Hazel Preston BA (Hons) Art History and Curating
In Plain Sight, is the creative output of fictional artist Olivia Johnson. During this curatorial project, I have experimented with creative writing, poetry, design, and photography to create a document that interrogates class within the arts and Britain as a whole. Poetry corresponds with location, as I imagine with the help of Photoshop, how posters would look in the landscape of Liverpool City Centre. Using the personality of Olivia Johnson, I have separated myself and my own experiences to create a character that expresses a general anxiety about class, and inequality in the arts. I have engineered her voice to be consistent and utilise humour and sarcasm to provoke thinking.
Despite the nature of restrictions meaning that we would not complete in person curatorial projects, I saw an opportunity to experiment with my own voice as a writer, instead curating my own work against a backdrop of outdoor space. My research began by investigating the issue of class in the arts – stemming from an inherent interest in this topic, myself coming from a background of low income. To expand my research, I invited artists and art professionals to answer seven questions that encouraged broad thinking about their own place in the class system and middle-class identity. I decided to enquire about middle class associations particularly, as this loosely termed section of the class system is harder to visually define, as opposed to working class aesthetics, which are frequently fetishised in popular culture.