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Exhibition

Angela McMahon: Invasion of the Jellyfish

25 May-16 Jun 2024

Lewisham Arthouse
London SE14 6PD

Overview

Artist Angela McMahon creates a physical immersive installation composed of suspended and floor standing sculptures of fantastical sea creatures at Lewisham Arthouse.

By imagining the undersea world where pollution and climate change have created the ideal conditions for jellyfish to thrive, Angela McMahon’s use of collected and reclaimed materials draws on scientific research to highlight some of the key environmental issues that are changing our oceans. In this imagined world other species die out and mutant sea creatures evolved from plastic waste lurk lower down in the water column and on the seafloor.

The environmental issues highlighted by this bold work include:
•The effects of pollution from sewage, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluent
•The poisoning caused by plastic waste
•Ocean warming caused by climate change

Movement and illumination bring the sculptures to life. Like a living ecosystem the installation will grow and evolve throughout the exhibition with new creatures emerging each day as the artist continues to work and engage with visitors whilst the show is open.

McMahon says: “I hope to provide an accessible route for viewers to understand how human activity impacts the delicate balance of ocean ecosystems. I am keen to encourage public
engagement and invite local schools and community groups to come and immerse themselves in the installation.”

About the artist:

Angela McMahon trained as a Geologist and Hydrogeologist (BSc, MSc, PhD) and worked for many years in the environmental sector before embarking on a foundation course at Camberwell College and studying Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Since then McMahon has participated in group shows, open studios, community events and festivals, undertaken commissions and initiated and organised both indoor and outdoor immersive experiences and installations in the public realm. Most recently, McMahon was selected as one of the artists launching the 2022 London Borough of Culture in Lewisham.

McMahon’s work is inspired by her passion for the natural world and explores the resources and materials of human consumption and the traces and imprints they leave on the environment, often contemplating a geological time scale. Drawing on her background in geology and environmental protection McMahon’s creative practice considers how our consumption is distanced from the natural resources used, the processes and materials of making and any thought for the impacts of disposal; the dichotomy of ‘stuff’ that is both useful and toxic, beautiful and dangerous. McMahon’s works include drawing, sculpture and installation which make use of discarded and recycled materials including plastic, cardboard,
scrap metal and waste oil. These material choices reflect specific environmental issues and are inspired by the physicality of everyday things in our throwaway society and research into their geological and anthropological lifecycles. Through this approach, McMahon aspires to create work that is aesthetic and engaging but also thought-provoking and educational.