Taking inspiration from the world of the theatrical, artists Rosie Emerson and Nina Fowler both create work focused around desire and beauty.
Emerson’s figures draw reference from female archetypes old and new, from Artemis to the modern day super model. In using a variety of different processes, such as props, dramatic lighting, costume and collage, Emerson is able to create ethereal and enchanting images. Removing her subjects from the every-day world she elevates them to a goddess-like status. Staged without context or background, her heroines are objectified and adorned, representative of a constructed reality, imagined and manipulated by Emerson herself.
Through her unique methods, Emerson shifts the preconceived replicating nature of the traditional screen printing method. Natural materials such as ash, sawdust and charcoal combine with collage and photography to make each piece of work highly original.
Nominated for the BP Portrait Award in 2008 and shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2010, Fowler’s energized drawings have a tactile quality that not only celebrates her meticulous draftsmanship but also pays homage to the characters in the effigies.
Focussing on the lesser known actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age, but removed from their celluloid backdrops, Fowler’s female characters become suspended in time, immortalised in fractured moments. Sitting alongside their 2D counterparts, the sculptures in the exhibition meticulously depict their sirens. Alluding again to the theatrical, Fowlers bozzetti are perfect from a fixed viewing position only, fully modelled from one side they evoke the singularly important façade of the big screen.
All of Fowler’s artworks in the exhibition disclose glimpses of a dark reality behind the perfectly represented façades she presents. Frozen grimaces on women suspended in a brawl, silent sadness etched onto the portraits of her starlets and statues melting back into the material from which they are formed.
Submerging the viewer in a world of fantasy, Emerson’s statuesque, mythical beings offer a convincing suspension of disbelief while Fowler’s intricate, expressive drawings depict a moment delicately suspended and severed from all context. The artworks are reminiscent of theatre stage sets immersing the viewer in an alternate reality, unaware of the complexities behind the constructed façade.