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ritual touch

‘Ritual Touch’ at MIRROR gallery, Arts University Plymouth, brings together three artists for the first time, Monica-Shanta, Gladys Paulus, and Ingrid Pollard to start new conversations, with the materiality of touch and the significance of time and rhythm in the ritual of creating as central to the exhibition. The artists’ repetitive and slow creative practices become ritual; an act of making that shifts from a doing to a being with, where touch transcends the material and exists also as an energy to be with. ‘Ritual Touch’ is an experience of personal and historical ‘posthumous protection’

SAVE THE DATE *Artists Panel: 2 March BOOK HERE​*

All three artists share a quiet depth to their practice, calling on rhythmic traditions, rooting human presence, and interaction in the natural world. A combination of mixed media installation and assemblage, the artists collapse historical and personal pasts, bringing to the fore a resonance of being imbued in the objects through touch. The embodied pasts of these objects release a power and a presence, where the ritual can become our own.

Commissioned by Hannah Rose to guest curate an exhibition, MIRROR has enabled talking on corners to show these different artists’ work together in a new exploratory dynamic. We found that each artist brings a meticulousness and rigour to their practice that we seldom encounter. The conceptual intricacies of their work make for a poetic, slow, but intense, experience for the viewer.

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find out more about the artworks featured in

'ritual touch'...

Click on the image for an in-depth discussion about Gladys Paulus's incredible 'Hinterland' series in this artist video by Chris Chapman made at Greenhill Arts, Moretonhampstead in 2020.

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ingrid pollard, 2022 (untitled), 'Three Drops of Blood' commission. photo credit: simon tutty

'folklore, ferns and textiles - the importance of rural histories and black british culture in contemporary art'

by ashanti hare


Read 'here about the works featured in 'Ritual Touch' from Ingrid Pollard's 'Three Drops of Blood' series, through Hare's response to the exhibition at Thelma Hulbert Gallery in 2022, commissioned by talking corners. 


Ashanti Hare 'explores the duality of life as both a human being and spiritual entity. Combining digital manipulation, folk craftsmanship and writing, Hare often explores the boundaries between cultural identity and spiritual entity through sensory experiences that include tactility, scent and moving image. Their ongoing research is motivated by underlying references to pop culture, witchcraft, literature and music.'

MIRROR commissions, produces and presents exhibitions, events, residencies, research and student led projects; alongside working strategically and collaboratively with partners to improve the provision of; access to and growth of culture in Plymouth. They aim to improve the infrastructure and ecology for visual arts in the city, by always focussing on artists, and placing generosity and care at the centre of our work. MIRROR is dedicated to supporting the professional development of artists, with a particular focus on enriching the careers of artists based within the South West Region. They are committed to taking a long-term, regenerative and proactive approach to developing the arts ecology in the South West, whilst having a national and international perspective.

MIRROR is a public gallery, events programme and online resource based out of, and generously supported by Arts University Plymouth. MIRROR is built on the legacy of The Gallery at Arts University Plymouth (established in 2006) and on the impact of the South West Showcase project.

artist bios:

Monica-Shanta is a multi-disciplinary visual artist who weaves together digital image and film, interactive performance, drawing and installation, through a practice that is informed by both Western and Asian cultural traditions. Monica’s work is the impulse of an artist embodying a space of cultural instability, engaging with universal human experiences as portals to ontological and philosophical questions. Monica has been based in the South West for the last ten years, sharing her practice as an artist and educator with an extensive range of people, arts organisations, schools, galleries and a multitude of community environments.

Ingrid Pollard is recognised as one of the most influential British artists, breaking new ground and forging pathways for younger generations, shaping Britain’s understanding and histories of art, society and culture. Her mixed media work with photography pushes the boundaries of the genre, with a rigorous attention to materiality as well as history. Described by The Guardian as an artist ‘at the peak of her creative powers’, this exhibition is a rare chance to see Pollard’s work in the South West. Pollard is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and received her doctorate-by-publication from the University of Westminster in 2016. She was recipient of the BALTIC Artist Award in 2018 and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists in 2020. Pollard’s work is represented in the collections of Tate Britain, the V&A, Cartwright Hall, and Arts Council England, as well as being one of four artists nominated for Turner Prize 2022.

photo credit: caro smart

Dutch-Indonesian artist Gladys Paulus creates deeply emotive works that quietly reclaim a perceived loss of sacredness. Often stemming from personal explorations into her ancestry and identity, her oeuvre straddles the worlds of fine arts, traditional crafts and ritual, managing to find a space entirely of its own, pushing the boundaries of the medium of felt in doing so. A fourth generation artist and maker, Paulus currently lives and works in Somerset. She is a specialist visiting tutor across the UK, Europe, USA and Canada. Her work is represented in the collection of the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam),and private collections in the USA.

photo credit: arran brough

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