Ones to Watch: Interview with Anna Davies

Read our Ones to Watch artist interview with Anna Davies.

April 16th, 2020

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Your full name, and university course/year.

Anna Davies, studying Fine Art at Leeds Arts University

What medium do you prefer to use?

I tend to build the mechanism of my mechanical sculptures from wood or steel, depending on the weight of the object I am trying to move. I use a lot of repurposed objects from the realm of the home in my sculptures in relation to gender and domesticity. Inspired by object-oriented philosophy, I find it important to think about the relationship and distinction between the object and the human.

What is the inspiration behind your work?

My sculptural practice exists as a record of highly personalised subjects and events. Each specific work explores a particular burden or thought I have had as a result of being a millennial woman and having to respond to the shifting parameters of moral, sexual, ethical or gender-related codes of behaviour. Strong themes that reoccur in my practice are sex (specifically casual sex) and the implications of this on women. Though young women often get labelled as crude or accused of oversharing for discussing sex, I hope to start conversations about sex that could de-stigmatise these topics.

After reading Nell Dunn’s “Talking to Women” I was shocked by how relevant these conversations that Dunn was highlighting in the 1960s still are for contemporary society today. The debates with Dunn’s text echo my own experiences and those of my close female friends. Subsequently, my work critiques this and highlights the importance of addressing the deficit. Aren’t you just exhausted by the same old shit?

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

A drill. It was my 21st birthday present and I use it everyday in the studio.

During this uncertain time what will you do to occupy yourself?

I’m still attempting to finish my degree from home. Unfortunately our degree show has been cancelled but I am part way through a couple of pieces I was planning to be included in it. I am finding new ways of working from home. Altering the scale I am working on and the materials I am using. I have been enjoying drawing again, something I haven’t felt necessary to my practice for a long time. However I am also enjoying making at a much slower pace and feeling ok with that. I have been taking the time to do a lot more research and reading behind subjects.

Which artists are you most influenced by?

Mona Hatoum Home, series

Fernando Palma Rodriguez’s kinetic sculptures. I love the complexity of the robotics and his refusal to cover the wires and mechanics as they become very much part of the work

Rachel Whiteread, for her use of casting

How do you seek out opportunities?

A lot of my opportunities come from instagram and the networks I have made. I also use websites such as Curatorspace to apply for exhibitions and residencies.

Plans for the future?

After graduation I was fortunate enough to be offered my first solo exhibition in Sheffield at Gloam Gallery. I plan on getting a studio space as soon as financially possible so I can continue making work whilst applying for residencies and exhibitions.

Any books/ films/tv series that you’d recommend for anyone interested in art? What are your favourite Instagram accounts?

I have recently discovered a few new instagram accounts that started since social distancing, as a way of showing peoples work in different forms. Including @thesocialdistanceartproject and @lightnouse.collab Due to the cancellation of many degree shows across the country, instagram has also become a place of virtually showing work that would have existed in the show. As a shameless plug, Leeds Arts University Fine Art course are currently showing developing work at @untiltedexhibition2020. Fun projects such as #asculptureaday run by Yorkshire Sculpture International on their Instagram. I have also been enjoying a few exhibitions that have been moved online including  showing @will_hughes_art_  and  showing @charlottedawsonart

What is your most successful piece of work and why?

How “successful” a piece is is something I feel my definition of is constantly changing. I am currently working to develop a piece I made this time last year (Home Being), which at the time I was very happy with. I feel my work has lost a certain craftsman feel it used to have when I was working a lot with casting and sculpting. I am working now on trying to bring that back.

Find out more about Anna’s work on her website.

Read more interviews with our Ones to Watch artists on our blog.

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