January 2019 Monthly Review

This blog post covers exhibitions I have seen in January, those I want to see and update on new work that I am developing.

Exhibitions: January inspiration came from Chiharu Shiota installation at BlainSouthern Me Somewhere Else.

You can see videos on other websites of how she constructs her installations here at Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne and an interview on BlainSouthern’s website here (exhibition has now finished). Fascinating and very physical process of her installation work is revealed.

Behind Kings Cross station, was the Caroline Broadhead retrospective at Central St Martins Lethaby Gallery marking her retirement from Central Saint Martins. I was particularly taken by photographs of her performance work.


The beginning of the month I saw Francis Upritchard exhibition Wetwang Slack before it finished at The Curve, Barbican. It was an exhibition that demonstrated how her visual language can come through in a range of materials and techniques (ceramics, class, textiles etc) as part of her integration into museum and display language.

Art Practice: I continued my investigations into tapestry weaving. Like with elements of  Annie Albers work, for me textiles can be a method to create art, as well as design and craft, and intend to do as I have done before – exploit its sculptural potential (see The Playing Frame, Indevelopment, Between Materials and Mechanisms).

I have been talking to academics and developing proposals around complexity and agency – keep your fingers crossed we get our funding!

I also went back into the dark room, which I haven’t done for years. This was very inspirational and look forward to getting back in there soon. Here is a sneak peak of what I’ve been doing:

grid landscape 2019 0smll
Elizabeth Murton

To end January I gave a talk on my practice and some tutorials to students at University of Hertfordshire.

Reading: In preparation for the next New Materalism artist reading group*, we are reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (William Collins).

Any exhibition suggestions or any good book suggestions for our artist reading group*? Please do contact me below or on Instagram or Twitter.

Exhibitions on my list to see:
Bill Viola/Michelangelo, Life Death Rebith, Royal Academy
Olafur Eliasson (summer) Tate Modern
Senga Nengudi, Henry Moore Studio and Gardens (until 17 Feb)
Grace Wales Bonner, Serpentine Sackler Gallery (until 16 Feb)
Artists Rooms (Touring) Louise Bourgeosis, Kettles Yard (until 24 March)

*In our reading group we  focus on new materialisms which I will explain more in a future blog post.

June 2017: Open studios, Royal Institution and more artwork responding to science

It is Open Studios next weekend (16 and 17 June). An annual event with music, food, stalls and lots of artists opening their studios ‘some of the most vibrant and well attended arts events in London’

EMurton_connective matter_photo_Sara Lynd_145_eds small

Come and see a taster for the next Laboratory of Dark Matters installation in July and chat about this project inspired by a mysterious area of science.

Also on show will be ceramic works (information below).

June Open Studios
Friday 6 – 9pm
Saturday 1- 7pm
C1-1 Bow Arts, 183 Bow Road, E3 2SJ

If you can’t make it, visit Sunday 18 June and Monday 19 June by appointment only, email info[at]elizabethmurton.co.uk to book.

Image: Connective Matter 2017
Photo: Sara Lynd

Ceramic1_2016-eds small

New work

Created to conclude my time as Artist in Residence at University of Hertfordshire, these ceramic pieces in crank clay are formed by the yarn and knots from Between Materials and Mechanisms (2016).

EMurton RI Cultures Combined_2017

Recent events

This week I contributed to Cultures Combined: Art and Science at The Royal Institution, I spoke about the Laboratory of Dark Matters which following a Residency in London at Guest Projects, will be on show in Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum from 26 July – 2 September.

Thanks to Arts Council England for supporting Between Materials and Mechanisms, and Laboratory of Dark Matters


Announcement: Keynote on New Materialism

I am delighted to announce the keynote will be from Prof. Diana Coole, Birkbeck University of London.

The talk title will be:

How does one practise new materialism and what does the new materialism contribute to a critical theory. The example of dirt.

With Samantha Frost, Diana edited New Materialisms: ontology, agency and politics. 

New materialism is increasingly being talked of, and resonanting with art practice, and other disciplines. This will be a great opportunity to find out more.

