and technicians I have fallen in love with wood-work and have the confidence to go on and pursue a teaching career next year. It was heartbreaking to have everything cut so short, due to the pandemic, when this course truly meant the world to me.

Green soft formsdraed around a wooden structure

What are you plans after graduating?

I am starting an Art and Design PGCE in September which I am both tremendously excited for, as well as terrified (in a good way.) Until then I am going to try my best, along side my fellow Sculpture students, to find a space to have a small physical show together. (As soon as it is safe to do so) I think all of this years third years deserve a celebration.

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