Mia Portet awarded Castlefield Gallery 2018/19 BA (hons) Photography Prize

Posted on 27 July 2018

Castlefield Gallery is delighted to announce that our 2018/19 BA (hons) Photography Prize has been awarded to Manchester School of Art graduate, Mia Portet by Director, Helen Wewiora.

Mia has been awarded an honorary 1-year Castlefield Gallery Associate membership enabling her to access information, skills, opportunities, resources, promotion and critical dialogue. The CG Associates scheme acts as a hub, bringing together artists, curators and writers, facilitating critical exchange and engagement with members’ work and strengthening the artistic ecology of the North West. The scheme includes user-generated activities, developed in response to members’ needs and requests. 

Mia Portet’s practice is devoted to making the most of the forms and materials which make up our lives, using the photographic process to draw on the materiality of lived-in spaces and combining interests in curation and instillation to create a very physical representation of the subjected space.

She presented a body of work titled of Fancy for her degree show. It explores people’s spaces, which are more and more commonly being disregarded in our fast paced society; drawing on the potential of such spaces, forms and materials through new perspectives and reproduction.

This body of work in particular explores an amateur stage setting which has gone relatively untouched for years, hidden in a community centre in Burnage. Working in the space, playing off its eclectic materials using the flattening photographic process, Portet has created work of a playful imaginative nature. Through reproduction and installation of an equally imaginative fashion, she ultimately creates work ‘of Fancy’.

Materiality is an important part of the work both in the images and in instillation. The three-dimensional nature of the work makes the piece accessible to viewers whilst employing real space and hinting towards spacial themes by coming out and raising off the wall’s surface.

The piece makes use of hand crafted amateur mounting materials and processes, with no professional fixings or mounts. Images are mounted onto bespoke wooden mounts, which respond to the set pieces photographed and draws on these materials’ and processes’ ability to invoke such imagination and creativity when recognised. The larger prints are hung off wooden batons, unfixed and curling, hinting towards the image content as well as reiterating the playful and imaginative nature of the work.

The images and instillation ask the viewer to employ their imagination whilst viewing the piece, something important to the project. Images across the wall are hard to make out where a Tromp L’oiel esc distortion of perspective is present.

The work is installed so that it cannot all be seen and taken in at once, using the wall as a signifier of space which the images lack. One has to move around the piece, replicating the manner in which the images were made. The work is almost performative in this sense.

Mia says, This work speaks of a place and time when people would come together, and in applying creativity, realise the potential of such space and humble materials.