Alex Millhouse-Smith and Rufus Newell – Barkston House Residents
Alex Millhouse-Smith and Rufus Newell began their collaborative venture, Precious Collective, in the second year of their Fine Art degree together with fellow alumnus Alex Gilmour. Comprised of twelve artists, Precious Collective believes in a sense of community and freedom from elitism in art. The Collective mounts exhibitions that engage with the public on a fun, informal and interactive basis.
As under-graduates Alex and Rufus worked on the Precious Art Olympics and on Woolgather’s Art Vend project, which developed themes of playfulness and interactivity in their work. They wanted their shows to be enjoyed and remembered by all types of people, inside and outside the artistic community. After graduation, Barkston House studio provided them with an independent HQ, access to events and seminars organised by East Street Arts and continued links with their tutors at Leeds Arts University. Since leaving Barkston House the Alex and Rufus moved into the Assembly House studios, in order to develop work for exhibitions in Leeds and Sheffield.
Rufus sees his work as an investigation into drawing, in both two and three dimensions. He often works with materials ranging from botanical ash, honey and fat to household paint and graphite.
Alex’s work focuses primarily on the theme of escapism. Through his use of light, sound and a range of materials, he creates installations that attempt to imitate altered states of consciousness and impress upon the viewer a hypnotic sensory experience.