Feasting on Femininity, curated by Anna Beketov and Jennifer Barcelos will feature an eclectic range of mixed media artworks on themes of femininity and opulence.
The visual feast will be accompanied by a series of supper clubs from exciting chefs, who will curate bespoke menus inspired by each work in the show.
Artists include Etienne Clement, Liz Watts, Texas and Glory, Emilia Symis, Delphine Lebourgeois, Frances Willoughby, Luisa-Maria MacCormack, Helen Ballardie and J C Cowans.
Throughout the show there is a strong sense of the feminine conveyed in a variety of different ways, from motherhood in the soft breast sculptures of Frances Willoughby, to the sensuous idealised nudes visible in Etienne Clement’s ‘tableaus’. Texas and Glory’s tongue in cheek miniature scenes celebrate female sexual liberation while Luisa Maria MacCormack’s explores stereotypes of the female body. J C Cowan’s works draw on female friendship and self love.
Other works draw on CurAte’s favoured concept of nourishment and feasting, but through a visibly feminine lens. Emilia Symis’ food paintings provide a vibrant and colourful depiction of excess and while Liz Watt’s ceramic works are ornate, feminine vessels for food.
About the artists’ work in the show:
Liz Watts, sculptor and ceramicist producing ceramic pieces, primarily porcelain, along with bronze and papier-mâchè. Liz’s works at first glance are intricate and decorative but on closer inspection embody essential political messages on everything from Brexit to fake news.
Frances Willougby uses fears and desires to create installations, sculptures and collage using a mixture of textiles, found objects and images. She is interested in theories surrounding the uncanny, wherby the familiar is repressed and reappears. She draws on drama, secrets and loss from personal events, as they are a raw and emotionally charge. The delicate ‘bad breast’ series in the exhibition draws on Melanie Klein’s theories of the ‘paranoid-schizoid’ position, where the mother is not a mother to a child but merely a pair of breasts. In this sense, the breasts here become the ‘feast’, for the child, who sees them as the ultimate source of nourishment.
Emilia Symis’ paintings use colour and texture to portray juxtapositions, particularly the relationship between seduction and repulsion. There tends to be a theme of food and ingestion throughout her work; everyone has a unique relationship with food and she likes how the art means something different to each person.
Etienne Clement is a French artist who creates highly detailed dioramas, which he then photographs. Each tells a different tale, and Etienne builds up his stories by drawing on both fact and fiction, history and legend. The works in this exhibition come from Etienne’s boudoir series which takes place in a 17th century Parisian palace, where stories of marriage, feasting and debauchery unfold.
Luisa- Maria MacCormack’s ‘Sepia Paintings’ attempt to question the role of erotica in the historical consciousness and to examine how the practice of consuming sexuality ‘en masse’ affects the way that we consume the female body. Starting images are taken from Baroque era pornographic paintings – erotica in an age when the word ‘pornography’ itself did not yet exist. The women depicted are stereotypes of the female body rather than portraits of an individual – in the same way that the contemporary porn industry elevates the idealized body over woman herself, these paintings explore what happens when we accept this dehumanization of the feminine; faceless figures cavort in the apparent safety of lavish private chambers, unaware of our voyeuristic gaze upon them, a consuming audience.
Texas & Glory work on themes of sexuality, gender identity and lgbttiq* from a queer feminist perspective. Works on display from their ‘Miniature wonderland’ series are an ode to both food and the feminine - a food fantasy played out with miniature figures in real life sweet treats.
Helen Ballardie’s paintings explore ideas concerning truth, fiction, perception, and identity. In the paintings on display the figures depicted are playing a game of Blind Man’s Buff but they have been taken out of their original contexts, rearranged, and made to look as if they are doing something different. The blurred and voluptuous brush strokes cause the paint to appear almost as an indulgent desert, within which various figures, food and flowers can be deciphered.
J C Cowans’ paintings, mainly portraiture, explore the female form and celebrate the intricacies of the holistic being. Cowans delights in the manipulation of watercolour, recognising the power of being able to see delicate layers of brushstrokes and colour. She believes the transparency of the medium is endearing and honest; a visual reflection of the multifaceted human. The works in this show use paintings to describe the connections between women that strengthen and uplift.