Originally from Somerset and now based in London, Gemma Cossey has lived and worked in France, Spain, the Galapagos Islands and the UK.
This year, with 5 other artists, she organised and curated ‘Jam Tomorrow’, an exhibition of painting and mixed media work at APT Gallery, Deptford and her work has also been selected for the Ludlow Open and the Motorcade/FlashParade National Open.
Since her MA in European Arts & Cultures: Fine Art, from De Montfort University, Granada University and Tilburg Academy, Gemma has had a broad range of experience of teaching Art & Design. She is an AXIS artist, a Centre for Recent Drawing community artist and is a member of DIY Educate of ZAP.
Recent work explores process, gesture, time, scale and the relationship of parts to the whole. Using repetitive mark making to create areas of movement and spatial depth, the work explores the relationship between two processes: one that is intended and planned, and another that is allowed to evolve and develop intuitively and organically. This relationship is ambiguous, the lines between are blurred, raising questions about intention.
The collections and flows of drawn marks and moments are often determined by previous marks, and, at times, manipulated by decisions and constraints; further questioning the tension between process and aesthetic decision making. Optical incidents evolve during freehand drawing and painting processes; these arbitrary by-products are the result of ‘errors’ of the human hand. Although the work can be controlled and manipulated by the process, each mark made is paramount and the slightest, unpredictable fluctuation changes the entirety.
I strive to create intense visual experiences and journeys in my work. Visual experiences within both natural and man-made landscapes influence my ideas, and my sketchbooks and observations are crucial to the creative process.
Recent visits to exhibitions of particular interest to my practice include ‘Graphology’ at the Drawing Room, ‘Pencil and Paper’ at Poppy Sebire, ‘Henry Moore – Late Large Forms’ at Gagosian, ‘Picasso Prints: The Vollard Suite’ at the British Museum, Mehran Elminia: Revealing Harmonies at Rosenfeld Porcini, ‘Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye’ at Tate Modern and ‘Mantegna to Matisse’ drawings at the Courtauld Gallery.
Coinciding with the ‘Madge Gill and Jack Hutchinson: Autography’ exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery I attended ‘Jack J Hutchinson in conversation with Annabel Tilley (Zeitgeist Art Projects)’, in which Hutchinson discussed his new body of work, created in response to the Madge Gill collection at Newham Archives. The talk proved really valuable as it explored the automatic, process-based nature of drawing, and the discussion about drawing work that “questioned the tension between process and aesthetic decision making” was pertinent to concerns in my practice.
The Yayoi Kusama show at Tate Modern was of great interest to me, particularly the Infinity Net paintings of the 1950′s with their repetitive and time consuming painted gestures; ‘.. the incessant quality of this gesture is both obsessive and meditative.’ (Tate Modern 2012). A talk in May 2012 at Zeitgeist Arts Projects by the director of the Centre for Recent Drawing, Andrew Hewish, was useful in the way it introduced me to and reminded me of current artists whose work explores drawing in problem solving and risk taking ways. I have discovered the centre to be a great resource and artists’ community and I am refreshed by its general ethos and its ideas of ‘drawingness’.
‘The Indiscipline of Painting’ at Tate St Ives 2011-12, was of importance to me and inspired and opened up further dialogue within my practice; Peter Young’s ‘#16-1968′ Dot Painting and Peter Davies ‘Small Touching Squares Painting’ 1998 are two pieces that resonated with me greatly. An Abstract Critical talk in November 2011 by Daniel Sturgis and Stuart Cumberland about the work of Jonathan Lasker at Timothy Taylor Gallery was relevant to concerns in my work and instigated further research about Lasker’s work, his influences, and the three components of ground, line and figure. ‘Craft Code 011: New Ways of Making’ at Wills Lane Gallery in St Ives was also of special interest in the way the work explored new digital media and its place within traditional practices of drawing and making.
Previous influences include the work and writings of the following:
Bridget Riley, Agnes Martin, Cy Twombly, Hernandez Pijuan, Jackson Pollock, Henri Michaux, the De Stijl group, Andreas Gursky, Theodor Adorno, Rainer Maria Rilke, David Connearn, Chris Ofili’s 1996 drawings, the ‘Garden and Cosmos’ 2009 exhibition of Indian paintings at the British Museum, ‘Van Doesburg & the International Avant-Garde: Constructing a New World’ 2010 exhibition at Tate Modern and the Peter Lanyon exhibition at Tate St. Ives 2010-2011.
“Things are not all so comprehensible and utterable as people would mostly have us believe; most events are unutterable, consummating themselves in a sphere where word has never trod and more unutterable than them all are works of art, whose life endures by the side of our own that passes away.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
Qualifications and training
- 2000 MA European Arts & Cultures (Fine Art), De Montfort University, Tilburg Academy, Granada University, Leicester, UK; Tilburg, Netherlands; Granada, Spain
- 1996 Visual Art and History of Art & Design, De Montfort University, Leicester
- 2003 Recent Paintings, Tintorera, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
- 2001 Recent Work, Loaf, Leicester
- 2000 Recent Paintings, Trinity House, Leicester
- 1998 This is what you get, Cafe de France, L'Isle sur la Sorgue, France
- 2013 Art Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre, Germany
- 2012 Motorcade/FlashParade National Open 2012, Motorcade/FlashParade, Bristol
- 2012 Sluice 2012: Exhibition | Auction, Hanmi Gallery, Fitzrovia, London
- 2012 Ludlow Open, Palmer's Hall, Ludlow, Shropshire
- 2012 Jam Tomorrow, A.P.T Gallery, Creekside, Deptford, London
- 2011 Art NW10 Open Studios event, NW10 studios, Hythe Road, London
- 2007 Recent Fruit, Paul McPherson Gallery, Greenwich, London
- 2001 dave, Phoenix Yard, Leicester
- 2000 Leicester City Gallery Open, Leicester City Gallery, Leicester
- 2000 Apex, Phoenix Yard, Leicester
- 1998 Marathon Artistique, L'Isle sur la Sorgue, France
Competitions, prizes and awards
- 2000 Glass Page Award, Leicester City Gallery, Leicester