Exhibition of work by MA Fine Art alumni Lucy Crouch and Matthew Vaughan opens in Sheffield

MA Fine Art alumni Lucy Crouch and Matthew Vaughan have teamed up to collaborate on Tracing Matter, a new exhibition which opened at GLOAM Gallery in Sheffield last week.

Lucy Crouch and Matthew Vaughan have been working together since late 2021 to explore a shared interest in the resonance of materials, having met as MA Fine Art students at the University of Leeds.

In their research, Crouch and Vaughan consider every aspect of a material’s history important. They are interested in the potential of charcoal, a traditional drawing material, as a resonant object and recognising drawing through and within material in its unfolding.

This new exhibition at GLOAM Gallery focuses on the qualities of charcoal; making large sculptural pieces of charcoal, pulling out the resonant sounds within charcoal and producing prints using charcoal as a print medium.

Tracing Matter also addresses Crouch and Vaughan’s interest in how the culture of charcoal production, once very common, has left a mark in the landscape over the time.  All of the charcoal used in the work on display in the exhibition is made from waste pieces of oak timber.

Installation photo of sculptures by Lucy Crouch and Matthew Vaughan in Gloam Gallery, Sheffield.

Lucy Crouch and Matthew Vaughan, Charcoal sculpture, speakers, prints. Tracing Matter exhibition, Gloam Gallery, September 2023. Photo by Lucy Crouch.

Lucy Crouch is an artist based in Leeds. Lucy is in her second year of a practice-led PhD in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, having studied MA Fine Art at the University of Leeds and BA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Her PhD research focuses on exploring drawing through and within materials, paying attention to drawing as gesture and action, to its physical substance and the quality of materials. Lucy said:

“The concept of drawing is the subject of my work, which encompasses drawings with paper, print and spatial installations. For me, drawing lies in the imprint, the trace of an action, evidence of two materials touching, and may be non-human.

“Through explorative play with materials my expanded drawing practice focuses on how the drawn gesture is embedded within natural materials and processes, paying attention to the physical substance of drawing and qualities of materials.”

Installation shot of charcoal sculpture and charcoal prints on paper in Gloam Gallery, Sheffield

Lucy Crouch and Matthew Vaughan, Charcoal sculpture, charcoal prints on paper. Tracing Matter exhibition, Gloam Gallery, 2023. Photo by Lucy Crouch.

Matthew Vaughan is a Leeds-based artist, musician and carpenter. His practice explores emerging material relationships and the threshold of human and more than human agencies. Matthew studied BA Fine Art at De Montfort University before completing an MA Fine Art at the University of Leeds. Matthew said: 

“My practice is centred around exploring the physicality of sound with a specific interest in resonance, and the eaffect of vibration on materiality. 

“I work predominantly in sculpture and multimedia installations with materials that are still in a process of change. These pieces tend to be staging grounds for exploring the material relationships that emerge, using sound as a way of perceiving those relationships.”

Sculpture of charcoal by Matthew Vaughan and Lucy Crouch

Matthew Vaughan and Lucy Crouch, Sculpture with Charcoal. Project Space, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds, 2021. Photo by Lucy Crouch.

Crouch and Vaughan explain how they began to collaborate with their art two years ago: 

“We came together through a shared curiosity about materials as active more-than human agents, with both of our practices being influenced by New Materialist theories. 

“Lucy's interest in the idea of sound as drawing — the action of drawing being in the vibrations that make up sound — overlaps with Matt’s teasing out of inherent sounds from within a material.”  

The exhibition opened at Sheffield’s GLOAM Gallery with a private view on Friday 1 September, before opening to the public on Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 September as part of Sheffield Showcase Festival.

Tracing Matter will be open on Saturdays from 12 to 4pm (or by appointment) until 24 September.

Find out more about the exhibition. 

Feature image

Close-up image of small pieces of charcoal. Courtesy of Lucy Crouch.