Electro Studios Project Space is an independent space for curated projects in a beautiful location overlooking the beach in West St Leonards. Although many local residents might not be aware of it, it has hosted some important and stimulating exhibitions over the past few years and has encouraged and supported disparate artistic voices as well as being a place for debate and dialogue for curators and audience.  

Over the next few weeks, it will host four new exhibitions, and the first of these is Oceanic Feelings, a group show curated by Marianna Lemos with work by: Becky Beasley with Beatrice Tailby Hardstaff, Clare Burnett, Leah Clement, Sam Smith with Project Art Works.  

Mariana Lemos is based in London and Lisbon. Her research is centred on Feminist and Performance Art in times of climate crisis, drawing from Posthumanism and Queer theories. She explains that the exhibition title Oceanic Feelings is a reference to the correspondence between Freud and Romain Rolland (who coined the term) discussing “a sensation of ‘eternity’”, a feeling of “being one with the external world as a whole”, such as might be experienced after a traumatic or near-death event or religious experience.  

View from ElectroStudios Project Space

The collaboration and resulting project were spurred by a desire to recognise and follow what we experience through our bodies as a source of knowledge – using feeling as a way to break free from the mind and body divide, and to connect us to the world: feeling as one, whole, but also dispersed and multiplied like water. 

There is an eclectic mix of artists involved, but all are linked by key themes such as an exploration of “undoing and doing” and researching the language of illness and disability. Mariana says the project  “grew organically” after London artist, Clare Burnett, came to ESPS for a residency during August. Clare is an abstract sculptor who scavenges materials from her surroundings and then reconfigures and reconstructs her ‘finds’ (in this exhibition, washing machine parts). She used her time in the residency to respond to the work of Sam Smith, a Hastings artist of instinct whose incredible squeeze paintings show how his curiosity with emptying out tubes of domestic pastes has evolved into a vibrant creative process. Working with Project Art Works has helped him develop and explore his sensory investigations of the world around him. 

Another artist with digressive and exploratory practice is Hastings-based sculptor and ceramicist, Becky Beasley, who asked Beatrice Tailby Hardstaff to collaborate and  curate her archive of pottery glazes. Beatrice played an important part in making the themes of the exhibition more accessible. 

Mariana was keen to involve Leah Clements, who also has an interest in emotional experiences and the relationship between the psychological and the physical.  She is co-creator of the online resource Access Docs for Artists which helps disabled artists communicate their access needs with galleries and employers. Her contribution involves pinhole cameras and films projected using an old-school projector.

Catch the Opening of Oceanic Feelings at ESPS on 3rd September or visit the exhibition on 4th or
5th September at Electro Studios Project Space in West St Leonards.

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