Sayers’ song is not a tragic lament, it’s a confident and assured celebration of a significant personal transformation. The exhibition shows the gradual evolution of the artist’s practice from printmaker to performer for the camera, alongside the psychological progression towards a feminine persona.
Lithographs, screenprints and etchings from the 80s and 90s explore ideas about the family, nesting, birth and nurture. Then come explorations of gender identity and transformation with hints of an emerging inner/other self, leading to the dramatic revelation of the artist as ‘woman’.
In later works, Sayers becomes the subject of large photographic reconstructions of 19th century paintings (several by J.W.Waterhouse,1849-1917) that critique and disrupt traditional representations of women. By performing the female subjects, the artist brings new feminist interpretations to the originals.
More recent works made with a group of older women celebrate ageing and the mature body, to challenge conventional media representations of beauty.
neo:gallery23 in The Market Place shopping centre is a very appropriate location for this exhibition about the transformation and construction of the ‘self’. The retail experience of clothing and beauty products is, for many millions of shoppers, the primary focus for critical appraisal and construction of their own ‘self-image’.