Spotlight

Feature Contemporary Artist Laura Gannon

Championed by Jemima Burrill
Visual Arts
The Wick - Detail of Solardo Unhão, Laura Gannon
Above  Detail of Solardo Unhão, Laura Gannon
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The Wick - Laura Gannon in the studio
Above  Laura Gannon in the studio
Interview
Laura Gannon in the studio
11 August 2021
Interview
Laura Gannon in the studio
11 August 2021
Jemima Burrill started out as an artist, cementing her love of art, film and performance while studying in Chelsea and the Royal College of Art for six years. As comfortable in her studio as she is working with others, she has also been organising exhibitions since her college days. Since 2015, she has curated a programme of design, art and fashion exhibitions for London’s Now Gallery. Interested in facilitating unexpected artwork, she gives up-and-coming designers and artists the opportunity to create solo installations that are often unusual, interactive and outside the box.

In London-based artist Laura Gannon, Burrill not only has a birthday twin but someone who shares her interest in architecture among other things.
Burrill says: “I have known Laura almost 20 years, we have the same birthday and I have always felt I had a connection with her. We have a similar intensity of feeling, sense of justice and interest in architecture. I saw her final MA show at Goldsmiths, a film about Emily Dickinson, which was exquisite and marked her way as a filmmaker and mark maker with precision and beauty.”

Gannon’s work oscillates between drawing, sculpture, painting and film. Growing up in the west of Ireland, with little access to galleries and museums, she was fascinated by craft, clothes and buildings. Inspired by her mother’s interest in fashion, she would visit a local mill to buy fabric and have clothes made up based on designs from magazines. This process of seeing a garment made from start to finish made her understand the stages involved in making.

“My mother also wrote and was interested in politics, so there was the duality of engaging both with sensuality and ideas, the body and the intellect,” says Laura Gannon.

“As a result, women’s writing, design and architecture have a large influence on my practice. I am looking at the sensuality of objects and how a good design and architecture contribute to a physical and mental wellbeing. When looking at architecture of female architects, I am looking at how they include a sensitivity to the needs of the body and decorative elements within buildings.”

Gannon’s continuing interest in buildings made by women architects, creating a narrative through a description of place, also intrigues Burrill. Burrill says: “Visiting her studio more recently I was bowled over by her performative abstract drawings. Materials rendered beautiful in a complex and visceral way. She creates objects of complex simplicity, clear in colour and significant in design. The materials talk to each other in a profound way creating a work of thoughtful connections. As with her films, she weaves a narrative together which tell tales and creates unexpected reminiscence.”

Gannon’s recent works include abstract drawings made with metallic ink on linen that were inspired by the buildings of modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi. The linen has been subjected to multiple processes (folding, bending, wrinkling) to reveal its corporeality.

She says: “I read short stories by female writers when I am working in the studio. These works are on my mind when making. I often use the titles of works that I’m reading as titles of the artworks. Language and narrative allow the exterior world to be present in the studio alongside the interior world of my imagination.”

About the champion

The Wick - Jemima Burril by Charles E.

In addition to acting as the main curator at London’s Now Gallery, located on the Greenwich Peninsula, Jemima Burrill is an artist whose own practice incorporates photography, video, drawing and performance. She is represented by Galerie Houg in Paris and hugely values this connection with Europe. You may also know her by her alter-ego @megaphonewoman on Instagram.

“We have a similar intensity of feeling, sense of justice and interest in architecture.”

Place of Birth

Galway, Ireland

Education

BFA Belfast School of Art, University of Ulster and MFA Goldsmiths, University of London

Awards, Accolades

Culture Ireland, exhibition funding at FIAC, Paris (2019), Milan Design Film Festival award (2017), Fluxus Art Award, Institute Francaise (2015), Tate Britain residency (2014-15) Arts Council England artist fund award (2013) and Outset Art Fund award (2009)

Upcoming exhibitions

‘Making and Momentum’, curated by Richard Malone, at Mairie de Ville, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France and the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin from August to September 2021

Spiritual guides and mentors

Eileen Gray is an Anglo-Irish architect and designer from Wexford. I always return to her work for inspiration. Each piece combines both geometry and sensuality. Novelist Elizabeth Bowen’s use of language is so detailed and poetic, while being minimal and baroque at once. This is what I translate into my own works, they reference language without using words. Kate MacGarry is also an inspiration for me. She has such clarity of thought, intelligence and empathy in her response to art and artists

Advice

Listen to your own voice. Opportunities come when least expected


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