02 March 2016

Betty Woodman at ICA

The bright colours and "strange shapes" I knew about, but the joyousness and wit were a wonderful surprise. "Theatre of the Domestic" is showing at the ICA till 10 April, and what a treat, especially in the greyness of winter.

Betty Woodman is a Californian potter, and in her 80s she's only just being discovered in the UK. (That sunny footwear gives it away.)
The show includes work from the last ten years, following her 2006 retrospective at the Met in New York - after which she wondered what she was supposed to do, crawl up in a corner and go away? So she started working again...

What's the appeal of this installation, is it about the pots themselves and their painting? The combination is wonderful - two very different sides of the same pots, for instance, connected with the painting -

But there's more - strange shapes (cut clay leftovers) painted and patterned and arranged in wall patterns; she calls it wallpaper, and each bay is a complete piece -

 And habitats for some individual pots, either on pot-bespoke plinths or on the floor -
Putting the pieces on the floor really changes the way you interact with them.

The combination with fabrics leaves me a bit dubious, but the "kimono girls" did make me smile -

 Another view in the gallery - note the painting on the wall, and the pots on the shelf in front of it -
"All these pieces have something pretty peculiar about the perspective - it's off." She's playing games with the 2D painting and 3D painting and the 3D objects in relation to the painting. "It's a marriage of surface and form." By painting the surface she makes us see the form very differently. "They're very much about the material I use, and that I know how to use," she says in a video here, where there's also a 70-minute artist's talk.

 Drawings, in the same spirit -

 Another painting-and-pots scenario in the upstairs gallery (note the "ghost pots") -

 The ICA's flooring, near the tupstairs galleries, fits right in -

1 comment:

Olga Norris said...

Thank you for the introduction and the links. Such joyous work.