Throughout time and in every culture, human beings have eaten together. Meals are everyday rituals of profound importance in social life; they cement relationships, reinforce cultural values specific to communities, and evoke feelings of nostalgia, belonging and pleasure. The act of collective dining is also inherently political. Shared meals encode social hierarchies and delineate boundaries surrounding class and gender, inadvertently mirroring wider society. Through a joyful yet complex display of installation, ceramic sculpture and painting, STUDIO WEST creates an environment within which we may reflect on the role food plays in our own lives.
Exhibiting artists include multi-disciplinary practitioner Nell Mitchell, painters Phoebe Boddy and Pippa El-Kadhi Brown, and sculptors Rafaela de Ascanio and Alice Johnson.
Painter and ceramicist Nell Mitchell combines a deliberately naïve style, a vibrant palette and humorously relatable subject matter that breeds an air of unguarded “triviality and silliness”. Mitchell’s Dinner Party installation takes a closer look at the relationship between food culture and moralising consumption, through the lens of amusing ceramic objects laden with phrases such as “You Are What You Eat!” and “A Moment on the Lips, A Lifetime on the Hips!”. Similar in tone, Phoebe Boddy’s practice takes flavour and the sensation of eating as a starting point for bold, graphic paintings. Through both artist’s act of monumentalising the everyday, canvases and sculptures act as odes to passing moments spent with friends, pedestalling intimate exchanges over meals, generating what is often referred to as “food nostalgia”.
Sculptor Alice Johnson is known for her iconic ceramic prawns, small sculptures that straddle categories of fine art and functional craft. Playing with the notion of food as a decorative and aesthetic object, rather than as a source of sustenance, her body of work subtly explores social relations encoded in food, pointing to wider issues surrounding class and access to certain foodstuffs.
Pippa El-Kadhi Brown’s work looks at the matter of the domestic environment as a space suggestive of the occupier, “filled with objects that allude a past, present and future, exposing certain elements, but more importantly, concealing others”. For El-Kadhi Brown the personal and the domestic are political. Through her paintings and sculptures, we see our homes expanded, both in terms of scale and perspective. Vibrant colour palettes mimic food-stuffs, with the familial table often centrally placed.
In Rafaela de Ascanio’s installation, consisting of painting, sculpture and ceramic, she focuses on the ritual act of feasting. Taking antiquity as a starting point, the works included in FANCY A BITE? re-evaluate the importance of meals as esoteric pagan practices, as well as gendered occasions. De Ascanio’s work also alludes to her cultural heritage, with early years spent in the volcanic Canary Islands, bleeding into her tropical colour palettes.
Special events will take place over the course of the show, including a Yoga Class on Sunday 19 July, collecting dry goods for the Kensington and Chelsea Food Bank, a Panel Discussion featuring a range of experts in the field, including Michelin trained local chef Louis Ashok on Thursday 28 June, and a Tea Party at the gallery on Saturday 2 July, inviting visitors to enjoy the exhibition and share food and drink together.
ABOUT NELL MITCHELL
Nell Mitchell graduated from The Glasgow School of Art in 2020. She is currently exhibiting work as part of Liliya Gallery’s 2022 Open Call Exhibition. Her work has been featured in group exhibition On The Other Side (2021) at Hoxton 253, and in online auctions ‘Big Pleasures’ and ‘Small Pleasures’ by All Mouth Gallery. Her work has been featured by The Times and It’s Nice That.
ABOUT PHOEBE BODDY
Phoebe Boddy graduated a BA in Fine Arts at Loughborough University in 2017 and currently lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Collection One (2021) and Collection Two (2022) at Katherine Richards Art Gallery in Brighton, Palette 04 (2021) at The Old Bank Vault in London, One For The Road (2021) at The Koppel Project in London and Figurative Art Now (2021) at Mall Galleries in London. She co-founded Palette (@palettedining), a concept hosting unique dining experiences exploring the sensory connections between Food & Art. She has been featured by Absolutely Magazine, FAD Magazine, and SheerLuxe.
ABOUT PIPPA EL-KADHI BROWN
Pippa El-Kadhi Brown is currently finishing a Masters in Painting from the Royal College of Art. She graduated from her BA at The University of Brighton, School of Art in 2018. Her solo exhibition Where the Dust Settles (2022) is currently showing in CBU Gallery in Taipei. Other solo exhibitions include Around You, Within You, or Nowhere at All at Ashurst (2020) in London and House Plants (2019), Creekside Projects in London. She has exhibited in multiple group exhibitions, many of which in Asia, including at One Art Taipei (2022), The Sherwood Taipei, Garden of the New Deity (2022), Lí Gallery in Shanghai, and Star Start 2 (2021), Rear Window Gallery in Hangzhou, China. She has been awarded the The Ali H. Alkazzi Scholarship Award 2020, The Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize 2020, by the Royal College of Art, the Art Pegazs Taste of Life Award 2019 and Creekside Artists Graduate Studio Award 2019. She has completed residencies in London and China and will travel to Latvia for her next later this year. She has been featured by Made in Bed, Where’s The Frame and She Curates.
ABOUT RAFAELA DE ASCANIO
Rafaela de Ascanio (b.1986) lives and works in London. She completed her Fine Art Foundation at Central St Martins in 2006, then went on to study at The Courtauld Institute of Art, completing her MA in 2010. In 2019 Rafaela attended the Turps Banana Painting Programme. Recent solo exhibitions include Universal Yearnings (2021), Liliya Art Gallery in London. Duo shows include Back to Back (2021) at Bowes Parris Gallery in London, The Deccan Traps (2019) at Aindrea Contemporary in London, and The Body is a Blessed Juicy Fruit (2018) at Lamb in London. Recent group shows include Cracked (2021) at Tristan Hoare in London, Focus on the Female (2021) at Cynthia Corbett Gallery in London, Monster/Beauty: An Exploration of the Female/Femme Gaze (2020) at Lychee One in London, Paintings On, And With Paper (2020) at Cob Gallery in London and The Pump House with Berntson Bhattacharjee (2022). In 2021 Rafaela received the Young Masters Emerging Artist Award. She has been featured by Elephant Magazine, The Wick, FAD Magazine and Ceramics Now.
ABOUT ALICE JOHNSON
Alice Johnson completed an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art in 2020 after a BA in Illustration at the University of Brighton. Exhibitions include The Power of Material: From Virtual to Physical (2021), RCA Show at the Design Museum in London, at The Amber Room (2019) in London and Otomys Gallery (2019) in Melbourne. She has been featured in House and Garden Magazine and It's Nice That. She has hosted workshops at Camden Art Centre.
FANCY A BITE?
15 June – 6 July 2022
Nell Mitchell | Phoebe Boddy | Pippa El-Kadhi Brown
Rafaela de Ascanio | Alice Johnson
Yoga Class | Sunday 19 July | 11am – 12.15pm
Panel Discussion | Thursday 28 June | 6.30 – 8.30pm
Tea Party | Saturday 2 July | 2 – 5 pm