Abi Charlesworth is currently in her third year studying Fine Art at Bath Spa University. Introducing herself as an artist, Abi discusses the current direction of her work and the craftsmanship behind her practice. She hopes to go on to study a master’s degree in fine art after finishing her degree at Bath Spa University.

My artistic style operates in between the modes of sculpture, installation and drawing. I investigate material relationships concerning ourselves and our surroundings alongside neighbouring elements of the familiar spatial bodies and the new, much like in the sculpture Glove. The cactus form references the body as a link towards forbidden touch in the gallery and tactility.

A key element of my work is creating a copy of an object through casting. This is a labour-intensive process which shows quality and craftsmanship. It explores the line between the aesthetic and the peculiar embodiment of existence.

Glove, 2018, Polymer Clay and wire armature, 26x21x5cm. © Abi Charlesworth

Materiality plays a central role in the playfulness of my work. The idea that an object can suggest movement, fiction and nostalgia, whilst simultaneously not making sense in the context of a studio space is imperative.

For my process I like to question how far a shape can be altered before it crosses the line of the original and the new. If I cast an exact replica of the original does this replace the original or is it a new sculpture entirely?

The process of making my sculptures almost represents life in a way. At the beginning of the process I have to nurse the structure, almost as though it is a child, until it is fully formed. I like this caring and fun element to my work and how I think of the structure as almost human, which I like to play on. For example,  Toothache is a particular play on the idea of teeth, and the growth and pain we go through growing up. It is also a projection of elements that reference a rake or a comb, which implies a second bodily definition.

Toothache, 2018, Polyurethane Foam, 73x19x7cm. © Abi Charlesworth
video still of parma, oh. 10
Parma, Oh, 2018, Video Still, Video: 2.26 Minutes. © Abi Charlesworth

Currently I am manipulating video as a way of dealing with the materiality of sculpture and film by using gestures to insinuate interactions between the sculpture and the viewer. The tactility of the sculptures I have made allows for a playful exploration of the motions of the materials used, while the disembodied arm further enhances the idea of physical play. In Parma, oh I deliberately refer to the object as the Parma Violets sweet and this connotation of satisfaction has resulted in a direction towards using ASMR (Autonomous sensory meridian response) in my work.

Furthermore, I have been experimenting with the assemblage of my work and how it could work together by creating coordinating pools of installations. 

Words by Abi Charlesworth.

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