Bruce Asbestos ‘Eye of Newt’ 2020 PVC 300cm Diameter
The eye motif first appeared in digital renders on Bruce Asbestos’s instagram (@bruceasbestos). These experimental renders depict the motif in a variety of media and collections, in imagined exhibition spaces. The first render, portrays a pile of multiple, globular eyes, titled “Eyesbourne” (2020), presented in the fictional gallery “Los Angeles Museum of Aphids, Animals and Amphibiousness”.
“I wanted to imagine everything, including the name of the institution and curator, trying to use this time when galleries are closed and exhibitions delayed to make new artworks, and imagine artworks on a massive scale”
Bruce Asbestos ‘Eyesbourne’ 2020 Digital render
The floating work draws on his experience of visiting the pond in the local park, looking at the frogspawn and wondering about the potential of frogspawn as a symbol for collectivity, community or possibility, all of which are desperately needed in these strange times.
Asbestos also wanted a very British symbol of hope:
“The work references the ‘Eye of Newt’, an ingredient used by the witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, I was thinking of a symbol that was quintessentially British and perhaps wondering whether artists are a sort of cultural witch, who might be able to produce alternative ideas for our post-covid problems, this watching-eye artwork is our first ingredient.”
Drawing from a rich history of popular culture, folklore and fairy tales, the Asbestos’ practice mixes everyday objects with high art, fashion, and aspects of popular culture from Japan, Europe, and the US. Combinations of objects and images manifest in absurd, idiosyncratic ways, setting up problematic relationships between disparate elements of pop and folk culture.
These artworks host complex themes of personal, cultural identity, fantasy and our collective relationship with commerce. Particularly, the work looks to make a sense of the idea of national and regional identity, given we are increasingly exposed to a shared global pop culture. The work prompts audiences to reflect on their own cultural experience.
About the Artist
Asbestos completed an MA in Fine Art with AHRC funding at Nottingham Trent University, which included a two-month scholarship at R.M.I.T, Melbourne. He has also studied at Musashino University on a scholarship in Tokyo, whilst on his BA in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent, and went on to setup Moot Gallery, My House Gallery and Trade Gallery. Bruce lives and works in Nottingham, UK.