I have walked behind the sky…

Saturday 25th – Monday 27th May &
Saturday 1st – Sunday 2nd June, 11am-4pm

End of show PV & talks Sunday 2nd June from 2pm

Explore and celebrate Derek Jarman’s Blue

‘I have walked behind the sky. For what are you seeking? The fathomless blue of Bliss. To be an astronaut of the void, leave the comfortable house that imprisons you with reassurance.’

Derek Jarman

The recent anniversary of Derek Jarman’s death gave pause for thought on ideas of ending, change and ultimately, renewal. The artist film maker said goodbye in so many glorious and inglorious ways, dying of AIDS a symbolic ending of his and so many other lives at the end of the 20th Century. Jarman was an artist who pushed boundaries and took risks. He created art and documented this time of great change. His film Blue, explores the prejudice he experienced during his final years, going blind and succumbing to AIDS related illnesses. This exhibition seeks to bring the essence of Jarman’s legacy to the present. To push against the new status quo and to use the fathomless blue of bliss

All four artists have experienced trauma and exclusion. Brought together they celebrate the imperfections of their autobiographies and consider how these experiences make us what we are. Through the act of making and activism, they challenge the polished and clean aesthetic, the conformity of marketing mechanisms of art to go beyond empty consumerism. Each work has an element of the uncomfortable and the sublime, echoing Jarman’s work. Humour and colour transport the viewer to a place of bliss where all, especially the marginalised, can feel safe and exuberant. A sentiment Jarman would have appreciated.

Joshua Raffell Artist Bio

Joshua Raffell is from a working class and canal gypsy background. An outsider on the inside. He is a gay and dyslexic artist living with depression. Joshua is a champion of diversity, and his work is influenced by his life experiences.
Having left education with no qualifications, he was supported by City Lit to discover his potential as a mature student and was awarded an Outstanding Adult Learner in Visual Arts Award 2007. He studied at Sir John Cass (BA Hons), where he was awarded the Owen Rowley Award for originality. Following an MA at Chelsea School of Art, he was selected for the ‘Young Gods’ show by Zavier Ellis at Charlie Smith and Griffin Galleries in 2014.
He now lives and works on the Isle of Wight.

Works by Joshua Raffell

Joshua will show a performance piece that is part of the upcoming Summer Show at ASPEX Gallery, Portsmouth. As with all his performances he will play with the idea of a moment captured and with the absurdity. The work will begin as autobiographical but quickly metamorphosises into something very different. The surrealist moment will give each viewer something where they are will not be quite sure what they’ve just seen. In the process they will be empowered to decide.

Isis Selmikaitis Artist Bio

Isis Selmikaitis is a Brazilian artist based in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, her work weaves together her cultural heritage, personal narrative, and social critique. Through her vibrant paintings, sculptures, and installations, Selmikaitis investigates themes of identity, femininity, and the human condition.
Drawing on her Brazilian roots, Selmikaitis infuses her art with colours, textures, and symbols that reflect the cultural tapestry of her homeland. Feminism serves as a crux of her artistic vision by challenging social norms and re-examining the representation of women.
Selmikaitis’ art is deeply intertwined with her lived experience, serving as a channel for emotional expression and introspection. Many of the pieces serve as unfiltered reflections of her inner world, where authenticity and emotion are released freely and spontaneously.

Works by Isis Selmikaitis

“I wish I could forget” Paint, fabric, dolls, pastels, yarn, paper. 2024
“The skin will not forget” Paint and pens on Mannequin. 2024

These two pieces are part of my ongoing project, ‘Memories and stories of an abusive relationship.’ Within them, I delve into the memories that remained dormant for many years, initially hidden by fear, then by shame and, finally, by the difficulty of facing them.
The creation of these works serves a dual purpose: to encourage reflection on the need for women to vocalize their experiences and to highlight that those who face such trials are not alone in their struggles.
In these works, I use symbols, colours, and materials evocative of these memories, juxtaposed with elements that represent the woman I am today. They serve as a testament to survival and an affirmation that silence is not an option.

Fiona Schindler Artist Bio

Fiona is based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. She has studied and worked in London, Toronto, Georgia US and Paris as variously a fine art student, film student, songwriter and teacher and has supported her family over many years as a cleaner, housepainter, decorator, chef and even corporate stooge. She is finally able to work (mostly) full time as an artist.
Born in Scotland, adopted at the age of 4 and raised in the south her work is an exploration of history and culture lost and reimagined. With her daughter, a Japanese language student, she has developed the beginnings of a new language to support this work.
Using a variety of media in both 2 and 3 dimensions her work, while not strictly figurative, has a strong sense of narrative.
She is a member of The Ryde Art Collective and has exhibited with them and alone.

Fiona Schindler Artists Statement

Fiona’s work is primarily about loss. The loss of home, family and culture at an early age informs the work here.
She is creating an identity and culture through imagined language, myths, totems and artifacts and accessing a history through memories of her early life using mixed media in both two and three dimensions.
“The need to belong within a history and culture is common to most of us I think. It is possibly strongest in those who have little or no access to their own history or sense of belonging. I’m trying within my creative practice, in a very personal way, to synthesise a cultural identity that I can carry within me but also use as a foundation to support that historical loss.”

Sharlott Wardner Artist Bio

Sharlott Wardner is a Southampton-based mixed media artist creating works based on loss, childhood, and nostalgia. Continually developing new techniques with which to create her work – from prints to soft sculpture incorporating found elements – Wardner takes an innovative approach to creation.
She graduated from Solent University with a first-class honour’s degree in Fine Art in 2021 and is a member of the Zest & Zing art collective.

Works by Sharlott Wardner

Dolls house is a nostalgic assemblage sculpture that plays with the literal and unconventional thoughts of the artist’s strong sense of security, childhood memories, fears, isolation and loss she has felt in her various homes. (Dad’s Mum’s, Grandma and Grandads).

The Doll’s House was originally a project between the artist and her stepmother who passed away in 2018, left unfinished. Sharlott has rewritten the narrative in 2023 please see the doll’s house diaries for more stories.