Local Artist To Feature In Major Art Show

Juliet Ferguson selected for Aesthetica Prize long list


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Chiswick artist Juliet Ferguson is to have her work featured in an international art show in York this spring as the Aesthetica Art Prize launches its first major exhibition.

Selected from over 3000 entries, Juliet earned her place in the Aesthetica Art Prize long-list of 100 artists with an innovative submission on 24-hour camera surveillance. Many of the pieces featured in the exhibition comment upon life in the 21st century.

The exhibition will run from March 8 to 28 April 2013.

Organised by Aesthetica Magazine, the international art and culture publication, the Art Prize is a showcase for emerging and contemporary artists internationally, bringing their work to a wider audience. This is the first year that the Art Prize has produced an exhibition.

The works highlight modern concerns, ranging from the environment and capitalism to traditional views on women and marginalised communities. Juliet's exhibition is entitled; Laundrette: 24-Hour Cycle. The presence of surveillance in our everyday lives formed the inspiration behind her work. The last fifteen years have seen a proliferation of such cameras in our daily lives, but she poses the question of who is watching and why do we need so many? She asks whether we should accept such constant monitoring.

"We live in a time of paranoia where photographers are stopped from taking images in public places, yet by using one of a number of simple search terms, thousands of unprotected CCTV cameras from around the world can be accessed and often controlled.

"The images of the laundrette were taken by setting up access to a camera and taking a picture at the top of the hour from midnight to midnight- a 24 hour cycle. They contrast the mundanity of everyday life with the voyeurism of watching people who don't know they're under the all-seeing eye of a CCTV camera."

She says she embarked on the project with some trepidation wondering whether she might access something top secret or witness a crime. However, far from showing all the drama of human life, the vast majority of the images were incredibly boring.

"While many cameras were in the places you’d expect - traffic cams, car parks and public squares and streets, I was struck by the number of cameras in semi-public places: libraries, bars, colleges and universities as well as a surprising number in the workplace.

"Many of the cameras allowed full control - I could pan, zoom, focus and ‘take’ the shot, or screen grab at the moment of my choosing. Not only was this worrying in that they could be used to pan and zoom on places and people they shouldn’t, it also raised questions for me as to the nature of photography:  are my stolen images any less photography than someone using a fully automatic camera and taking a picture from a designated panorama point at a beauty spot?"

Juliet, who lives near Turnham Green in Chiswick has recently completed a post-graduate certificate in Photography at Central Saint Martins. She has written and photographed articles for travel magazines but is now focusing on fine art and abstract work. Her current project, taking images through CCTV cameras, ties in closely with her work at the Centre for Investigative Journalism and she is interested in exploring the issues raised by using new technology. http://www.julietferguson.com/cctv/

This year’s longlist for the Aesthetica prize includes entrants from the USA, South Korea, Australia, Denmark and the UK. As well as being projected within the space, Juliet will also feature in the accompanying Aesthetica Art Prize publication, on sale at the exhibition, online and at select galleries nationwide.

Previous entrants include Julia Vogl, who after winning the Aesthetica Art Prize last year went on to win the Catlin Art Prize, was shortlisted for New Sensations – Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4 ′ s Prize – and has exhibited at Zabludowicz Collection.

York St Mary’s is open from 10am-4pm and admission is free. For more information visit http://ww.yorkstmarys.org.uk or http://www.aestheticamagazine.com/artprize

February 12, 2013