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Poppy Whatmore

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Through my sculptural works, the real and unreal meet at different forks in a path. I transform everyday objects as a point of departure to create potential agency in routine, power dynamics. With memories from real events, I am interested in the potential of material language as a reflective means to address struggles of lived experience. 

Fragments of memories are woven into material re-enactments or select sites. I am interested in the myths we create for ourselves and as a communication methodology, predominantly in ambiguous, narrative fragments. My favourite baby-sitter told far-fetched truths introducing me to scientific, wonders of the galaxy. Years afterwards I understood her stories could not be true, yet I still admired how she kept me spell bound.


In ‘Say Yes to a New Adventure’, (2021) a pair of high heeled boots, carved in foam and wrapped in black tape, stand on a twig bundle propped up high by a found wooden bar. They appear on the edge of a precipice, the beginning or end of a precarious narrative. We are unaware whether these black boots are on top of the world, or about to fall down from a great height.

I often characterize and animate chosen materials into anthropomorphic or zoomorphic forms. I am currently making works inspired by sandworms’ casts on the beach bed. With a precarious nature, I am constructing concrete tubes imploding and exploding form furniture such as chairs, tables, blinds and ladders, which escape control positing new forms of resistance.

Selected Exhibitions and Achievements

A Body A Part, APT Gallery, London (curated and exhibited)

On The Edge, Royal British Sculptors, (2023)

Yobitsugi: Beyond Repair (curated by Paul Carey-Kent), White Conduit Projects, London (2022)

FairArtFair selected by Marcelle Joseph (2022)

Commissioned to install a work for ArtHouse Jersey as part of Skipton Big Ideas in Jersey, (2021)

Wells Contemporary (2020)

AutoFiction Symposium and Exhibition, Royal College of Art

Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Want to Go To The Office Party (solo), Stone Space Gallery (2018)

Creekside Open, 2017 selected by Jordan Baseman and Alison Wilding

Winner Aesthetica Art Prize, (2013)

New Contemporaries (2012) where works were chosen for Saatchi Gallery’s Public Collection.


PADA studios in Portugal; Passengers (2020)

Unfolding Terrace on site at Brunswick Centre, London

Radidal Residency III, Unit 1 Gallery Workshop.


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Time At Hogchester Arts

At the Hogchester residency, I aimed to work outside of my usual urban studio in order to explore the impact of a more rural context on my practice. I initially intended to select forms and materials in the local landscape and the conservation area.  I wanted this opportunity to extend my experimentation with amorphic sculptural spirals which was inspired by the casts of sandworms on the seabed from the Jersey beaches.


During my ten days in Hogchester, I chose different natural materials and minerals from which to make moulds from or to include in casts.  I collected pigmented sands and shaped pebbles in buckets from local beaches along the coastline, such as Lyme Regis, Charmouth and Bridport. I then combined the sands and aggregate with cement to make different concrete mixes. I pressed the mixes into scaffolding protection, foam tubes, and manipulated the shapes around sourced, found, furniture/objects including a wine rack, a side table and a coat hanger all sourced locally from the Axminster recycling centre. The concrete twists and spirals were left to cure for a few days and uncovered at the end of my stay. 

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When opening up the foam tubes, cracks in the concrete forms appeared. I reconfigured these fragments through the geometric grid of the found wine rack. These shapes echoed the discovery of clusters of earthworms in the rain at the Hogchester conservation area and caused me to further explore the organic and fragmentary nature of intertwined concrete forms. 


As a result of this, on returning to my studio in London, I have incorporated fragments of curled cylinders as part of my new assemblages; I am in the process of developing a modernist Robinson Crusoe islands with car parts spares, concrete debris and a briefcase  as a response to visual fabrication reflections on ‘Concrete Island’ by JG Ballard. The work again is an opportunity to revisit the theme of our feral nature outside of the domestic realm and ordered civilisation and the ways in which urban and natural forms both confront and intersect with one another despite our attempts to keep them separate.

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While sourcing sands from the beach, I randomly, picked up vegetation such as seaweed along the coastline at Charmouth and Bridport. I sketched differing forms of seaweed and made moulds in silicon, both one part and two part; culminating in vibrant pigmented, jesmonite casts, (bright yellows, reds, blues and greens). 


I think I was instinctively drawn to the amorphous, and ever unique forms of the seaweed. With the help a seaweed handbook I found at Lyme Regis, I discovered that the seaweed form I was drawn to most was the Sugar Kelp. Like many of the materials I typically use in the studio, it is both flexible and able to set - It can become moist or hard depending on the weather. I liked to dry the seaweed and create forms in bright colours, so I could see the intricacy of the details in the corrugated and folded leaves. 

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For me, to be in the countryside was healing – the slower pace of life and the sea air made me sleep more deeply, walks with Chantal and her dog, Piper, as well as sea swims provided natural exercise. I was brought up in Jersey so the sea always reminds me of home. The differing and more elemental rhythms of the day in Hogchester – from the noise of the cockerels as an echoing alarm clock to a soothing night fire in the yurt – impacted both me and my practice.


One thing which made the trip especially worthwhile was that, on my return, I was able to give one of my seaweed casts to a curator who had just recovered from cancer. It was a small, intimate gift to initiate his ‘wellness’ wall – a new section of his private collection after stacks of gifts from other artists. Quite aside from the impact on my professional practice, the residency made me rethink scale and how small discoveries in nature can create deeply meaningful gestural meanings and hopefully great pleasures as we capture and share them with others.

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