The Materials Research Project
Materials Research Project based in the Methods and Materials Room of the graduate painting area, spearheads the role of materials within
the creative process.
The Material Research Project has three strands:
- Guided Exploration – This encompasses the testing of new ways in developing the relation between image and material including the exploration of diverse cultural materials and methodologies. Technical Talks and seminars are conducted regularly on a wide range of materials-related subjects such as the properties of industrial paints and varnishes; investigating material as immaterial; supports and surfaces- laminate, veneer, vinyl, acrylic, aluminum. This also includes workshops on more traditional techniques such as fresco and making inks.
- Methods Surgery – Research is conducted to resolve a technical materials-based undertaking or problem that a student or staff member has encountered with a particular artwork.
- Documentation – The results of research are documented and uploaded onto the Slade Knowledge base website. Information ranges from recipes for paints and grounds, to cataloguing materials and disseminating insights into experiences with materials. This also includes an ongoing Image Library of materials and close up photographic imaging of painted surfaces.
The Materials Research Project under the guidance of Gary Woodley and Jo Volley was supported by Onya McCausland, the Honorary Research Assistant to graduate painting (2011-2012), Alaena Turner (2012-2013) and Malina Busch (2014 - 2015), Honorary Research Associates.
Malina Busch holds a BA in Fine Art with High Honours from The College of William and Mary in Virginia (US), and a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois (US). In 2011, she completed an MFA in Painting at the Slade School of Fine Art. Awards include: Joan Day Painting Bursary (2014), Double Elephant National Bursary for experimental printmaking (2013), Henry Tonks Prize for achievement in drawing (2011), and an Artist’s Grant from the Vermont Studio Center (2008). Her artwork has been exhibited in group exhibitions at spaces such as, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London; Jerwood Space, London; Hush Gallery, Istanbul; Institute Franco-Americain, Rennes, France; and Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Virginia.
As Honorary Research Associate, Malina Busch is investigating ideas of colour and sensation. She is currently exploring both stretched and flexible canvas surfaces as a way of considering these concepts alongside touch and memory. Over the coming year, she will be creating a series of paintings that use night as a subject to explore the relationship between ephemeral experience, memory, and material. These artworks will be the subject of a solo exhibition at South Square Gallery in Bradford.
Alaena Turner (b. 1984, UK) studied Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design (2003-6) before completing an MA in Painting at Slade School of Fine Art (2006-8). Since graduating she has been awarded the Emerging Artist Award from Kingsgate Workshop Trust (2009), and participated in a number of group exhibitions, including ‘Take Me Out’, Limoncello at London Art Fair (2013), ‘Mostyn Open 18’, Mostyn Gallery (2013) and ‘At the Point of Gesture,’ Lion and Lamb Gallery (2013).
As Honorary Research Associate of the Materials Research Project, Alaena Turner is developing an on-going research initiative, The Plausibility Project. Through a series of interviews with artists, curators and writers, and a collaborative programme of talks and events, Alaena Turner is researching the relationship between materiality and plausibility, exploring the performance space of painting.
Onya’s practice focuses on how physical materials and their histories effect the production and meaning of the art object. She specialises in knowledge of materials and their sources in the British landscape and her practice extends from painting into video, performance and installation.
The Materials Research project is currently engaged in collaborative research with Northumbria University and the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki.
Whilst artist in residence at Slade Summer School Alaena Turner completed a large-scale floor painting, transferring the familiar symbols of urban line-painting to the interior space of the studio. From the floor painting she made a series of wall-based works, documenting the intersection of colours. The wall paintings were made out of separate pieces of wood cut to the width of road markings, that were then secured into place using the adhesive properties of paint. This project was initiated to explore the idea of colour mixing, both by looking at how colours compete and interact when overlaid within a space, and by creating a technique for physically pushing colour together within a painting.
Established in 2012 at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL the museum aims to promote knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the role of material within thinking and making. The museum is concerned with the preserving, collecting, exhibiting and fostering understanding of material at the highest possible museum and scholarly standards.
Exhibits can be anything that relates to material: a finished product in its own right or an unprocessed raw material. They can draw attention to substances or components with certain physical properties used in production or manufacture.
Exhibits and texts will be updated regularly on the Slade website and a small publication of events will be published each year.
The museum, H 460mm x W 660mm x D 270mm has the potential to travel but will normally be situated on the ground floor of the Slade.
Inaugural show MMATERIAL by Klass Hoek 21/03/2012
Director - Jo Volley
Co Director - Onya McCausland
Technical Advisor - Gary Woodley
Curator - Klaas Hoek
Keeper – Alan Taylor
Resident writer and critic – Mel Gooding
Curator – Estelle Thompson
Professor John Aiken - Slade School of Fine Art
Professor Edward Allington - Slade School of Fine Art
Professor Lewis Biggs OBE
Dr. Spike Bucklow – Writer and Conservator, Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge
Professor Susan Collins - Slade School of Fine Art
Mel Gooding – Writer and critic
Mr. Simon Gould - Curator
Dr. Zoe Laughlin – Artist and Creative Director, The Institute of Making
Liz Lawes – Art Librarian, UCL
Lisa Milroy RA - Slade School of Fine Art
Dr. Robyn Pender – English Heritage
Dr Nina Pearlman – UCL Art Collections
Paul Robinson – Artists’ Outreach Manager & Resident Artist, Winsor & Newton
Dr. Ruth Siddall – The Pigmentum Project and Earth Sciences, UCL
A collaborative research project between Dr. Spike Bucklow, Onya McCausland, Dr. Ruth Siddall and Jo Volley at Camden Arts Centre, from 3 March - 26 March 2014.
Turning Landscape into Colour investigates the origins of earth pigments - ochres - in the landscape and considers their significance as contemporary cultural materials. This project will explore the variations between different batches of colour collected from separate sites across the mid Pennines. Onya McCausland has invited researchers from different disciplines and institutions to contribute their specialist knowledge, insight and expertise to the project. McCausland will bring the collected earths to the Artists' Studio and begin processing the raw material, turning it into ochre pigment and finally paint.
There will be a series of open studios, talks, demonstrations and screenings of recordings of material processes. By the end of the month a series of brand new artists paints will be manufactured.
This project has been programmed in response to themes within the current exhibitions of dance, landscape and transformation.