Gosia Walton completed her Interior Design - BA (Hons) at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) in 2012 and then studied for a Contemporary Art Practice - MFA which she completed in 2015. Her first solo show, Laser Erotic, is at Galerie Pact in Paris until 14 January 2017. We caught up with her to discuss how her work has developed, what life has been like since graduating, and to find out how the show came about.
"I came from a design background so I didn’t fully understand what artists do and how they actually make work," she says, describing the process of discovering her artistic practice, "I am a producer. I think about making all the time. So at first I drew and painted using traditional techniques until I just couldn’t make this type of work anymore. I can’t remember exactly how I ended up using the laser cutter - it happened quite naturally. I was more used to making architectural models and building details to scale, so the workshop environment (where the laser cutters are located) suits me better than working in an artist studio. I was particularly looking for new drawing techniques, and using the laser on acrylic opened up new and exciting opportunities in art making."
Since graduating, Gosia has been doing a one-year residency in the Design Informatics Department, where she is surrounded by laser cutters, 3D printers, eye tracking devices, and other resources available to the scientists and informatics students she shares the space with. At the moment she is producing ongoing work for Laser Erotic and preparing her first book, which is a collection of drawing and details of the work that appears in the exhibition. Her plans for what comes next include a series of drawings looking closely at human anatomy.
"I found a beautiful copy of an old, Polish illustrated medical book with some fascinating details of body parts," she says, "I am curious to see how these could be translated into the language of grids, directional arrows and simulations of three-dimensional architecture."
Laser Erotic is housed within a series of alumnium walk-through structures, and Gosia's luminous, semi-transparent acrylic sheets are displayed throughout. Gosia has instructed the laser cutter to etch shapes onto the acrylic; grids, directional arrows, and simulations of three-dimensional architecture.
"Charlotte Trivini and Pierre-Arnaud Doucède [the founders of Galerie Pact] flew over from Paris and visited my studio in June 2016. They believed in me and looked after me, and it was a pleasure working with them over the past few months. It was their idea to show my work with a historical piece by Piotr Kowalski, who was a genius artist, scientist and architect. Kowalski has been widely exhibited in Paris and, in fact all over the world."
"In terms of work, at ECA I was so obsessed with the technique itself that then it didn't really matter to me what was on the surface. For this show I was curious to see what happens if I actually cared about what’s on the semitransparent sheets of acrylic. I love painting, my favourite artists are mostly painters, and so I referenced and discussed brushstrokes and lines with the laser cutter."
For Gosia, the relationship between the artist and the machine can be productive, but it can equally be unhealthy.
"Grayson Perry wrote in his book – Playing to the Gallery - 'art now follows technology rather than leading it' and I struggle with this idea. Am I the one in charge or the one who’s trying to keep up with the possibilities that a machine used as an art tool can offer? I have no idea."