June Nelson was born and brought up in Newport, South Wales. She studied English at the University of Reading, then Fine Art (Painting) at the University of Brighton, after a period working in publishing in London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, She is interested in history, literature, mythology, female agency, and elusive narratives and difficult-to-grasp surfaces. Motifs include edges, webs and threads; mirrors, maps, and women. Although mainly a painter, she uses various means of expression — painting; drawing with graphite powder, wax, and smoke; as well as, installation, assemblage, and moving image.
Recent work (Histos) comprises paintings, sculpture, and moving image, based on The Odyssey; and portrayals of women taken from old footage of the 1920s and 30s. One of her Smoke drawings was selected for the 2018 Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize; and two paintings of women bathers were selected by the art critic, Jo Baring, for the ING Discerning Eye exhibition 2020.
Earlier work questioned the specularity of thought and the objectivity we seek when looking in mirrors or making maps to understand our place in the world. This resulted in 'blind mirror' plaster sculptures; graphite and wax panel paintings; an octagonal chamber for contemplation, with walls constructed from polished graphite panels (The Cabinet of Imagined Mirrors); a selection of cartographical curiosities and handmade compasses (Lessons in Cartography), paintings of isolated buildings and individuals (Caravanserai); and a film and text-based installation based on a community's experiences of flooding (Sandbag Haiku). No matter what the ideas underpinning her work are, she is led by the physicality of her materials.
ING Discerning Eye 2020
Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2018
Martyrs Gallery, Lewes, Summer Salon, 2018
East Sussex Open, Towner Contemporary Art Museum, Eastbourne, 2010
Liverpool Biennial Independents, ‘Near Distance’, Arena Gallery, Liverpool, 2006
‘Voyager’, with Brighton’s MAZE Studio Group, Abbéville, France, January 2004
‘Voyager II: Lost Highway’, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton, June 2004
‘Present’, group show of alternative printmaking, CBAT, Cardiff, 2004
‘Tools for Recognition’, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton, 2003
‘Watch this Space’, post-residency show, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton, 2003
'Project181/Projet 181' 2004-2005. DVD of the Anglo-French Cultural exchange between ast Sussex & Picardie. Bilingual edition Ignition Network 2005.
AA2A Scheme, Kingston University Fine Art Department, 2010–11
‘Watch this Space’ – inaugural residency at Phoenix Gallery, Brighton, 2003
AWARDS & GRANTS
AccessArt ACE-funded '40 Artist Educators', 2014
Arts Council SE funding for ‘The Cabinet of Imagined Mirrors’, 2003
Arts Council SE funding to MAZE studio group for 'Voyager', a collaboration with artists from Picardy, France 2004
Fine Art (Painting), BA Hons, University of Brighton, 2001
Modern Art & Modernism, Open University, 1987-88
English, BA Hons, University of Reading, 1978
Arts & Learning Short Courses for Artist Educators, Centre for Community Engagement, University of Sussex 2010–11
Training in Disability Awareness/Adaptive Techniques, Towner Gallery
Certificate to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, University of Brighton, 2009
Artist Educator On a range of workshops for all ages, from primary school children to adults ; with group numbers from 10 to over 100.
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Visiting Tutor in Fine Art, Hastings College, BTEC First Diploma HNC, HND, ND and Foundation Degree (students aged 16–80). Acting Course Leader for the part-time Foundation Degree in Contemporary Fine Art Practice (maternity cover) and Year Tutor for the part-time course.