Alice Irwin: Life Lived with Play

Alice Irwin is a recent MA graduate in Printmaking from the Royal College of Art. Working with themes and imagery drawn from childhood memories, she creates bold and distinctive work in a practice that embraces sculpture as well as prints. Irwin used part of the Bothy Gallery at YSP as a temporary studio space which gave visitors the opportunity to see her working processes and to talk to her about the work.

Games, the playground and the unfettered imagination of our younger years are explored as places of playful innocence, yet there is an underlying and unsettling subtext implying that not all experiences of childhood are idyllic.

‘There are visual contrasts designed to stimulate different kinds of memory, and there are recurring motifs that generate different emotions.’

Alice Irwin

These motifs, such as a three-fingered symbol that might be a stylised hand or a balloon, and figures with stick-like limbs recall children’s drawings, as do the often bright block colours she uses. In this display the artist also references treehouses and the game of snakes and ladders in a number of new sculptures.
This was Alice’s first solo exhibition and was a huge success with fabulous feedback and over 1700 visitors in just a week. Visitors said they really connected to the body of work.

ysp.org.uk/exhibitions/alice-irwin-life-lived-with-play

About The Artist
Alice Irwin is an award-winning RCA graduate, who recently had a solo show at the Yorkshire
Sculpture Park. In 2017 she won the Contemporary Art Trust prize for a series of prints; she has
recently exhibited at Flowers Gallery, Sid Motion Gallery, CGP London and East of Elsewhere in
Berlin. Alice Irwin works in layers as a printer, and much of her sculpture is created from a printer’s
perspective. She pushes the boundaries of art and craft, combining the traditional and the new.
Irwin aims to convey the innocence we possess as children but also to express the message of
human identity; she wants some aspects of her work to be playful, naïve and comical while others
are more thought-provoking. Her work offers contrasts: some parts are tactile; others create kinetic
experiences in the mind. These contrasts are designed to stimulate different kinds of memory.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper'