Camilla Vuorenmaa, installation view Bury Art Gallery
By chance I went into Bury Art Gallery today and bumped into the work of Camilla Vuorenmaa. The gallery was hosting an exhibition of Finnish art and her work was particularly interesting because she takes drawing across several boundaries, referencing printmaking, (large standalone wood cuts), painting, sculpture and mural work as well as at times working in media. She draws directly on the gallery walls, sometimes including video work alongside stuffed and padded drawings as well as working outside on public wall spaces in the graffiti tradition. I was fascinated by how she was moving between genres and when I got home did a little surfing to see what the rest of her work was like.
Woodcut drawings on this scale can be very powerful, she also combines wall drawing with this technique, as you can see in the image at the top of this post. The rough drawing style she uses lends itself to work on and across a variety of equally rough surfaces. I prefer her drawings where she has to work against what she draws on, the 'nice' white gallery walls don't seem to give her enough grit to fight against.
She obviously raids skips for surfaces to work on. Another tried and tested method for artists with little money, who want their work to reference the current detritus filled environment. Holiday time can be a period of hunting and grazing for materials to work on during the next term, for some artists of course it is a lifetime's preoccupation. (Joseph Cornell is on at the Royal Academy this summer)
Vuorenmaa's work on outside walls again has a certain harsh, awkward quality. It looks as if she searches for very particular walls to work on, ones that have already developed a patina of marks and suggestive of a previous engagement, not least with other graffiti art.
Combining a wall drawing with work on monitors to build an installation, can allow an artist to open out work in different directions or collaborate with another artist who works in a very different territory.
This does seem to be the way a lot of artists are working at the moment. It allows them to be responsive to a variety of situations and opens the door to collaboration, both with other artists and with curators who are keen to have artists that can respond to exhibition contexts in a variety of ways.
These hanging semi-stuffed drawings allow her to occupy a more sculptural space.
Working across boundaries does allow you to have a lot of freedom. The imagery could be abstract as easily as figurative, the point being that when stuck, see what might happen if you take your work into new directions. Also, never miss an opportunity to pop into a new art gallery, you never know what you might find.