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Image of a still from Laura Buckley's The Magic Knowhow

Jarman Award Shortlist Artist Profile: Laura Buckley

Date posted: 30.09.2014

Laura Buckley will be speaking at Watershed, Bristol today as part of the Jarman Award tour. As part of our ongoing series profiling all the artists shortlisted for the 2014 Award, we caught up with Laura ahead of the screening to hear about her work and practice, and what Derek Jarman's work means to her.

Work by all of the artists is showing across the country as part of the Jarman Award tour. The next screening  is at Bristol's Watershed at 5:30 pm where Laura Buckley will be present for a Q&A.

About the artist

Laura Buckley is a London-based artist who works primarily in moving image. She works in a sculptural manner; fragmenting light, using mirrors and layering film across exhibition spaces.

Like fellow shortlisted artist Rachel Reupke, who we profiled last week, Laura started working in paint, and had no intention to work in film.

Then, nine years ago, using a camera to document the life of her daughter, Laura discovered the potential of the medium. 'I discovered' she explains 'I was able to express ideas more directly and a lot more economically'. 

Jarman's influence

As with other artists in the shortlist, Laura cites Derek Jarman's work as 'a big influence' on her own. She is particularly interested in the fact 'that he shows all levels of life' highlighting that 'his practice and his work is so rich and so poetic.'

She has found inspiration not only in his moving image work but also in his writing, in particular his book Chroma. This 'celebration of colour' is reflected in Laura's work, in which she uses a distinct palette, alongside clips and sound.

Editing as art

Laura's desire to get off the canvas and work in a more sculptural way is reflected in her moving image work, which manipulates materials such as perspex, wood and mirrors.

Cutting, editing and exhibiting her work in this way makes her practice similar to light-painting in technique, producing a similarly immersive effect. Her 2012 piece Fata Morgana encourages the viewer to enter an enveloping, kaleidoscopic environment, with audiences taking off their shoes to experience the space.

Laura Buckley, Fata Morgana, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

Laura uses everyday and personal images, edited and manipulated in a way to disorientate and take over the viewer, transporting us outside of the everyday.

The influence of music

Music was an important early influence for Buckley, who grew up in rural Ireland and credits it as her entry point into contemporary art. She often collaborates with musicians, most recently working with Andrew Spence from the band NYPC (formerly New Young Pony Club) on The Magic Know How.

Laura Buckley, The Magic Know-How, 2013. Courtesy of the artist.

'I'll start getting footage together in groups and start sending him clips, and he'll start thinking about sound and sending me over some suggested sound which I'll respond too' Buckley explains of this collaboration. 'We together produce a palette of sound, which I can then compose myself and combine with real sound.'

The effects of technology

Embracing the technological advances, that are transforming the way we capture moving image, Laura has started shooting on her phone or on flipcams. Abusing technology or 'corrupting' it has became a part of her technique, and using technology in subversive ways has given her freedom of expression.

It's a shift that has made her work more personally immediate: 'my work and reality became completely meshed.'

Next up

Following on from the Jarman Award shortlist nomination, Buckley is working on a new video and sound collaboration with artist Paul Purgas. It is expected to be performed in London later this year.

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