Why does tragedy exist?
Because you are full of rage.
Why are you full of rage?
Because you are full of grief.
Here is the thick of it; with purple mucus in rare June, walk around the gallery and notice the mass of pressed hydrangeas pinned to the wall, breathe in baby oil, get it in your lungs. You are anointed. It is oily in here, not wet or moisture wicking, all laid flat to dry, and a dry show it is. One day, you were born, that was long ago.
Periphery vision becomes swamped in lilac. We are meant to see flowers, flowers all around – instead there are meticulous, (with lumbar puncture accuracy) thin silver metal pins that pierce each flower to the wall. People nearby say, ‘think of the hours this took,’ ‘consider the labour!’
In the bathroom, lyrics to The Rose by Bette Midler are printed onto the mirror, of course, flinch at your own self image. Art making is so fucking humiliating.
Seeds and flowers and carefully painted walls indicate a care to orchestrate an introduction to what is not present - life. The room is stifled, the baby oil smell makes me nauseous. Two glass vessels are filled with dead dehydrated plant matter. A lecturer at art school says, ‘stop reading that feminist Sontag rubbish, you’re wasting your time’. Your trauma is not my trauma. Life, Kafka says, is theatre.
Matte paint named silver smoke, fragrance oil, petals, glass, metal, are all materials for work that is both emotional in its materiality (the pressed flower) and feminine looking, would this acerbic work taste of methylated spirits? I make a guess, I make a guess.
It is always comforting to assume there is a secret behind whatever torments you, and the work in this show reads light, bright, airy, but sinks upon breaking the surface. For a show so gentle on the eye it speaks in punitive terms.
By Beth Caird