You can book here.

Please scroll down for the rest of the symposium programme.

Symposium Update

The programme is coming together, more details are below. It is an opportunity to visit the exhibition and join us on Saturday 1st October to explore the themes that have informed the installation.

architecture – anatomy – materials

This symposium is an informal and varied space for learning, sharing and investigation.

All welcome, including artists, scientists and those working in related areas.

Book your place here on University of Hertfordshire website 


11.30 registration and tea/coffee

12:00 – 3.00pm Part 1:

– Introduction to the day

– Session on awareness and perception bringing us to the space, installation and our bodies. Leading this will be Tom Short, Associate Buddhist Chaplin at UH who’s interests include complexity and systems practice.

– Keynote – New Materialisms Philosophy

3.00 – 6.00pm Part 2:

-Afternoon tea

-A choice of 2 out of 3 sessions:

– Introduction to anatomy, including muscles and connective tissue with Karen Atkinson (Principal Lecturer – Professional Lead, Physiotherapy at Hertfordshire University)

– Dance/Movement: A session with Janine Harrington exploring the physical investigations within Materials and Mechanisms, drawing on improvisation scores, bodywork and anatomy and physiology (no previous experience necessary).

Janine is a choreographer, performer and writer. Commissions include Fondation Boghossian, Brighton Festival, South East Dance, Islington Borough Council/ Central St. Martins, Siobhan Davies Dance, The Hepworth Wakefield and Gi20. Janine has performed with Tino Sehgal since 2012 and has interpreted his works at Tate Modern, Venice Biennale, KIASMA, and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. www.janineharrington.com/

– Visual Arts: Artist Zoe Schoenherr will invite participants to explore the architecture of the building. Zoe will introduce ideas regarding touch and interaction and how architecture can be thought of as a seamless series of equipment. You will be invited to create a piece of work in the space with a range of different materials.

Zoe is a Fellow at City and Guilds School of Art, recipient of The Leverhulme Trust award for Artist-in-Residence at UCL Civil Engineering 2015. www. zoeschoenherr.co.uk

Book here

You are welcome to stay for the evening:

6.30-8.00pm Evening Reception: please stay and join us for a short artist talk, performance from Janine Harington and refreshments.


Time – 12-6pm, Saturday 1st October. Please arrive by 11.45am for a prompt start at 12 midday

Price – £5 ticket or £10 includes coach from London

Both include afternoon tea

Coach leaving from London, meet at Bow Arts for a 10.15am departure. (N.B. The coach will not wait for late comers and no food or drink is allowed on the coach). Coach leaves to return to London at 7.15pm.

Location of Symposium – Art and Design Gallery University of Hertfordshire (College Lane Campus), Hatfield AL10 9AB


Elizabeth Murton and UH Arts reserve the right to change and alter this programme if necessary. Please check back to the blog for updates.

Right hand  photocredit & copyright Sylvain Deleu

This event is made possibly through the support of Arts Council England, UH Galleries and the Contemporary Art Practice Research Group, School of Creative Arts. 

Between Materials and Mechanisms Symposium

©Sylvain_Deleu_16_ 13_H15cm160dpi

It’s been a busy month testing ideas in the space,  working in ceramics and having a photo shoot. Now invites are being printed and symposium is coming together. Here is some information about it, I am really looking forward to it and hope to see you there:

Between Materials and Mechanisms Symposium, Saturday 12 – 6pm, 1st October 2016

This symposium will take place in the context of Elizabeth Murton’s large installation. The installation explores how the structures of materials inside and outside the body can relate, with the architecture of the space as one of several starting points. For research, Murton has worked with a dancer, been in conversation with a physiotherapy lecturer and other scientists, and taken part in a New Materialisms reading group. During the installation, the artist will bring together this active research in ambitious physical form – as tangible as our own muscles, tendons and bones and this symposium provides a space for a less contained platform for further dialogue between peers and collaborators.

The symposium will include practical sessions that explore materials in practice through dance and visual arts, as well as anatomy lecture.


