Considered to be one of the Young British Artists (YBA), Gavin Turk is a British born artist who makes sculptures, drawings and assemblages, described by the Tate as investigating ‘what it means to be an artist’. His website argues that he has ‘pioneered many forms of contemporary British sculpture now taken for granted, including the painted bronze, the waxwork, the recycled art-historical icon and the use of rubbish in art’, commenting that his ‘ installations and sculptures deal with issues of authorship, authenticity and identity’.
Turk studied at the Royal College of Art in London from 1989 to 1991, but did not graduate due to his final show ‘Cave’, which consisted of a whitewashed studio space containing only a blue heritage plaque stating ‘Gavin Turk worked here 1989-91’. His work has been widely exhibited, and includes ‘Pop’ (1993) – a waxwork of himself as Sid Vicious; ‘Bum’ (1998) – a life size waxwork of the artist as a tramp; ‘Bag’ (2000) – bronze sculptures of plastic rubbish bags; ‘Nomad’ (2002) – a bronze cast of a sleeping bag; and ‘Nail’ (2011) – a 12-metre bronze sculpture which stands at the shopping centre One New Change by St. Paul’s Cathedral.
In 2007, Turk and his partner Deborah Curtis established The House of Fairy Tales – a national children’s arts charity that aims to engage with young people of all ages from any socio economic or cultural background. www.gavinturk.com
Jess De Wahls was born in Berlin and relocated to London in 2004. Described as ‘the enfant terrible of British textile arts’, she aims to tackle subjects such as misogyny, objectification and bondage. In 2016 she curated a gallery exhibition called ‘Stopjectify’, which invites the audience to ‘reconsider the status quo and question how we can break the age-old cycles that perpetuate objectification as a ‘normal’ fixture of everyday life’.
She has found her niche in ‘Retex Sculpture’ – a term she has coined to describe hand-sewn relief portraits from up-cycled clothing, which can be seen in her Big Swinging Ovaries project. She has exhibited works in USA, Paris and London including Tate Modern. www.jessdewahls.com
Marie-Louise Jones is a London based artist, and founder of the Little Paper Slipper charity. Her practice explores trauma, vulnerability, internal conflict and chaos, with previous work having dealt with female identity & female sexuality. Her sculptures, installations and socially engaged works have been exhibited internationally, with past projects including a commission for national charity Women’s Aid, and the production of several artworks for International Women’s Day, Barcelona 2012. Alongside Little Paper Slipper she is currently working on Structures of Being, a new body of sculptures made with metals and wood.
On the topic of the charity, Jones commented “The Little Paper Slipper project is really meaningful – I hear first-hand from the women how much they love the workshops and enjoy making the shoes. They tell me how it makes them feel good to have the opportunity to say how they feel and have someone listen – something they don’t usually get the chance to do – and also how the workshops teach them new things about life and themselves. The process helps them bond with each other, and provides a unique experience. I can’t emphasise how important this work is and how it genuinely has an impact on each woman who takes part – and for the public too, who see the shoes in the biennial exhibitions we hold, and find themselves both engaged and moved. Through this I hope to open up a wider dialogue on domestic abuse by giving the women a voice.”
The Little Paper Slipper project will continue alongside her other practices as a life-long body of work, with the aim to build the installation to over 1,000 paper slippers over the next 10 years.www.marielouisejones.com