Chantal Powell's work is made in response to her personal journey into understanding the symbolic language of the unconscious. A PhD in social psychology and an ongoing study of Jungian theory and inner alchemy inform her practice.
Over recent years she has been researching first hand the imagery in alchemical manuscripts and alchemists’ notebooks from the 15th and 16th century. Combining symbols from these sources alongside those from ancient mythology and personal inner work she co-operates with the unconscious to communicate its contents in material form.
Her current body of work examines the concept of the "embodied vessel". Through the fusion of motifs such as breasts, alchemical containers, eggs and serpents, the works forge new interdependencies and fluidity between bodily forms. The movement between human, non-human, organic and reptilian forms challenges anthropocentrism and celebrates a symbiotic web of knowledge and existence. Vegetal systems of roots and vines overlap with human limbs and fuse with alchemical glassware transporting fluids from one vessel to another. Just as the roots of a plant absorbs nutrients and transforms them into new forms, alchemical processes involve the transformation of matter.
Chantal has exhibited at galleries and institutions across the UK and internationally including Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh; The Lightbox Museum (In collaboration with the Ingram Collection), Woking; Parlour Gallery, London; Guildhall Art Gallery, London; Orange County Museum of Art, California; WW Gallery, Venice, amongst others.
She is also the founder of the residency program Hogchester Arts in West Dorset and hosts the Jungian online book club and speaker program "The Red Book Club". She presents illustrated talks and workshops on psychological alchemy from an artist's perspective and hosts courses with key educators in the field of Jungian psychology. She has co-curated exhibitions at Arusha Gallery in Bruton, The LightBox Museum in Woking, and Hogchester Arts in West Dorset.
Installation view of NightShaking With The Ingram Collection. LightBox Museum Woking.