Milly Thompson’s six paintings come from a series of work depicting menopausal nude, or near-nude women in relaxed, luxuriant poses – they lay on beaches, day beds, sofas or next to swimming pools. The titles describe a place or activity relating to women’s names. The work Neon Nails references a nail bar shop sign and typifies the carefree positivity of the series and their unapologetic relationship to pleasure and desire.
Unfolding by Alia Syed was shot in a council laundry on Deptford High Street in 1986/7. The work developed from a desire to film functional spaces that have traditionally acted as support networks for women. Syed spent months getting to know the women and the rhythms of the laundrette in relation to use, time and light. She printed the film herself using superimpositions and repetition; it was made at University of East London as part of her BA degree show.
Kate Davis’ Charity juxtaposes art historical depictions of breastfeeding with documentation of domestic chores like dishwashing - questioning how the essential, but largely invisible and unpaid, processes we employ to care for others could be reimagined. Accompanying the film are two new drawings, Flaw I and Flaw II, explorations of dust, dirt
and crumbs from the artist’s kitchen, drawn on scraps of paper found in her home. The drawings are inspired by ‘The Unswept Floor’ a Roman mosaic detailing the detritus left on a floor after a feast. They also consider the unswept floor as a cypher for neglected domestic labour and as a potential act of defiance.
My Boring Dreams featuring Kylie, Neneh, Whitney and the Gang, is a new work by Cinzia Mutigli. The film collages adverts for beauty products, clips from the home shopping channel QVC and projections of famous women including Lena Horn, Dorothy Dandridge, Marylyn Monroe and Kylie Minogue. Narrating the film, Mutigli describes failed aspirations, dreams that came to nothing, what it means to dream of kittens and the powerful impact a lack of sleep has had on her thoughts, ideas and sense of self.
Painted objects by Hayley Tompkins are grouped throughout the gallery. Made using everyday items - phones, tools, clothing and kitchen utensils, the works eschew a hierarchy of materials. Familiar, domestic objects are transformed into paintings that sensitively and humorously explore colour, function and form.
The exhibition is accompanied by a short story, Embers in the Ashes – The Rise and Fall of Pat Phoenix by Maike Hale- Jones.