Standpoint Gallery, London
Exhibition: Till 22 October 2011

Jemima Brown is known for her sculptural explorations of the animate versus inanimate, orchestrating the complex visual narratives involved in self- (and indeed other- ) creation. The Tanner Award has facilitated significant developments at a pivotal point in Brown’s practice, particularly in experimenting with resizing the sculptures, to investigate the role of scale, surface and materials within formal sculptural decision-making, and how these questions intersect with the more narrative elements in the work.

Constructed via a complex series of interwoven processes (including casting from life, 3D imaging and printing, modeling, found materials and textile design) Brown’s sculptural work is often situated with a larger ‘set’ or dialogue. New sculptures such as 'What if Mary Cecilia Didn’t Jump?' are accompanied by drawings and paintings, using the graphic image as a component in the assemblage.

Brown's protagonists ‘create’ their dramatis personae through flamboyant fur wraps, gold jesmonite dresses and heavy eye make-up. Displayed alongside the miniaturised figures are paintings that reveal the fantasies they aspire to – certain glamorous actresses from the heyday of Hollywood. Looking to the series of drawings taken from her friends' Facebook profile pictures, we see a comparable act of self-creation made visible, hinting at the increased anxiety of contemporary life, where our image is available to a vast public arena, intensifying the need to create a compelling vision of ‘who we are’.

Brown’s use of several media in an assemblage style reflects the layers of conscious and subconscious desires, fears and fantasies that go toward each individual’s attempt to make an saleable identity in an increasingly consumerist and judgmental globalised culture. Speaking of our contradictory desires for individuality and belonging - to stand out and to fit in, Brown invests heavily in particularities of costume and detail. The ‘failure’ of certain figures is thus all the more telling. Initially seduced by the convincing resemblance, the viewer comes to notice that a figure is missing a limb, or has a body that fades off into nothingness, or that this similitude reaches only as far as the ears. Reflecting a long-term interest in personal identity, street culture and social relationships, Brown questions how sustainable, how ‘authentic’ our personas are, or whether the pressure to keep up the facade comes a heavy price.

Jemima Brown trained at Chelsea College of Art and lives and works in London. Other forthcoming exhibitions include Multiverse curated by Ole Hagen at Akershus Kunstsenter in Norway and The Stuff of Nightmares, V & A Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, London. Recent exhibitions include 'Everybody Counts' at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorim, Norway, 2008, Now You See It, Café Gallery Projects, 2009 and Apopcalyse Now at Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, 2011. Previous awards include a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of California Los Angeles, in 1998, and a Cocheme Fellowship at the University of the Arts, Byam Shaw School of Art in London in 2006.

The Award

The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award is unique in its combination of offering both financial support towards the production of new work and a solo exhibition to an exceptional emerging sculptor. It is worth a total of £10,000 to the winning artist. The MTSA is a partnership project by Standpoint Gallery and the charitable trust set up in memory of the sculptor Mark Tanner, who trained at St Martins and was one of the first artists to show at Standpoint, who died in 1997 after a long illness. In 2012 we will be celebrating ten years of the award with an touring exhibition and publication. Standpoint are relaunching the MTSA after a year’s break as a nationally selected award.

(The artist thanks Metropolitan Works for their support with digital scanning and printing.)

Standpoint Gallery is an independent artist-run project space based in Hoxton. All projects are developed in collaboration with selected artists and aim to provide a platform for innovative new work and ideas. Standpoint is a recognised centre of excellence for artist-led activity and debate - our programme of public exhibitions, performances, talks and discussions aims to promote diverse experimentation and analysis in all areas of contemporary practice.

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