  • Introduction to the day

  • Session on awareness and perception– bringing us to the space, installation and our bodies. Leading this will be Tom Short, Associate Buddhist Chaplin at UH who’s interests include complexity and systems practice.

  • New Materialism – keynote philosophy lecture

  • Introduction to anatomy, including muscles and connective tissue with Karen Atkinson (Principal Lecturer – Professional Lead, Physiotherapy at Hertfordshire University)

  • Artist Zoe Schoenherr will invite participants to explore the architecture of the building. Zoe will introduce ideas regarding touch and interaction and how architecture can be thought of as a seamless series of equipment. You will be invited to create a piece of work in the space with a range of different materials. Zoe is a Fellow at City and Guilds School of Art, recipient of The Leverhulme Trust award for Artist-in-Residence at UCL Civil Engineering 2015. www. zoeschoenherr.co.uk

  • Afternoon tea and discussion

  • Close

This cross-disciplinary afternoon aims to bring together different elements that have influenced the installation; dance, visual arts, New Materialisms and the body. Inviting participants from across disciplines to make, learn and discuss the themes and think about your own work.

All welcome, including artist, scientists, physiotherapists… anyone who works/practices on related themes or areas.

To book, please contact University of Hertfordshire on 01707 285395 or email uharts@herts.ac.uk,  or go to www.uharts.co.uk

  • £5 – symposium ticket
  • £10 – symposium ticket including coach from London*
  • Both tickets include afternoon tea

Please arrive at 11.45 to register before a prompt start at 12 midday

Evening Drinks:

You are welcome to stay for the evening reception at 6.30pm, which will include a short artist talk and performance from dancer Janine Harington with refreshments.

*The Coach will leave Bow Arts, Bow Road (tbc) at 10.00am and leave University at 7.15pm.

Venue, Art and Design Gallery, Hatfield, University of Hertfordshire, AL10 9AB

Please check the University of Hertfordshire website for up to date information as details are subject to change.

Top photograph © Sylvain Deleu


July Round-Up

July has been a fascinating month and here is a taster:

A new door for a studio space next to the main gallery, enabling making to happen in response to the space more directly – thanks to Asa for building that for me. 

Above is part of the leg muscle and below the knee with some prominent connective tissue which holds the knee cap – fascinating!

This was in a visit to the Department of Allied Health Professionals, University of Hertfordshire, where Karen (Principal Lecturer – Professional Lead Physiotherapy) generously shared her knowledge and showed us some models.

Another friendly face is Karen the technician in the ceramics area. I have been experimenting in clay, thinking about bodily structures and muscle bundles.

The installation will involve textile fibres responding to connective tissue structures that fold, wrap, support and connect the body. Janine and I had a play in the park with a lot of yarn, following a discussion which spanned connective tissue and Rudolf Laban’s dance techniques.

I have a photographer coming to the studio mid August and some exciting news about the symposium to announce soon! Watch this space… 

If you want to find out more about the project please see previous posts and the University of Hertfordshire.

Materials and Mechanisms at UH Galleries, University of Hertfordshire
Exhibition 17 September to 29 October.
Symposium 1 October, 12 – 6pm
Open evening 1 October 6.30 – 9pm

If you want to stay informed, join my mailing list or get in contact you can find me on Twitter, Instagram or email info@elizabethmurton.co.uk

This residency is supported by Arts Council England, UH Galleries and the Comtemporay Art Practice Research Group, School of Creative Arts University of Hertordshire.

Conversations & Materialisms: beginnings

This is a brief summary of what’s been happening, if you want to talk and see more – come to my open studios on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 June.

Please see the bottom of the text for more info on future events.

Drawing and  photography  is used to think about the gallery space at University of Hertfordshire (UH) as the research begins. The architctecture looks body like – with bones holding up the air filled ceiling.




