We Were Here Artists’ Profiles

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Steven Hyland

Ever the young, brooding male artist, painter Steven Hyland gains his inspiration from what he’s surrounded by, which in this instance is the art room totty. Claiming that he just paints what he knows, the female painters of Fine Art have been under the scrutiny of his paintbrush in his preparation for ‘We Were Here,’ the Fine Art degree show. The artist argues that anyone can appreciate a portrait of a girl without knowing the intentions behind it as the viewer can engage with the aesthetic appeal of the subject, whilst gaining a sense of what it is to be a male painter surrounded by a plethora of muses.

In an art world which can be dominated by Photo Realist painters, Hyland although painting with great skill and dexterity retains a ‘painterly’ style to ensure the eye is active and has something to “scour over.” He feels that despite living in a digital age there is still the desire to paint – it is this innate urge which justifies the relevance of painting in modern day society without the need to glorify any pretentious meaning.

Direct, punchy and fun Steven Hyland’s paintings are pictures of painters and their pictures, and are well worth a look. Plus if he paints me with a wonky nose, he will be receiving a swift knee in the ghoulies.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/stevenhylandfineart

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Theano Psara

For Fine Artist Theano Psara, her work is all about a personal interpretation of the underwater world and its poetic implications. For her, this fascinating environment offers a sense of safety and an escape from the chaos of everyday life.

This perspective is prevalent throughout her paintings which are luscious depictions of underwater scenes that merge the potential danger of being underwater with a strong sense of security felt when submerged under the waves.

Drawing inspiration from vivid dreams and the free fall of the unconscious mind, Theano contrasts self – portraits with fluid oil paints to reflect the fluidity of water and the stream of the subconscious, entrapping a moment of serenity in thick layers of resin. In turn, the canvases become “windows to an unconscious retreat” which are “screened by a wall of water.”

Aiming to evoke feelings of tranquillity, Theano’s work captures the ephemeral and the ethereal in a hauntingly beautiful series of paintings which you are invited to experience. Encounter the serenity of a moment often unseen, reach through the wall of water and immerse yourselves in this abundant abyss.

For a sneaky peek visit www.wewerehere2012.com/theanopsara.htm

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Jordan Rodgers

Exploring the gap between art and technology, Jordan Rodgers aims to record everyday journeys using Google Street View and Good Earth. Self – confessed techno – obsessive, Jordan uses these facilities to depict personal narratives whilst comparing historical, architectural and cultural influences which raise questions about how far one can observe at any given moment.

Embracing technology, Rodgers utilises the iPad as a tool to explore the comparisons between traditional drawing on paper and digital drawing apps, advocating that touch screens have revolutionised the process of creation and that they represent a new perspective in drawing. Asking the question of “what can drawing do in relation to altering our perception of ourselves and the world we live in today?” Rodgers aims to answer this in his practice which is supported by the work of Guy Debord and the theory of dérive.

Valuing drawing as “a map of time, recording the actions of the maker allows the viewer to move through the journey of creation,” the digital artist is now displaying his drawings as animation in order to engage with the viewer and inform them of the process of looking.

For more details of Jordan Rodgers’s work visit www.wewerehere2012.com/jordanrodgers.htm or www.jordanlrodgers.com

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Chris Keady

Tired of seeing yet another bland painting of a sunset or a clichéd canvas of a mountain range? So is painter Chris Keady whose art work is concerned with “challenging preconceived notions of beauty,” such as the ones mentioned above. Instead of favouring more obvious themes of ‘beauty’, Chris celebrates the beauty in banality and the splendour in the everyday, believing that this celebration encourages a “fresh analysis of our environment in order to ultimately gain a deeper appreciation of the world we inhabit.”

Supporting us in our quest to break free from monotony by savouring the everyday, Chris’s paintings are unintentionally lovely. Often combining traditional painting techniques with a precise depth of field, the viewer finds themselves forgetting the subject matter – which varies from that of a public toilet to a set of road works – and being completely mesmerised by beautifully painted depictions – which is precisely the point.

The intentions of Chris Keady’s paintings are to awake a repressed beauty which may have been deeply buried, so we can appreciate the unsung wonders of the world. How can our perceptions alter if we challenge ourselves to observe banality as a beautiful example of human existence?

To find out more about Chris’s work check out www.chriskeady.blogspot.co.uk

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Paige Davies

Often delicate, deep and indefinitely detailed, the paintings of Paige Davies are predominantly concerned with the notion of boundaries in nature. Investigating natural occurrences such as cloud formations, underwater volcanoes and astrological wonders, Paige has produced a series of works which focus on states of matter – of earth, liquid and gas. The resulting pieces offer conflicting possible interpretations – e.g. the beauty of a cloud formation with the destructive potential of a tornado.

It is this area of conflict and contradiction which creates deeper contextual intensity to the sometimes ambiguous forms which pool and spread across sheer translucent surfaces. The ambiguity which results from capturing the transformative quality of nature in her work has the potential to intrigue the viewer and make them look more closely. The viewer’s personal engagement with the work results in his or her own interpretations of the abstraction of nature bought into her work which capitalises on the ambiguity.

Highly concerned with materials, Paige’s use of mediums is very purposeful as she aims to capture the energy and vitality of the natural processes being evoked which she does through use of subtle colouring which often contains an opalescent glimmer or a luxurious sheen.

Aesthetically pleasing in terms of materials, composition and exhibition Paige Davies’s work ticks all of the boxes for a higher art experience.

To see more of Paige’s work, cast your eyes over www.wewerehere2012.com/paigedavies.htm

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Heather Bennett

Artist Heather Bennett uses her body as a template to explore certain aspects of her physicality which are often concealed. She utilises printing and casting processes combined with written thoughts towards her own body which speak of the imperfect and distorted view of self image. This process externalises private emotions in order to gain perspective on issues she has with herself. Highly personal and deeply moving these intimate pieces represent both her mentality and physical presence, expressing issues of insecurity and low self–esteem which are unfortunately prevalent throughout contemporary Western society.

Viewing her work as “a cathartic tool used to release pent up emotions, recollections of memories, thoughts and feelings,” you fail not to be moved by her pieces which evoke a simultaneous pang of poignancy combined with a comforting solace that others experience similar situations.

Heather demonstrates common problems witnessed in modern day society, aiming to tackle issues such as bullying and society’s unachievable expectations of perfection. She also exposes the detrimental effects they have upon the individual in a subtle, refined and thought provoking manner.

Viewing her work certainly won’t be a bum deal, visit www.heatherlouisebennett.tumblr.com

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Rachel Harvey

Have you ever experienced the immeasurable longing when trying to remember a time, place, feeling, person, sound or sight?
LUSU’s own Rachel Harvey exposes her arty side and explores this idea by using fragmented imagery, light and shadow reflections and projections to explore the concepts of existence – the past, loss and memory. Aiming to evoke a feeling of absence or detachment, she encourages the viewer to feel a sense not of insignificance, but smallness in relation to time and place.

Often when thinking back to a place we have visited, a person we have known or loved we see a photograph of them taken by our mind’s eye. Usually parts are missing, blurred or made up – Rachel aims not only to illustrate that feeling but encourage people to realise it.

These ideas have interested her as long as she can remember and stem from “an already deeply rooted fascination with ancestry and vast space.” Although these concepts may not be obviously linked they flow cohesively as a strong thematic undercurrent through her work.

For further insight into Rachel’s work visit; www.wewerehere2012.com/rachelharvey.htm.

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