Approved: 02.01.2011

Rebecca D. Harris

Artist, Researcher, Teacher

Approved: 02.01.2011

Many artists who appropriate the methods and materials of textiles, talk of nostalgic memories and experiences of female heritage passing on their craft.  I, however, have no such backstory. For me, it was a self-discovered affair emerging from my teenage years and an oasis of which I still retreat into some 30 years later.

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  • Location: Launceston, South West
  • Artforms: Drawing, Installation, Sculpture, Textiles
  • Tags: 3d object, apron, fat, obesity, skin, stretch marks, tapestry & embroidery, architecture & environment, ethereal, home, house, indexical, latex, exterior, interior
 
 

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    Artist Statement

    Many artists who appropriate the methods and materials of textiles, talk of nostalgic memories and experiences of female heritage passing on their craft.  I, however, have no such backstory. For me, it was a self-discovered affair emerging from my teenage years and an oasis of which I still retreat into some 30 years later.

    In 2012, during the formative years of my Masters degree, I cancelled a scheduled gastric bypass; leading to a pivotal moment of which key works developed from the intensified awareness of my then abjectified body.  The experience forged my engagement with the female body as my artistic expression. My own body is often, but not exclusively, utilised as an axis for research, adopting an autoethnographic approach to speak of universal issues and not just of the biographical.  Furthermore, the viewer's body is a tool for further engagement through the everyday familiarity of the materials and objects. It is a site to physically experience the evocative assemblages and tactile stitching which viscerally empathises the body.

    The subtle, layered meanings and interpretations of my terse constructions, offer accessible autonomous artworks through the familiarity and affective potential of textiles.  Pulled, manipulated, sculpted and embroidered fabrics are a site of communicating its message. Methods are not only a ‘thinking through making’ approach but also a multidisciplinary arts-based collaborative research model.  

    Where textiles are used as a concealing veil, I use them to reveal; uncovering the universal lived experiences through biomedical, psychosocial and feminist explorations.  

    CV & Education

    education

    2011-13 , MA in Contemporary Art Practice, Plymouth University

    2010-11, BA (hons) first class, Fine Art Practices, Plymouth College of Art

    2009-10, PGCE (PCET inc. DTTLS), Cornwall College

    2007, Graduate Diploma of Higher Education in Religious Studies (and other courses), Open University

    2003, FdA Fine Art Practice, Cornwall College (first year)

     

    collections & commissions

    Eden Project Human Microbiome public commission funded by the Wellcome Trust

    Private commission similar to Eden Project work

    Various artworks in private collections across the UK, Australia and New York

     

    exhibitions

    2017, ‘Body Confidence’, NR Project, London

    2017, ‘Storm in a B Cup’, Art Week Exeter

    2016, 'Open studio', Launceston, Cornwall

    2015, 'Field Notes Residency' W.A.N.K., The Exchange, Penzance

    2015 - 'The Game of Consequences' The Exchange, Penzance (forthcoming)

    2015 - 'Maps', Scene, London (forthcoming)

    2015 - 'Invisible You: the Human Microbiome' - permanent public exhibition at the Eden Project (forthcoming)

    2013-14, 'Emergent' Faculty of Arts master degree show, University of Plymouth

    2013, 'Nonsense', O3 Gallery, Oxford Castle, Oxford

    2013 , 'MA Contemporary Art Practice MA Show', Plymouth University

    2013, 'Weight Stigma and Health' exhibition & poster presentation, Birmingham University

    2013, 'Body Modification & the Female Body' exhibition & research paper delivered at York University

    2012-13,  'any place that invites me in' group show at 101 Artspace, Plymouth University

    2012, 'Summer Show' at Plymouth University

    2012,  'Bread & Roses' at Motorcade Flash Parade, Bristol

    2011, 'Dwelling' solo show at 101 ArtSpace, Plymouth University

    2011, 'Still Life' solo show at Steele Gallery, Falmouth

    2011, 'Best of Summer Showcase' and 'Degree Show', Plymouth College of Art

    2011, 'HerStory', Winchester

    2009, 'Freedom', Forge Mill Museum, Redditch

    2009, Open Studio, Goldsithney, Cornwall

    2009, Jersey Textile Showcase

     

    employment

    2009-19, self-employed artist

    2018-19, supply teaching at various locations

    2018, Site Supervisor and Exhibition Invigilator for The Exchange and Newlyn

    2017, workshop facilitator for Women in Prisons, London

    2016-17, special needs teacher, Exeter College

    2012-17, Visiting lecturer at Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth University

    2009-10, PGCE placement on FdA Fine Art Textiles, Cornwall College

    2009-10, Lecturer in textiles, Cornwall College

    2003, Lecturer in art & design, Penwith College

    2005-8, Teacher, mentor and teaching assistant at Humphry Davy secondary school

    2003, Lecturer in art and design at Penwith College

     

    competitions, awards & funding

    2017, crowdfunding for Storm in a B Cup

    2015, 'Revealing with Textiles' - Grants for the Arts, Arts Council

    2015, Funded commission from the Wellcome Trust via the Eden Project

    2013, Equality and Diversity Faculty of Arts grant, University of Plymouth

    2009, 'Transformation' at the Jersey Textile Showcase

    2009, 'Freedom', shortlisted artist for the Charles Henry Foyle Trust Award, Redditch

     

    conference contributions & publications

    2018, paper presentation and artist’s talk on ‘Obscure Objects of Obesity’ art research project for ‘Embodied methods: Art and social science in dialogue’ at Oxford University

    2015, BBC World Service documentary featuring interview and work of the Eden Project commission (plus many other video clips featuring interviews and artwork for the commission)

    2015, 'The Politics of Size: Perspectives from the Fat Acceptance Movement' ed. Ragen Chastain (Praeger - an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC), pp. 55-70

    2013, Plymouth University's annual postgraduate society conference, Skin Deep' poster presentation 

    2013, 'Weight Stigma and Health' conference, 'Skin Deep' poster presentation, Birmingham University

    2013, ‘Body Modification and the Female Body’ conference, ‘Skin Deep: the skin as repository’, University of York

    2012, ‘The Home & the World’ conference, 'Home: our corner of the world', Dartington Hall

     

    conferences attended

    2013, 'Hot Topics on Obesity - 13th Annual Symposium, Plymouth University

    2012, 'Through the writings of Louise Bourgeois' at Courtald Institute of Fine Art

    2012, ‘Making Space: Psychoanalysis and Artistic Process’ conference at Slade PhDs University College London