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Photography (MA)

Nicole Burnay

I am a London based visual artist interested in experimental processes, particularly within photography. My work explores different forms of abstraction incorporating sustainable methodologies and a variety of materials found within a domestic setting.


2023 Royal College of Art, MA Photography

2021 Royal College of Art, Graduate Diploma Fine Art

1990 Staffordshire University, BA(Hons) Modern Studies

Upcoming :

Off_RCA, Arles 2023 (Atelier ALonso, Arles, France (3rd-9th July)

RCA Graduate Show 2023, Truman Brewery, London, UK (13th-16th July)

Previous Exhibitions:

2023 Royal College of Art, Third Floor Exhibition, London, UK

2023 The Margate School, Transmutation Exhibition, Margate, UK

2023 National Justice Museum, Freedom Exhibition, Nottingham, UK

2023 Glasgow Photography Gallery, Colour Exhibition, Glasgow, UK

2022 Royal College of Art, Work in Progress Show, London, UK

2021 Hoxton 253 Gallery, White City: Constructing for the Uninhabited, London, UK

Black figure swimming against a blue background
Neither one thing nor another; or maybe both; or neither here nor there; or may even be nowhere….and at the very least ‘betwixt and between’ all the recognised fixed points in space-time of structural classificationVictor Turner, The Ritual Process

My current practice uses the Chemigram process, a camera-less photographic technique that is difficult to define. It sits somewhere between painting (gestural mark making), printmaking (use of resists) and photography (chemistry).

In my work the process of making is as important as the final outcome. My practice takes place in my home, a domestic space where the kitchen becomes a lab, the bathroom a dark room and the bedroom a workspace. I use materials that are to hand, from my cupboards, such as honey, hair gel, glue or toothpaste and make my own plant based developer from food waste. This is a practice very much engaged with materiality and sustainibility.

I am essentially self-sufficient, being less reliant on specialist equipment or materials. It is a ‘make do and mend’ type of production that speaks to the marginalised artists of the past who could only make art with what was available to them. A way of making borne out of necessity that was often denigrated or dismissed as ‘women’s craft’.

The images are abstract and intentionally non-representational, they resist more conventional or traditional forms of representation particularly within the discipline of photography. They are a material manifestation of the ‘in-between’, both celebrating free expression and a refusal to be defined either by gender or medium.

This is a deliberately slow process, the antithesis of a world where speed and immediacy are the key drivers. Slowing down gives us chance to notice, to be attentive and to tune into our relationship with the material world, nature and to each other. The act of noticing becomes an act of care.

Abstract pattern of looping swirls
Black abstract pattern on grey and yellow background
The face of the other
Two circles, one black, one pink on alternating backgrounds
Abstract interlocking shapes with central black splodges
Black figure beneath falling debris
Abstract line pattern of grey, black and beige
Abstract face in grey and lilac
sixteen boxes with abstract black & white patterns
three blue abstract patterns
Abstract circles of red, orange and white