January always feels like a rather difficult month to instigate and artistic action. The excesses of Christmas last longer than they should; the cold winter air quells any motivation and then there’s the small matter of completing a tax return…
Luckily then, I have been able to take part in a group exhibition without hardly having to lift a finger, all thanks to no less an institution that the University of Chester – the university I graduated at in 2007.
Nice to See You to See You Nice is a group exhibition featuring work from staff, students and alumni from the University of Chester, and is housed at CASC – a fantastic contemporary space in the heart of Chester set up by the University.
My work – Seven Keys – is nestled between over 70 other artists, makers and designers each connected to Chester University. It’s great how the exhibition acts as such a social platform; the opening evening on Friday 24th January was a hive of conversations between Chester University affiliates, each brought together through artistic practice. Perhaps the exhibition will reaffirm some friendships, encourage collaborations or instigate further creative endeavour.
Seven Keys is a series of perfumes about love and lust. Presented are 7 perfumes; only one is a concoction of natural ingredients which represent the virtues of love. The rest comprise of synthetic oils and represent lust.
Seven Keys is a great introduction to the possibilities of perfumery – highlighting that with careful scent design perfume can house narrative and symbolism. The theme also lends itself to valentine’s Day, which is useful as Nice to See You to See You Nice runs until 12th March. The opening hours are Mondays – Tuesdays 10-4; Fridays 12 – 6; Saturdays 10 – 4.
Helen Sills 50ml EDT
Head – Orange, Lemon
Heart – Apricot, pomegranate
Body – Cocoa Bean, Vanilla
Description – A veritable horn of plenty that references the all-encompassing nature of creative action and it’s many avenues.
Sills’s Lost Dreams relates to the tragic end of many migrants who set out on a voyage to a new life and never make land.
Sills’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Stig Evans 50ml EDT
Head – Tea Tree, Clary Sage
Heart – Dandelion
Body – Patchouli, Honey
Description – A picture of alchemy, here the act of attempting to achieve Magnum Opus may or may not result in perfumery.
Evans’s Ferry is a Digitally manipulated photograph.
Evans’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Marisa Culatto 50ml EDT
Head – Rosemary, Peppermint
Heart – Marjoram
Body – Mulled wine, Frankincense
Description – An ode to Hungary Water; the first known European perfume making process which still informs our understanding of the workings of scent.
Culatto’s Honest Landscape 2 was taken on a road from within the car. Thus it depicts a journey. It does so literally, but also conceptually as part of a series of photographs put through an established process that sees original images reworked, printed with a faulty home printer (which distorts colours), manually crumpled, and re-photographed again. This highlights how process driven work places the artist on a personal journey as well as the literal journey portrayed in the subject matter.
Culatto’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Catherine Higham 50ml EDT
Head – Fresh linen
Heart – Geranium, Indian geranium, Rose geranium, Rose
Body – Ylang ylang
Description – Referencing an essential oil discovery set, this fragrance acts as a test bed for floral fragrances, offset by a clean, neutral top note. Perfect for discovering preferences and nuances.
Higham’s painting Horizon is concerned with the materials and processes of landscape; both natural and fabricated.
Higham’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Agatha Smith 50ml EDT
Head – Mandarin
Heart – Rose, Clove
Body – Ylang Ylang, Cumin seed
Description – At first glance this fragrance references a traditional, deliberate floral design. However, hints of spice add personality and exploration that allow it to break its own monotony.
177 Woolwich to Peckham is the first piece from Smith’s Pocket Drawing series. Her most recent work is focused around the realisation that everyone in the world is living a life just as complex as our own, populated by their own repetitive, chaotic routines and inevitable daily journeys.
Smith’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Myfanwy Williams 50ml EDT
Head – Cut grass, Cotton
Heart – Spike lavender, Sea salt
Body – Driftwood, Musk
Description – Embracing all manner of the outdoors as a vehicle for balance, harmony and therapy. This fragrance drives a sense of adventure.
Journey is one of a series of paintings which deal with Williams’s childhood journeying by sea, travelling from one land to another, and appreciating the different ways of life, from the spices of Zanzibar to the engineering feat of the Suez Canal.
Williams’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Jenna Fox 50ml EDT
Head – Tangerine, Ravensara
Heart – Geranium,
Body – Sandalwood, Ho leaf
Description – Here domestic fragrances are offset by exotic fragrances to elicit an unnerving mystery at once familiar and alien.
Fox’s Making a Run for It depicts a quintessential English cup and saucer that has grown chicken feet and is making a run for it as the start of a new adventure and voyage into the unknown. This work highlights Fox’s overarching concerns regarding how our homes affect us and our psychological state and reflect our inner psyche.
Fox’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Robert Verrill 50ml EDT
Head – Pomegranate
Heart – Black pepper, ginger
Body – Benzoin, myrrh
Description – A provocative and thoughtful fragrance that references Pliny the Elder and his Naturalis Historia, which was critical and challenging of the frivolity of perfume.
Verrill’s To The World with Love references travel and voyages in several ways. It is made from found materials which themselves speak of travel and journeys: corrugated cardboard from a box that would have carried some consumable product around the world; plastic binding and string which would have bound a box or container or bundle of items in transit. These materials have been on one more voyage of transformation – the cardboard soaked, perforated and rebound with the plastic binding and string to re-emerge at the destination in the form of a utilitarian, improvised handbag and strap that carries a message of hope around the world for our deliverance from environmental catastrophe.
Verrill’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.