Artists Statement – Kerry Spokes
This group of work is my continuing exploration of the human condition. The play we undertake as children can often inform our lives as adults, and so I have portrayed images which are often recognisable instances of our own childhood pastimes and play time. I am intrigued at the way children amused themselves in times past, often by making simple toys which crudely emulate the ‘real’ thing or games which imitate adult life such as playing doctors and nurses, dressing up, or war. Modern day toys often do not leave much to the imagination and tend to take away the inventive learning experience. It is interesting the way children interact with nature and animals. Some children are absolutely fascinated by nature whilst others are frightened by some facets of our natural environment.
The taking of risks to have fun is an interesting concept, and one which I continue to explore. Risk taking is a big factor in growing up and learning parameters of safety and control, and is also a factor at the other end of our lives as elder members of a community, when we once again become restricted by rules and regulations imposed by society to ensure our safety. The notion of ‘everything you do has a consequence’ has informed me and became a bit of a catch cry whilst bringing up my own children. It is a relatively easy concept for an adult to grasp, but for a child it seems to be an elusive idea that is not so easy to understand. Children often feel they are infallible and indestructible.
The main child subject in theses works has come from the book ‘What Shall I Do?’ by William Schloat, a 1949 manual for children aimed at preventing boredom and idleness whilst learning skills, tricks and techniques which are amusing and useful. The boy is a classic looking child from that time, and has a sense of earnestness as well as mischievousness about him. I have composed the works using extra elements and props to create a ‘storyline’ and hopefully a bit of a twist to the notion of ‘play’ which can be pondered by the viewer. Shadows have been used to give a dramatic edge to the works whilst the use of patterning has once again figured in my works as an important visual prop. Overall these works are intended to convey a sense of childlike play which we all remember.
Artists Statement – Laurie Collins
Play is a very underrated aspect of life. In our world today, parents seem to feel they need to organise every aspect of their child’s life with classes, personal development schemes and educational experiences. Play is actually how kids develop their linking of ideas, their creativity and their sense of self.
I still play now … I love combining elements and seeing what they suggest and most of my work involves a degree of play in some form.
For this exhibition, I have chosen images and forms which both hark back to the type of play I remember as a child and other aspects which suggest the delight of creativity and fun ideas. I hope they help you remember the joy of play as well and also see that whimsy, sillyness and odd combinations of forms and ideas can help you ”play” even now ,in your own mind as well.
Good on ya