Re-Launch in conversation – artist Julia McKinlay
By Jenny M Wedgbury, on 4 June 2015
Here’s our second Re-Launch in conversation interview, this time with artist Julia McKinlay.
Can you tell us a little about you as an artist and your current practice?
My work often begins with a research expedition to a museum or particular landscape. At the moment I am in Iceland to see the unique volcanic landscape there and hopefully this research will lead to some new work. I move between sculpture and printmaking. My main interest is in trying to create another world in the gallery through using space and structures to display a collection of objects that I have made to represent different elements of an environment. Here’s a link to my blog for my Boise Travel Scholarship funded time in Iceland.
When were you at the Slade and what was your experience of studying there?
I studied at the Slade on the Masters in Fine Art (MFA) Sculpture course from 2012 to 2014. During my time there I had the opportunity to gain practical skills that would allow my work to develop in completely unexpected ways. In particular I learnt how to work with steel and that has been significant as I now have more choice about the materials I use and my work can be more ambitious in scale. Process is important to me so I prefer to fabricate all of my own work. I started to make prints at the Slade and I began to work in a collective of printmakers called Printers’ Symphony. Now making prints and objects are equally important in my practice. We included a piece from the Printers’ Symposium in the Re-Launch exhibition as well.
How did you make a connection with the UCL Art Museum and the Re-Launch exhibition?
I previously worked with UCL Art Museum in 2013 on a show called Duet, which was a collaboration with current Slade Students. I made a work with Dana Ariel, Eleanor Morgan and Georgina Tate called Printers’ Symphony. The work investigated the social and collaborative environment of the printing studio. This idea was inspired by the box of print making materials in the Museum’s collection. The piece I have currently exhibited in the Re-Launch exhibition is Looking Moss. It is a character from an installation I made last year called Obscure Garden. It explores the space with its feelers and identifies interesting objects in the room. I thought it would be suitable for Re-Launch because of the Musuem being updated and the collection being re-displayed.
What do you think is special about the UCL Art Museum, what’s unique about it?
UCL Art Musuem is very unusual in how it collaborates with artists from the Slade and gives them the opportunity to respond to the collection and experiment with exhibiting work in a museum context.
What’s your favourite piece of art in the UCL Art Museum collection?
One of my favourite works in the UCL Art Museum collection is Melancholia an engraving by Johan Wierix after Albrecht Durer. It is a very intriguing image as it depicts a mysterious geometric form next to a woman or angel who seems sad and frustrated.
Can you tell us about any exciting projects you’re working on at the moment?
I am a finalist in the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize 2015. My work The Discovered Inhabitants will be on display at Broomhill for the next year. I am travelling around Iceland at the moment because I won the Boise Travel Scholarship at the end of my MFA at the Slade. I have just left a 9 day research residency at Skaftfell in Seydisfjordur in the East of Iceland which was fantastic. I am now moving on to Listhus in Olafsfjordur in the North of Iceland where I am taking part in a residency for a month and hopefully developing new work. I am also continuing to work in the Printers’ Symphony.
You can find out more about Julia’s work at www.juliamckinlay.com
Jenny Wedgbury is Learning and Access Officer for UCL Art Museum