Nicole Zaaroura

Electro Studios Project Space
12 – 16 October 2022
5 Seaside Rd, Saint Leonards-on-sea, TN38 0AL
Open 11-5pm Daily
PV Friday 14 October 6 – 8pm – All welcome
Artist Talks Sunday 16 October 2 – 4 pm

Participants: Lauris Morgan-Griffiths  |  Justine Devenney  |  Alexander Brattell  |  Anne Mason  |  Sophie De Roe  |  Clare Hocter  |  Marybeth Haas  |  Roz Cran  |  Richard Butchins  |  Jude Montague  |  Sinéid Codd  |  Nicole Zaaroura  |  Alexandra Vacaroiu  |  Caoimhe McDonnell  |  Alison Bettles  |  Neale Willis  |  Agness Clark  |  Patricia Webb  |  Sharon Haward  |  Luiza Machado

Image: © Nicole Zaaroura
Curator: Alison Bettles
Information: Electro Studios Project Space

If normal was to be defined as a conformity of situation that neither exceeds nor lessens one’s expectation then, what is normal is what complies with our subjective sense of familiarity. The phrase back to normal was and still is a familiar expression repeatedly used during the recent and on-going pandemic, referring to a certain code of conducts, social interactions and a peculiar situation we are all part of. It assumes its meaning in a collective societal agreement of shared expectations. What may have been strange is now rendered accustomed to and a sense of returning.

Bringing together photographic, moving image and sculptural form this exhibition is an observation exploring the themes associated around the definition of normality as an ideal life, a provided standard, something safe, familiar, and comfortable.

Image Gallery

Agness Clark

Agness Clark

Title: Living in a Bubble
2022, Digital print

This work explores the inner conversation between my two big passions; photography and painting. In these compositions I digitally collaborate elements of photography and images of my paintings to give the pieces a distinguished three-dimensional visual effect, working with rich, vibrant colours, overlapping layers and textures. Sometimes my compositions may appear chaotic and garish, occasionally dark and distressing.

The project reflects my personal moments and the direct correlation to every day emotional experiences.  As such my art is spontaneous, intuitive and allows me almost unlimited freedom of creative expression. I want to stimulate the viewer to reach their own conclusions about what the symbolism of my work may represent.

Information: Agness Clark

Alison Bettles

Alison Bettles

2022, Digital photograph on Kozo paper

People are inextricably linked to the environmental landscape relating, interacting, mapping, framing or shaping their explorations. These images are a documentation and observation of human-nature activities.

The ephemeral, performative and sculptural constructions made with simple materials of sticks and branches have become a common sighting in the forests of late. A similar formula is used to build each one that acts as den, home or a means of protection. Inevitably collapsing they are built again in a different fragile form.

These transitory arrangements and interactions become the foundations of an act for image making using manipulation and photography to create my own connection with the structures and landscape echoing a reciprocal action. Using a grid layout they recall the layout of images on a smartphone emphasising the idea of the snapshot whilst passing through the landscape.

Information: Alison Bettles

Clare Hocter

Clare Hocter

Title: Back to Normal
2022, Digital photograph

Emma Claughton, Mary Murphy, Emma Millie, and Annabelle Mather head out for the 2022 ‘Frock up Friday’ Festival in Hastings.
Frock up Friday began as a Facebook group founded by Bevali Francis and Susan Simms – aka ‘The Mother Frockers’ Formed in response to the Covid 19 lockdown,

‘Frock up Friday’ is now a world-wide community with over 14,000 members.

Information: Clare Hocter

Lauris Morgan-Griffiths

Lauris Morgan-Griffiths

Dreams of Getting back out there
2022, Digital photograph

I am always drawn to shadows and reflection. Lockdown coexisting, for me, in dreams, hope and shadows. I have portrayed that through shoes – taking a part of shoes for a dream journey of what life would or could be like after lockdown; socialising, dancing, hope and slight trepidation about whether to go out into the world or stay at home.

Shadowy hints of darkness, uncertainty and trepidation about safety remain. There is a relief about getting back into the community although confidence in the every day has been somewhat eroded.

Information: Lauris Morgan-Griffiths

Neale Willis

Neale Willis

The fastest services can get you there in as little as 1 hour 22 minutes
3155 51°11’31.04” N 0°15’55.87” E 26.9 m
2022, UV print on Dibond

Valid only for travel via (changing trains or passing through) Haywards Heath. Not valid for travel on the Southeastern high speed services between London St Pancras, Stratford, Ebbsfleet, Gravesend and Ashford stations, but valid on all other permitted routes between the named origin and destination.

