May Hands creates sculptural paintings and installations using collected organic materials and discarded synthetic objects from her daily life, digesting and responding to her immediate environment. At the core of her practice is an engagement with the rituals and trends of consumer consumption, along with observing the transitioning of natural cycles, such as the seasons. She places importance on capturing the essence and sensuality of her surroundings, not just through the material objects she finds, but also through reflection upon the moment and its specific situation.
There is an economy to her work that is deeply informed by seeking to minimise consumption and waste, through re-use and recycling in both her life and practice. Reflecting upon qualities of the things that we consume, such as their design and utility, set against aspects of the natural and wild opens up questions of how society constructs and articulates value and desire. She aims to imbue in her work a sense of fragility, tactility, awareness and sustainability.
May Hands (b. 1990) graduated from Camberwell College of Arts (UAL), London, 2013 and is currently undertaking a MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, London. Her work was recently exhibited at: Supplement, London (2018); BACO, Bergamo (2015); T293, Rome (2015). In 2018 she was artist in residence at Bosse & Baum, London.
Platform Foundation Asks
Who is your artistic hero? There are many artistic people who I admire, there isn’t just one. To name just a few: Agnes Martin, Henri Matisse, Alexandra Bircken, Howard Hodgkin, Sarah Sze, and Joan Jonas.
Which work of art you wished you owned? I could happily live with a painting by Howard Hodgkin.What is the most indispensable item in your studio? I keep a folder that I call ‘Fragments’, which contains all my recent finds and things that might be used in artworks I am working on at that time.
Describe your studio in three words: Textured, experimental and abundant.
Do you collect anything? I collect many things; my practice relies on a constant supply of found materials and leftovers e.g. perfume cards, sugar packets, shopping lists, fruit net bags, napkins, ribbons, ropes, magazine adverts, flowers, seeds, onion skins and shopping bags.
What kind of music do you listen to while you work? I don’t always listen to music as I make, sometimes I prefer silence, a podcast or even talking to myself. Albums I have been listening to recently in the studio include: ‘Music For Airports’ by Brian Eno, ‘Post’ by Bjork, and ‘20th Century Women (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)’.