Part of the fun of the London Art Fair, an annual showcase for modern and contemporary British art, is discovering emerging artists. The Art Projects section of the show is where you’ll find new names from all around the world, as well as homegrown talent. One of our favorites this year was Amba Sayal-Bennett, whose graphic, geometric illustrations and “three-dimensional” drawings have already received a fair share of buzz—she was this year’s winner of the SOLO Award, and has works in the Saatchi Gallery and the Ashmolean Museum. We had a chat with Sayal-Bennett about her mixed-media artworks, which use something as old-school as an overhead projector to create fascinating—and thoroughly modern—layered pieces.
What inspired the pieces you showed at London Art Fair?
The work in the show developed out of my interest in notation. I am fascinated by the way in which experience can be reduced to basic terms of line, color and shape. Using the logic of this translation I reverse this process, applying it to my drawings to create spatial constructions and projections from them. I am interested in how the translated elements change through this transposition across sites (paper and room) and how this change in context affects how I work back into them.
When did you begin working with mixed media, and what about it appeals to you?
I began working with mixed media three years ago. I was interested in exploring the ways in which media that have the same formal qualities as my drawings, such as foam, board and tape for example, could be used to create expanded three-dimensional drawings. In the projection works I project acetate prints of my drawings into spaces using overhead projectors. In this way the incorporation of mixed media allowed me to work back into already existing drawings by using material elements to alter the light fall of the projected image. I love the immediacy of altering the image with an overhead, opposed to a digital, projector. By covering or obscuring sections of the projection bed with objects, paper or tape, the projected image is immediately changed. With digital projectors the alteration of the image is always mediated by a computer.
What is it about geometric shapes that fascinate you?
Geometric forms are part of the visual language of planning and design. The drawings I make are part of an ongoing process, they are translated, reconfigured and often drawn again. I think it is this endless potential for translation and therefore a resistance to fixity that appeals to me in the language of geometry and line.
What are you working on at the moment, and do you have any upcoming shows?
I am currently studying for my PhD in Art Practice and Learning at Goldsmiths. The next show I have planned will be in the summer, so I want to use this time to get back into the studio and to develop new work.
The London Art Fair is on until 25 January 2015.
Images courtesy of Amba Sayal–Bennett