TO round off her year as artist in residence with Yorkshire Artspace, American artist Edith Garcia is showing work she produced in Sheffield as part of the Stories in the Making exhibition at the MADE North Gallery in Persistence Works.
Garcia worked at Manor Oaks Studios during 2012 and developed new ideas to expand and develop a new body of work, producing two pieces inspired by the former occupants of Manor Lodge : Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick which are being shown alongside four other artworks that she created during her residency.
Born in Los Angeles, Garcia came to Britain 10 years ago.
She undertook research at the Royal College of Art into investigating the age-old question of where the boundary between figurative and abstract art and produced a book, Ceramics and the Human Figure.
Her proposal for her Yorkshire Artspace residency was to continue this exploration. “But when I arrived at Green Estate I fell in love with the history of the Manor Lodge and Mary and Bess. For an American it was interesting because we don’t have anything like that,” she says.
“I researched it and went to places like Sheffield Cathedral. It was fascinating to learn so much about these women and to know there were two such powerful women in that time.
“I produced two pieces with reference to that in the first month. Then I went back to the process which I had been developing, but it was good for me to have taken a break from that research.
“There were three others sharing the studio – Miles Gavin, Joel Neild and Anne Laycock from the starter programme - there was such creative energy in the studio we. We all approach clay in different ways but we all benefited from each other.”
“These are some of the things I enjoy about residencies which I think are vital for artists to develop their work. Towards the end of last year I broke off and went to Minneapolis for three months which gave me the freedom to take what I had learned in Sheffield and translate it into new works. As an artist you pose yourself challenges and take new ideas and apply them.”
It entailed extending the Sheffield residency into 2013 but now returns home to Milton Keynes where she lives with her husband, a designer with Formula 1 cars.
The Stories in the Making exhibition features work by ceramic artists whose work is concerned with story making. Stephen Dixon is showing his Aung SanSuu Kyi ceramic bust. Paul Scott works under the name Cumbrian Blues and is showing part of a series of work that depicts a contemporary Cumbrian landscape. Sheffield’s Emilie Taylor’s vessels reflect life on urban estates and Susan Disley, based at Manor Oaks Studios, is concerned with a conversation between abstract forms.
The exhibition will run until March 28.