Natalie Finnemore

Natalie Finnemore
Support Structures, 2019
John Lewis & Partners Leeds

Saturday 22 June -
Sunday 29 September 2019

Victoria Gate
Harewood Road
Leeds
LS2 7AR

Commissioned by John Lewis & Partners Leeds for Yorkshire Sculpture International

The installation in situated in the window on Ludgate Hill (opposite Kirkgate Market) and on the second floor near the feature staircase.

A shop window display is rarely a neutral space, but one which is highly charged with domestic and personal aspiration. It is a vacant stage set coercing you to play a bit part, each square foot calculated to prompt passers-by into wondering how to renovate their surroundings and fine-tune the chaos of their daily lives.

With her window installation Support Structures, Natalie Finnemore takes further cues from the potential of furniture and household prototypes to project an idealised lifestyle. The work is a testing ground to deconstruct the influence of mass production on contemporary life, and the ways in which carefully orchestrated modes of display can inform the way people read a space. Taking influence from Donald Judd’s emphasis on industrial materials, and the geometrical precision of Georgio de Chirico’s metaphysical interiors, these sculptures will occupy the unit for the duration of Yorkshire Sculpture International.

The work also addresses the boundary between bespoke craftsmanship and prototypes for manufacturing. Which category do these sculptures fit into? Within the context of an established retail space like John Lewis, they occupy a position neither commercial nor purely sculptural. Not ambiguous forms, but recognisable domestic silhouettes: lampshades of sculpted glass, or clothes rails whose angles beckon into the space. Elsewhere in the homewares section, columns of stacked boxes act as a deceptively impromptu shelving unit onto which items of glassware are arranged.

Despite appearances, however, the objects in question will not be snapped up by shoppers on the ground or shipped out in bulk to online browsers. The inventory is not fixed, and market research will play no part in its expansion. Instead, these items are to be replaced and adjusted over the course of the festival as the artist gradually creates additional pieces – and it is this “working through” of ideas that is reflected by the staging of the installation. Rather than the gleaming surface of a shop floor, traces of the workshop linger through wood offcuts and folded drapes of (as yet) unused material. These details point to the limitations of artistic production, reminding us that rather than a machine firing off endless reproductions of the same model, these are artefacts which must each be carefully crafted into existence, piece by piece.

Finnemore’s work has often played with the idea of design archetypes and how their potential can be realised, or distorted, to enhance the experience of the people interacting with them. Can the perfect design, as retailers claim, have any impact on wellbeing? Are there certain fabrics, textures or shapes which can be manipulated to optimise human experience and health?

Moving this question into a shop window display shifts focus onto how people respond to the sculptures, rather than the sculptures themselves. It transfers the artistic process from that of spontaneous expression into a series of predetermined, ostensibly functional objects, immaculately laid out to attract the direct and unblinking attention of a hypothetical consumer. And this, after all, is the fate of the prototype: caught up in an endless dress rehearsal, just waiting for its potential to be activated.

Text by Orla Foster

Photography © 2019 Jules Lister. All Rights Reserved

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Support Structures, John Lewis & Partners Leeds

Function Grasping Movement Ability Developing, 2018
buckwheat hulls, calico, zips, thread

Function Grasping Movement Ability Developing, 2018
buckwheat hulls, calico, zips, thread

Function Grasping Movement Ability Developing, 2018
buckwheat hulls, calico, zips, thread

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Construction House: Leisure Time, S1 Artspace, Sheffield

Portobello, 2017
plywood, screws, paint, varnish

Launch of Portobello Play's at National Play Day

I was invited by The Hepworth's learning team develop a collaborative play sculpture with Sandal Castle Primary School's Year 6's.

For more info please follow #sandalcastlesculptures on Instagram.

Photography © 2017 The Hepworth

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Portobello Plays, The Hepworth, Wakefield

Untitled, 2017
mild steel, plywood, wax

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Everything Flows
Millenium Gallery, Sheffield

Installation view

Untitled, 2016
MDF, screws, paint

Untitled, 2016
MDF, screws, paint

w/ Rowena Harris

Installation view

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Left Hand to Back of Head, Object Held Against Right Thigh
The Bluecoat, Liverpool

Seats 11, 2015
Plywood, redwood, screws, paint

A group exhibition showing works by S1 Artspace artists Joseph Cutts, Natalie Finnemore, Emily Musgrave and Peter Martin

Curated by Louise Hutchinson

Installation view

Seats 11, 2015
Plywood, redwood, screws, paint

Photography © 2014 Jules Lister. All Rights Reserved

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I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, S1 Artpace, Sheffield

Untitled (collapsed maquette), 2015

The Tetley, Leeds invited artists Simon and Tom Bloor, Conway & Young, Natalie Finnemore, Matthew Houlding, Studio Polpo to submit a proposal for a play sculpture on the gallery's Brewery Green.

Untitled (collapsed maquette), 2015

Untitled (collapsed maquette), 2015

Photography © 2014 Jules Lister. All Rights Reserved

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THINK.PLAY.DO.
The Tetley, Leeds

Structures, 2014

S1 artists Natalie Finnemore and David McLeavy have been commissioned for their first major collaborative work to produce a large-scale and adjustable structure that acts as a device to pull together and present new work by all the artists, including work made specifically for Three Act Structure.

