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The Alice Band by Jess Curtis

a space’ arts is pleased to present The Alice Band’, a new exhi­bi­tion by RIPE alum­ni artist Jess Curtis.

Jess’s practice is comprised of both post impressionistic/expressionistic painting and drawing, and new media-based works concerned with video and digital stills. She draws from the often self-motivated desire to deal with felt things; emotions. In particular, her new media works, while clinical and detached from the outset, are rooted in matters of object sentimentality, attachment, and the act of revealing while concealing.

In this exhibition, Jess Curtis responds to an object owned by Jessica Ridler, a 26 year old from Hinton Parva, Wiltshire. While rooted in object sentimentality, this body of work largely embodies the unknown, with this object carrying significance to Ridler for undisclosed reasons to both viewer and artist alike. The only thread between Curtis and Ridler is this ambiguous object ordinarily remaining concealed in the frame featured in this exhibit; they are otherwise strangers.

Appropriately this response remains surface-level in nature, but deals with complex paradoxes. To reveal the physicality of an object while simultaneously concealing it’s true form in respect to the core values of the work, Curtis employs the veil of Pepper’s Ghost to present an animation of a digitised version of the object. Despite its visceral presence, an intentional presentation of the empty frame highlights the object’s true absence and inaccessibility while implicitly signifying preservation and importance, inversely suggesting exhibitionistic qualities towards the object itself.

Dealing with barriers, this work aims to provide commentary on current conversations surrounding boundaries and the way we honour them. More directly, this work is derived from questions about our relationship to and understanding of objects, the meaning we impose on them, and the ways in which galleries choose to present and preserve culturally significant collections in a highly-developed digital age.

The Alice Band is on display in the windows of the Hidden Wardrobe from Friday 2nd December 2022 until Sunday 7th December 2023 and free to visit.

We will also be hosting a launch event at Old Northam Road on Friday 2nd December 2022 from 6pm to 8pm. You can book your free ticket here
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