Gemma Moore: Artist of the Week
This week we are talking to visual artist Gemma Moore who uses her practice to defy women’s stereotypical positions and roles in society through a humorous perspective. This involves role playing women’s feelings, fears and anxieties which are often inflicted through societal norms, values and expectations of ‘traditional’ women. Gemma works across a variety of media to explore and communicate these themes.
Image description: a landscape poster showing the artist wearing a blonde wig and holding a landline telephone sat on a dark country road, with a deep blue evening sky and green hills silhouetting the skyline. Bold white text on the right reads Gemma Moore, underneath in a smaller black font reads thefeministpersona.wordpress.com.
Can you give us a brief introduction to yourself and your art practice?
Hi! My name is Gemma Moore and I am a Herefordshire based visual artist, presently pursuing a Masters in Fine Art at the Birmingham School of Art.
My work has changed a lot over the last few years. So much so that I needed to create two separate websites to display two bodies of work because they were so radically different.
For example my work 'pre-degree' was inspired by my surroundings and environments which I used as a spring-board to inspire new and exciting projects. Villages, towns, churches and ruins, such as historic castles intrigued me, and still do today. I sold prints from this body of work to clients all over the world, including Japan, Australia, USA and Germany.
Whilst studying for my Fine Art Degree at The Hereford College of Arts, the coronavirus pandemic broke out, my practice changed dramatically.
From that point I started to use my visual fine art practice to defy women’s stereotypical positions and roles in society through a humorous perspective. This involves role playing women’s feelings, fears and anxieties which are often inflicted through societal norms, values and expectations of ‘traditional’ women. My work, through multimedia installations and performances, defies gender oriented ‘roles’, often illustrated through sets characterised by domesticity such as submissive housewives and male dominance.
My artwork has won a series of awards including The Caitlin Kickstart Award, The Sidney Nolan Trust Residency Award, The Charles Underhill Award and The Mike Holland Award.
What inspired you to defy women’s stereotypical positions and roles in society through your work?
My feminist based art practice came to the fore at around the time the pandemic broke out in March 2020 and simultaneously a relationship break-up. A time when I had space and time to really think through the personal and social issues that bothered me the most. A space in which I could really unpick, understand and then, represent feelings; this process was somewhat refreshing. This also enabled me to initially perceive the home and simultaneously, the backyard as a studio and making workplace. This perception of the home space was rather appropriate considering by the time I had made the Feminist Persona (2020-2021) work the country was fluctuating in different states of lock down.
Gemma Moore, Bait, photograph, 2021
Image Description: a black and white landscape photo showing an empty street at night with the artist stood holding a hand painted sign reading Bait.
You work across a variety of different media. Do you find that specific media allows you to portray specific ideas more than others?
Certainly. I think if I were to draw rather than photograph my work it would not have the same effect: because for me, photography embodies an inherent sense of rawness which I am attracted to because it can be emotive. I understand and have experienced how drawing can also accomplish this, but digital photography is such a quick and convenient medium to use to enable powerful and meaningful arguments conveyed to the viewer.
The use of multiples is a technique I have found very successful when conveying a series of ideas that carry and articulate multiple meanings.
Are there particular artists or theories that influence your work?
Lots: in terms of artists, Cindy Sherman's black and white Untitled Stills are beautiful and timeless. Nam June Paik, Susan Hiller, Pippolotti Rist, Lee Friedlander, Thomas Struth, Stephen Shore, Marta Minujin's La Menesunda, Sophie Calle, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Rufina Muraviova, Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Yayoi Kusama... the list could go on for a while...
Some musical artists inspire me too: Ariana Grande's Thank U Next and 7 Rings music video, Doja Cat's Say So music video and various live performances and also I have noticed increasingly how popular music videos include old Tube televisions to display their work. I am really drawn to this idea and I also use CRTV screens to display various exhibited video based artworks.
How do you approach creating a new piece of artwork?
Firstly, I start by selecting and then underpinning appropriate, contemporary relevant theory. Then, I will experiment and explore to find out how this can be best transferred onto material, whether this is fabric, metal, cardboard or other more outlandish forms such as hair, skin or pre-existing material already found in the world.
Gemma Moore, teaparty, photograph, 2021
Image Description: a colour landscape photo showing the artist sat in the garden on a plastic chair next to a small circular table set with picnic blanket and domestic items such as washing up gloves. In the background are old battered washing machine and fridge covered in graffiti.
How do you go about involving humour within your practice?
The humour in my practice is interesting. Sometimes during the process of making perhaps the pose or situation I find myself in seems to be funny, for example fitting myself into the shell of an old discarded washing machine, but I've noticed how on different occasions when the work is printed and exhibited how actually, that humour gets translated into a quality that is very serious and suddenly, when exposed to the public, works carry a message that many viewers, particularly women, are able to relate to. Often when the work is exhibited it is confronted by a series of confessions made by women about the way in which they have been treated. That for me is the power of art - when it unlocks stories and narratives that are otherwise forgotten.
Much of your work involves very layered installations. Is creating an immersive environment an important part of your practice?
Definitely. Upon entering or encountering my work, I want to make viewers feel as if not only they have just physically stepped into something, like another space, but conceptually they have done so, too, because suddenly another perspective has been revealed and exposed that forces people to reconsider pre conceptions or out-dated thought processes.
What one thing would you like to change about the art industry today? This is optional in case you don't know.
Good question. I would like there to be more contemporary art spaces in the part of the country I am from, which is North Herefordshire, where there are little or no spaces dedicated to contemporary art. I would like to change that!
Gemma More, golden, 2021
Image description: a landscape colour photograph showing the artist illuminated in golden light from a street lamp wearing a blonde wig and holding a landline telephone sat on a dark country road, with a deep blue evening sky silhouetted by green hills.
What projects have you recently completed?
A module called Art Practice 1 as part of my Masters in Fine Art, and as part of this, my final submission installation was titled 3 Channels (2021) and it was a comment on how mainstream TV is subtly and subliminally corrupting mindsets and our behaviour towards each other. I was really pleased with this because I had made use of the Cathode Ray Tube televisions to display films I had made, which was commenting and referencing the use of the old TVs in contemporary society when displaying music videos.
What are you working on right now?
I have currently immersed myself in the textiles area of the Birmingham School of Art and I have been using the T shirt printer which has been so, so much fun - the t shirts have become portals of information to raise awareness of violence against women and girls - the printing process has been efficient and so effective, which I am loving!
A final message from the artist.
Thank you for reading about my practice, I really appreciate it.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any commission or project based ideas, or feedback on my work. I enjoy embracing new and exciting commission ideas, in both traditional and contemporary art forms... I enjoy completing pet portraits, too!
If you have project ideas that link with the themes that my artwork interact with, such as feminism, media-related ideas or installation based works, please let me know, and also I am always open to collaborative approaches to making new works.
For more information on Gemma Moore you can view her websites at thefeministpersona.wordpress.com and gemmamooreart.wordpress.com as well as contacting her at email@example.com.
If you are interested in being featured as an Artist of the Week you can fill out a short application form here.