Mandy Lee Jandrell is an internationally exhibiting artist working with installation, photography and moving image. Her work has been shown in a The Royal Academy, 10 Downing street, The South African National Gallery, The Whitechapel Gallery, The Serpentine Gallery and The Sharjah Art Foundation. Jandrell completed her MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London in 2003, having previously completed her BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art, at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, in 1998. Jandrell grew up in South African and has lived in the UK for 20 years. She is currently Head of Photography at Falmouth University.
What inspires you as an artist?
Small observations in the everyday, especially colour and light- like the way light momentarily reflects off a wall and then the next second it’s gone. I also enjoy experimenting and playing with different materials to see what they will do and how far you can push them. Watching children play and make stuff is also hugely inspiring as they don’t have preconceptions of how things should go, so they’re endlessly creative and I love that they just get on with it completely unselfconsciously.
Where do you influences come from?
I’m hugely drawn to the work of early modernist artists, especially photographers who were associated to the Bauhaus like Florence Henri and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy for their questioning and experimentation with the photographic form and for challenging our ways of looking. I also love painters like Winifred Nicholson and Etel Adnan for their incredible use of colour and everyday observations. A few years ago I found an old copy of Josef Itten’s “The Elements of Colour” in a charity shop (he also taught at Bauhaus), and followed the exercises in it. Sometimes it’s good after some years of practice to reacquaint yourself with the basics, as it makes you rethink the way you see things all over again! Right now, I’m also really interested in political philosophers like Jane Bennett and Timothy Morton and how they write about objects, the aesthetic realm and shifting perspectives.
In Another Place places extraordinary art in ordinary places across the East Midlands, what made you want to take part in the project?
I was really interested in the idea of having my work in a space where it might be encountered in a context other than the gallery- and seen as part of someone’s everyday life. I liked the idea that you might be going about your daily routine and that, almost out of the blue, you would encounter something quite out of the ordinary!
What are you hoping to gain from being involved in this project?
I hope it brightens up someone’s day!
What, if any, are the barriers to people experiencing visual arts in a traditional setting such as an art gallery?
I think generally people have very busy lives in the day to day, going to work, doing the shopping, looking after kids, etc and that visiting an art gallery is not always the first thing you might prioritise in your routine. So seeing art outside of a gallery context, in an everyday place is great, because its easily accessible. I think that sometimes there’s a misconception that you have to be knowledgeable in some way to enjoy art- but I would say that taking the time out to really look at something, especially if it’s something unfamiliar, and allowing your eyes to explore it, is what it’s all about and that’s a very enjoyable thing to do.
Tell us more about your individual billboard- what’s the idea behind it?
The billboard idea came out of my work for the exhibition ‘Evidence in Camera’ which will open at the Usher Gallery on the 25th of May. For the exhibition I am exploring how aerial surveillance photography challenged notions of perspective. The work makes reference to the ambiguity of aerial reconnaissance photographs, playing on the use of decoys to create deceptive images staged to mislead interpretation. The installation uses codes, fragments, deception and theatricality to interrogate our relationship to the illusive nature of photographic images and the way in which they serve to not only trick our perception, but also show us things that our eyes are incapable of seeing.
What can people expect from your billboard artwork?
Something bright, something a little ambiguous, and hopefully something a little unexpected in the everyday!
How important is it to raise the profile of visual arts across the East Midlands?
I think it’s extremely important- seeing art and being engaged with the arts builds confidence, especially for young people. The creative industries are one of the biggest growing industries in the UK. I also think that promoting creativity in all aspects of life can be very empowering, as it develops problem solving skills and confidence.
In one sentence, sell ‘In Another Place’ to us. (Why should people get involved).
‘In Another Place’ brings art out of the gallery and into the street, it offers a chance to be surprised and intrigued!
Where can we find out more about your work?
On my website.