Information: Neale Willis

Richard Butchins

Richard Butchins

The Death of Love
2021-2022, Digital photograph

Love is a much-vaunted feeling, but dies quickly in many cases it is like a cut flower It blooms but is destined to wither and die. It is strange that we give dying flowers to people as a token of love, don’t you think?  One wouldn’t give someone the severed head of a kitten as a token of esteem. In this picture is St Lazarus traditionally the man whom Jesus raised from the dead the myth says he became a missionary to Gaul, and the first bishop of Marseilles then had his head chopped off (no coming back from that)…he was the patron saint of lepers and outcasts.

Information: Richard Butchins

Sinéid Codd

Sinéid Codd

Gathering Skies
2022, digital photogragh

Curiosity, play and experimentation drive my practice, which encompasses photography; found, made and collected objects and painting; often brought together in assemblages and installations that invite inquisitiveness.

Information: Sinéid Codd

Alexander Brattell

Alexander Brattell

Title: From Simple Pictures 2022
Tate Modern, Silver gelatin print

The word ‘normal’ comes from the Latin for ‘a carpenter’s square’: a tool with which to make things ‘true’.

Galileo divided the world into the things that could be measured and so were objective and real, and all the other unmeasurable things which then became less real, subjective, existing only in the mind. This way of thinking has endured because it is practical and useful, however its dominance causes confusion about the relationship between truth and reality. This opacity decentres our own experience and mutes our agency. When this happens we become lost and can no longer find the way in.

Information: Alexander Brattell

Anne Mason

Anne Mason

From the series Refurb, A Pandemic Project
2021-2022, Digital photographs

My images centre around the ‘non-essential’ shops and businesses in the North Laine  and Lanes area of Brighton, as they prepare to get back to normal in Spring, 2021. After months of lockdown, shopkeepers and small business owners busily refurbish their premises, some working day and night in anticipation of the grand re-opening, announced for 12 April. Some shops appear to have closed down, but there are promising signs and sounds of work inside.

Underlying the hive of activity there is a positive mood, relief to have survived the economic hardship and hopeful anticipation of the day when doors can finally open to the public.

Information: Anne Mason

Jude Montague

Jude Montague

From the series Saules Spirits – Saint Antonia
2022, Cyanotype

These modern cyanotype portraits tap into the psychic presence of the subject. They are created by sunlight, and Saule is the Latvian sun goddess reflecting my love of singing Latvian folk songs and the pagan idea of divinity in the material.

Information: Jude Montague

Luiza Machado

Luiza Machado

Prodigal 1
2022, Digital collage

Woman at Sea was made in 2020, during the pandemic and when isolation led me to look inside, the house and myself. The sea was one of the few places we could go. We live with it now.

Back to normal came with alterations. My home has changed. Prodigal 1 was born of this change.

Information: Luiza Machado

Nicole Zaaroura

Nicole Zaaroura

From the series: A Rehearsal for Repair 3-2-1
2022, Digital photograph

Where the space cracks and time loops, the body asks questions that may never be answered… a tender space.

touch/hope/risk/taste/volatile whispers/ no back/ no normal/ ever.

This work is part of ongoing research into the gesture of ‘tender space’ and its relationship to the architecture of loss, absence and presence.

Information: Nicole Zaaroura

Roz Cran

Rosamund Cran

From the series: Making for Home, (Battle, Fairlight, Frant, Eastbourne, Lewes, London, St. Leonards on Sea, Woodingdean)
2022, Digital photograph

Is normal a good place to be? Is the familiar normal? Is normal safe? Is normal absurd?  Is absurd normal?  Backwards or forwards?

Rabbits walk towards their family homes. Do they seek normality, comfort, familiarity, a retreat or a base from which to proceed, a safe place to generate new ideas? Is home a safe place to be?  A creative place to be?  Might they become rabbit pie? 

Warren can be the name of the burrows that rabbits build for themselves and in which they live their lives or it can refer to the structures or pillow mounds built by people for centuries in which to breed rabbits for food and fur.  

Surprisingly most towns still have a Warren Road, Close, Drive, Avenue or Hill.

Series to be continued.

Information: Rosamund Cran

Alexandra Vacaroiu - I'm Still Here

Alexandra Vacaroiu

I’m Still Here

When my dad died of cancer 2 weeks after I gave birth I was left traumatised by not being able to say goodbye and him not being able to meet the baby. After 3 years of pandemic, I finally managed to go back to homeland and turn the house upside down, looking for a proof of goodbye from him. My grieving process took an unexpected turn, as I started looking through family albums and decided to recreate my dad’s life story through a mix of old and new images, getting my children to re enact certain moments or details from his life.

Information: Alexandra Vacaroiu

Caoimhe McDonnell

Caoimhe McDonnell

I am a Biological Machine
2022, Digital print

These pieces are an expansion of an ongoing examination of phenomenological female experience and were originally created partly as a response to the overturning of Roe vs Wade in the US. This change came in June 2022, just as many of us began to feel the relief of the lifting of covid restrictions.
Returning to how things were presents an opportunity to examine our normal. The highlighting of an increased risk to women experiencing violence in their homes at the start of the pandemic has abated, leaving us to return to the normality of 1.6 million women aged between 16 and 74 who experience domestic abuse, or the killing of 81 women in domestic homicides (ONS, Crime Survey for England & Wales, March 2020).

