veronica slater

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From caravans to 'castles', old to new worlds, Veronica Slater's work has explored the notion of 'home' and its sense of place.

"Consistent throughout the artist's practice is the idea of home; the emotional weight of its human construction as an intimate living, space and the ambiguity of place within and without. The artist's work also investigates the human baggage of seeing; the layers of fictions which we create in order to define who and where we are."
- Georgina Coburn

Current projects expand this line of enquiry and seek to open up ideas that explore 'home' as a state of mind.

"Home is much more than shelter; home is our centre of gravity." - Jeannette Winterson

Our 'centre of gravity' is key to a balanced and healthy mind. When gravity is untethered, our balance descends into bedlam. Slater is producing a series of artworks that have emerged from encounters, with people and places, that hold 'charged' historical narratives. After working within the context of a range of international residencies, Slater now confronts a residency of the 'self', to disseminate such experiences.

Below is an outline of work from the last ten years that continues to inform Slater's current practice. Whilst made in separate series, all the work connects in exploring a sense of identity, through place and purpose. It documents an inner visual diary that is influenced by the environment in which the artist finds herself. Being OUT, is always present whether on a remote island, off the west coast of Scotland, or in the anonymity of a city, the artist's sexuality, visible through a creative terrain that's constantly enquiring.


Slater's practice has developed radically in a range of projects that have opened up new areas of working. CARAVAN (2008-2010) a multi-media artwork, instigated this departure and was informed by her experience of living on the Isle of Mull. Caravans are a familiar iconic sight on Mull and CARAVAN represents this transient state as a creative process.

TRANSIT 24 Hour Tor Mor is a site-specific installation of paintings that led on from CARAVAN. The work is highly decorative and schematized with the intention of mutating their 'sense of place' through real and imagined spaces.

The context of shelter continues in the work Meidan Talo (Our House) an exhibition that resulted from a residency in Finland through the winter months of 2010. It was here that Slater worked on a series of montaged houses, sealed in a frozen wilderness, using tar and enamel. These images were viewed through a layer of stenciled domestic lace suggesting a homely refuge from the fears of the unknown. In making this observation the artist realised her own restless quest for a state of mind called 'home'.

Refuge and Privilege became the focus of Inch Kenneth: 'Home' Movie, a film that tours the extrordinary house of Inch Kenneth, where *Unity Mitford once lived, off the west coast of Scotland. The film's visual narrative absorbs the pervasive atmoshere of an interior which evokes past and present lives. The spoken narratives depict the disturbing realities of Unity's facist obsession and the crossing of 'The Great Divide'. The film is part of a larger body of work INCH KENNETH that came out of a residency with artist's collective 6°WEST, on the island of Inch Kenneth. It was a unique opportunity for the group to to explore the multiple histories, ecology and geology of the island.

The resulting 6°WEST exhibition INCH KENNETH toured on a creative pilgrimage from St Oran's chapel, Isle of Iona, to An Tobar, Isle of Mull, then to St Triduanna's chapel, Restalrig as part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2012 (see review) and finally to An Lanntair on the Isle of Lewis. See 6degreeswest.blogspot.com for further information on 6°WEST.

In 2013 Veronica Slater was invited to be artist in residence at Stewart Hall (formerly Mull Hall) at Pointe St Claire in Montreal, Canada as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. This also included the exhibition Multiple Histories-Distant Horizons which took place in July and August 2013. The residency used a project space to explore the cultural dialogues between the old and new worlds using The Isle of Mull as the key connection. Duchamp's model host – guest = ghost provided a springboard to excavate poignant spectres that are 'held' in the interior fictions of 'home'.


*Unity Valkyrie Mitford (8 August 1914 – 28 May 1948) was one of six Mitford sisters Pamela, Deborah, Nancy, the writer. Diana who married the fascist Oswald Mosley and Jessica who eloped and became a communist. Unity pursued and formed a close friendship with Adolf Hitler. It came as little surprise to the family when Unity shot herself in the temple on the day war was declared in 1939. The suicide attempt was unsuccessful but doctors were unable to remove the bullet in her brain. She was left changed both physically and emotionally by the injury. Unity spent much of the war years on Inch Kenneth until she died at Oban Hospital of meningitis caused by the cerebral swelling around the bullet.


About

Veronica completed her BA (Hons) in Fine Art Painting at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts and has an MAFA in Fine Art from the University of Northumbria.

Her work is in private and public collections including The National Library of Scotland (modern collections). She has been in prominent UK touring shows 'Along the Lines of Resistance' and 'The Borrowed lmage'. Slater has shown internationally including The Judith Anderson Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand and The RHA Gallery in Dublin. Recent solo shows are CARAVAN, Scotland, Meidan Talo (Our House), Finland and the touring show INCH KENNETH with 6°WEST that was also part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2012. In 2013 she showed in Montreal, Canada as part of Multiple Histories – Distant Horizons a 50th anniversary exhibition at Stewart Hall. Recent group shows are Somos in Berlin and the Tallinn 5th Drawing Triennial, Estonia.

Her work has been featured in two major books entitled Dammed Fine Art and Outlooks published by Cassell and Routledge respectively. Exhibition reviews have appeared in the Guardian, The Independent, Art Monthly, Textual Practice and Studio International.

Artist's Residences have included James Cook University of North Queensland, Australia, Vermont Studio Center, USA, KulttuuriKauppilla, Finland for which she received an individual Scottish Arts Council Award and INCH KENNETH, Scotland funded by Hi-Arts and Creative Scotland. Also Stewart Hall, Montreal, Canada jointly funded by Stewart Hall Foundation and Pointe Claire, Montreal.

She has taught Fine Art at various university colleges abroad and in the UK including a permanent post at The City Literary Institute in London plus The University of the Highlands & Islands. Slater also collaborated on 'Spent' a film documenting artists working towards the last exhibition at The Three Colts Gallery, in the east end of London.




Inch Kenneth: Map Shadow (detail)
with Veronica Slater

(Photo by Shannon Tofts)





Studio and house - Tormor, Isle of Mull




Isle of Women and Iona from Tormor




Isle of Women and Iona from Tormor




Dolphins by the Isle of Women




Inch Kenneth residency




Inch Kenneth residency

(Photo by Shannon Tofts)