Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Life Rooms

After throwing pots on Sunday, my sister let me drag her along to the University of Brighton Gallery, which is currently home to the Cathie Pilkington exhibition, The Life Rooms.

Part of Brighton Festival, the exhibition includes Anatomy of a Doll, which is a response to Degas' figures of dancers, and looks at the idea of representation and form, and also Harmonium, which uses wooden shelving units to house individual models, scenes and figures, all of which are thought-provoking even without any text present to give an explanation!

I have to admit that I needed to do some googling in order to comprehend what the exhibition was really about, as it's really hard to find anything put in layman's terms when it comes to art.

This exhibition takes a really long, hard look at the female form and how it's represented.

There are figures that step beyond physical possibility (one such figure - or dolly - is formed almost entirely of breasts), figures with limbs that don't match their bodies, anthropomorphised animals, and more.

Whilst some of the exhibits appear more 'normal' at first glance, there is something a little unsettling about them, something impossible to pinpoint, which really draws the eye.

Other exhibits are more fantastical, really capturing the imagination. I loved this frame-like piece, which is formed from tonnes of different figures, green-glazed and drippy, again a little odd and unsettling, as if the hole leads to Faerie, and creatures you would be unwise to cross paths with.

Some of the exhibits could be appreciated from multiple angles...

...looking from a different angle completely changed the impression.

One notable thing about this exhibition was the variation of styles, from realistic  and near-realistic  (as above) to forms that suggest the idea of a human or animal (again, as above) or become a sculptural form of an illustration.

Though I went to this exhibition purely for aesthetic reasons, I enjoyed looking at the quirky, original sculptures, and appreciated the use of different media within them. As someone who struggles to comprehend a lot of contemporary art, I feel I got more out of this exhibition than others in the past!

Cathie Pilkington: The Life Rooms is on at University of Brighton Gallery until 27th May 2017, so better get your skates on if you plan to visit!

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