Conversations continue with Janine Harrington who has been sharing her dance knowledge. We have been talking about Rudolf Laban, fascia (which encloses muscles and other internal organs to keep them separate) and much more. It’s been inspiring taking to artist Helen Pynor about emergent systems in biology and the antagonistic properties in the body. This week I met with the Principle Lecturer of Physiotherapy at UH. We had an interesting chat over coffee and homemade carrot cake; talking about the different properties of connective tissues all over the body and how muscles stretching generally is an active process at a cellular level – rather than a passive elastic stretch/contract response.

New Materialisms
Engaging with materials and processes is an important aspect in my work, a key part of this project and the sessions (below). Whilst attending the New Materialisms: Reconfiguring the Object talk at Tate Ann-Sophie Lehmann’s talk resonated with this approach. Her research explores how the materials, tools and practices partake in the meaning making of art. 

The New Materialisms reading group continues to meet – we have discussed three texts so far. It’s exciting to find a set of theories that feels very much of our time. Taking into account the agency of human and non human materials/objects and the complex interactions that happen all around us – which could be applied to quantum physics to the movement of muscle fibres.

Sessions at Orleans House Gallery
Two months of two weekly sessions are over; it’s strange to not have gone to Richmond this week and see the two groups. They are a great bunch and the staff and volunteers make it a magic place. Over the 7 weeks we explored elements of Mechanisms of the body (part of From the Outside In project,) through moving and touching our own muscles and bones in our arms and spines; casting our hands and feet; exploring the properties of a range of materials in relation to the body to create drawings and sculptures. Here are some images of what we got up to:







Work made by members of Octagon and Transitions groups

You can see the Pinterest research board here and join us at the dissemination day on 20th June to find out more.

What’s next:
Open studios 6-9pm Friday 17 and 1-7pm Saturday 18 June 17, Bow Arts, E3 2SJ.

Dissemination day, From the Outside In, Wellcome Trust funded (with myself and other artists) project  1 – 4pm 20 June at Orleans House Gallery, Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ. To book a place, please email josie.dick@richmond.gov.uk.

Materials and Mechanisms at UH Galleries, University of Hertfordshire
Exhibition 17 September to 29 October.
Symposium 1 October, 12 – 6pm
Open evening 1 October 6.30 – 9pm

If you want to stay informed, join my mailing list or get in contact you can find me on Twitter, fill out the form below or email info@elizabethmurton.co.uk:

 Supported by Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust and the Comtemporay Art Practice Research Group, School of Creative Arts University of Hertordshire.

Between Materials and Mechanisms

I am delighted to announced that I have been Awarded Arts Council England (ACE) funding for Between Materials and Mechanisms. The support from ACE will enrich two activities this year, allowing time to make, research and converse with  others through the forming of work; ending in an exhibition – my biggest yet! 


Between Materials and Mechanisms is interrelating the sessions at Orleans House Gallery and residency with UH Galleries at the University of Hertfordshire. It is exploring the symbiotic relationship between enabling the participants to generate their own work and my own practice; creating a feedback loop. 

The first activity is a Wellcome Trust funded project with 4 artists (Morgan Sinton-Hewitt, myself, Anna Dumitriu, Heather Barnett) working with two groups of young people and young adults with additional needs at Orleans House Gallery. Working with the supportive team and the participants is a pleasure and we are exploring together The Mechanisms of the Body through engaging with the qualities of materials.

2016_Bones and Muscles1_forweb.jpg2016_Bones and Muscles2_forweb.jpg2016_Bones and Muscles3_forweb.jpg

Images Octagon and Transitions groups at Orleans House Gallery

Previous work exploring interdisciplinary includes Quantum Communication through a Spin Chain generated in conversation with Dr. Bobby Antonio and Not to Scale developed with Dr. Kaidy Strautz, and exhibition A Matter of Substance at APT in 2013. As part of this project I am organising an informal reading group with fellow artists on New Materialism, it’s open to all – do get in contact if you’d like to join in (below).


