gabi profile from JP

Gabrielle Gillott


Gabrielle Gillott is an Edinburgh-based artist, born in Sheffield in 1995. She graduated from Edinburgh College of Art at the University of Edinburgh with a first class MA Fine Art degree (History of Art + Sculpture) in 2019. Her practice spans installation, sculpture and films. She draws on an interest in performative colour (inspired by a university course exploring the art of early medieval Britain) and sub-cultures such as prepping and conspiracy theories. Selected exhibitions include ‘Trading Zone’ at Talbot Rice Gallery, 2019, and ‘Extinction Rebellion’ at Summerhall, 2019.

Drawing on an interest in pre-Newtonian concepts of colour – whereby colour was a performative, associative concept, titles given to interior paint colours act as a springboard in my practice for rich bodies of research. The products of my research are often altered objects, created sculptures, films or enterable environments, tinted with the chosen hue. Recently, ‘safe haven’ (a sickly, artificial violet) drew me into an obsession with the prepping world. The initial link made between this subculture and ‘safe haven’ was through American doomsday preppers’ bunkers, their safe haven for when some indeterminate earth-altering event takes place. With time my interest in doomsday preppers evolved into a fascination in those prepping for a no-deal Brexit. As my studio process entails researching, hoarding, organising, listing, making, compiling, and then rotating, I see this as similar to the daily process of a prepper. Recently during this process the colour ‘unknowing’ (a warm, pinkish grey) seemed to easily attach itself to my research and practice, and thus offered a new point of departure. This is often how my work re-routes, sometimes sending me down a new pathway and other times simply offering a temporary diversion, meaning that my subject matter has limitless possibilities. ‘Safe Haven’, for example, became a violet ransacked bunker. My New Contemporaries structure (Reading Room, Hidey Hole and Secret Room) explores similar themes such as the commodification of ‘off-the-grid’ doomsday prepping and other fundamental contradictions of such pursuits. Through infiltrating Brexit-prepping Facebook groups, I have seen how these individuals’ stockpiles have expanded out from their kitchen cupboard and into all areas of their homes - a few tins behind the sofa, maybe a couple under the bed. This tidal wave of hoarded non-perishables is a way for many of these individuals to cope with the stress caused by the continued uncertainty of final Brexit arrangements - whether it be soft or hard, with or without a deal. 

In the future, I look forward to discovering what ‘Unknowing’, ‘Kernel of Truth’, ‘Utopia Beckons’ and my other stockpiled colours may become.

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