Lucy Chandler, Hannah Gommerman, James Sweet
November 24 – December 18, 2020
Exhibition Coordinator: Kathleen Sellars
Curatorial Assistant: Roy Zheng
Growing pains. The experience of physical pain where two bones are connected during periods of growth. /
The emotional difficulties or confusion felt during transformative moments and monumental stages of life. /
The temporary worries and problems experienced by an entity when it is new or becomes involved in new activity.
Self-reflection can be the most achy of all.
Third-year Bachelor of Fine Art (Visual Art) students Lucy Chandler, Hannah Gommerman and James Sweet dive deep into the oftentimes painful journey of growth through whimsical and vulnerable larger-than-life sculptures. Each artist signals metaphors for psychological growth and self-reflection, centred in and beyond the physical body, through repurposed, upcycled and handmade materials.
Focusing on ideas of self-identity, personal growth and individual development, Lucy Chandler has been revealing both her own insights and leaving her work open to interpretation to allow individuals to bring their own ideas and make connections. Comments on the passing of time and changes occurring in result are of great interest to her and have been recurring themes in her work. Aesthetically drawn to the handmade, she incorporates accessible and practical materials. In her work Untitled, Lucy combines her interest in installation, multiples, and ideas of growth. Exploring the ideas of transformation in an individual’s life, Lucy places the human body in the context of a cocoon. Using the metaphors of the butterfly through transformation, the use of present-time newspaper clippings relate the work to a contemporary context in the current situation of the global pandemic, political updates, popular culture and more. Removing personal identity to prompt the viewer to witness themselves in the work, Untitled aims to comment on life’s moments on both a global and individual level, and how these experiences affect personal development.
In her third year at Queen’s University, Lucy Chandler is working towards a BFAH with a minor in Art History. She is currently studying remotely in Ajax and working in Toronto. Predominantly focusing on sculpture, she is interested in large-scale works, installations and conceptual pieces. Lucy is Co-President of the Fine Art (Visual Art) Program Student Council, Vice-President on the Union Gallery’s Board of Directors, and creator of Queen’s Virtual Studios. She has recently exhibited her work at the Union Gallery in the exhibition multiples, and she hopes to expand her portfolio with more exhibitions in the future.
Hannah Gommerman creates large-scale paintings and sculptures. She enjoys large work because it can be more challenging to make and it often adds an element of surprise for the audience. Hannah is currently developing a series of sculptures that represent inner body forms and elicit viewers to feel the ideas being explored. Further to this, her sculptures include interactive aspects, encouraging viewers to make physical connections and personal associations. Her sculptures are often made of accessible and cheap materials, like fabric, cardboard and string lights, and often require much experimentation. While she has a conceptual idea from the outset, it is in this playful space of creative development that the sculpture finds its final form and she is able to focus her intent for the work. In the piece titled Heart Strings, Hannah requires viewers to physically engage with an overtly large-scale geometric heart by opening flaps that reveal details inside. This interactive engagement suggests that we often conceal or hide from profound life events that are difficult to communicate in words. However, the sculpture’s title, larger-than-life scale and literal heart strings fill the piece with humour and encourage us to not take ourselves too seriously.
Hannah Gommerman is enrolled in sculpture and painting in her third year of Fine Art at Queen’s University. In her work, she strives to create art that is simple and clean aesthetically, while also referencing ideas that are important to her personally. Her art often explores themes of the body, more specifically thoughts or feelings emerging from oneself. She enjoys working with sculpture because of the ability to be creative and experimental with new mediums, and she also enjoys working in painting because she can grow and develop her technical skills with practice.
Focusing on the human body with themes of body image, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders, James Sweet challenges not only himself but also the audience on their perception of self. With his work Intervention, James displays a slightly oversized rib cage in front of a mirror with faintly heard sounds of chewing; looking at the mirror, the viewer can see their own bodies reflected in relation to the sculptural rib cage. In an effort to apply environmental and sustainability concerns to his artwork, James recycles his old clothes to use as materials. Intervention consists of a pair of jeans, a cotton dress shirt, and a cotton t-shirt. Themes of self-perception and body image are recontextualized through the use of these materials, whereby the old clothes either no longer fit due to weight loss and changing body type, or simply by growing up and out of the old clothes—or old self. These recycled clothes are cut up and sewn into the various forms that make up a rib cage, which are then suspended in front of the mirror. James intends to not only represent his own struggles with body image but also to challenge viewers to face themselves and their own perception of self.
Hailing from the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, James Sweet is a third year Queen’s University BFAH student with a minor in English. Influenced by the maritimes and maritime art, James takes influence from folk art and handmades often found on the east coast. James is interested in recycling materials for his artwork as, to him, it is vital to be conscious of the environment and to be sustainable through his artwork. Focusing on sculpture and painting, James is interested in portraying the body in various forms, all while retaining that handmade aesthetic. This is James’ first exhibition in a gallery with hopes of many more in the future.
Roy Zheng is a filmmaker, videographer and visual artist entering the second year of his Master’s degree in Cultural Studies. Currently, his graduate research explores the social ecology of independently operated film exhibition institutions in Toronto. Roy holds a BA in Film and Media from Queen’s University, having graduated in 2019. He has previously worked as the Production Assistant at Kingston Canadian Film Festival, Media Archivist at Vulnerable Media Lab and Event Assistant at Kingston Film Office. Roy has created visual projects and artwork in multiple cities and countries through his studies at the University of St. Andrews, the University of Havana, the University of Hong Kong and the Bader International Study Center in the UK.
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