Kim McDermottroe’s exhibition FieldJournal launches at ARC
Artist and Alumna Kim McDermottroe’s first solo exhibition ‘FieldJournal’ launched at ARC Stockton Arts Centre last month and is open until Christmas Eve! Since graduating in 2001 Kim has built a diverse portfolio of work across a range of industries including costume design & construction, puppet design, illustration and creative direction.
Her exhibition shows rough sketches, illustrations and animation storyboards exploring story and movement in stop-motion, alongside this are photographic portraits of puppets by Kev Howard.
‘FieldJournal’ takes visitors on a journey with a selection of characters that have been created from sketchbook to puppet, the exhibition has been funded by an Arts Council England DYCP grant.
Kim McDermottroe, from Billingham, is autistic and experiences pareidolia, “she sees faces everywhere which can be very intense for Kim who can experience an immediate connection with and empathy for the character peeping out from the knots in a tree or the marks on a path. If she sees one when she’s out and about (in a blotch on a pavement, or in the knots on a piece of wood for example) she filters it through her imagination and develops it into a character in her sketchbook.”
She sometimes struggles to know how to fit in the world, she invents characters and spends time in theirs. Kim has an immediate connection with and empathy for the characters she sees.
Although detailed, her illustrations don’t aim for hyper realistic “portraits” of the faces she sees, but rather they are a starting point of inspiration. What started as six-pages in an old book for a film project, is now a 109-page sketchbook of interesting and unusual characters.
Speaking of the exhibition Kim said: “Thanks to Arts Council England I have been given time to experiment and bring my characters off the page, to hold them and meet them proper. This has allowed me to reconnect with who I am as an artist and strengthen my artistic voice. The exhibition is about difference and vulnerability. The hybrid and weirdos, the overlooked and discounted become central, taking up space, prints curl off the walls. The trouser press, a tribute to my work in costume becomes a magical printer, artwork pushing out, rebelling and, again taking up space. Not flattened, no frames.
Perhaps in the white clinical gallery, rust and imperfection can become beautiful and the unusual can be accepted. I guess it’s autobiographical. Never feeling like I fit in, using a business name. I have been freelance since 2002 and worked commission to commission. Suddenly, it’s my own name on the wall and through the characters I am also taking up space. I am in good company with them”.
FieldJournal is on display until 24 December 2022. The artist is also available for artist talks about the work, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.