artist | playing with perfume | speculating on studio spaces | commenting with candles

Latest

Perfume Portrait #114 – Heather Fiona Martin

Heather Fiona Martin 50ml EDT

Head – Green Apple, Mandarin

Heart – Moss, Fir needle

Body –  Sandalwood, Patchouli

Description – Inspired by symbiotic relationships, and narratives found in nature, this concoction of earths and woods is at once balanced and chaotic.

IMG_20191008_155433357

Martin’s Here be Dragons explores the depths of the deep seas and the life within remain unexplored; microscopic creatures at once beautiful and threatening. Here somehow similar but completely different pathogens causing disease both harmless and fatal.

IMG_20191008_155406736

Martin’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.

Perfume Portrait #113 – Sue Burley

Sue Burley 50ml EDT

Head – Strawberry

Heart – Cocoa bean

Body – Rosewood, Honey

Description –  Pleasant gourmand scents hide a pressing environmental concern, as all chosen oils are vulnerable specimens due to climate change.

IMG_20191009_144249368

Burley’s Sail Away is a depiction of birds and boats, which are paper cuts from the edges of other monoprint used in a collage. The colours inspired the subject. The sail boats and birds are on their own voyage and the picture can also be seen as an experimental voyage in using things that would often go to waste.

IMG_20191009_144200198

Burley’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.

Perfume Portrait #112 – Lady M

Lady M 50ml EDT

Head – Grapefruit, Ravensara

Heart – Black Pepper

Body – Seaweed, Amber

Description –  Based on mythical sea creatures that act entirely on compulsion, this intense fragrance provokes artistic action.

IMG_20191007_153234172

Mellow Yellow is a captivating fusion of saffron, jasmine and vanilla and was drawn from Lady M’s observations made in South Turkey. Unlike smellscapes; which are more of an olfactory phenomenology; Lady M’s work sees her odours and produce olfactory art in a gallery environment.

IMG_20191007_153136105

Lady M’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.

Perfume Portrait #111 – Grant Lambie

Grant Lambie  50ml EDT

Head – Sweet Orange

Heart – Corriander, Cinnamon

Body – Frankincense, Benzoin

Description – A depiction of Catherine of Bologna, the Patron Saint of Artists: Here body notes depict religious sanctity, mid notes reference her capacity as a baker, and a top note that alludes to her sweet smelling grave.

IMG_20191008_114741740_HDR

Lambie’s collage Circling is from a series of works which looks at ways the 2D map can be reconfigured to make different forms of reading. Here the ‘A’ roads have been isolated and collaged to made a continuous road, a never ending Roundabout. The new map then has become devoid of any useful information, which leaves the viewer asking what information was there to start with.

IMG_20191008_114635580

Lambie’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.

Perfume Portrait #110 – Clare Smith

Clare Smith 50ml EDT

Head – Sweet Orange

Heart – Clove

Body – Benzoin, White musk, Honey

Description – An ode to the pomander; which contained herbs essential for recovery. Honey symbolises a gold ribbon traditionally used for wearing pomanders as necklaces.

Smith’s Flying over Beijing (Coming in to Land) is a drawing depicting a smog covered Beijing from the air.

IMG_20191008_144711908

Smith’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.

Perfume Portrait #109 – Jeff Hunter

Jeff Hunter 50ml EDT

Head – Cut grass, Lime

Heart – Pine needle, carrot seed

Body – Driftwood, Algae

Description –  Representing an impulsive journey across lands to the sea, with sharp intakes of citrus and spice to keep you mentally focussed on the task in hand. This fragrance represents the headstrong necessity found when instigating creative activities.

IMG_20191005_170605084

Hunter’s Journey (Leaving the Station) is a small work on black card with white pencil. A train leaves the station as a passenger contemplates the journey ahead.

IMG_20191005_170253037

Hunter’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.

 

Perfume Portrait #108 – Sharon Mossbeck

Sharon Mossbeck 50ml EDT

Head – Mandarin, peppermint.

Heart – Rose

Body – White Musk, Leather

Description – Embrace life and banish ills with this ode to a plague doctor mask.

IMG_20191005_111609251

Mossbeck’s St Nicholas symbolically references the Patron Saint of sailors. There is a legend that during St Nicholas’s lifetime he appeared to sailors in a storm who prayed to him, and safely helped them to port. This work is part of a larger series of paintings inspired by martyr Saints; drawing on symbolism, myth and traditional iconography.

IMG_20191005_111448918

Mossbeck’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.

