Artist’s – Agents of change
Blair Zaye, Gail Olding, Joanna Gilbert

(Part of the Chelsea College of Arts MAFA Interim Shows

MAFA Gallery
Chelsea College of Art and Design
16 John Islip Street,
SW1P 4JU London, UK

React, Rebel, Rebound, Record, Recharge, Reclaim, Recover, Recreate, Redefine, Redo, Reenact, Reform, Reinvent, Relive, Remove, Reply, Represent, Respond, Retain, Rethink, Retitle, Reunite, Reuse, Revamp, Revoke, Revolution, Rework

Artists have always had the ability to stand outside of society to become the conscious observer, to stand over the mundane, to be social commentators, a voice amongst the din. They are conduits for social change.

“Beware of artists. They mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous.”— Queen Victoria”

Mining the collective un, sub and super conscious and they have the ability and freedom to move between social classes and be a member of none. They are seekers and the purveyors of truth, preservers of the past, seers of the future and guardians of the now. Offering possibilities a new, while engaging with a wide range of human experience. They are set to inspire and awaken something of a revelation, introspection and reflect to ask questions and propose answers. With an urge to contribute they attempt to (re)create/re-present reality.

Each of the trio of artists in the ‘Re:’ exhibition responds to this idea uniquely;

Blair Zaye

Zaye researches the changes that have and are occurring in society and observes where artists have placed themselves within these conversations historically, presently and could do in the future. He attempts to investigate the boundaries and similarities between; technology, neofuturism, quantum physics, consciousness, the esoteric, spirituality, populism, human potentialism and the transcendental, through text, paintings, drawings, video, performance, installation and the transient magic of theatre, initially posing the following questions pertaining to the milieu and contextual melee above;
What’s happened? What’s happening? What’s next and how can this be expressed, relayed and understood? And moreover; What part does contemporary art have to play in a universal cultural (r)evolution in the modern world? In particularly what mechanisms can be utilized and is it possible to signpost the path to an awakening and cultivate a new holistic worldview?
Exploring the duality or perhaps the dichotomy between the taught concept of the transcendental versus the genuine experience of it.


Gail Olding

Olding works across media investigating the point at which language collapses and the possibility of working outside the field of language. Materials are important for her, they are a language in themselves. She therefore rarely outsources the making process. The fringe of language is the ordinary human life that it supports. All art has edges and we can learn from what lies just beyond. Olding’s work often stems from literature, either directly referencing or through using common themes in an investigation of the body.

Shift – A golden ladder which hovers and leans into the space, it has no visible means of support. Taken from literature, a ladder represents transformation. We all transform through; physical transformation, spiritual transformation and metaphysical transformation and even the final transformation into death.

Pulse – A pedal block from a grand piano with piano keys resting on the top the body is missing , next to which is a pile of ash, perhaps the missing body transformed. An animal trap stands behind, we are all trapped, embodied, in our own bodies.


Joanna Gilbert

Gilbert is interested in hyper-consumerism and how purchasing desired items in the ever changing brandscape results in a short lived feeling of satisfaction. After the purchase, there is an air of disappointment. We are left back where we began, with the need to want more. And so the cycle continues.

There is purchase-pressure of the desire to consume goods exerted by the current modern, capitalist society. We are consuming for the sake of consuming.

Her current work has sought to use retail environments as inspiration with references to urban culture, nightlife and escapism. There is form and material exploration, Perspex, transparencies, iridescence, currency, transparency and wood all blended together to create an installation.

The use of LEDs and neon cuts through noise and advertising. It gets noticed. It’s an attention grabbing vehicle that our eyes are drawn to especially if it is flashing, moving or changing colour. It’s both tacky (nail bars and red light district) and hip. It feels modern, exciting but old school and nostalgic too. It forms part of our urban experience and our feelings of hope. Its bright, its beautiful and hypnotic.


“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” – Cesar A. Cruz

The artists job is to disturb and inspire. Challenging the senses and perceptions, both psychologically and physically. They play outside of what is acceptable in ‘normal’ society there are no rules in art apart from that which (s)he puts on himself. The artist lays bare for all what they consider to be important precepts of time, space and society.
It is in uncertain times like these where people are losing faith in the out of touch keepers of the people, that they are looking for guidance, hungry for answers. Artists are a beacon of hope, on the rather dull grey, metallic looking horizon of the future.