Hello, could you tell us a bit about your practice?

My practice stems from a place of listening. I am intrigued by the preconceptions we place on visually orientated materials and often I try to highlight the aural boundaries of those materials. This is often realised through performative interactions, to engage with listening as opposed to viewing.

Quietly Beneath, Sian Hutchings 2019

What are you exploring at the moment?

I’m currently an artist in residence at the Tyneside Cinema, working on a film that will launch in February.

During the residency, I wanted to work with dancers to understand the relationship between the materials involved in the process of making gesso. Working with Beth Veitch and Alyssa Lisle, I was able to understand the voice of gesso through their choreographic interactions with the material.

Gesso is such a sonically rich material, but I am also intrigued by the symbiotic relationship between the rabbit skin glue and chalk which I feel represent the body and the earth.

Although in a historical context, gesso has been conceived as the support for the image, as a primer for painting, I want to delve deeper into understanding its organic structure so that I may be able to produce work that opens up different ways to experience this material.

Costume for dancers, Quietly Beneath, Sian Hutchings 2019

Have you found there’s anything in particular that has influenced you over the years? What inspires you?

I have always been drawn to experiential forms of art, and so I think work that includes aspects of theatre, choreography, sound and participation has always influenced me. I really enjoy Laure Prouvost’s work and one of the first times I experienced her work was at the British Art Show 8. Her and Oliver Beer are able to bring voices to materials that make me rethink my relationship towards those materials and I think being able to change people’s behaviour towards objects and materials is really inspiring.

Where do you work? Could you show us a picture of your working environment?

During my residency I worked in my studio at NewBridge project which I used as a space to make gesso and costumes for the dancers, but I also enjoyed working on site of the film which was the gallery screen at Tyneside Cinema. It was a unique opportunity to have a space to workshop ideas with the dancers and what was more befitting then the cinema itself.

What’s on your bookshelf/what are you listening to or reading at the moment?

ATTN Magazine run by Jack Chuter has a series of podcasts called ‘crucial listening’ which is a really nice series but I also like to check the journal of sonic studies frequently which has everything from artist interviews to papers. Both these online publications are free and have lots of new content which is updated regularly.

Quietly Beneath, Sian Hutchings 2019

Could you give us between ten and twenty words that define your practice?

Sound, listening, painting, bodies, aural architecture, gesso, living material, choreography, performance, ephemeral.

Close-up of costume, Quietly Beneath, Sian Hutchings 2019

Where can people see your work?

The film will be previewed at Tyneside Cinema on February 13th but will also run alongside a feature film in the cinema and on an artist moving image reel. I am also working on an exhibition for Gallery North which will open towards the end of February.

Quietly Beneath, Sian Hutchings 2019

Our last featured artist, Marjolaine Riley asked, “Has the way you make art or the materials you use (or both) changed in response to our changing climate and the impacts humans are having on our planet?”

I have definitely adapted my practice and think a little more when sourcing materials. Of course gesso has its own implications being made form rabbit skin glue and chalk powder so I think it is important to be aware of the materials you are using and that is why I frequently reuse the gesso, one of the many enticing qualities of this material is that it can be broken down and remoulded which not only reduces the amount you are using but also carries with it a history of the past iterations of work and so each work becomes a remoulding of its predecessor. Apart from gesso, most of my work exists as sonic material and is relatively ephemeral, however when my equipment breaks down I try to think of a way to fix it before buying new equipment.