Role (2013), image copyright Sylvain Deleu

The starting point for the project is to explore a materials agency (inside and outside the body/ biological and non biological); how it relates to a body’s mechanisms and responds to interactions of artist, dancer, participant. Repurposing textile processes will provide the framework (as with previous work eg weaving in The Playing Frame (2006), basketry in Indevelopment (2008) and beading in Can (2010)). Working openly with materials and repurposing process is a key way of working – which will be consciously addressed in this project alongside dialogue with a number of people including dancer Janine Harrington, and artist Helen Pynor.


Indevelopment (2008)

The end point will be a cumulative material and process-led installation (Saturday 17 September – Saturday 29 October) and symposium (1st October tbc) for all those interested in the ideas above – I hope to see you there!

If you want to stay informed, you can follow me on Twitter or join my mailing list by filling out the form below:

 Supported by Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust and the Comtemporay Art Practice Research Group, School of Creative Arts University of Hertordshire.

Bringing Artists Together

Through the beginning of 2015 I have been visiting SVAF (Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum) to facilitate Engine ChatChat peer crit. It’s been lovely to get to know some of the artists there, we have had fascinating conversations and seen a variety of work. During this period I went to a symposium ‘Collecting the Emerging’, with UCL and Zabludowicz Collection, which reaffirmed the importance of artists getting together and learning more about each other’s practices’. Here is a very brief guide to the last few months:

The first session, we saw work from Peps Barkhan, Frances Bristow and Ann Bridges. Conversations covered topics such as the process of making in transforming materials, which stretched across stone carving, installations of everyday objects and how to make decisions about what work to make. Recently I’d been to a talk with artist Elizabeth Price. She said at first she was trying to fit with what was going on at the time, like hovering at the edge of a school photo, her success came from when she started to be bold, and make what she wanted. 

Following this in April, we had David Minton, Ruth Dent and Juliet Simpson share their work. A theme throughout was the importance to leave the work to rest, giving time to reflect and think about where to go next. Juliet was removing layers of bark from ivy, whereas Ruth and David added layers to their surfaces to create dense abstract works.

In May Angie Stocker, Marion Fullerton and Sophie Lamb shared their work. We spoke about practical concerns, moving Angie’s canvases to see how they felt in different positions. Themes of fractals, disconnect and connect, tactility and change echoed across the 3 presenters. We touched on different methods of making, including print making and installation. 

Most recently, our session in June had Alison Berry, Christina France and Sue Evans sharing their work. Alison asked us to respond to the work before she spoke, we discussed the common themes between the pieces she presented. Christina, who’s work was on show in the Kaleidoscope gallery, asked about the context of her work and showed a selection of prints. We ended with Sue sharing new work in textiles in response to a painter. We shared ideas on situating and presenting work, and how that contextualises the work for the viewer to ensure ideas have clarity. 

This whistle stop tour through 8 hours of conversations hopefully gives a snap shot of the breadth of work, conversations and questions we have all shared. There is a real generosity in the group that results in constructive and supportive comments – values which are important to Engine Chatchat. 

Collecting the Emerging Symposium

Collecting the Emerging’ was a timely event. It considered the meaning of ’emerging’ and it was suggested by one of the panellists, artist Leah Capaldi, to use the word ‘developing’ instead. So how do we continue to develop (surely artists always want to develop their work)? 

Capaldi spoke of the importance of your own artists network; Prof. Edward Allington (Slade) and Matthew Darbyshire echoed these sentiments. Darbyshire said: “If there are enough of you- become a movement!” Allington spoke of artists not realising how powerful they are. It comes back to the familiar phrase- you are stronger together. Dr Timotheus Vermeulen’s talk ‘Yuk- Yet another ism’ spoke about context. And we don’t realise the context we are in, what links us- we are all framed by now. 

This symposium reaffirmed the importance of SVAF and Engine ChatChat as opportunities to dedicate time to meeting other artists: seeing in detail what we are all doing, the questions we have about our work (which are often shared with others). It helps identify reference points, and articulates our context. All of this can be true if you present your work or not, through these conversations we have a platform to extend our knowledge of our peers, our own practices, current dialogues and our place within what’s going on now. Who knows, you may even start a movement…