Judith Alder is a visual artist whose practice spans a range of media and processes with work often shown as collections or installations of objects, images and drawings animated with sound, light and moving image. She is interested in how things grow and change over time and how science, nature and technology collide in the Anthropocene: The Age of Man.
Like most artists I have had a varied career, juggling numerous strands to my practice and working as artist, curator, project manager, visiting lecturer, gallery educator and mentor. After graduating in 2003, I and three other mature graduates set up a shared workspace, Blue Monkey Studio in Eastbourne. Out of this grew Blue Monkey Network, an artists’ development organisation run in partnership with Towner Art Gallery. Alongside my creative practice I have run Blue Monkey Network since 2010, a fantastic experience which has enabled me to meet hundreds of artists across the South East, and which has been instrumental in helping me form links with regional and national arts organisations. Earlier this year, 2019, I was honoured to be selected for a place on a-n’s Artists Council – an advisory body for a-n The Artists Information Company, an organisation with 25,000 artist members, which supports artists across the UK.
Printmaking has always played a supporting rather than a starring role in my practice; a means of working out ideas or a way to bring different strands of work together. In 2016 I was privileged to return to the Printmaking department at Brighton to spend time as a Visiting Artist learning some new photo-lithography skills. I was able to produce a series of prints of rocks as part of my ongoing project, Once In A Universe.
My work often consists of numerous drawings, found and made objects and prints, all made around a specific theme or focus. In the early years of my practice I showed these works in the context of “a room” – an immersive installation often developed around the idea of a pseudo-scientific workspace, animated with sound, light and moving image, fans, pumps or motors, however the difficulties of finding space to develop installation work has always been an issue. More recently I have found that a useful alternative for smaller works is to show them as a collection using a museological format like A Brief History of the Future, shown in the Sussex Open at Towner Art Gallery in 2018.
A couple of highlights in my career are being shortlisted for The Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2012 (now known as the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize) with my bookwork, An Unhealthy Obsession, and then in 2013-2016, organising and managing The New Immortals, an artist-led project supported by Arts Council England in partnership with Phoenix Brighton, Brighton and Sussex Medical School and Brighton Centre for Regenerative Medicine. This was a major project for me which allowed me to work with some amazing artists, scientists and ethicists, exploring ideas about immortality in the 21st century and curating a six week long exhibition and events programme at Phoenix Brighton.
Since 2016 I have returned to a more hands-on making practice, developing new work using low-tech processes and materials, through my project, Once In A Universe, including a year-long series of short residencies which have enabled me to make larger work and return to my installation practice. I am currently seeking venues for and working towards a solo show for 2020.