Tuesday 19th May, London's avant-garde Soho Revue opened the doors to its latest aesthetic delight, the Rubber Soul exhibition. Displaying the tantalisingly tactile creations of London-based artists Georgina Hodgson and Scarlett Bowman, Rubber Soul invites its viewers into an undiscovered world of materiality.

Intuitive and innate, Hodgson and Bowman use innovative process-based techniques to explore fresh expressions of physicality in the form of surfaces, skins and perception-bending reliefs. Although both artists’ reference Georges Perec's Species of Spaces as an inspiration, their diverging explorations take their work worlds apart.

Site-based and personal, Bowman's work retells stories of old spaces in new ways. Here, Features Associate, Elizabeth Neep, talks to Bowman about her life, art and Rubber Soul.

'PE9 Recycled', Composite, Pigment, Acrylic. 116 x 82 cm | 2015

Elizabeth Neep: Scarlett, please tell our readers a little about your background - where were you born? Where did you receive your education in art?

Scarlett Bowman: I was born in Windsor and completed my Art Foundation at City & Guilds of London Art School. I actually did Classics for my BA and I'm doing my Master's as we speak at the Chelsea School of Art.

EN: Does the kind of work you have done up to this point lead seamlessly to your pieces showcased in the Rubber Soul exhibition?

SB: I guess it has been developing over the past four years or so. If I look back at what I was doing on my foundation, the work was totally different, but you can see certain themes taking over. For A-Level even - way back when - I did textiles and photography and in the show you can see how the work has been influenced from these two polar areas of interest. I have a series of composite reliefs, plus a big soft piece made out of recycled plastic, which looks almost like wool. I think it's interesting that almost a decade or so later, you can see my two different strands of interests coming forward. I'd say the reliefs are one body and the soft pieces are a different sort of work coming off that.

I think there is something about the soft work; they are weaved onto this wire, I was exploring the digital phase and taking it back to history and craft. The material looks really soft like wool, but it’s actually recycled plastic fibres.

EN: Which are your favourites?

SB: I think there is something about the soft work; they are weaved onto this wire, I was exploring the digital phase and taking it back to history and craft. The material looks really soft like wool, but it's actually recycled plastic fibres. I guess initially [the two bodies of work] look quite different, but the marks [on the hard reliefs] are made using recycled plastic bags, so I guess there is a strong connection between the two in that sense.

In the twenty-first century, with electronic advancements and accelerated image production, the individual engages with the external world on such a vast scale and I was particularly interested in how this can create these hyper, highly-exaggerated virtual environments.

EN: Can you expand on the inspiration behind your work?

SB: I was always really interested in the post-Internet movement, new forms of representation that contributed to very different ways of seeing. In the twenty-first century, with electronic advancements and accelerated image production, the individual engages with the external world on such a vast scale and I was particularly interested in how this can create these hyper, highly-exaggerated virtual environments. Even television and gaming culture can create these false realities and I responded to that in material terms, playing around with anticipated notions of materiality.

'PE10 Recycled', Jesmonite, Neon pigment. 113 x 83 cm | 2015

EN: And what about processes? Did you know how you were going to achieve the final aesthetic of each piece?

SB: No, it's funny because the reliefs are all done blindly and upside-down, so you can't see the surface until they are done. You don't know how they are going to come out. I made seven or eight pieces before the show but I only put four in.

EN: In terms of colour, how did you select your palette?

SB: I've always used quite an artificial colour palette. I guess I was looking at images going through post-production, exaggerating certain aspects so much so [that] they create false images within themselves… things get distorted in that sense - so I've always loved using those artificial, bright hints of pigment.

I guess that’s another thing about the Internet and social media… you don’t realise that people are actually seeing your work develop as time goes on.

EN: Rubber Soul is not the first time your work has gained recognition, how did you begin to establish your reputation as a young artist?

SB: I guess I'm still in the process of doing so. I got approached to do a commission for a Christie's exhibition, raising money for The Old Vic theatre [in 2014], which was cool. Tracy Emin was involved in that, so that was great. I guess that's another thing about the Internet and social media… you don't realise that people are actually seeing your work develop as time goes on.

'Untitled', Recycled, Fibres, Pigment, Paint wire. 150 x 85 x 20 cm | 2015

EN: How is that work developing today? Can you tell us a bit about the work you are doing on your MA?

SB: At the moment I am trying to explore this hybrid between the online, digital aesthetic and the actual handmade craft aspects. I'm looking at technology and the screen-based experience and I guess the tactile, tangible pleasures of working with soft material is quite a nice antidote to that, so that's what I am developing.

I’m interested in so much and just trying to find the most appropriate expression of that.

EN: Which do you enjoy more, the practical or theory side of your work?

SB: I'm such a maker, that it is definitely the practical. But there is something about the theory side - it's not like you're learning theory just because… you are learning it to apply it to your work. I have this journal that I take everywhere and it's full of stuff that is constantly relevant. I'm interested in so much and just trying to find the most appropriate expression of that.

High risk, high reward - I think you dedicate as much time as you can to what you want to do. I’d be in the studio now if I could, I’m so passionate about it that I couldn’t not follow it.

EN: What are your hopes for the future? To continue to be an artist by trade, going from exhibition to exhibition?

SB: Definitely, but it's such a hard game. I think if people want to do it, they do it regardless and just make it work, like have a part-time job. I still work in a shop on the side, it's just one of the sacrifices you have to make because once you get a proper job, before you know it, six months has gone. High risk, high reward - I think you dedicate as much time as you can to what you want to do. I'd be in the studio now if I could, I'm so passionate about it that I couldn't not follow it.

The Rubber Soul Exhibition runs until Monday 22 June, at Soho Revue Gallery, W1D 4DP.

Interview with Georgina Hodgson: Under The Surface (Part one) -->

Words: Elizabeth Neep

Artwork: Scarlett Bowman

Image Source: Soho Revue Exhibition Catalogue