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

Posts tagged “Scent

Desire and Alchemy

Since early September I have been working on an upcoming Perfume as Practice range of fragrances ready for exhibiting at BasementArtsProject, Leeds. It will take a departure from my usual approach and process to Perfume as Practice exhibitions. Firstly, rather than a display of portraits, my perfumes will each describe the reasons why artists make art – revealing the capacity perfume has for socially engaged creative action.

Secondly, the exhibition – entitled Desire and Alchemy – will mark the first time Perfume as Practice has been placed alongside another artist – Emilia Telese.

Desire and Alchemy

Emilia and I both have an established interest in utilising scent within our artistic practice, with the aim of revealing how scent can be a powerful and meaningful mode of communication.

My work – Entitled Perfume as Practice AW18 – will house 15 perfumes, and will take influence from alchemist practices in order to achieve desired fragrances, with the viewer invited to experience and interact with each perfume.

Telese’s work – entitled Scents of Self – will utilise Scratch and Sniff technology to explore image, pattern and body. Her work will invite the viewer to touch the artwork in order to reveal scents hidden within.

The Opening Evening will be on Friday 19th October from 7.30-9.30pm. The evening is free, and both artists on hand to discuss their work. Refreshments will also be available.

If you can make it, it would be great to see you!

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Scents of Our Time at Access Space

For the first 3 weeks of July I undertook a residency at Access Space, Sheffield entitled ‘Scents of Our Time’ which saw me utilise candle making to respond to the news events of the day.

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The residency seeks to gauge whether an audience can engage with the concept of utilising candle making as a means of social and political commentary; subverting preconceptions of what candle making can be and placing it on a contemporary art platform.

I didn’t really know what to expect, both in terms of my approach to responding to the news through scent design or with regard to audience engagement, but I did feel rather buoyed by the opportunity, as it was the first public outing of Scents of Our Time.

Weeks 1 and 2 focused primarily on the production of candles as well as the production of visual material:

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Designed in a manner that apes news graphics, this painting continues a precedent set with my Perfume as Practice body of work. Namely, under current projects the paintings that I complete act simply as visual description of proceedings.

I found that the candle making process – slow, considered and cathartic – provides an alternative method of digesting the news, which often arrives rapidly and successively, affording no time to meaningful contemplation. This is something I will take into my third week.

The 3rd and final week saw a shift of focus from working to exhibiting, as candle production was reduced in favour of curation ready for a closing event. The resultant exhibition saw the presentation of 18 candles, each a separate response to the news, along with visual embellishments and, in an attempt at transparency in my processes,  information regarding how each candle was made.

The aim of Scents of Our Time at Access Space was to reveal the capacity candle making has for social comment, agency and creative action while providing transparency into the creative process, allowing for insight and knowledge exchange. I believe that these aims were mostly achieved, but in unexpected ways.

For one, I didn’t account for the visual intricacies of each candle to be contemplated by an audience. Perfume as Practice – my other project that utilises scent – tends to rely on supporting visual material to create a cohesive set of work as otherwise it’s proven hard for an audience to engage with it beyond face value. Scents of Our Time didn’t actually need any other supporting material as each candle contained enough visual information to be regarded within context: If I am, for example, responding to the (relative) triumph of the England National Football Team, a candle adorned with grass-green and white wax already provides an audience with a visual representation. This use of colour is absent from perfume as Practice and as such, perhaps I had gotten overly used to designing extra visual ques even when I don’t need them.

Unfortunately, a combination of The World Cup and the hot weather (both of which were responded to in my candles) meant audience attendance was down on what might have been expected. However, what audience there was appeared fully engaged with the project, citing it’s innovation and subversive approach to candle making. This is a fantastic starting point and I think the project lends itself to being a residency, as it forces me to respond with urgency and energy to the news of the day. And it will be fun seeing where this leads.

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Measuring Scent and Narrative

Last weekend I was part of a group exhibition at the Old Holy Trinity Church, Wentworth called ‘Measure’ – which looks at the human soul. My own offering was a scented narrative that suggests you can weigh your soul against the virtues of your job.

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This is the second outing of this particular body of work, with the first being at Sheffield Cathedral last year. I found that the informal yet contemplative space of Old Trinity Church lent itself more to audience engagement. this was evidenced by how many people took the time to look and contemplate what was in front of them. As such, conversations emerged about life, purpose, vocation, perceptions of self, perceptions of each other and indeed mortality.

It wasn’t all about Life’s Big Questions though, as the design and implementation of my work also revealed to an audience the capacity perfumery has for narrative. In this instance, the perfume I have created forms part of an installation that incorporates painting, 3D work and text. This allows my audience to directly comprehend perfumery against other more established art forms. It certainly holds it’s own and enhances the overall experience.

My next stop is Leeds for Horsforth Walk of Art, where I’ll be trialling a new idea based on perfume and emojis. Looking forward to it!


