Josie Spencer new exhibition, Low Entropy: The Archaeology of our Time6. Mar - 23. Mar 13 / ended Arch 402 Gallery
Sculptor Josie Spencer will be exhibiting her latest pieces, Low Entropy: The Archaeology of our Time.
Hoxton Arches - Thurs 7th March ~ Sat 23rd March 2013
Arch 402 Gallery,
London, E2 8HD
Opening Hours: Tues - Fri 11am-6pm / Sat & Sun 10am-4pm
Wed 6th March 6pm-10pm / Thurs 7th March 11am-10pm
This show is entitled 'Low Entropy: the Archaeology of our Time'. Although there is definitely a relationship and continuum with my previous work, I am responding in this show to the times that we live in and my sense of the disintegration of western society as a functioning democracy. Not surprisingly, this causes me alarm.
Previously I worked primarily with women as my models. The expressiveness of their bodies, the way in which their presence is felt, is more familiar to me as a woman. In earlier shows I made a series of figures entitled 'Women in their Own Company'. I was interested in portraying women free from the self consciousness they display in the company of those they wish to attract and free from the judgement of those who see them.
I remember being very struck by an observation of a senior archaeologist many years ago. He remarked that all societies in decline make oversized images of themselves, and their gods, and create an architecture of vast dimensions, out of proportion with the human scale. Today we can see this all around us. I feel more comfortable with life sized proportions.
In this show several pieces are of Icarus. The myth of Icarus is a good tale for our time; the hubris that allowed him to ignore his father’s advice and to fly too close to the sun. The consequences for Icarus we know. Our hubris in the west leads us to manipulate our people and our ideals to think and to reflect only the advantages of wealth, not the health of the democracy we live in. Our wings have been burnt.
In several of the figures I have deliberately made images of people that are multi-racial. I can’t wait until we are all considered mixed race. Most of us are. Two hundred years ago I would have been considered mixed race; but now I am just “white”.
The fragments in this show are frequently paired with pieces that I first made as complete figures. These figures have been reworked, then pulled apart, fired, reassembled, edited, and cast. I find that the fragmenting process is more interesting to me than the making of the original piece. This is the stage of making sculpture that gives me a sense of the archaeology of our time. Our eyes are used to fragments from antiquity. Our reaction to the contemporary fragment is that it is a far more brutal treatment of the subject, as beautiful as that subject may be. Perhaps the ancients would be shocked too, if they saw their sculpture of gods and heroes in fragments.
All fragments portray the vulnerability of the figure. This is a constant motif. Several refer to early Greek sculpture. One fragment of a woman is in the posture of walking youths of the Archaic period. With the Icarus figures the motif is both the vulnerability and the over reaching ego and ambition; a very contemporary dilemma, as it also was in antiquity.
The female figure in the Corinthian helmet, which is a resting warrior, is both contemporary in its treatment of the body and classical in its inspiration. This figure and others related to it are my response to the power and endurance of women.
Sculpture is a mute art and its ultimate value has to be in its presence. I hope that the work in this show speaks for itself.
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