Sam Metz: Making Solid Unpredictable Bodies, Press Release

Exhibition until 14 August


Latest exhibition from Sam Metz and The Art House, Wakefield translates the experiences and uncontrolled movements of disabled and neurodivergent bodies through a new series of thought-provoking sculptures, drawings, and animations.

The Art House (TAH) in Wakefield is delighted to present the most comprehensive solo exhibition by
Yorkshire-based artist Sam Metz. Making Solid: Unpredictable Bodies features new and exciting site-specific works, alongside a developing series from the artist’s ongoing project that asks us all to reflect on the presence and movement of neurodivergent bodies in society. Using sculpture, drawing, animation and film, the artist presents, and challenges, the concept of sculptural forms the artist calls ‘choreographic objects; and their relationship to disability, the body, and neurodivergence.

Crucially, Making Solid: Unpredictable Bodies questions how a disabled body’s presence can push the boundaries of social “norms”. Metz translates their personal experience of being a disabled, neurodivergent artist with sensory processing differences and Tourette’s into an installation that explores non-traditional descriptions of bodies; challenging the societal conventions that often actively seek to exclude them.

Bringing together drawing, sculpture, and movement in their work, Metz captures a range of ‘interruptions’, ‘aberrations’, and uncontrolled actions, such as tics, of disabled bodies, and investigates how they can show these movements visually through art.

Drawing is an important part of the artist’s practice and personal life. Included in the exhibition is a series of large charcoal and ink drawings, seen displayed on the wall for the first time. Metz uses these drawings as a form of stimming (a process commonly used by autistic and neurodivergent people to self-regulate their emotions using repetitive movements or sounds to manage feelings of being overwhelmed or to express joy).

Metz says: My drawings are very often monochromatic. I have a heightened awareness of pattern and contrast. The drawings enact compulsions or tics. This gives them a material manifestation through trace. Drawing gives me a release. The shapes seem to reproduce the movements of my tics well. The line as compulsion, the mark as its evidence”.

Created especially for TAH, the artist has extended their drawings off the paper, and scaled them up
directly onto the gallery walls. Torso Twist (2022) is a brand-new wall drawing which replicates the
distorted movements of a human torso, and marks the first time the artist has worked site-specifically in this way.

Using malleable materials, their sculpture attempts to replicate uncontrolled twists and movements of some disabled bodies. Central to the gallery are the sculptural forms Thumb Piano I and II (2021). Made from plywood, the artist manipulates and interconnects the works into gravity defying structures that bring to mind the human skeleton – contorted into seemingly impossible forms.

Metz often collaborates with dancers and choreographers to recreate the performative movements in their sculptures. The performances are captured in film and often reinterpreted as animations before being projected back onto the distorted surfaces of the objects within the gallery.

Upon entering the gallery, visitors are greeted with Glitch (2022), a new low sculptural work that
incorporates light technology. Created in collaboration with artist Daniel Dearing, this is Metz’ first work to include moving LED lighting, programmed to replicate the sensory glitches of the bodies of some disabled people.

The artist is committed to collaboration and supporting other disabled creatives, Metz has created a limited edition of 20 Giclée prints of an original drawing entitled Drawing as Stimming (2022). Exclusively produced for the exhibition, Metz’ first signed edition is only available at The Art House Shop and Online >. All profits will generously be donated to support future residencies with disabled artists.

Since being founded in 1994, TAH’s mission has been to support artists who face barriers to practice due to a range of personal and societal reasons and are subsequently underrepresented in arts programming. The organisation continues to champion diversity incontemporary visual arts practice through its exciting programme for 2022, which also sees artist alabamathirteen showcase her first solo exhibition in the Tiled Gallery.

On display until 17 July 2022, [on becoming a ghost…] uses sculpture, sound, photography, and film to create a narrative that addresses the impact of isolation and exclusion from society often faced by disabled people. A largely self-taught artist from Leeds, alabamathirteen’s practice focuses on the barriers she experiences while navigating and negotiating the spaces that she occupies as a disabled, working-class woman.

In a first for TAH, the exhibitions will also be made available as a high-quality virtual reality experience, allowing those who are unable to visit in person the opportunity to explore both artists’ work from anywhere in the world.

Inspired by the powerful subject matter of both Metz’ and alabamathirteen’s practice, and launched to coincide with the exhibitions, TAH has introduced a new service offering free private view appointments to anyone who is unable to visit during standard opening hours. The service is designed to be covid-safe and offer maximum access accommodations to visitors who otherwise find themselves excluded from visual arts spaces.

For more information and to book a private view visit our Access Page >


Sam Metz: Making Solid – Unpredictable Bodies

The Main Gallery at The Art House

18 June 2022 – 14 August 2022


Alabamathirteen: [on becoming a ghost…]

The Tiled Gallery at The Art House

25 May-17 July 2022

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