Artist Spotlight: James Bryant

TM Lighting has collaborated for the second year with UAL: University of the Arts London Made in Arts London to present their annual exhibition launching the ‘2019 Collection’. The exhibition showcases art and design from over 30 UAL students, and throughout the duration we will be providing Artist Spotlights to find out more about the artists and their work.

  • Full Name: James Bryant
  • UAL College: Central Saint Martins School of Fine Art
  • Course: MA Photography
  • Graduation Year: 2019

Can you tell us a bit about the main themes and ideas behind your work?

In my work I use new technologies, performance, photography, net art and site-specific installations to unpick the entanglement of mechanical image making and personal and social patterns of thought. I consider that we are intrinsically connected with the forms of media we consume and participate in and am interested in how the figurative and realistic image informs the way we think, and how the feedback loop of image production and consumption can be understood.

Can you tell us how the pieces from the collection came about?

The images are created from screen shots taken on my phone. They show the convergence point of 3D imagery as viewed in a location mapping software and form a vanishing point where the digital world appears and disappears.

Although produced through the streams of everyday interactions, of trying to establish a location, the images are strikingly pertinent in depicting seams of the pixelated mesh that hovers overhead. What we seem to be examining are evidence of the joins of the illusion, tangible evidence, the invisible brought to its physical rendition.

“As such, the image is— to use yet another phrase of Walter Benjamin’s— without expression. It doesn’t represent reality. It is a fragment of the real world. It is a thing just like any other—a thing like you and me.” – Hito Steyerl, The Wretched of the Screen, “A Thing Like You and Me”

Which artists inspire you or have had some influence on your work?

  • Nam June Paik
  • Francis Alyss
  • Constant Dullaart
  • Hito Steyerl
  • David Hammons
  • Felix Gonzalez-Torres
  • Banu Cennetoğlu
  • Ceal Floyer
  • Jenny Holzer
  • Jean Cocteau

What feelings or response do you hope viewers will gain from seeing your work in the exhibition?

Creating work is an exercise in experimentation; I’m testing out the physicality of image-making and I’m looking to surprise myself about the way I see the world, to challenge my own pre-conceptions, so if a viewer has a similar encounter with the work then this is the greatest take-away I could hope for.

What inspires you particularly about the medium you currently work in?

I like to use an unrestricted approach and to embrace new media that are embedded in the way I live. In particular net art and live stream imagery have an intangibility and process driven nature that constitute a perpetual and perceptual state of change, they seem to resist the stativity of a traditional photographic image and invite a direct interaction with the audience, although as data their trace will remain in perpetuity.

Awards

I have recently shown video work as part of Open Mouth Student Film Festival in London (July 2019) and have had work commissioned at Arthouses, Whitley Bay in August 2019 and by UAL Arts SU to show work at Central Saint Martins Welcome Fair.

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More about the exhibition