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Looking back, looking forward

Exploring ways of working & why we do what we do, led by artist Judy Martin

Thursday 21st September 2023 Towner Eastbourne (Studio 3)

Devonshire Park, College Road


BN21 4JJ

Image: Drawing 3, 'In all of my life there has not been one day of peace' (on brown paper)

For our September event, Blue Monkey member Judy Martin introduced a survey of her work from the past fifteen years as a starting point to consider ways of working and how and why we as artists do what we do. 

The introductory presentation was intended to open a space for all of us to share our experiences and think about what keeps us going - fascination with the subject; trying new media and materials; developing an effective process for the expression of interest; creating a wholly different focus from the attention we pay to the rest of our lives. This event was intended to promote discussion and an exchange of ideas with audience participation very much invited.

Judy says “The origin of the work shown this evening was a decision to use my art practice as a means of contemplating bereavement, and this grew into a broader investigation of cultural values around death and remembrance. The project occupied me for a number of years during which one thing evolved into another and successive new series of works developed. Then at a certain point, I realised I had finished exploring these topics, or perhaps had finished with that preoccupation, and had no indication where to go next.

It was possible, even fairly easy, to start new ideas and do a small amount of work which, again, gradually ground to a halt. Nothing emerged that felt satisfying or progressive, or even authentic. This coincided with the time of the pandemic when, despite having plenty of time to fill during lockdowns, there was a kind of inertia that was reflected in online comments from friends and fellow artists. 

What starts you on a project; what are your ambitions for the work; do you make art for the sake of it or as a pathway to something else; do you impose guidelines or wait for it to evolve; what has made you change direction or find a new context; or have you also ground to a halt? I look forward to hearing about it.”

Images: Judy Martin with some of her work on display for the event

Many thanks to Judy Martin for sharing her practice, process, starting points, memories, musings and artworks this evening at Towner Eastbourne - it was great to have a starting point for artists talking about how they work - think we could have gone on all night. Thank you to everyone that contributed - this is what the network is all about!


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