Arabel Rosillo de Blas

23 July – 7 September 2015

University of Hertfordshire Galleries at the Museum of St Albans

Evening Reception: Thursday 24 July 6.00-8.00pm / Artist’s Talk at 7.00pm

UH Galleries is delighted to present a new installation by Arabel Rosillo de Blas ‘Freehold’ created especially for the gallery at the Museum of St Albans.

As winner of the ‘Eastern Approaches’ annual open exhibition 2014, Arabel was invited to develop a solo exhibition. She combines a series of new sculptural works, drawings, archival images and text to create an ambitious installation that disrupts the gallery space dramatically.

Arabel lives and works from a studio in Bedford. From this perspective, St Albans is an affluent city where people aspire to live and own property. Like elsewhere in the UK, St Albans’ appeal is connected to its historic core, centring on the international significance of the cathedral. At a point where the Museum of St Albans itself is aspiring to a new venue and opportunities at the converted Town Hall, Arabel offers an exhibition that invites us to celebrate and question aspirations and perceptions of the city

Taking museum archival material as her inspiration, the artist focuses on the post-war period of the late 1940s when new estates such as Marshalswick and Jersey Farm were built, and St Albans people aspired to home ownership and fresh beginnings.

Arabel’s artistic practice consists of handmade sculptures and installations that function both as beautiful artefacts and as social commentary. She is interested in creating visual metaphors which encourage visitors to connect otherwise unrelated objects, ideas, histories or contexts.

For ‘Freehold’, she constructs a series of interlocking spaces within the gallery to house a series of artworks exploring images and ideologies around the property ladder, town planning and infrastructure, home ownership and aspiration. These include drawings in human hair, a floor of carved soap tiles, life-size photographs and furniture sculptures.

Arabel won Eastern Approaches with a delicate yet disturbing sculpture created from dolls-house furniture. The themes of decoration, domesticity and chaos suggested by this piece will continue and develop through the new installation ‘Freehold’.


Arabel completed her BA Fine Arts at Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain (1994-1998) and her MA Design at Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design (2015-7). She has exhibited extensively and internationally. Recent UK projects include ‘Laced Works’ (2013) and ‘Lace in Place’ (2012) commissioned by Bedford Creative Arts, Eastern Pavillions (2011) Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery and ‘Object as Muse’, Crafts Council.

UH Galleries

UH Galleries, at Hatfield and St Albans, are amongst the most innovative contemporary art spaces in the UK. Working with emerging and established professional artists across all media, UH Galleries organise a rolling programme of exhibitions and collaborate with other major cultural institutions across Europe. UH Galleries’ exhibitions, which give artists space to experiment and develop new ideas.

Eastern Approaches open Exhibition

This annual open submission exhibition has marked itself out over the past decade as the definitive annual showcase for regional artistic talent. Eastern Approaches is delivered in partnership with St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust and 12 prestigious local sponsors. The exhibition attracts over 200 submissions from artists working across the eastern region. An independent judging panel select the best artworks for a rich and lively exhibition. The 2014 panel comprises: Alison Dalwood (Fine Art Lecturer, University of Hertfordshire), Dawn Giles (Chief Executive Officer, Bedford Creative Arts) and Lyndall Phelps (Visual Artist).

Gallery Opening Times:

Monday to Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm Sunday 2.00pm – 5.00pm