Research : Jenny Pope

Updated: Jan 3

Initially I came across Pope's work at the Visual Arts Scotland exhibition whilst on a trip to Edinburgh, in which her work was installed across a wall as part of her "Tools for evoke change" series, which combines the found objects to form a sculptural selection of metaphorical "useful objects," such as 'gut feeling cup' and 'finding meaning scoop.'

She use the analogy of weathering of objects to suggest the uncertainty and changes we all face as human beings, combining her work both as a life coach, psychiatric support worker and training within mental health community work to build a conceptual piece. Within her statement, Pope comments on her work as an exploration into a continual attempt to be in the present moment in a world fuelled by busyness. Building upon her "fascination with the inescapable changes that happen in our internal lives and also externally in the natural environment" and arranges these ideas in a physical realisation of her reflective comments upon society.

"I capture the intangible way in which we make decisions, inform changes and how our minds deal with uncertainty. I am making these ‘nonsense’ tools, as an analogy, it is not possible to push or force these processes inside ourselves, much as we might wish to. I combine old objects, with layers of meaning and past uses, as a metaphor for the layers of past experiences and influences that have shaped us as people. The tools have both a handheld part, a connection with the body, and a business end; to cut, measure, form, gather, press, pull, comb or scrape. People are inherently ‘doers’ and these tools are an attempt to do something when actually the process of change requires more of a ‘being with’. They will be displayed in lines on the wall in a tool structure, with metal brackets to hold in place, like in a workshop/studio."

Pope's research also references the ideas of Baudrillard, drawing upon theories presented within Poetics of Space and The System of Objects, connecting back to my own research. Moving between ideas of security blankets, cocoons, nests and shelters, these drawings and 3D objects all touch on the sense of seeking certainty and safety, both emotional and tangible, Personal Spaces was a theme of work that Pope engaged with to build objects and installations. Other primary pieces focused on elements of comfort involved exploring the metaphor of a tea bag, a cultural symbol of both comfort and calm and how this ritual can form trust and a relationship between an action and others.

Looking at Pope for me, led to realisation on the continual relationship between psychological wellbeing and art in the terms of producing comments, reflections and building a relationship between the internal and safety. As well as pragmatically being within the same medium as my personal practice, the aesthetics and research beneath this work highlights the continual importance of conceptual place and process of research and serendipitous play.

Lottie Matthews © 2020
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