Jemima Lucas

Visual artist

How would you describe your artistic practice?

I have a contemporary sculptural spatial practice which enlists industrial materials that reference the architecture as well as the body. I am particularly interested in materials that have the ability to maintain autonomy after their assemblage. The idea that the objects I create can catalyse their own material transformation when in proximity to other materials, or are influenced by environmental factors such as gravity, atmosphere (in a literal sense) and time - is paramount to my practice.

What is planned for the rest of 2021?

This year I am completing my Honours of Fine Art at VCA, resulting in a big grad show and mini thesis. I also have a show coming up in November at FELTspace, as well as some work of mine being published in JAC Editorial - which is a journal of art criticism based and printed in New York. It will be stocked in the MoMA library which is pretty wild! I’m also really excited to be a part of a new exhibition program called Tempr (Temp-r) organised and curated by Bodie Kokkinos and Felix von Dallwitz based in the project space at Artery.

What has been an unforgettable moment in your career so far?

Honestly - the first time I collaborated with Nikki Tarling! It was such a wow moment for me to see my sculptural objects being activated by someone so goddamn talented and fabulous! I had never collaborated before which is a reality for a lot of visual artists. Unlike music, dance or performance - visual art is steeped in a culture of individualism and can often perpetuate a narrative of a “tortured solo artist” which can be very isolating

What do you think the future holds for Naarm’s visual art scene?

I hope that art continues to move into a space of more cross-disciplinary engagement, where creatives of many different practices are able to collaborate to create integrated moments of sensory engagement. I also hope that visual art can drop some of its austerity and is more accessible to a wider demographic.

As an artist for Tessellate, what are you hoping to create and portray on the night?

I am really excited to make work for an event like Tessellate! It has been a dream and focus of mine to exhibit work in alternative spaces to galleries, which usually just attract the run of the mill art crowd. Making art more accessible to a larger demographic in a space that is more approachable and less intimidating than a gallery, is really exciting! I hope this is the first encounter that I have of this kind that leads to many more in the future.

You create visual exhibitions involving industrial objects, the human body and space. Describe your use of the human body and the interplay with space and other mediums used in your art?

My main motive for inviting a performing body to activate my sculptural works was to create a point of relatability to the audience. By having a performing body activate the sculptural objects, there is more of an expanded opportunity for the viewer to emotionally or empathetically engage with the work. My installations aren’t trying to convey a narrative, but more evoke some kind of emotionality, aura or sensation. Nikki Tarling will be creating a flow of improvised movements around the works that will be evoked by her immediate sensations when in the space with the works. This way of performing holds an equivalency to how the viewer encounters the work, the only difference between her and the audience is that she is allowing herself the agency to act on her instincts when encountering the works as a performer. This is done with the intention of destabilising ideas of hierarchy between performer, art work, artist and audience.

When considering materials and bodies within this de-hierarchical framework - it expands the boundaries of engagement and co-habitation when experiencing a work. It encourages a reciprocal emotional ecology between work and audience through the mechanism of empathetically engaging with materials, bodies and spaces.

For our upcoming event tessellate [re]connect. Jemima will be collaborating with Nikki Tarling for a live performace during the night, soundtracked by Distant Noise Soundsystem.

Nikki began her dance studies at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Upon graduation in 2016 with her Bachelor in Performing Arts, Nikki began her long term engagement as a freelance contemporary dance artist. Moving to Launceston to begin her first contract, Nikki began working with Tasdance rehearsing ‘Fragile Matter’ with Paul Blackman and Christine Gouzelis (Jukstapoz), and was nominated as ‘Dancer to watch’ in the Dance Australia magazine in 2017. Following Tasdance, Nikki moved to Melbourne and continued working with many independent choreographers and artists, and has performed in an array of contemporary dance festivals across Australia. This includes the Perth & Melbourne Fringe Festival, and the Perth & Melbourne International Arts Festival, as well as a significant number of independent works in Australia. A few of these works include ‘Colossus’ & ‘Multiply’ by Stephanie Lake Company, and ‘Duplex’ by Jack Riley. ‘Duplex’ was presented at the Academia di Belle Art in Florence as part Melbourne University’s ‘First Commissions’ campaign. In 2020 Nikki returned to Perth to perform in a double-bill ‘Hofesh in the Yard’ presented by STRUT’s dance season in association with the Hofesh Shechter Company for the Perth International Arts Festival.

Nikki Tarling’s instagram: