Alice Irwin graduated from the RCA in 2018. She recently won the 2018 East London Printmakers award, and in 2017 she was awarded the Contemporary Art Trust Prize and The Norman Ackroyd Etching Prize (2016). She has recently exhibited at Flowers Gallery, London; Sid Motion Gallery, London; CGP, London; and East of Elsewhere in Berlin. Her most recent solo show at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park was visited by over 1,700 people in its week-long run.
Irwin’s work has been published online and in print in Elephant, Vogue, the Daily Telegraph and Hyperallergic. Two of these pieces have recently been added to the permanent collection at Sid Motion.
The playground is an important space and an integral theme in Irwin’s practice. She looks at different memories, social skills, imagination and psychological trauma felt in such sites of activity and social interaction. Irwin wants some aspects of her work to be playful, naive and comical, whilst others will be more thought provoking.
Alice Irwin’s work offers sensual contrasts: parts feel tactile whilst others create kinetic experiences in the mind. There are visual contrasts designed to stimulate different kinds of memory, and there are recurring motifs that may take different forms and generate different emotions. For example, the three fingered motif may appear as a balloon or something darker. Another simple form, the robotic figure, references the human condition as well as modern technology.
Irwin references the theme of snakes and ladders in her work and the ladder is becoming a strong structural element in many of her larger works, both print and sculpture. The ladder suggests positivity, and its elements – certainly in its ‘feet’ – allow for a symbolic reference to human beings. The snake is referenced in the figures, which in turn refer to jigsaw puzzles, another structural element in her work.
Irwin explores the potential of print pushing the boundaries of art and craft, by concealing and revealing through layering and drawing to imitate a game of hide and seek. Irwin likes to use old techniques with a modern feel, while also exploring digital advances.