Present Tense

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Friday 26th January – Sunday 3rd March 2024

God's House Tower, Town Quay Road, Southampton, SO14 2NY

Present Tense

Present Tense is a new exhibition bringing together work by four artists in the ‘a space’ arts 2023 Turning Point Bursary programme: Suna Imre, Carrie Mason, Joshua Raffell and Alec Stevens. 

Over the last six months, the artists have undertaken a period of self-led artistic experimentation, development and risk-taking to push beyond existing boundaries within their practices and yield new ways of working. The Turning Point programme embraces ‘open ends’, creating valuable time and space for the development of artistic practice without the pressure to produce specific outcomes or ‘finished’ artwork. 

Present Tense is an exhibition of the artists’ work in the present moment, celebrating a playful and experimental approach to practice whilst also acknowledging the tension evident in the works on display.

The exhibition is on display at God’s House Tower from Friday 26th January until Sunday 3rd March 2024. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Content Warning: This exhibition contains artworks that include nudity and sexually explicit images.

About the Artists

Suna has a background in dance improvisation and embodied practices. She uses clay, found natural materials and her body to create works that highlight the fragility, temporality and beauty of existence. Her practice is intimately linked to wider ecological themes and a desire to articulate the interconnectedness between humankind and the natural world.

Carrie is interested in how we experience time. Her most recent body of work is a material exploration of the transformative powers of the sea. She uses metal and salt water to create artworks that evolve and develop over time, resulting in installations, sculptures and ink drawings made using the copper carbonate harvested through the process.

The Turning Point Bursary has allowed Joshua to experiment with clay and mosaic, mental illness and metamorphosis. His work is radical and polemical, pushing the boundaries of self in order to challenge ideas about power and repression, especially in relation to class, gender and sexuality. Joshua is interested in identity and how it is impacted by mental health, aspiration and conformity.

Alec’s practice fuses craft, drawing and critical thinking to unlock hidden or overlooked narratives, often leading to humous and playful works. For Present Tense, Alec is exhibiting a moving image work called Queer Bar Light Room. It’s an illustrative, animated piece that extends and explores queer fantasy visions, shaped by contributions from queer people from across the world.

Suna Imre Audio Description

Carrie Mason Audio Description

Joshua Raffell Audio Description 

Alec Stevens Audio Description


What Are They Up To Now?

Suna Imre

Suna is currently having a solo show at Le Sentiment des Choses in Paris:

« Listening to birdsong every morning has become a daily exercise in meditation », says painter and ceramic artist Suna Imre. Suna creates a « notation » of what she has heard in forms of art different from music, like painting, drawing or ceramics.

In doing so, she explores sound and silence and wishes to create a context that will make us aware of nature and earth. Her smoke fired « rock garden » pieces evoke an environment where the birds can settle, and bring also to mind the “dry gardens” from Japan.

Suna is also rolling more clay spheres in different landscapes and wants to find a way to fire them so they remain intact and hold the imprint of the journey. Building her own kiln may become a part of that investigation.

She is also a member of Studio Without Walls which consists of four Hampshire based women artists who support one another to create work in response to various outdoor sites, with ecology and sustainability at the heart of the groups ethos. They have just embarked on a year long project together.


Carrie Mason

Carrie is currently having a solo show at The Fine Foundation Gallery in Swanage, Dorset. The exhibition is called ‘Sea Change’ and brings together her research into the transformational effect of the sea and salt water on a wider range of materials. Some of the work from Present Tense exhibition will be included, but there will also be textiles and sculptures that have been transformed by rust and salt.

In the future she plans on continuing her work with copper and salt water and hopes to develop “The Cure” into a larger installation. She would also like to develop ways to incorporate water into future work.


Joshua Raffell

Joshua has recently completed a residency at ASPEX gallery in Portsmouth. He is currently working on a piece for the ASPEX summer show.


Alec Stevens

Alec is currently connecting with national and international curators in heritage locations via his suitcase tour. Within his suitcase he has made wooden minatory sculptures that refer to commissions spanning a ten year period that he will use to explain his highly narrative driven work. These conversations will lead to future collaborations and commissioned projects.

Book your free tickets for the launch event here