In Iran, 40 years of normality are being challenged, following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old was arrested by morality police for wearing her hijab too loosely. Police say that Mahsa died of a heart attack, witnesses say she was severely beaten.

These works are presented in her memory and in the hope that we can strive for new normality’s where women are safe and free.

Information: Caoimhe McDonnell

Justine Devenney

Justine Devenney

Goal: Hastings, April 2022
2022, Digital photograph

I try and capture everyday fleeting moments – the absurd, the poetic and the poignant. Post lockdown my work has often questioned what does ‘back to normal’ actually mean.

One year on from the leak at Bulverhythe, Southern Water are still dumping raw sewage into our seas forcing beaches to close and red flags are a familiar sight. There was a real poignancy in seeing the number of children taking part the Clean Water Action Group protest. After two years of restrictions, they had a right to be angry at yet another freedom being curtailed. In direct contrast a week after these protests I was in Denmark. I was struck by the ease with which an elderly couple walked hand in hand in their towelling robes to the end of the pier towards the lifeguard tower. Without any fear or hesitation, they disrobed and jumped confidently into the clean sea.

I often take images of ‘play’ – ‘Goal’ shows two boys playing in middle of the road by a usually busy crossing – the road is often closed for seemingly endless repairs. The absence of traffic and their sense of freedom reminded me of the eerie quietness of lockdown.

Information: Justine Devenney

Marybeth Haas

Marybeth Haas

What Lies Beneath the Mask
2022, Multiple exposed digital photograph

The phrase ‘back to normal’ evokes deep reflection for me and what arises most powerfully are the questions, ‘what is normal?’, and ‘is this so-called ‘normal’ what we really want to be?’ The covid situation unfolding over the last few years has revealed deeper layers of how unhealthy some of our perceived ‘normal’ ways have been, for ourselves and the Earth, for example, over-consumption and abuse of resources at the expense of our fellow humans and our home planet’s ecosystems; it has also highlighted how the power of fear can magnify our experience of separation from ourselves, nature, and each other. This made me realise with a new clarity that fear is not our natural or ‘normal’ state. And, when we seek permission from outside ourselves simply to be human then we have allowed ourselves to be consumed by pathological fear, beyond the survival instinct which keeps us safe from actual harm. This pervasive fear has been conditioned by our so called ‘culture’. It is hard to notice and question because it has been ‘normalised’, and we allow it to dominate us at the expense of our quality of life and the wellbeing of all beings.

The work I include in this exhibition explores the above reflections and my experience of myself as nature. I am also imagining with great optimism, all humans waking up to this reality and in so doing, finding peace within themselves, and the courage to turn away from fear and towards what is truly human and truly normal:  open hearted connection, care, kindness, love, forgiveness, harmony with all life. My relationship with nature has been a powerful healer of the pathological fear within me and I invite others to reflect on these things and see what they find for themselves. 

Information: Marybeth Haas

Patricia Webb

Patricia Webb

From the series: Off the Bike – On the Bike
2022, Digital photographs

What are your assumptions about the women who ride motorbikes?

‘Before you assume, try asking’. Anon

I am involved in a project showing women on their motorbikes in protective clothing and off them, in their work or leisure clothes. Here I photographed four women who rode from various counties to Hastings to help me illustrate how different we look both on and off our bikes. How assumptions can be so wrong and dangerous.

You can decide if your assumptions were correct.

Together, out there, having a ball.

Information: Patricia Webb

PhotoHastings Member

Sharon Haward

Image coming soon

A glimpse can lead to a shift in perception, a sudden sense of being unsure of what is being shown, a disruption of what is known. These images suggest an intense domestic rendez vous, where there is an appeal to the sense of touch and to sight. These manipulated photographs are based on close encounters of a material kind at a chateau in Sacy and a villa in Oslo..

Information: Sharon Haward

Sophie De Roe

Sophie De Roe

Battle Road Arches
2022, Giclee print on Di-bond

Battle Road lies on the outskirts of town, run down, misused, and overlooked for both private and public investment. The road has high crime rates, low social mobility, and poor outcomes for its residents. Population increases alongside the wider gentrification of the two points it connects, followed by a pandemic which crippled smaller local businesses have all changed both the perception of Battle Road and how it has been utilised over the years.  

The trajectory of Battle Road may lie in the hands of both local & national governments, but it is the residents that hold the key to Battle Road’s past, present & future. Absent from the photographs but visible through trace presence, the unity and togetherness of the community shines out at those who take the time to notice it.

Information: Sophie De Roe

Supported By

Electro Studios Project Space
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