An Interview with Brenda Bullock BA (LCP) MA (Wales)


My artistic career truly began when I embarked on my masters in fine art at Aberystwyth University. My work dealing with site specific approaches to culture and history was awarded the Royal Photographic Society bursary award. This recognition encouraged me to be more daring in my artistic practice. Following this project I partook in several exhibitions, namely the Atkinson gallery, and the Radnorshire museum. The work was also showcased at Aberystwyth School of art, and was a feature presentation at the Rhayader museum, under a collaborative project named “Encompass”. My work has always centred on portraiture within the landscape, which I am excited to experiment further with in the future.

The Hat
‘The Hat’

What is it you like about the photographic image?

It’s the most malleable medium for me. It allows me to develop ideas, play with light and encourage these beautiful mishaps of portraiture. It’s, an easily adjusted canvas essentially.
How do you merge media, ice and photographic images within a composition?

When I settled on incorporating ice, I wanted to think of interesting ways to display/capture their changing nature. The idea was always to centre on impressions and change, and filming the sculptures melt, allowed a fairly cinematic illustration of that.

'Icemen 6'
‘Icemen 6’
'Icemen 5'
‘Icemen 5’

What are the themes that run through your artwork?

I’d say there are two main themes that seem consistent in my work. The first is the uncanny, that idea of unsettling familiarity, the not-quite-right image which the viewer is compelled to question. The second theme is layers. Whether it’s a physical apparatus of the picture, like a mesh-wire sheet forcing the viewer to look closely, or a more subtle nuance of the editing, the layers basically allow me to add another dimension to my work.
What do you hope your audience sees when looking at your artwork?

I want them to see story, a narrative that provokes thought.

What do you hope they feel?
I hope they’re unsettled, intrigued and maybe a little curious. My intention ultimately is to change perceptions.

Do you digital photography or the old school SLR films?

I dabble in both, but mainly digital suits my needs.

'Ashes 2'
‘Ashes 2’

What art movements and artists have inspired your art work?

To name my shortlist, I’d say Gregory Crewson for his cinematic images, and Roger Ballen for sheer intensity. I’d say both of these have definitely influenced my current exhibition. I also enjoy the work of Rineke Dijkstra and Nan Goldin. In regards to movements, I relate most probably with the avant-garde, that experimenting with culture and art really interest me.

'Ashes 5'
‘Ashes 5’

Tell us more about your video art?

I used slow motion capture in my video as a way to accentuate the transformation of the ice sculptures into water, which in turn is a kind of elaboration of the water returning to its natural cycle. Sound was also a large part of the immersion. I overlaid a haunting melody on the video to strengthen the message of life passing, and that water has this kind of retention, this memory and ultimately a shared consciousness.


How would you describe your artwork to a child researching modern photography?

I would describe it as akin to fairy tales. Not so long ago I heard some children at my exhibition say ‘let’s go see the ghost room’. I think this is pretty typifying, it’s sort a warm peculiar, uncanny if you will.

Do you see the photographic medium changing over the years?

Yes, it’s constantly being altered and developed in new and interesting ways. On one hand the photographic medium has become every day, almost expendable, and the worth and tools of the photographer are in question. On the other hand you see everyone carrying mobile cameras, so the rare precious moments are caught, and more and more you see images which are entirely uncontrived, and all the more powerful for that. It’s less exclusive essentially, which is always a good thing. I do think the artists are the pioneers by nature, and their ability to empathise in that particular photographic dialect, allows them to impress artistically upon photographs, which can coax out powerful meaning, that perhaps otherwise lays dormant.

‘Ghosts 1’

How would you describe your work in no more than five words?

Experimental, Meaningful, uncanny, honest, and Sublime,

Is the history of art an important element of your research?

It’s an integral part of my development and research. I thoroughly enjoy researching, to take stock of everything that’s influenced me, while trying to push the boundaries even further.


What techniques do you use to merge your mediums?
In my most recent exhibition, images were projected onto a water surface, to create a more tactile and perishable canvas. I also used experimental printing, in an attempt to embed my images onto the ice itself.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions?
I have one in April 2015, November 2015

'Ghost 5'
‘Ghost 5’

Where can people find you on the net?

Twitter @BrendaBullockx
Linkin•Brenda Bullock

Can you see your artwork changing?

Art is always changing. I find new interests, and challenges and my thinking, my reflexions tend to evolve quite naturally to the next project.




Author: Helen Ingram

Self Published author, artist, interviewer and owner of New Art United

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