Bruce Rimell: Sparkling Isolation

Bruce Rimell is an internationally-exhibited visual artist, poet and independent researcher, based in Leeds-Bradford in the UK, who works principally with visionary, ethnographic, archaeological and cognitive themes. His art occupies a liminal space between painting, drawing and illustration, with holistic imagery springing from smooth moving lines, fragmented anatomies and vivid stylised forms. These multiple elements are imagistically combined to create a sense of experiential depth and hyperactive visual engagement towards a single artistic aim: Beyond-The-Self Exploration.

"I could see which way the wind was blowing, even before the lockdown began. At first I gathered lots of art materials in preparation to spend months working on my current long-term projects, but as we entered the lockdown, the feeling stole over me: these are extraordinary times. Life is completely different now. I should be doing something completely different as well. Years ago, I used to make electronic music, but when my visual art career began to take off I let it go, and tried to ignore the occasional background tugging at my musical sleeve. Recently, I had also developed an interesting new technique of using a UV lacquer medium that features regularly in my painting practice, and was searching for some kind of creative vehicle to take it forward.

These were the completely different 'somethings' I was looking for. I dropped all my other projects and threw myself into painted UV images in the blacklight-illuminated darkness by night, and making strange, soundscaped music by day. Both practices steadily turned me deeper inwards, whilst documenting in elliptical detail my emotional and psychological journey away from everyday life. I went from struggling to let go of the world and all its pleasures, through a period of frustrated irritability where days blurred past each other, into a place where I began to thrive on the silence and the solitude. A daily walk in a nearby forest with my husband was my sole contact with the outside world.

Each painting and each musical composition referred to the same inner experiences from different perspectives. 'Hey Lost Avatar' expressed my sorrow at the world being pulled away, 'Between Stimulus And Response' seemed to point a silent way inwards, and 'I Found Still' emerged from a deep sense of tranquillity that stole over me as the weeks went by. 'My Clockwork Heart' explored the curious situation of being an interested spectator of my double-feelings: simultaneously exploring this playfully creative mind in constant motion confined within a body that was static and largely housebound. Eventually a phrase from a joke meme about the quarantine situation began to symbolise the whole experience: Sparkling Isolation. Yes. That’s exactly how my lockdown has been. Wordless, musical, painted Sparkling Isolation.

The 'Sparkling Isolation' art project can be seen here and music from the project can be heard here.

CuratorSpace are currently featuring articles by artists, curators and organisations who want to share their experiences of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that is artists using their practice as a way of exploring new boundaries of isolation, or as a way to connect more broadly with their communities. We are also interested in hearing from curators and organisations who are offering support to artists and audiences during this time.

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