Born 1980 in Birmingham, UK
Glasgow-based Bronwen Sleigh’s art is characterized by her ability to transform cerebral architectonic processes into aesthetic form. Initially drawing inspiration from abandoned, industrial, urban man-made spaces, Sleigh seeks to reimagine these spaces in a format that echoes the utopian ideals of architectural predecessors like the Constructivists. Her practice evokes the question of what place utopia has for us and what it means to imagine an alternative present that can never exist. Friedrich Jameson declared that it is only by cognitively estranging the present that we can possibly sense seeing into these ambiguous realms. Sleigh populates various, alternative ways of visualizing utopia as a state of possibility rather than a place modeling ideals of progress.
Her artistic process involves orientating herself to absorb the psychology of preexisting structures, but the works transport the viewer back to the space where architecture begins. By reverting to the origin at which things start or develop, she captures the moment where imagination is first propagated.
Through the varied processes of drawing, sculpture, and printmaking, Sleigh exploits the phenomena of each medium, codifying a confluence of unprecedented forms that emerge beyond the pre-existing structures in daily life. Concise lines echo the sensations of architectural motivations, tracing and framing space, demonstrating how architecture impacts our psyche. Schematic drawing, draftsmanship, and models are present, but new perspectives and structural elements shatter, collide, and are juxtaposed without grounding or through a singular vantage point. Familiarity vanishes into an overwhelming sense of dislocation. Out of an orchestra of unfolding and collapsing surfaces, delineated pathways arise. These transformed spaces do not represent a future or a utopia but an alternate vision where imagination unfolds into great expanses of potential. Panoramas consisting of a crescendo of invented, imagined amalgamations invigorate our desire for the unseen to freely resonate.
CYDONIA is pleased to offer Sleigh’s very first solo exhibition in the United States.
The artist is a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art and holds an MA from the Royal College of Art. Her works have been collected by the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Academy, the Parliamentary Art Collection, along with numerous institutions through Europe. Sleigh has lectured extensively in various universities throughout Europe and exhibited in Canada, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Japan and Australia. The artist lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland.