Exhibition

Cat Roissetter English Filth

26 Mar 2020 – 2 May 2020

Regular opening hours

Monday
Closed
Tuesday
10:00 – 18:00
Wednesday
10:00 – 18:00
Thursday
10:00 – 18:00
Friday
10:00 – 18:00
Saturday
10:00 – 18:00
Sunday
10:00 – 18:00

Cob Gallery

London, United Kingdom

Address

Travel Information

  • Camden Town Underground
  • Camden Road Overland

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The title ‘English Filth’ has as much to do with the material Cat Roissetter works with – oil-soaked paper, worked into with lines and blocks of graphite colour – as it does with a specific idea of English culture: a crusted veneer of politeness that masks a festering mass of seediness and vice.

About

Drawing on Roissetter’s long interest in English portraiture, ‘English Filth’ is also prompted by the strange absence of nudes from the domestic tradition – and a suspicion that this links up with an English perception of nudity as always containing some element of lewdness or depravity. No naked body without a leering observer lurking behind a newspaper or a keyhole; no gilded drawing room without a grimy backstreet peepshow somewhere nearby.

Roissetter’s fascination with scenes that are sexually charged without being conventionally ‘sexy’ is at the core of ‘English Filth’. Her models’ bloated forms, tumbling like distended cherubs across the frame, emblematise an aesthetic mode where sexuality is inevitably accompanied by some suggestion of the farcical or grotesque. Seductive and unsettling, her layered, intricate but spacious drawings combine a sheepishly childlike innocence with a muffled sense of alarm. As in a nursery rhyme or fairy tale, there is often the suggestion of some sinister force bubbling up beneath the surface: a darker truth loitering just out of view.

‘English Filth’ witnesses Roissetter’s distinctive use of oil take a new turn: formerly used mainly as a means to increase the clarity of her graphite lines, its repeated application and removal has now become integral to a distinctive atmospherics of dreamy liquidity. The effect is of a sense of hubbub and motion rippling through the imagery; of each drawing being always under construction as it resolves and dissolves before our eyes.

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