Maria Turner (SEOS Artist)
My current practice is painting and, depending on setting and theme, the work can take various forms and directions. I use a combination of media for painting, including oil, acrylic and commercial dyes. I like to prepare my own canvases and enjoy experimenting with the surface. Some works exist on paper and I also like to incorporate drawing media into the mix depending on what I feel the painting requires. My studio, The Paintshed Studio, is situated in my garden – a large heated cabin. I find this a perfect solution to keeping my art practice going.
During my MA in Fine Art the works were much larger in scale and crossed boundaries between painting and sculpture. As is evident in my work though, the elements which consistently feature are a sense of abstraction, an enquiry of space and colour and a consideration of the surface. Part of my process allows for flexibility and possibility: leading to a playful openness between works that has allowed for experimentation.
My background in art has been diverse with qualifications in Ceramics, a Foundation in Art and Design undertaken in London, followed some years later by a BA in Fine Art, studied locally at West Kent College in Tonbridge; then later an MA in Fine Art at UCA Canterbury completed this year. My original degree was Sociology, ideas within which have surfaced in my later art projects.
I am a qualified teacher and, alongside traditional teaching, offer schools workshops in art processes, such as painting, collage and printing, one of which I will be beginning locally this February.
Over the past few years I have developed relationships within diverse artist networks; I think it is so important to be a part of an artist community that offers opportunities for exhibition and sharing ideas; I am currently affiliated with the Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum, the Creative’s in Tunbridge Wells, FAPD at West Kent College and the TW Gallery artist collective. And, of course, SEOS! Last year I chaired the Speldhurst Art Show, which was a great opportunity to communicate with new artists and deliver a successful event to the local community. It also honed my skills for meeting tight deadlines!
I took part in SEOS in 2017 and previously have enjoyed visiting other artists in their studios or homes. I believe this is a unique opportunity for emerging and established artists to meet other artists and talk about their work, learning from each other as well as providing a fantastic platform for showcasing work to the public.
Exhibiting work is a real privilege and I enjoy the challenge of the event and sharing ideas and time with other artists: last year I was selected to be part of the SVAF Open at Kaleidoscope Gallery, Sevenoaks; exhibited in the Postscript Group Exhibition with postgraduate students In Tonbridge; was part of the Horsebridge Group Exhibition in Whitstable and exhibited in my final MA Show in Canterbury. I was also involved with two charity fundraisers, RSVP for Streets of Growth in London and HeArt, an online art auction for Heart Research UK.
As well as exhibiting work, in 2016 I had the opportunity to take part in an artist residency at Canary Wharf in London. This was a rewarding experience: immersing oneself in a new environment and producing ideas and work in response whilst sharing with other artists is an experience I would thoroughly recommend.
I am currently in the process of researching for a new piece of work for a group show in May, the theme of which is ‘Zeitgeist’. I am also revisiting several large, partially worked on loose canvases, which are currently hanging in the studio. Much time goes into just looking at the works and reconsidering what is going on.
I continue to learn. Unfortunately every time I start a new painting, I feel as though I have forgotten everything. I continue to look for teachers who can inspire and critique my work; look at the work of other artists and visit galleries; and finally, keep an open and experimental frame of mind towards the work.
I enjoy time both working on my own and with others. I need time alone in the studio but collaborating on a piece of work and engaging with other artists’ ideas brings about exciting and unexpected results.
I shall be an exhibiting artist at TW Gallery until March 2019, and I shall be part of SEOS 2019, at The Paintshed Studio in Speldhurst. As part of the SVAF Open 2019, I will be in a group show at the Cello Factory, London in February, and as part of FAPD, Tonbridge Art School, I will be exhibiting in the group show ‘Zeitgeist (venue to be confirmed).