New review: Demystifying the ‘feminine’

// 12 April 2010

Seven artists explore femininity and domesticity in At Home at the Rollo Gallery. Itala Attieh has more

Thanks to a friend who suggested we go, I celebrated International Women’s Day by seeing the At Home exhibition (23 February-23 April) at the Rollo Gallery.

The exhibition, which is housed in a tiny contemporary gallery, presents the art of seven women, whose works all explore the ‘feminine’ and the ‘domestic’. It is the first in a series by the Rollo Gallery, which allows private collectors to show works from their own collections. I was personally impressed that the first of these projects would be showcasing the work of female artists and above all, that they were dealing with feminist issues.

kblack.jpgWhen I first walked into the gallery, I was struck by the sparseness of the space. This was partly due to the subtle and understated curatorial choices, and partly because it was the opening day and they were still setting up the exhibition! I was immediately faced with a transparent sack, hanging from the ceiling; its contents of pink and yellow body moisturiser almost glowed under the harsh spotlights of the gallery (see right). The work, ‘Forget About Faces’ by Karla Black, suggests the sensory recollection of domesticity. Black often works with cosmetic materials such as nail varnish and lipstick, which have distinct associations with the ‘feminine’ and are evocative of the female body. The sculptural installation, which is bound in cling film and sticky tape, connotes the skincare processes and private rituals of packaging and sanitising the female body, within a bedroom environment.

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