Kronos 50ml EDT

Kronos

Head – Dill Seed, Lemongrass, Basil

Heart – Black Pepper, Ginger

Body – Patchouli, Myrrh

Description – Titan of the harvest; Dill seed, lemongrass and patchouli describe a plentiful abundance of produce. Basil references the confidence needed to instigate the battle with Ouranos. 5 drops of myrrh reference the 5 children he ate, while it’s heavy, lingering quality also alludes to the personification of time. Black Pepper and Ginger forms a heart shared with Ouranos; referencing family connections.

 

This fragrance is on display during Platforms Project 2018 at Athens School of Fine Arts.

 


Ouranos 50ml EDT

Ouranous

Head – Petitgrain, Rosemary,  Cotton

Heart – Black Pepper, Ginger

Body – Sandalwood, Driftwood

Description – Petitgrain, black pepper and ginger referencing a godly masculinity and confidence due to their sharp, penetrating aroma which exudes assurance and assertion. Cotton, with it’s clean, fresh and light accord, references Ouranos’ overseeing of the sky. Rosemary, with its connections to the sea, references the narrative of Ouranos’ being castrated and having his testicles cast into the sea This is reinforced by driftwood. Sandalwood has deep connections to earth, referencing the importance of Gaia.

This fragrance is on display during Platforms Project 2018 at Athens School of Fine Arts.

 


Perfumes and Planets

Next week I travel to Athens to participate in Platforms Project – an independent art fair in the heart of the city. It’s the 3rd time I will have entered work into the art fair, and the 2nd time I’ve directly been involved in the curation and installation of my work.

This year my participation in Platforms Project will once again take the guise of a group exhibition. The exhibition, entitled ‘Wonderer’ seeks to reacquaint an audience with Ancient Greek appropriations of the planets.

The exhibition comprises 3 artists – myself, Sharon Mossbeck and Alison Whitmore – and we have taken 3 planets each to interpret, explore and interpret from an Ancient Greek context. My chosen planets are Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. Or, as the Ancient Greeks would have it; Ouranous, Kronos and Zeus – three Greek Gods with a family lineage.

So how does a fine art perfumer go about creating something from these three Gods? Well, by taking advantage of the family lineage and utilising the capacity fragrance has for narrative, metaphor and I have encapsulated the planets of Ouranous, Kronos and Zeus in three separate fragrances.

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Each fragrance contains potent spices and woody notes; alluding to their godly, confident qualities and direct family history. Yet they also contain delicate floral notes, zesty fruits and earthy spices in an attempt to describe each God’s individual narrative.

Each perfume is a portrait of the respective God and is as rich and complex as you might expect from portraiture. Hopefully my audience at Platforms Project will agree that my unique approach to perfumery reveals a meaningful and untapped art form.


Perfume Portrait #82 – John Alfred

 John Alfred 50ml EDT

Head – Petitgrain

Heart – Fennel, ginger

Body – Sandalwood, myrrh

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Description – A fiery and masculine free spirit, this fragrance utilises the sense of mental aptitude found in woods and spices to point towards ways to innovative, create and have a little fun at the same time.

This perfume is one of fifteen housed at Bureau, Blackburn from 12th – 26th April as part of my solo exhibition, Perfume as Practice.


Perfume Portrait #81 – Emily Feirn

Emily Feirn 50ml EDT

Head – Bergamot

Heart – Lavendar, black pepper

Body – Ylang Ylang

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Description – Nominally floral with notes that reference tranquillity, joy and, relaxation. This calmness is offset by black pepper, which captures a spirited sense of individuality.

This perfume is one of fifteen housed at Bureau, Blackburn from 12th – 26th April as part of my solo exhibition, Perfume as Practice.


Perfume Portrait #80 – Louise Waller

Louise Waller 50ml EDT

Head – Niaouli, grapefruit

Heart – Spike lavender

Body – Ylang Ylang, hyssop

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Description – An implied floral fragrance that is content, brimming with peace yet not afraid to show a playful, experimental side: The addition of grapefruit, clove and hyssop bridge notes disrupt the process of making a floral composition as an ode to the value of trial and error.

This perfume is one of fifteen housed at Bureau, Blackburn from 12th – 26th April as part of my solo exhibition, Perfume as Practice.


Perfume Portrait #79 – Becca Merrell

Becca Merrell 50ml EDT

Head – Sea breeze

Heart – Driftwood

Body – Cedarwood

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Description – A sublime concoction of fragrance oils that evoke scenes of natural beauty, delivered through reproductions of scents of the coast, this scent reminds you of the human capacity to replicate beauty while cedarwood essential oil base gives you the confidence to do just that.

This perfume is one of fifteen housed at Bureau, Blackburn from 12th – 26th April as part of my solo exhibition, Perfume as Practice.