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Alyson Minkley

A monochromatic, sepia toned image of Alyson Minckley with black charcoal on her face.

Bath Spa MA Fine Art graduate 2020, Minkley originally trained in Sculpture at Kingston in the late 80s. After an early career in environment & community arts, Minkley taught Art & Design in secondary & further education until her recent return to professional practice. 

Her work holds tension between traditional solid-state materials & transience in contemporary digital media. Themes include paradox of didactic systems in an age-of-information, political & social manipulation through media & education, challenging social-constructs & cataloguing embodied social anthropology. As antithesis to working in secondary education & with an inescapable lens of dyspraxia, Minkley advocates curiosity, play & interaction, testing ideas, questioning boundaries & connecting cross-discipline; this is evident both as outcome & process. Art as a vehicle to engender dialogue is recurrent throughout all projects.

Socially-engaged, experiential & contemporarily topical, Minkley's works cross-discipline with dialogue & embodiment as enduring methodologies.


Series 1

Works in this series use video as a medium to explore themes of postmodern flattening & fragmenting of existence in time & space – from deconstruction & reconstruction of Zoom screens to abstract mandalas formed through stop-frame reanimation of moving human-form. 

Datafield re-personifies abstract data in an existential matrix investigating conflicting feelings of alienation & pre-destiny experienced in the paradoxical relationship between didactic education & overwhelm of virtual information systems. 

Human Murmuration references origins of mathematical algorithms that drive our social media feeds in communication between flocking starlings. Social influencer phrases taken from bot posts are passed between performers in choral formations of call-and-response & perpetual cannons, parodying the manipulative capability of social media when used by companies like Cambridge Analytica. 

Haptic Traces is part of a much bigger project investigating ways to map the body as an antithesis to the process of anatomical life-drawing & exploring social embarrassment.

Series 2

Embodiment features strongly in this series and underlying themes challenge systems of cataloguing, measurement or value and in particular self-value. I have intentionally sought to celebrate beauty, exploring tension between surface-appearance and inner-turmoil. 

Body As Evidence critically reanalyses constraints of fixed clothing sizes based on an idealised ratio of female body measurements.

Hanging Out inverts perceptions with super-real life-studies on baking parchment copies of their clothes.

Strange Fruit questions the impacts of interfering with nature’s balance & the complexity of accounting for error. 

Cataloguing Anxiety documents involuntary sculptures as mementos of stress found in the debris left by students.

Body Bags & Weight explore notions of excess in consumer society.

Materials are selected for contextual meaning as well as physical properties & I enjoy the technical challenges of traditional making as a meditative process; one that offers opportunity for dialogue & social engagement when casting & drawing from life.

Series 3

My practice engages with space/place, often through residencies/commissions and in my early career many works developed through local community engagement. 

As a Porthleven Prizewinner in 2019 I spent nearly a month in the Cornish coastal town. The resulting hybrid sculptural forms of the All at Sea series balance teeteringly like the local politics and relationships between tourists & locals and the land & sea. Titles allude to nautical idioms and the photographic image & text artworks explore the complex influences of evangelical movements within our culture. The work was well received when it toured and returned to Porthleven in 2020 with the Sink or Swim projection installation lighting up the local lifeboat station with an SOS for climate change and nature emergency.

More recent site-specific works includes Flood Flags, commissioned for the award-winning River-is-the-Venue project and installed during Bath Festival of Nature & Forest of the Imagination events.


Educational Background

Bath Spa University · MA Fine Art · 2020
Bath Spa University · PGCE Secondary Design Technology · 2007
Kingston University · BA Honours (1st class) Fine Art Sculpture · 1990

Haptic Traces (Close to the Edit) · St Mary’s Wiltshire

Body of Work · The Art Cohort Bath · 2020

Body of Work · St Mary’s Wiltshire · 2019

The Life Model Dreams · Sewell Centre Radley College Oxfordshire · 1994

The Resilient Self · Espacio Gallery London · selected · 10/2020

Centre of Gravity · Soapworks Bristol · invited · 10/2020

Untitled · Bath Spa University · group · 9/2020

Visions of Science · The Edge Bath · selected & shortlisted · 7/2020
Happenings · FAB20 Bath · invited · 5/20 

Porthleven Prize · Bath/Cornwall · winner · 11/2019 & 3/2020

Material World · 44AD Bath · selected · 1/2020

Inaugural · Bath Spa University · group · 1/2020

Annual Open · RWA Bristol · selected · 9-12/2019

Interim · Bath Spa University · group · 9/2019

Connected, Disconnected, Reconnected · 44AD Bath · invited · 7/2019

Up Late · Holbourne Bath · invited · 6/2019

Bath Open · 44AD Bath · selected 5/2019

Sculpture Open · RWA Bristol · selected · 3-6/2019

River is the Venue · Riverside Bath · commissioned · 5-10/2018

Only Human · FAB18 Bath · selected · 5/2018

Emerge Studio Fellowships · Bath · 10/2020-5/2021
Artist in residence St Mary’s · Wiltshire · 9/2019-7/2020
Porthleven Prize residency · Cornwall · 3-5/2019
Commission Aston Rowant Nature Reserve · Oxfordshire · 5-7/2001
Artist in residence West Woods · Wiltshire · 7-8/2000
Freuds Arts Café residency · Oxford · 11-12/1992
Trout Island installation · Oxfordshire · 5-6/1991

Bath SPARKS award · 2020
Visions of Science ArtPrize · shortlisted · 2020
Porthleven Prizewinner · 2019
Creative Bath Art Award · 2019
Clore Fellowship in Cultural Leadership · shortlisted · 2006
Kingston University Art Prize · 1990

Visiting lecturer · Bath Spa University BA Fine Art · 2020
Visiting artist · SWNSEAD · 2019
Lecturer in art & design · Wiltshire College & University Centre · 2016-19
Teacher of art & design technology · Wiltshire, South Gloucester & B&NES · 2007-16
Community arts facilitator · Oxfordshire, Wiltshire & B&NES · 1990-2003

Member of Space Place Practice research group

Member of Creative Corporeality research group 

Laser Foundation Futures Group

Soapworks · SpacePlacePractice · 2020