Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden

19th January 2015 | Alice Taylor

Figurative painter Marlene Dumas is soon to have an exhibition at the Tate Modern between the 5th of February until the 10th of May. In anticipation and to give you a taster of her work to date, here are some of her paintings of nudes.

About the exhibition:

‘She is one of the most prominent painters working today. Her intense, psychologically charged works explore themes of sexuality, love, death and shame, often referencing art history, popular culture and current affairs.

‘Secondhand images’, she has said, ‘can generate first-hand emotions.’ Dumas never paints directly from life, yet life in all its complexity is right there on the canvas. Her subjects are drawn from both public and personal references and include her daughter and herself, as well as recognisable faces such as Amy Winehouse, Naomi Campbell, Princess Diana, even Osama bin Laden. The results are often intimate and at times controversial, where politics become erotic and portraits become political. She plays with the imagination of her viewers, their preconceptions and fears.

Born in 1953 in Cape Town, South Africa, Dumas moved to the Netherlands in 1976, where she came to prominence in the mid-1980s. This large-scale survey is the most significant exhibition of her work ever to be held in Europe, charting her career from early works, through seminal paintings to new works on paper.

The title of the exhibition is taken from The Image as Burden 1993, a small painting depicting one figure carrying another. As with many of Dumas’s works, her choice of title deeply affects our interpretation of the work. It hints at the sense of responsibility faced by the artist in choosing to create an image that can translate ideas about painting and the position of the artist. For Dumas it is important ‘to give more attention to what the painting does to the image, not only to what the image does to the painting.’’

Via: Tate Modern & The English Group

Fabrice Mabillot’s ‘Filles’ Exhibition

17th October 2014 | Alice Taylor

If you’re in France this weekend visit one of the Quite Delightful photographers Fabrice Mabillot’s exhibition ‘Filles’. The exhibition runs from From October 16 to November 8 from 2pm to 7pm.

Galerie Quai 26 – rue d’Angleterre LILLE.

If you haven’t seen Fabrice’s work I urge you to check it out here!


21st August 2014 | Alice Taylor

Hans Hillmann, arthouse film poster for Goddard’s Masculine Feminine, 1966. Neue Filmkunst Walter Kirchner, Germany.

Exhibition Hans Hillmann: Film Posters at kemistrygallery in London. Aug 21 – Sep 27, 2014.

Via Creative Review

Ryan McGinley ‘Yearbook’

11th August 2014 | Alice Taylor

From the Team Gallery website:

Team (gallery, inc.) is pleased to announce a solo show by New York-based artist Ryan McGinley. Entitled YEARBOOK, the exhibition will take place from 07 September through 12 October 2014.

Team is located at 83 Grand Street, cross streets Wooster and Greene.  

Oneself As Another

14th February 2014 | Katherine Jane

The Royal West of England Academy in partnership with bo.lee projects presents us with a provocative and challenging exhibition that will awaken the emotions. The exhibition in Bristol is showing until 26th March.


15th September 2012 | Alice Taylor

Naomi Wolf (One of my favourite and highly influential feminist authors, famously known for writing ‘The Beauty Myth’, 1991) has just released her newest book ‘Vagina: A New Biography’. The book offers a cultural-history of the worshipped, censored, sexualised, shamed and powerful female body part of the vagina. Wolf aims to get “to the very core of what it means to be a woman”.

The female body is at one of it’s most highly politicised moments. Pussy Riot, the Russian Punk band have caught the attention of the newspapers and pop stars such as Madonna (below), and are often referred to in Russia as “the uprising of the vagina”. Politicians are constantly debating the definition of rape and US Democratic stet senator Lisa Brown was barred from speaking in the Michigan state courthouse for using the word ‘Vagina’, being told that she had “failed to maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives”.

The perception of the vagina has altered throughout history. The first use of the word ‘Vagina’ in the English language was back in 1682 and before Western religion imposed shame onto this body part, the vagina was celebrated as symbols of fertility.

The depiction in contemporary society see’s the vagina depicted mainly in pornography. Germaine Greer wrote in 1973 “A woman’s pleasure is not dependant on the presence of a penis in the vagina. Neither is a man’s”.

Midwife Inu May Gaskin fears that this contemporary definition contributes to to womens fear of labour and the increase in medialisation of child birth. In the past, sculptures such as the Sheela Na Gig (carved in the 12th Century) portrayed a crouching figure open enough to accommodate a size as big as her own head. As Gaskin says “I’d like to see a large rendition of a Sheela Na Gig as part of the Decor of birth rooms in maternity units”.

With the ever rising demand for labiaplasty with some girls as young as 11 asking for procedures, maybe it is time for another ‘Vaginal Revolution’. I hope that Naomi Wolf can influence us about this subject, just as her book ‘The Beauty Myth’ did.


Sheela Na Gig carved in the 12th Century at Kilpeck parish church.

Naomi Wolf’s book cover and Naomi Wolf herself.

A portrait by Jean-Baptiste Mondino called ‘Man Looking at the Origin of the World’. The original oil-on-canvas painting ‘L’Origine du monde’ (Origin of the world) was painted by French artist Gustave Courbet in 1866 and currently resides in the Musée d’Orsay.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Black Iris, 1926

Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party, 1974 to 1979, was a huge installation by this hugely influential feminist artist. This piece still influences art education today.

Helen Chadwick Wreath to Pleasure No. 12, 1992-93

Clayton CubittFlesh For Fantasy (Girl #5), color pigment print, 32.5 x 44.5, 2008

I went to see Jamie McCartney at his exhibition of the ‘Great Wall of Vagina’. He also does internal vaginal casts.

Back in the 90’s there was a big fuss when Sharon Stone parted her legs in a police interview in Basic Instinct.

Maybe I will treat the team to some cupcakes next week 😀

Myself and Katherine Jane Wood are reading this book at the moment. So look out for the book review!

Via: The Independent on Sunday, The English GroupArt Fag City

Takashi Murakami

7th July 2011 | Katherine Jane

There’s a stunning new exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Takashi Murakami at the Gagosian Gallery in London.

I think the Japanese male sexual complex originated in the two-dimensional world –animation, games and so on – which then transferred to small three-dimensional sculptures. But before my sculptures Miss Ko (1997) and My Lonesome Cowboy (1998), it had never been represented life-size. –Takashi Murakami In his distinctive “Superflat” style, which employs highly refined, traditional Japanese painting techniques and formats to depict a charged mix of historical subject matter, Pop, animé and otaku content within a flattened representational picture-plane, Murakami moves freely within an ever-expanding field of aesthetic issues and cultural inspirations. Parallel to his distinctive toonish formulations of utopian and dystopian themes, he has recollected and revitalized religious and secular narratives of transcendence and enlightenment favoured by non-conformist Japanese artists from the Early Modern era, commonly considered to be counterpart to the Western Romantic tradition. By situating himself within their legacy of bold and lively individualism in a manner that is entirely his own, he revealed himself to be an artist in dialogue with history and very much of his time.

To read more: Gagosian Gallery

June 27 – August 5, 2011

Gagosian Gallery 6-24 Britannia Street London WC1X 9JD T. 44.207.841.9960 F. 44.207.841.9961 Hours: Tue-Sat 10-6