Annabelle Richmond-Wright is a multidisciplinary artist who graduated from Leeds Arts University in 2021. She has recently won the prize for the Manchester HOME/Castlefield Gallery Open Awards 2022 for her ‘Alexa’ sculpture. Annabelle visually communicates through means of sculpture, installation, and sometimes performance. The interests of her work are broad yet often bold and politically charged, ranging from the themes of work/labour, women’s work and gender roles, capitalism and technology, and materiality.
More recently her work explores human consciousness against the backdrop of socio-political concerns of technology and capitalism. Inspired by her experience working as a digital marketing assistant, notions of work and office life is a running theme in her practice. The physical labour of making is intrinsic to Annabelle’s practice; often utilising machinery and power tools to create sculptures out of metal and wood. Casting and mold making is also central to her practice, from casting the body to creating giant computer keyboard keys, the making of objects is significant to her work.
‘Touch me I’m offline’, 2021, is assembled with cast human body parts and steel which Annabelle welded and manipulated by hand. Created at the height of the pandemic, Coronavirus impacted the way Annabelle thought and produced work about the body and human experience. The loss of physical touch as a ramification of social distancing and lockdown restrictions imbued with emotions of fear and guilt led Annabelle to emphasise the tactility and the abject within the bodily elements.
Annabelle explores the materiality of the body with the visceral qualities of latex, expanding foam, and silicone finger casts. The artist intends to use abject tactility as a visual strategy to convey the longing for physical connection tainted with the fear and guilt of spreading the virus, known as the ‘skin hunger’ phenomena increasingly experienced during COVID-19. Annabelle fragments and scatters the body in a way that is unwholesome.
“Reflecting upon how the self exists in the digital and media sphere, the partitioning of the body into body parts reinforces the objectification and commodification of the self in late capitalism.
What happens to us when we upload it to the internet? Where does it go and who owns it? Are the multiple platforms we find ourselves creating a personality for a fragmented and superficial way of being?”