Artist Euphrosyne Andrews’ cross-disciplinary practice highlights the “functionality and familiarity of the everyday”
Taking influence from arts and crafts as well as architecture, the London-based artist’s practice is founded on a deep understanding of fine art and applied arts practices.
- Lucy Bourton
- 22 September 2021
There are multiple components executed across the practice of London-based artist Euphrosyne Andrews. From paintings to publications, sculpture and plenty of print work, each component of the artist’s practice is often driven by her own excitement for “processes that blur distinctions between the fine and applied arts,” she tells It’s Nice That. At the root of her practice is often an everyday object or sighting – a net curtain in a window maybe, or the neat structure of laid brickwork – together creating pieces which both appreciate and communicate “spaces where the hand meets the machine, and where artwork becomes product.”
This practice first began at Glasgow School of Art where Euphrosyne could mostly be found using the art school’s technical facilities. While studying, it was mainly traditional editioning processes she developed, such as silkscreen, etching and lithography, as well as textile processes, specifically dyeing, weaving and knitting techniques. To match this variety of disciplines to execute her ideas, the artist’s influences are equally vast. First is architecture, where Euphrosyne finds herself drawn again to everyday moments, specifically considering how “our spatial relationships are dictated by the materials and architecture we interact with,” she explains. She also has an archive of research imagery, which she collated over eight years. These saved moments influence the artist’s work “directly through colours and compositions, but also indirectly in the context of the buildings or spaces photographed and their positioning in society.”
The next encapsulating influence in her work is the detail within individual pieces of decorative arts and crafts. Particularly fond of pieces in their expanded form, “from vases to textile design to ornamental mouldings,” this fascination was also sparked while at the Royal Drawing School. She would often draw from the collections of the John Soane Museum, the V&A, and the British Museum, and the artist further became “interested in the intersections between art and design within the history of decorative arts,” she says. For example, the interwar Czech design movement Krazna Jizba, “translated as The Beautiful Room,” is often a source of inspiration for its encapsulation of “the promotion and sales of homeware products designed by artists,” she explains, “such as dining sets, rugs, furnishing textiles and so on, placing emphasis on functionality and aesthetic appearance together with affordability.”
With these two multifaceted influences in mind, Euphrosyne today describes her work “as an exploration of our relationship to materials, in the context of our surroundings and associated behaviours.” Since moving to London six years ago, this exploration has presented itself in numerous ways; from her paintings to a recently published work by Foolscap Editions, The Minerva Estate. An apt example of the artist putting into action this interest in the public’s relationship with architecture, the publication presents a collection of drawn proposals taken from an on-going project with Tower Hamlets Community Housing. Each drawing a shaded observational drawing, they present “the increasingly important role of communal and shared spaces to elicit social interaction,” notes the publisher.
As mentioned, another key area of Euphrosyne’s practice, and how we became introduced to her work, is painting. It’s actually a more recent addition to her output, having only developed over the past year in line with reduced access to her studio and usual production facilities. As a result, large, spray-painted canvases “have become a more refined aspect of my practice,” she says. This time nature becomes a more direct influence, as opposed to man or machine-made pieces. And each painting is an individual colour study driven by what Euphrosyne reacts to in a new surrounding “as a first initial response”. It’s not too much of a stretch from her usual themes though, as the artist points out: “Many of the fields of interest within my practice, such as textile design or decorative art practices, draw influence from the natural world around us. I like how this situates a piece of work in a particular time or location, traced back via the flora depicted.”
The result, as we point out to the artist, is a body of work which induces a serene sense of calm on each viewer, an element “not intentional directly,” Euphrosyne adds, “but when I think about their role in my practice as schematic drawings – a colour study that may evolve into a pleated textile or furnishing fabric, then there is an indirect intention in that.” After all, “it is a long-established human instinct to bring the natural world into our domestic spaces through the fabrics, decorative ornaments and colours that we choose, for precisely that calming effect.” As spray-painted pieces, these paintings sound just as calming to create as they are “made in an intuitive manner,” the artist points out. “This is quite unlike a lot of other processes within my practice which require quite a lot of precision or planning, so they also serve as an outlet in some ways!”
Looking to the future, there are numerous cross-disciplinary projects from Euphrosyne’to keep an eye out for. First is the launch of a new project with KARST gallery in Plymouth where the artist has been commissioned to create a permanent, functional public sculpture “that will be integrated into the architecture of the gallery,” she tells us. “The sculpture adopts the curtain as a central design motif, exploring the ways that curtains embody our experience of domestic and public spaces,” referencing the object as “an archetypal design element of public space (theatre, town hall etc).” As well as the sculpture, Euphrosyne is working towards a solo show at the space, corresponding to a publication that shall launch in March 2022.
Closer to home in London, the artist is also working with Holly Froy’s new exhibition box on the canal towpath in Haggerston. Inspired by a public noticeboard, Euphrosyne’s contribution again references this sentiment of shared space within cities, through a series of prints and drawings that shall be presented as a pinboard. Showing no signs of slowing down her wide-ranging practice any time soon, one element that will continue as a mainstay and highly relatable aspect in her work is always “the functionality and familiarity of the everyday.”
Euphrosyne Andrews: 12 Shaft Twill, risograph edition (Copyright © Euphrosyne Andrews, 2021)
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.