‘Arachnophobia and Other Tales’

HS Projects is delighted to present ‘Arachnophobia and Other Tales’, a multi-media exhibition of new work by BA students from Reading School of Art comprising painting, film, sculpture and installation.

The themes the artists are exploring are multi-faceted and touch on a multitude of contemporary issues from imagined realities, nostalgia, fragility, desire and grief to diaspora, identity and the male gaze. They offer multiple narratives that invoke the human condition and become witnesses to the complex reality of our contemporary era.

Ariel Kwong’s Domain Film, 00:10 explores immersive experience, through digital sculpture and animation to create a space of contemplation in between the virtual and reality, a set of 3D image and calculated geometry in the flow of the smoke. The film shows the artist’s interest in the trajectory of transformation in art media within art history and explores the materiality of media through a digital work.

Cerys Cartwright is interested in the relationship between memory, experience, and imagined realities, manipulating her personal connection to them through her practice. Her paintings Falling Flowers are an attempt of holding onto a memory: a series of graphical floral shapes represents both the memory of the object, the gift giver, and the refusal to let any object she deems precious go to waste.

Holly Jones’ practice explores the boundaries between reality and fantasy via the lending of space in the modern world for bodies of work that could seemingly only appear in dreams. Her work is made to be experienced, not just viewed, regardless of whether the reactions from the physical encounters are positive or negative. In her soft sculpture Arachnophobia the ridiculousness of the fabric is juxtaposed with the freakiness of the creature, exploring this fine line between repulsion and charm.

Diaspora, identity and hoarding behaviours underpin Jasmine Khatani’s film Home based in her Nan’s house and featuring elements of a typical Indian household, layered with the collections of useless items kept within the house. Using heavy layering of film and audio throughout the film, Khatani meshes together Indian relics and sentimental objects and juxtaposes them with the repeated imagery of plastic bags – an object made for disposal, repurposed.

Megan Hill’s video The Orb uses humor to explore the ironic and relentless nature of the desire to attain a certain mental or physical thing which, once achieved, does not provide everything we had hoped for, leaving us chasing something else, into an endless cycle. The character is searching for a great new idea for an artwork, once attained, however, the magnitude of it starts to diminish, and she starts thinking of other wants and desires. The once brilliant idea seems dull in comparison, illustrated by opening the orb of desire and it being merely a regular watermelon.

Serge Fradin De La Renaudiere practices a categorical fidelity to the boundless – an inherent longing for a formless state, in which lies balance. So that the line that is interwoven through the substance creates a seamlessness within the chaos of such work; being the synchronous dichotomy between that of an ugly and conversely, a lovely – in which the equilibrium is formed as ‘nothing is so opposed to the beautiful as the disgusting’.

Tilly Flory’s practice has guided her to a deeper understanding of the experience of grief. Her painting Shrouded in Folds was made to represent the experience of life becoming internalised while one processes grief, as well as a transition from the person they were before to the person they become after encountering loss. Grief is similar to that of a caterpillar entering its chrysalis and emerging as something changed, perhaps more complex than it once was.

Jasmin Geary’s work focuses on the human condition and how society dictates this, finding more joy from a strikingly melancholy portrait than a picturesque landscape. Carou-sell Yourself exists as an oxymoron, partnering nostalgia with vulgarity to represent the uneasiness of the male gaze in today’s society. There is a fine line between a celebration of life and a freak show; to which the audience is left delicately tight roping.

‘Arachnophobia and Other Tales’ is at Thames Tower, Reading, from 12th December 2022 – June 2023.


Serge Fradin De La Renaudiere