MiAL Artist Reflection: Camilla Brueton on her Final Show
Welcome to a new semi regular feature for the MiAL blog, where we invite our MiAL artists to reflect on an aspect or experience which forms part of their creative journey. This week Camilla Brueton reflects on he MA drawing final show at Wimbledon, the organisation, the collaboration and of course.. what next?
My background is site-specific sculpture, so maybe it’s not surprising that I ended up making work about place that became an inherent part of the space I was showing in… Or maybe I just wanted to draw on the walls?
Having studied part-time, I had the advantage of seeing the previous group of students create their degree shows. I also had some very good advice from a friend who had finished his MA Fine Art at Wimbledon the year before: “ You won’t get the chance to do this again. Spend as much time at your show as you possibly can”.
Putting the show together certainly had pressure. Pressure as a group as we had to pull together to sort all the spaces out, publicise the show, sort out the drink for the private view, invigilate it… Pressure as an individual as you wanted to showcase what you had put so much time and effort into over the past year/ 2 years of your life.
The group of MA Drawers were genuinely some of the nicest artists I’ve worked with. People were ambitious with their work, but also, on the whole considerate to others- “I want to do this…. Are you ok with it?” This approach led to a show that was collectively strong, ambitious and exciting, and showcased a really diverse approach to drawing.
With the degree show I certainly had a feeling of, if not now, then when? As deadlines for proposals, essays and research folios passed, and these other elements fell away, all that was left to focus on was making the work. Which was lovely. Intense, but rewarding. Go to college, climb up a rig. Spend 8 hours drawing on the wall. Go home, eat, sleep, repeat.
My final piece was about the relationship we have with the city, when viewed through the window of a moving train. It brought together elements of my practice I had explored during the MA; a deeply founded interest in the relationship people have with place and the city, an attraction to transport infrastructure, both now contextualised within the work of theorists such as Marc Augé and Doreen Massey; and a robust drawing practice with a performative aspect, allowing me to interact with audience members as I continued to draw as the show unfolded.
I was lucky enough (along with 3 others from my course), to be selected for ‘Assembly’ a show selected by Ben Kelly and Paul Goodwin that brought together a selection of work from degree shows across Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon. A great accolade, and chance to show the work again in a new context. But… due to the site specific nature of my work, it meant I had to deinstall at Wimbledon: erase and paint out the installation on the Monday and Tuesday, before beginning to redraw it at Chelsea on Wednesday. Physically this was quite tough. Luckily my work was supportive and gave me time off at short notice.
And so the install began again. This time on a piece of wall with an archway. I was conscious I didn’t want to try and ‘remake’ the work, as this would only fail. I also wanted to move it on. Like a train journey that you repeat, it is never the same, yet much of what is familiar just passes by the train window without you noticing, because it appears to be the same. So the same source material was used, but it was reworked. And I had a different rig. Larger and more impressive, but harder to work with, and too large to include in the final piece as I had done at Wimbledon.
Over 7 days I reworked an installation to a similar size and finish to the degree show. Taking part in Assembly progressed things, I made new marks, new compositions, had new conversations with people about place. It also, in the short term answered the question everyone keeps asking me: “What are you going to do next?”
So what does happen next? I would love a holiday, but like most ex-students, cash isn’t so forth coming at the moment. I have a part time job. I have a studio. There are loads of opportunities out there to apply for.
If not now, then when?