Grace Clifford is a Birmingham-born artist, now living in Yorkshire, primarily working with sculpture and installation to explore and reflect the everyday. Clifford’s practice challenges ideas of shame, and the stereotypes and representation of working-class lives and experiences. As an artist Grace sees, it is important that she, and others, do not need to educate themselves via means of traditional academia to fit into what is deemed middle-class institutions that she now finds herself in. Grace prefers to work from lived experiences and intuition – any attempt to oppress or compromise only reinforces the values driving her practice.
Grace’s work often investigates ideas of belonging and what class is or means. A champion of her Birmingham and Black Country upbringing, informed by lived experiences and pride in her heritage, whilst also embracing and addressing the discomfort class disparity brings for everyone – especially in the North. Clifford’s work is always supported by her personal stories and experiences, and the belief that the familiarity of these materials can invoke conversation and invite the viewer to make their own associations with the work. Using objects that are a part of everyday life as a vessel to carry these conversations between her community and audiences who may feel that contemporary art and traditional gallery spaces are not for them.
Using ready-mades as a starting point, and often casting with materials such as bronze, Grace’s work attempts to reframe objects and the conventions associated with them, as well as use them to create vital and timely conversations around the work.
“My work aims to challenge preconceptions and create familiarity and accessibility in traditional gallery spaces – something I believe is essential – exploring humour and recognisable material to be able to have those important discussions with the viewers.”