The Thinking Business
Opening night: 28/04/17, 6-9pm
29/04/17 – 28/05/17
Open Saturdays and Sundays, 12-5pm
The ‘thinking-business’ will be an exhibition of two halves, bringing together the work of two female artists, Paloma Proudfoot and Rebecca Ounstead for the first time. Both artists have exhibited extensively in the UK, never once having met one another in person prior to this project. The ‘thinking-business’ acts as an experiment that facilitates partnership, and explores the nature of collaboration; its benefits and its difficulties. It has been the intention of the exhibition to initiate a semi-collaborative and discursive practice through long distance conversation between the two artists, which will culminate in a display of work at The Royal Standard.
“It’s not so much that we think alike, but that we do this thinking-business for and with each other.’ Hannah Arendt
The ‘thinking-business’ aims to explore the enabling power of collaboration and the potential that partnership can provide towards production, and more specifically in art-making. The exhibition aims to create a transgressive and immersive space where objects, performance and costume will come together to straddle the opposing forces of instinct and reason, pleasure and repulsion, primitivism and intellectualism.
The exhibition will endeavor to bring forth the social, with its taboos and prohibitions, whilst exploring the relationship between the visual sensations and visceral reactions. Within these themes, materiality provides a discourse to aestheticize the idea of humanity’s obsession with the forbidden, and the anxiety that is stimulated through disturbing against identity, system and order; leading to feelings of perversion and fetishisation.
Illustration and publication by Sumuyya Khadar.
Lured into a fetishistic play; materials beckon to be teased and manipulated, fluffed up and glossed. Swathes of organza lick cool steel, Egyptian cottons lay sodden, soft faux furs flirt with becoming sullied. Object becomes ornament. Painting becomes pattern. Fabric becomes framework.
Arrangement and precise placement activates the work, suggestive of a lustful touch.
Protruding. Straddling. Hanging. An aesthete’s eye undresses the scene, noting moments of intimacy between materials. Brushed cotton fibres. Corpulent folds. Glossy blonde ponytails. A seasoned, tasteful awareness of colour palette, pattern and texture are inherent in creating a dialogue which is then performed through the components relationships and proximities to each other.
The work endeavours to stimulate and titillate the observer. Proposed, Poised, Precise.
Rebecca Ounstead is based in Nottingham, UK, and graduated from Nottingham Trent University with BA (Hons) Fine Art in 2012. Recent solo shows include New Condition, Loser’s Gym, 2017 and Tassels ‘n’ That, Bloc Projects, 2014. She has recently completed a residency in the Netherlands at HotelMariaKapel and has exhibited as part of No Grey Areas, Haha Gallery, 2015; Take a Bite of Peach, Attic, Nottingham, 2014; Surfacing, Hand in Glove, Bristol, 2014; Seven, Primary, Nottingham 2013 and Exeter Phoenix Open, Exeter, 2013.
I make shells. Pouring slip into the cavity of the mould, allowing the plaster pores to suck in the moisture of an outer clay strata before leaving the inner volume of slip to run out of its core; the fountain of language and slippery matter drained. These are empty eggs, skittles without weight, skin without fruit.
Concave cheeks, deflated bellies, protruding spouts and pupil-like cavities interrupt the ovoid impenetrability of these ceramic husks. Not quite broken, they are still aspiring, just falling slightly short. However, these failings become virtues, the shallows and openings transform these objects into vessels, creating opportunities to fill their emptiness. The lacquer of glaze, with its confetti splashes and dribbles that cluster in the grooves, emphasises these defects, like lipstick smudged on crooked teeth. Tipped up, bulging over and teasing they take on a new seduction. A titillating yolk garnishes its ceramic progeny. A languid flower emerges from its lips.
I am not a cool observer. If my sculpture sits behind the veil of shame, my performance work, made in collaboration with artist and choreographer Aniela Piasecka, beckons it forth, daring it to break its silence. The clothes and sculpture I make are drawn into our storytelling. They are touched, sullied and broken.
I am a participant. Walked on, groomed and gagged, or the tables turn – and I’m in charge. Breaking eggs: divorcing yolk from coddling white. Whipping them up to soft sugar-laden peaks, I lather them on her cheeks. I scrape her face clean but leave the washing up for the morning. It’s a ritual we have, repeated over and over.
Paloma Proudfoot (b.1992) is an artist living and working in London, where she is currently completing her masters in sculpture at the Royal College of Art. As well as her solo sculptural practice, Proudfoot works in collaboration with artist and choreographer Aniela Piasecka, drawing Proudfoot’s ceramics and clothes-making together in performance. Proudfoot and Piasecka are also co-directors of performance group Stasis.
Proudfoot’s recent solo shows include There is One Missing From Your Bunch, May Projects, London, 2016 and The Jockey, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, 2015. Recent group shows include Herland, Bosse and Baum, London; Sell Yourself, East Street Arts, Leeds (both 2017); Sunny Side Up, Rook and Raven, London; and Platform 2016, Edinburgh Arts Festival (both 2016)