The John Calcutt Critical Writing prize, RSA New Contemporaries

Painting & Printmaking School of Fine Art

Jemimah Vaughan (She/Her)

Jemimah Vaughan is a maker of images and objects with her fingers in many different pies.

Vaughan’s practice concerns an obsession with colour, texture and form. She is intuitively guided by her enjoyment of surface through the act of collage. By hammer and hand, Vaughan moves nimbly between mediums, with a deep investment in the physical qualities and histories of labour evident in each. This lively action of collaging mirrors the act of setting a table for a meal. Each work laying the tablecloth for the next visual feast.

In giving a power to the inherent craftsmanship of small rituals and proponents of daily life, objects of the mundane, a coffee pot, stool or pan, become regular characters through their perpetual appearances. Using simplified shape structures, Vaughan examines her reoccurring subjects inside playfully controlled boundaries.


Setting the Table
Flowers in Vase, Window Installation

Setting the Table

A loud voice bellows from the bottom of the staircase. Calling your name they demand that you “come set the table!”.

Setting the Table is a love letter to craftsmanship. It is an exploration of my own specification as an artist and a consideration of how that role historically sits alongside being a maker. Through craft-based skills such as metalworking and sewing, the work considers the similarities between a chore and the institutional act of painting.

In Setting the Table, I collate together a series of paintings and art-objects by a process of collaging. Visually, I am informed by compositions of household objects such as the table, the chair and moreover what is found atop those surfaces. Much like a magpie, I’m drawn to the forms of both decorative and functional items – from ornaments to tools. I construct the work through an act of layering, expanding collage beyond just paper to a material enquiry of steel, paint and fabric.

Overview of 'Setting the Table'

Hand-cut assembled steel, 136 x 209 x 40cm
Hand-cut steel fork, 43 x 7cm

Otago Street Kitchen

Oil bar, acrylic, paper and canvas collage on canvas, 180 x 150cm
For Sale: Price on Request

Chairs and Tablecloth

Acrylic on cotton and canvas, 180 x 150cm
For Sale: Price on Request

Untitled Tablecloth

Canvas offcut patchwork, 150 x 120cm
For Sale: Price on Request

Flowers in Vase, Window Installation

The arched window of the fourth floor of the Stow College hosts a site-specific painting.

‘Flowers in Vase’ is a painting as an object, a painting as a curtain and a temporal painting that will disappear. A patchwork painting, a humdrum daily household object that surprises and appears with a fold and a shuffle.

Sunlight illuminates the seams of the fabric, creating drawing-like marks within the work. The light acts as a collaborator to the material, the overall effect being similar to a stained-glass window. Interested in the interplay between decoration and functionality, this fabric piece is simultaneously composed as a painting and designed to be robust and comforting when folded, wrapped and thrown.

Flowers in Vase

Patchworked cotton and canvas, 230 x 200cm