BIG for 2010 - Contemporary Art

31 December 09 words: Frances Ashton
Celebrating the achievements of Nottingham artists in 2010. Watch out for ... Yelena Popova, Sooky Huh, Vicki Lawson and Kaption1.

Yelena Popova, Martian Gardener, performance documentation from Carolyn Heinz Gallery, Hamburg.

Yelena Popova has been nominated by Nottingham Contemporary’s Assistant Curator Abi Spinks. Yelena will feature as part of Nottingham Contemporary’s next exhibition ‘Star City’ opening 13th February 2010.

Yelena Popova is an exciting emerging artist, working across painting and performance, to create artworks which explore visions of the future and question utopian ideals. In her two-dimensional works, she experiments with found materials, including second-hand printed textiles, flyers and posters. The abstract compositions she creates play with surface texture, layering marker pen drawings with washes of paint, glitter and gloss.

Russian born Yelena currently divides her time between London and Nottingham, while she studies for an MA in Painting at the prestigious Royal College of Art and maintains a studio in the Oldknows factory building. Alongside several group exhibitions with her MA peers in London in spring 2010, Yelena's work can be seen at the Wallner Gallery, Lakeside Art Centre in September. In the meantime, look out for paintings from the 'Martian Gardener' series in the forthcoming Star City exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, opening in mid-February.

Yelena Popova, Poster from Justo Flowers series (A2, black marker and gloss paint) and sculpture. 

Questions for Yelena …
What inspires/drives you?

I enjoy old objects and other artists work and usually get flashes of inspiration at the flea markets or at the art galleries, or just looking at pictures in the books, magazines or on the web. But the driving force is more important concept for me, than inspiration. Though I think about it not as a force, but rather as a muse: one might not have full control over one's driving forces, but one can negotiate and have a relationship with one's muses. So here are few muses of my pantheon: mrs boredom, comrade nostalgia, miss curiosity, lady failure .... also thrill of the new ideas, the notion of change itself, the progress, the time.

Tell us what you're doing in 2010?
I'm really looking forward to the Star City show at Nottingham Contemporary: my paintings from Martian Gardener series will take part in Goshka Macuga's Cabinet installation and the whole range of talks and events around this show promised to be very interesting.

I'll be writing my MA dissertation at the RCA, which might help to sum up different areas of my practice and formulate new ideas and the new work. I'm co-curating the group show of RCA students which explores boundaries of time. The show opens at Blyth Gallery at the Imperial College in April (27th) and in July it will travel to Moscow Young Artist Biennale. Our RCA Work in Progress show opens in April as well (23rd).

There are few projects with Nottingham based artists which are already lined up: the Cruiser group shows (at Deda and Oldknows Actual Wall space) with new zine publications and the performative tram cruise across the town. Also the collaborative show Boxing Yelena with Simon Raven at his Box Gallery - will be 'very boxy'.

Then in September just as the British Art Show hits the town I'll have my solo show at Wallner Gallery, Lakeside. So it's already lots to do and I hope to get involved in more exiting projects in 2010!

Want to know more about Nottingham Contemporary, Yelena Popova and keep up with her in 2010?

Sooky Huh, Core-Some Living & Some Dead, Digital Print, 80x110cm, 2009

Sooky Huh has been nominated by Jackie Berridge, artist and owner of Harrington Mills Studios in Long Eaton. Sooky will be representing Harrington Mills Studios in Stockholm at the SUPERMARKET 2010 at Kulturhuset 19-21 February.

Sooky Huh’s enigmatic work draws attention to the minutiae of life, which she captures so poetically through photography. In particular, I find the series of ‘Flowerless Plants’ engaging as these softly focused mysterious landscapes transport the viewer to another world. I am fortunate to see Sooky's work develop as she is also an artist at Harrington Mill Studios (HMS) and I am really excited by her new photographs, which involve hair, history and narrative. Intriguing!

Questions for Sooky…

Sooky Huh, Flowerless Plant, Lith Print, 100x100cm, 2000

What inspires/drives you?
In general my interest starts when I'm trying to capture the experiences made in the nature. Nature inspires me a lot; both as a personal experience and an artistic challenge to deal with the project. I aware of myself in the boundaries and the progress of the adaptation in nature. But I have never liked the distinction between nature and culture. My own interest in nature is as much an interest in society in general.

Tell us what you're doing in 2010 …
A lot of my projects are still ongoing. There are some works that have not yet found their form.

Harrington Mills Studios has been selected for the International art fair Supermarket 2010 and I will be representing the studios along with three other artists; Jackie Berridge, Sarah Key and Professor David Manley. It is not just an art fair, but also one of the main cultural events, held in Stockholm in the heart of the Scandinavian, every year. So we are very exciting as we are one of the only Artist groups from the UK selected.

I also have a plan to start a project called Illusions and Memories. It is dealing with the perceptual effects that face recognition between the same and the other ethnic backgrounds. It will be a longterm project to undertake but I’m already excited by it.

