21 Jun 2021

Spotlight on: Becca May Collins

Unframe London

Spotlight on: Becca May Collins

We explore the paintings of Welsh born, London-based Unframe artist Becca May Collins

We are thrilled to delve into the nostalgic work of Welsh born, London-based Unframe artist Becca May Collins. Collins predominantly addresses sentimentality and memory in her painterly landscapes. In her practice, Collins primarily works in painting, allowing her to hone in on the medium and build her painting skills. She most often works with specific sites over time and she uses image-making as a way to materialise hazy and warped memories.

In turn, these strengthen her connection to a place and the objects that live in those places. She currently makes work around the theme of the Home. In her painterly depictions, mostly Collins explores the evolving sentimentality that can be felt towards a place through memory landscape. As well as this, she draws on location to gain knowledge and understanding of a space. 

I am worried a lot

Becca May Collins

I am worried a lot

Oil on paper, 2020

13cm x 13cm

Collins is a graduate of the Royal College of Art (2019), and the Drawing Year at the The Royal Drawing School (2017). Her work is held in public and private collections, including the Royal Collection and she was a Bloomberg New Contemporaries Artist 2019.

Becca May Collins Painting
‘How old is this house, how old is this woods?’, 2021. Becca May Collins. Courtesy of the artist.

Home/Away

For her painted series ‘Home/Away’, Collins explores duality. During the pandemic, like many, Collins wasn’t able to travel home. Collins had spent almost a year longing for her home, the countryside abundant with rustling trees and a warm history. However, Collins remained in London, which as a city represents harshness and work to her. Each composition in ‘Home/Away’ contains imagery which triggers her longing for familiarity whilst in London. In particular, she includes imagery of primroses seen on her way to her studio, orange flowers growing on her door step. These captured moments become a symbol of home whilst she is in London.

Becca May Collins
‘The welsh blanket from Cambrian Mills and primroses, for hope’, 2021. Becca May Collins. Courtesy of the artist.

Whilst in London, Collins found these triggers reminded her of meticulous details of home rather than the lack of natural surrounding itself. For Collins, these details became magnified and merged two different worlds. In the end, these images exist together in the artist’s mind, harmoniously matched. Simultaneously, the delicate flowers found and her grandmother’s kitchen floor feel destined for each other. All in all, her personal view on where her home is eventually merges into a new one in London, perfectly intertwined.

In my dreams

Becca May Collins

In my dreams

Oil on Paper, 2020

25.6cm x 18.3cm

Home, Brecon Beacons

For her series ‘Home, Brecon Beacons’, Collins makes studies of the landscape she grew up in, made from postcards and books on the area. In this case, the documentation and objective approach to the Brecon Beacons became interesting to her. Through this lens, she saw her home as seen by all, a beautiful national treasure of sorts. However, this compelled Collins to view the imagery for what is really was.

Never Once in my Life

Becca May Collins

Never Once in my Life

Oil on Paper, 2020

20.9cm x 15.2cm

In actuality, Collins felt her eyes were now open to the real grass colour and ‘actual’ forms of the mountains. In many ways, this revelation evoked memories of walking up these mountains, merging memory with fact. Collins harks to times of nostalgic bliss in her warped paintings, whilst also uncovering a rugged and harsh duplicity. As well as this, her works are full of mystery and depict a re-learning and understanding of what home means to her.

Becca May Collins Portrait
Becca May Collins Portrait

Becca May Collins

  • MA in Visual Communication at Royal College of Art (2017 – 2019)
  • BA (Hons) Illustration at Plymouth University (2012 – 2015)
  • Artist in residence at Hafod Estate, Ceridigion, (2018) and Dumfries House, Ayrshire, (2018 & 2020).
  • Awarded as the New Contemporaries Selected Artist, (2019).
  • Also, her work is held in The Hafod Trust, The Dumfries House Trust, The Royal Collection as well as private Collections.
  • Solo and group exhibitions include ‘Works on Paper 2’, Blue Shop Cottage, London (2020). ‘Art on a Postcard’, International Womens Day Auction, The Allbright Mayfair, London (2020). ‘New Contemporaries’ (2019), South London Gallery, London, December (2019 – February 2020), New Contemporaries (2019), Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds, September – November (2019). ‘Show RCA’, Royal College of Art, London, July (2019). ‘Me Here to You There with Across RCA’, Hockney Gallery, London, November (2018). ‘Best of the Drawing Year’, Christies King Street, London, (2017). ‘On Paper’, Mercer-Chance Gallery, London, April (2016). ‘2015:Cold Kisses’, Bruton Art Factory, Somerset, Dec (2015).