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  • Writer's pictureBen Browton

The way of the Glove...

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

The genesis of my most recent artwork, Gloveliness, was in June 2022. A development from the photowork I made in March 2022 called 'Fancy'.

In April 2022, I had come across amazing vintage ceramic rubber glove moulds on the internet. I became interested by the industrial process utilised to manufacture the humble rubber glove. I wanted one of these moulds for my studio. However, the prices for the vintage glove moulds were way out of my budget, and to use an old expression of mine;

"If you can't make it, buy it. If you can't buy it, make it"

I decided to try to make a facsimile larger-than-life specifically left-hand rubber glove. I would construct it from the studio technique I have developed, that of adding extra strong rabbit skin glue to the commercial modelling clay known as 'Das' and applying it gradually over a wire and polystyrene armature, allowing time between layers for the clay to dry out as I built up the shape and form. I started work on this endeavour in early-June 2022, following the death of my father & the attendant grieving period. I began the preparatory work to create an oversized left-handed rubber glove;

However, by mid-July, my creativity & my mental processes led me in other directions in my studio, leading to the making of 'Homage To The Sperm', 'Gland'and the nascent work 'Mixed Fortunes'. Plus an extended time doing paid contract work to keep the wolf from the studio door. I thus abandoned the rubber glove project for a while.

Concurrently-ish, I had, in October 2022, made a large-size Luncharm from hardened modelling clay.

My life & my art took an unexpected turn around Christmas 2022, when I received an invitation from Galeria Azur to represent some of my work and be part of a forthcoming exhibition 'Pantone' in Madrid, leading to a period of putting a portfolio together, administration and investigating shipping options. This oportunity led to two wonderful trips to the Spanish capital in February and April 2023.

In April, out of the blue, I received another invitation from a Sennor Momo Puente to exhibit my work in a brand new gallery, Pitijopos in Cadiz. Momo invited me to choose 3 artworks for the exhibition 'Beginning" to be held in June 2023. Around this time I had been fiddling in my studio, and I hit upon the idea of placing the unfinished Luncharm atop the unfinished glove. Serendipity! Perfect for Pitijopos!

Having decided to commit to this, I entered an intense period of working on finishing the surfaces of the two parts and adding further material elements.

I had futher considerations to take into account, namely that I would be shipping this artwork to Spain on a limited budget, and therefore I needed to ensure the work would be safe in transit. To save space, I decided to make the work assemblable: I inserted a threaded steel rod to the interior of the hollow glove section so this section could be secured into the base section...

Having completed this, I decided to add a further element to the artwork. I had toyed with the idea of adding some sort of sleeve that the glove emerges from. I had a brainwave, and zoomed out of my studio to search for what I wanted in the numerous charity shops in Bexhill. As luck would have it, I found what I needed in the first charity shop; a black man's suit jacket. Back in my studio, I cut off the left-hand sleeve. On my next visit to my studio, I brought with me 3 orange plastic buttons acquired from my local haberdashery shop, and I set about completing this element of the work. I used more of the suit jacket fabric to cover the base.

Lastly, I applied the final finishes: I used a satin finish acrylic varnish on the orange glove section, and used 23.5 carat gold leaf on the Luncharm and the stem part of the Chinese plastic display orange. Almost a year after the original conception, the work was complete. And I decided to keep the working title I had conceived in 2022, being 'GLOVELINESS'.

This artwork featured in the exhibition 'COMIENZO' at Pitijopos Gallery, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain. Exhibition ran from 17th to 30th June. My grateful thanks to Momo Puente, director of Pitijopos for inviting me to send my works over from the UK for this wonderful opportunity.

I also exhibited my works 'Spoon-fed'2022, and 'Funny face' 2012 within the 'COMIENZO' exhibition.

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