Harrison, who creates drawings, paintings, and installations using images culled from the popular press and featuring iconic cultural figures, will be performance artists 'The Girls': a sexy irreverent Post-Feminist punch to the table.
PayneShurvell and curator Beverley Knowles present I am a Fantasy from Margaret Harrison and artist duo The Girls.
Margaret Harrison (b. 1940) is one of Britain’s best known feminist artists, a pioneer of feminist art, whose peers and collaborators include Mary Kelly, Nancy Spero and Orlan. Margaret’s early work was influenced by British Pop art of the late 1950s. She created drawings, paintings, and installations using images culled from the popular press and featuring iconic cultural figures including Valerie Solanas (Warhol’s would-be assassin) stamping on a Brillo box, Captain America with comedy breasts and high heels, and Hugh Heffner dressed as a Bunny Girl. These images seem funny now, but her first show in London was closed down by the Police after one day on grounds of indecency. Margaret’s work for I am a Fantasy will continue to “tread the fine line between irony, sexuality, trans-gender, transvestism, power, masculinity, objectification and exploitation”.
Working alongside Margaret Harrison will be performance artists The Girls; Zoe Sinclair (b. 1976) and Andrea Blood (b. 1975). Recently described as “a quintessentially English answer to Cindy Sherman, but double, and with something of the wit and chemistry of French & Saunders distilled by a camera,” The Girls will bring a sexy irreverent Post-Feminist punch to the table. Like Margaret, The Girls use humour as a tool to cross boundaries that would otherwise remain taboo. The Girls are masters of the tongue-in-cheek tableau vivant. For I am a Fantasy they have created a new static performance that evokes ill-fated heroines of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. But, as ever with The Girls, the enchanting tableau gives way to unnerving rumblings.
As powerful yet overlooked women artists are being re-evaluated – Alice Neal, Louise Bourgeois, Yayoi Kusama, Rose Wylie and many more, PayneShurvell and curator Beverley Knowles are inviting Margaret Harrison out of the retrospective 1970s box to which history wishes to relegate her and into the twenty-first century worlds of feminism and feminist art as they are now. The exhibition hopes to provide a rare platform for cross-generational dialogue between second-wave and contemporary feminist artists.
The Girls are British artists Andrea Blood and Zoë Sinclair, whose collaboration began in 1996 at Central Saint Martins. After a seven year hiatus, The Girls began making new work in 2006. The Girls’ practice focuses on creating private staged tableaux and recording them as self-portrait photography or video, as well as performance. Themes explored include childhood, gender, feminism, women’s relationship with food, Englishness, obsession and eroticism. In collaboration with The Photographers’ Gallery, The Girls were artists-in-residence at Selfridges’ Ultralounge in 2010. The Girls have also exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery, The ICA and The National Portrait Gallery. ’Irreverent post-feminism. Think Angela Carter crossed with Cindy Sherman.’ LONDON EVENING STANDARD
Margaret Harrison was born in 1940 in Wakefield and lives and works in Cumbria, England. She studied at the Carlisle College of Art, Royal Academy Schools, London and the Academy of Art in Perugia, Italy. She has exhibited extensively since her first solo show in London in 1971, most recently appearing in the touring feminist retrospective ‘WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution’ at MOCA LA and PS1 New York and solo show The Bodies Are Back at Intersection for the Arts San Francisco in 2010. Her work is part of the permanent collections of Tate, Arts Council of Britain, University of California, Carlisle City Art Gallery and The V&A.
Image courtesy: The Girls
For further information, requests for interviews and/or images, please contact Joanne Shurvell firstname.lastname@example.org / Mobile: +44 (0) 7977 996568
Private View Thursday 14th April 6-8pm
The Girls static performance will take place 6.30-7.30pm: 14 April/5 May/21 May
16 Hewett Street - London UK EC2A 3NN
Open: Wednesday-Saturday 11am–6pm
and by appointment