Jessica Gilbert is Oakham School’s Artist in Residence, during the 2018-2019 academic year.
We asked her some questions about her work and studio practice.
Q: Tell us about your background
I am a recent graduate of Manchester School of Art. I studied Textiles in Practice which is a really broad creative degree. This course allowed me to train in a specific area of art but learn what it takes to be an artist in a wider context.
Q: How would you describe your work?
My practice aims to interrupt the everyday by highlighting the peculiar everyday. I seek inspiration from the notion of noticing the unnoticed and translating this material into visual art.
I use my work as a tool to engage conversation with an audience, extending verbal dialogue to a visual exchange of information. Words, questions and imagery that feature in my work often trigger thought, discussion and laughter.
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
My work is a constant collaboration; the process doesn’t work unless I have something or someone to respond to. Since the start of the school year I have been creating and collecting work that I have made in response to working and living in Oakham.
I am a Resident Tutor in Hodges Girls so I am constantly inspired by the Lower School students. I am also part of Lincoln House; together with the students we created wipeable boards for the front of their lockers entitled ‘Five Things Your Friends Love About You’ so that each day they could be encouraged by a positive thing. The response to this was beautiful because they didn’t stop at five…
Q: Will you be holding any exhibitions and if so, when?
I am collaborating with pupils from the Lower School to create an installation in the Hodges Common Room windows, using translucent vinyl. I am translating their responses to a series of questions about being a student at Oakham School. The words will remain in their handwriting and the choice of material will allow the light to shine through and create shadows. I am hoping to work with a team of students to install the work; I want them to see that the work is theirs and I have simply used my technique to create it.
I will end my residency here in June with a culmination of works displayed in the Wheelhouse Gallery.
Q: What do you think is the best part of your residency?
Every day at Oakham School is different; it’s exciting and inspiring. The students are so ambitious and their attitude towards learning is refreshing. What I like most is having the opportunity to work with the students on their projects; the teaching works both ways and that inspires my practice and has motivated me to go on to train as a teacher.