Learn more about Sooky Huh, Harrington Mills Studios or the Stockholm artfair by following the links below:

Vicki Lawson, Unrolling a Deep Promise,120cm x 120cm, Mixed media on canvas

Vicki Lawson has been nominated by LeftLion Arts Editor Frances Ashton. Vicki is one of the artists from the Tether studio group and is looking forward to a solo show at the Lace Market Gallery from 4th to 22nd January 2010. She is also been selected for the Nottingham Open at the Castle from 23rd January to 7th March 2010.

Vicki Lawson’s enchanting paintings are a visual representation of her imagination. She is influenced by the world around her, by colour and design, by contemporary illustration, fashion trends, fiction and fantasy, film and magazines. Her work, much like that of Fiona Rae, contains organic forms, leading lines, drips, runs, smudges and even glitter.

The beauty of her imagined dreamscapes lies in their surface textures, layering and visual depth, which openly embrace elements of chance and risk. I am lucky enough to be able to look into this utopian dreamworld on a daily basis, as I have one of her paintings. As an artist, who is very hard-working, Vicki strives for excellence in process, execution and outcome as her highest aims.

Vicki Lawson, Eyes turned Skywards, 120cm x 120cm, Mixed Media on canvas

Questions for Vicki …
What your inspiration/drive?
I have a passion for painting, it's a driving force in it's own right. I am compelled to paint, and my imagination is given a free reign on canvas. I love to articulate ideas in paint and to combine colours and imagery to create beautiful pieces. My work is really a visual interpretation of my imagination, let loose. Influenced by the world around me, I adapt imagery from life to form hybrid worlds, never representational, which take these experiences, and by a process of combining, editing, squashing and compiling create a sense of escapism and utopia.

Tell us what you’re doing in 2010 …
I'm starting 2010 with a solo show at the Lace Market gallery in Nottingham, this runs from the 4th to the 22nd of January and is a good opportunity to show a whole body of recent work in a coherent exhibition. I have also been selected for the Nottingham Castle Open, which opens to the public on the 23rd of January, an exciting matter in it's own right, made all the more interesting by the potential prizes and chances for further exhibitions. It will be interesting to compete in a largescale competition such as this and to have the opportunity to be part of a diverse show with national exposure. Following on from that I aim to secure some further exhibitions to run throughout 2010 and aim to expand my style through further experimentation.

You can catch Vicki at Tether, the Lace Market Gallery and Nottingham’s Open exhibition at the Castle:

Kaption1, Big Up Mr Deams, 2009

Kaption1 has been nominated by fellow street artist Kid30 (aka SmallKid). Both are part of the painting collective Oxygen Thievez, who tour the UKs festival circuit and is heavily involved in the Illustrati live Graffiti events in Nottingham.

Kaption1 is a painter who is very modest about his ability, yet over the years has developed a very strong and individual style. He is versatile in painting 3d work, character painting and letter style graffiti along with an interesting and unique take on the ink illustration work that has become popular over the past few years. His current work is based around the letter forms but takes reference to character forms and general object and is done is a quirky, fun and bold style, which both appeals to the graffiti community and the general public. One of the early members of the paint collective the Oxygen Thievez, works within the communities on various projects and has been commissioned for various commercial projects over the years.

Questions for Kaption1…

Kaption1, Glastonbury Festival, 2009

What inspires / drives you?
As an artist when I started, my initial artwork was driven by being part of a youth culture that was very free and anti-establishment where I could express myself where and how I wanted to. From this I turned my artwork into something positive that is artistically and publicly recognised and accepted within the community which gives me a positive drive force to keep being creative.

Over the next year I’m going to stay focused on working in partnership with Alex Rubes on the Illustrati, live Graffiti/illustration events which will continue to be held at the new (NCA) refectory gallery, we’ve booked 3 dates so far, the 1st of May, 3rd of August and the 13th November running from 2pm – 10 pm. These events will be involving artists and Illustrators locally and from around Europe. Both performing live art and exhibiting works for sale. Previously we have only focused on the live art side of things so the exhibition side of things will be new for us.

With my personal work I’ve not applied or booked any venues for exhibitions, but I hope to do a couple if time permits, projects and things to paint always come up without me having to go hunting for them and I will be using the Illustrati events to show some of my work.

The thing I’m most looking forward to next year are the festivals with the Oxygen Thievez. Last year I went to Glastonbury and it was brilliant. We have been lucky enough to have been invited back; working on painting stage props, backdrops, partying with friends and painting anything we can get our hands on including a few cheeky toilet blocks and fences. Also you will be able to see us painting live at both Glade and Big Chill festivals so come and say hello if you make it to any of these.

Want to learn more about Kaption1, SmallKid, Illustrati events or Nottingham’s Graffiti art scene, follow the links below and watch out for the artists’ profiles page in the Feb/March issue of Left Lion…

Tell us what you think

Please note: If you registered pre 2017 (on the old website) you will need to register a new account.


External authentication services you can use

You can associate your account with the following providers, do so by clicking the button below and then you'll be able to login with that system rather than a LeftLion password.


After registering you will be sent a verification email, you need to follow the link in that email to activate your account before you'll be able to login.