As a scholar and practitioner of different types of media that encompass traditional analogue processes to new media technologies Gavin Mottram maintains that, “in an age where contemporary media is increasingly something that is experienced sensually it is our responsibility to be critical of the techniques that are producing meaning today, amidst an increasingly consumerist modernity.”
Growing up in the nineties, Mottram developed a creatively productive relationship with ‘video’. He would constantly record material from television, mainly American Cinema, that he would watch and re-watch in conjunction with exploring ways of illustrating the scenarios he found most compelling through drawing, performance, and other inventive methods of re-enactment. It was only natural for him to become the spirited multimedia artist he is today.
“I suppose the title ‘multimedia artist’ implies flexibility, or ambiguous limitations. I am most compelled by things that skew traditional form, or that disobey or disband contours, and I desire to practice these values when creating something myself”.
Mottram made waves by applying these values last year at Gemini G.E.L., the renowned artists’ workshop and publisher of fine-art limited edition prints and sculptures. The gallery has collaborated with and published work by some of the most influential artists of the past 50 + years, such as Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, David Hockney, Vija Clemens, Bruce Nauman, and currently Richard Serra, Anne Hamilton, Tacita Dean and Julie Mehretu.
In addition to this, living in Los Angeles and being part of a diverse community of young experimental artists and filmmakers, contributing to contemporary, independent and forward thinking projects, Mottram has been inspired in his work, which has been screened at locations such as the Echo Park Film Center, an achievement that he is very proud of.
“The opportunity to screen work at the Echo Park Film Center is, to me, a great one, as the center is a hub for experimental filmmaking within the city of LA, dedicated to the practice of analogue filmmaking whilst at the same time being a space that supports innovations in new media. It is an inclusive organization committed to providing access to film/video resources to the local community, with a special focus on ‘at risk’ youth, but the center also has wider influence/impact that spans many territories” he said.
At the distinguished film center, Mottram screened a number of small interrelated experimental film/video works -16mm film, animation and digital media – that focus mainly on the relationship between the screen and subjective identity.
“My enduring interest is the notion of ‘subjectivity’ as a participant – voluntary and involuntary – of an economy of interrelated signifiers and technologies,” he said.
Mottram maintains that it is of great importance to pay attention to the relationships between the different forms of media, images, objects, technologies, that surround us, and to the manifestation of “ideologies” through popular media, into external realities.
Some of these cinematic works of art were evolutions of things he had been working on for years, and some were also the beginning of new work that he hopes to develop in the future.
“I had been generating the work slowly, as a collection of ideas, which allowed me to take the time to explore approaches and processes without any particular agenda or deadline but arranging the screening at EPFC required me to organize the work into some resolved/ presentable form. The opportunity to show work publicly is a valuable one, and having this deadline allowed me to achieve some progression of work that, up until that time had remained private and more like research. To show work to a group in a setting such as EPFC is extremely rewarding in receiving diverse feedback, and to remain involved in dialogue with peers and a wider network,” he said.
This year, Mottram has many artistic projects on the go, and hopes to continue showing his work to a wider audience. He feels blessed to have found himself part of a creative network where critical thinking and dialogue are the foundation, and believes that for anyone compelled to contribute, thoughtfully and creatively, in some way, to the world around them they try to do the same.
By John Michaels