Artist Rosie Grace Ward talks to BA Drawing student Isobel Finlay
At the culmination of a year-long residency at Vanguard Court Studios, Rosie Grace Ward, 2017 Vanguard Prize Winner and a recent graduate from BA Sculpture, launches her latest solo exhibition Think And Pray For Me at Camberwell Space on 30 August 2018.
Keen to know more about Rosie’s residency and life as a graduate, current student Isobel Finlay met with Rosie for an in-depth conversation about her work.
Isobel, who is about to start her final year in BA Drawing, took on a work placement at Camberwell Space this summer to gain experience in gallery management and curating.
Please tell us a bit about your work for your upcoming solo show at Camberwell Space.
It’s a sort of corporate graveyard, dark, monolithic and sterile. Collected imagery from the present and from history manifest in an extruded version of the future, exacerbated to death by global capitalism.
Why did you decide to apply for the Vanguard prize?
I would have been stupid not to. Studio awards like the Vanguard Award are one of the only ways it is possible to pursue one’s practice post graduating. London is an incredibly inhospitable place to be a young artist and awards like these are absolutely necessary to foster young talent. I was incredibly lucky to win.
How has your practice developed since graduating from Camberwell?
My trajectory since graduating has been a dedication to just learning more, reading more, engaging more with the world more. It’s a constant evolution paired with the understanding that the better I comprehend my surroundings and the cultural/political atmosphere, the more capable I am of making challenging work. Exhibiting with Hannah Barry Gallery and Arcadia Missa has also been a really positive learning experience and has pushed my practice into showing professionally.
How has winning the Vanguard Prize helped to develop your work?
Not having to pay for a studio has given me the luxury of having significantly more time to dedicate to my practice. I have used it as a space to congregate with other young artists to discuss and critique each other’s work and it’s been amazing to have the freedom to do this.
The work is very immersive, is this an important element for you in your practice?
Yes. I hope it promotes an honest interaction with the work, where instinct takes priority over a desire to explain objects in the space away. I’ve said before that my work tries to act as a visual guide to the accelerating project of capitalism, pushed to one of its inevitable conclusions. With this in mind, I started to think it was necessary for this work to feel real so that its implications become inescapable. I am concerned we are becoming increasingly complacent with regards to the values manifesting themselves in contemporary politics, particularly the dangerous populist attitudes that lean towards fascism and rigid upholding of traditional power structures. This will contribute to the potential of our future and if we think that -‘because things look the same, things are the same” – a radical change in context or an insight into our current trajectory becomes absolutely necessary to push us to confront where this will take us.
Do you have any plans for future projects or forthcoming shows after the Vanguard residency is over?
Lots of things in the pipeline, don’t look away.
Think And Pray For Me is open in Camberwell Space until Friday 7 September Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm
Private View: Thursday 30 August – 5:30pm – 8:00pm all welcome