Act I

James Clarkson, Peter Martin, Anna McQuillin, Emily Musgrave, Mark Riddington

Occupying Structures:
James Clarkson and Mark Riddington

Structures, 2014

Occupying Structures:
Peter Martin

Act II

Artists: Alison J Carr, Joseph Cutts, Jerome Harrington, Vicky Hayward, Lindsey Mendick, Lucy Vann, Roanna Wells

Structures, 2014

Occupying Structures:
Lindsey Mendick

Structures, 2014

Occupying Structures:
Vicky Hayward

Structures, 2014

Act III

Artists: Alison J Carr, James Clarkson, Joseph Cutts, Natalie Finnemore, Jerome Harrington, Vicky Hayward, George Law, Peter Martin, David McLeavy, Anna McQuillin, Lindsey Mendick, Emily Musgrave, Mark Riddington, Lucy Vann, Roanna Wells

Occupying Structures:
(from left)
George Law and Mark Riddington

Photography © 2014 Jules Lister. All Rights Reserved

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Three Act Structure
S1 Members Show, S1 Artspace, Sheffield

From far left:
Untitled (2), 2009, two colour acrylic ink on 300 gram Somerset tub-sized satin, 58 x 58cm 1/1 AP
Untitled (1), 2009, one colour acrylic ink on 300 gram Somerset tub-sized satin, 58 x 58cm 1/1 AP
Arrangement #16, 2011, MDF, redwood, screws, paint

Arrangement #16, 2011
MDF, redwood, screws, paint

Untitled (2), 2009
two colour acrylic ink on 300 gram Somerset tub-sized satin, 58 x 58cm 1/1 AP

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S1 Introduces, S1 Artspace, Sheffield

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Selected Group Exhibitions

2019
Associated Matter, The Bothy Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield
Construction House: Leisure Time, S1 Artspace, Sheffield
2017
Drawing for Sculpture, 20 - 21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe
Everything Flows, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
2016
Keep The Dust Off, S1 Studios, Sheffield
Left Hand to Back of Head, Object Held Against Right Thigh, The Bluecoat, Liverpool
2015
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut, S1 Artspace, Sheffield
Bare With Me, North Contemporary | Pyramid Arts Centre, Warrington
THINK.PLAY.DO, The Tetley, Leeds
You think the only people who are people, are the people who look like you. But if you walk in the footsteps of a stranger, you learn things you never knew you never knew, Two Queens, Leicester
Forming Thoughts, One Thoresby Street, Nottingham
2014
Three Act Structure | S1 Members Show, S1 Artspace, Sheffield
Overseasoned w/ It's All Tropical, Gage Gallery, Sheffield
PUTT – PUTT #2 | Turf Projects, Ruskin Square, Croydon
IN CIRCULATION | Summer Exhibition & Portfolio, APG Works, Sheffield
PEACHY, curated by Salt + Powell, Artemis House, York
2013
Fever Pitch: selected by David McLeavy, Speedwell Works, Sheffield
Contemporary Art Society Christmas Fair, Mirabel Studios, Manchester
Our Times No. 2 · 2013 · Mexico, Leeds
Defcon Salon 1 : Members’ Show 2013, EMBASSY, Edinburgh
S1 Studios Spotlight Exhibition: Charlotte Morgan & Natalie Finnemore, S1 Artspace, Sheffield
Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA, London
2012
Salon Art Prize, Griffin Gallery, London
Bloomberg New Contemporaries, LJMU Copperas Building: Liverpool Biennial
Salon Art Prize, Matt Roberts Arts, London
S1 Members Show 2011, S1 Artspace, Sheffield
2011
S1 Introduces, S1 Artspace
2010
PRISM 9, CADS, Sheffield
OUTLINE, Unit 3B, Sheffield

Awards

Shortlisted for The New Situationists Commission, Situations, Spike Island, 2013
Bloomberg New Contemporaries, 2012
Shortlisted for Beers Lamberts Award for Emerging Art, 2012
S1 Artspace Bursary Award Programme, 2011

Projects

Object Abuse, Curated by McCormack and Gent, 2012

Commissions

Support Structures, John Lewis & Partners Leeds for Yorkshire Sculpture International, 2019

Portobello Plays, The Hepworth, Wakefield, 2017

The Tetley Resource Space Commission | Production in collaboration with LYON & LYON, The Tetley, Leeds, 2013

Residencies

The Penthouse Residency #1, The Penthouse, Manchester. 2013

Publications

The Tetley | A New Reality Part 1, 2013
Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2012, 2012
Being an Artist: Then and Now, Axis Notes, 2012

Other

Hybrid Art Fair, Petit Palace Santa Barbara Hotel, Madrid, 2018
The Manchester Contemporary, Manchester Central, Manchester, 2017

Teaching

Support Structures Children's Sculpture Workshop, John Lewis & Partners Leeds, 2019
Portobello Plays Workshops, Sandal Castle Primary School, 2016

Current and forthcoming

Yorkshire Sculpture International Associate Artist. Supported by Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Yorkshire Sculpture International, 2019

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