Perfume Portrait #107 – JanCarlo Caling

JanCarlo Caling 50ml EDT

Head –  Petitgrain, Lemon

Heart – Cypress, Ginger

Body –  Sandalwood

Description – A celebration of masculinity, this nominally woody fragrance is complimented by bursts of ginger and lemon; symbols of happiness.

IMG_20191004_125751811

Caling’s The End of a Journey is an acrylic painting on paper. The colours used also project joy, which is what Caling wants the viewers to feel when they are looking at my painting. The work also takes inspiration from the term “self love” and how loving yourself can sometimes be a really gruelling journey. The boat symbolises the rocky relationship the man had with his body and this is the part where he gets off the boat suggesting that they have finally learned to love themselves.

IMG_20191004_125719685

Caling’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.

Layers

This October saw me stage my ninth Perfume as Practice exhibition, which was held at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol and featured 18 perfumes, each a portrait of another artist and created using my well-established process that begins by asking artists the question ‘why do you make art?’ then responding to the answer received through scent design; capturing the essence of the artist.

As well as the core principle of subverting our expectations of perfumery by placing it in a contemporary art context, each Perfume as Practice exhibition strives to develop the project as a whole. Previously this has included incorporating visual elements, working towards specific themes and even placing the project alongside the work of another artist: All of which aimed to devise and assess different ways visitors may encounter perfume in a contemporary art space.

So, what was it about this incarnation that developed the project? Well, this was the first time that the perfume portraits were exhibited alongside visual work created by the artists themselves. So the audience encountered 18 perfume portraits and 18 corresponding works of art, and as such they were able to associate the perfumes with the artists involved in a direct and meaningful way.

IMG_20191006_110644573

This added a new and welcome dimension to Perfume as Practice, as visitors took visible delight in connecting each perfume to each visual piece and ascertaining how I arrived at each perfume portrait. This actually made my perfume making process all the more transparent, as I was able to physically show audiences the work of each artist, and each artist elicited a presence within the exhibition. It was also interesting to witness audiences utilising both scent and vision to fully experience the exhibition; intuitively connecting one sense to another through engagement with art.

IMG_20191006_120202819

Was it the most accomplished Perfume as Practice incarnation? Quite possibly. Though that’s thanks in no small part to the artists themselves, who were as follows:

Sue Burley
JanCarlo Caling
Marisa Culatto
Stig Evans
Jenna Fox
Andrea Freeman
Liz Griffiths
Catherine Higham
Jeff Hunter
Lady M
Grant Lambie
Heather Fiona Martin
Sharon Mossbeck
Helen Sills
Agatha Smith
Clare Smith
Robert Verrill
Myfanwy Williams

It was also fantastic to exhibit at Centrespace, which is a wonderful gallery (you should check it out, seriously!) I would like to thank Arts Council England for their support too.

So now to secure a few gallery spaces for Perfume as Practice in 2020…

 

 

 

 

Perfume Portraits #93 – #106

It has come to my attention that the 12 perfume portraits I created for my summer exhibition at Asylum Gallery, Wolverhampton have not gone through any kind of documentation process. So, as a means of rectifying such wrongs I thought I’d compose a blog post that acts as an overview of said perfume portraits and an explanation of the exhibition.

IMG_20190629_132805584

So, June 2019 saw me house 12 perfume portraits at Asylum Gallery Wolverhampton. As ever each perfume was created by utilising my established process that begins with asking artists the question ‘why do you make art?’ then responding to the answer through scent design; capturing the essence of the artist.

Each of the 12 responses were as varied, personal and wide-ranging as you would expect, and my challenge is to create coherent, unique fragrances that do justice to each response given. Often, this involves a great deal of research, and I need to deploy methods such as contextualising each perfume around a theme in order to arrive at a meaningful fragrance. In this exhibition, for example, one artist framed their response to the question ‘why do you make art?’ around the notion that creative action elicits a sense of purpose. So for this fragrance I decided to contextualise the response around Greek Mythology, and, in particular the story of Prometheus: The perfume contained moist woody notes symbolising Mount Olympus, where Prometheus stole fire – represented by potent spicy heart notes – and gave it to man, symbolised by musk. Fire enabled us to understand our intrinsic relationship with the world and, by extension, ourselves.

Through such a process this exhibition saw me use perfumery to cite aromatherapy, medicine, light and colour, love letters, religion, ritual, alchemy and, indeed, a curiously conceptual perfume about perfume itself, which happened to be my 100th perfume portrait. 

Since June I have staged another Perfume as Practice exhibition at Centrespace, Bristol. I’ll let you know how that went later in the week.

%d bloggers like this: