In Contact: Rachel Pursglove

I thought the pandemic hadn’t really changed my perspective towards my practice because I hadn’t felt it. On the surface it seemed to be unaffected — that I could make work if I chose to — that it was up to me, and if I really wanted to make something then I would. I felt hopeful at the beginning of lockdown, clinging on to the end date in sight, but this continued to be gradually pushed back further and further, and I felt more and more uncertain about the future. Working on individual projects has been a struggle and stagnant, which isn’t actually untoward as I battle with mental health, and motivation has played a lifetime game. And so I’ve felt nothing, neither progress nor regress, and yet amidst all this I’ve developed a mutual alliance with two other female artists who I feel an intimate connection with artistically and personally. Together we have built a foundation for an open, honest and supportive space, a space we can share our uncertainties and feel an empathy for one another and offer each other our assurances.

It is only now, as I am writing this, have I realised that collaborating is now a part of my practice…

Lockdown opened up new opportunities to remotely collaborate with these two female, international artists online. Something which perhaps may not have occurred otherwise, but a desire to stay connected with these individuals and maintain a relationship in which casual and critical discussion can take place has been a gift. With physical interaction impossible as movement across borders became restricted, the initiative to create a blog with these fellow artists and share thoughts, feelings and ideas has ignited new ways of working. To work simply and organically, by seeing what’s in front of me, using my two feet to take me somewhere, to wander and look and see and ask myself what can I see today? Using what I have at hand to capture and create something to be viewed artistically, to simply say stop and take notice. Whether that’s using my phone to record sound, video, photograph or to take a note. This allows for an easy fluidity to sharing — content across countries, an instant ability to encounter each other’s work and identify connections between them.

Rachel has an MA in Fine Art Studio Practice and a BA (Hons) Fine Art Degree from the University of Central Lancashire, UK, and lives and works in Lancashire. Rachel was recently selected for the Silence Awareness Existence residency programme at the Arteles Creative Centre in Hämeenkyrö, Finland for a period of one month during February 2020. Rachel’s work explores existence through a perception of everyday rituals, through a variety of disciplines, including performance, poetry and installation. She creates works that tackle ideas surrounding repetition, resilience and monotony. Rachel has performed and shown her work in various exhibitions around the North West of England and Finland.

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