Wednesday, 14 May 2008
X-hibitionism opened at The Gallery, Edwards Lane in Stoke Newington, North London last night and continues until 5.00pm saturday 17th May. The work of seven women is astutely curated by Wendy Haslam and Slavka Jovanovic to produce a highly crafted collective essay on contemporary female angst which is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny,- see the glorious 'fanny knickers' of Doris Domestic, aka Wendy Haslam,- and the very wry, almost grotesque humour of Jovanovic in 'SCUM', a welcome reference to Valerie Solanas's classic work, The Society for Cutting Up Men.
Dominated by traditionally 'female' craft practices, particularly sewing and 'entertaining skills', which are used to create installation work, it recalls the work of earlier feminist artists, notably Hannah Wilke, Jo Spence and Helen Chadwick. It was an absolute joy to see an exhibition of the work seven women together, collectively articulating often quite complex feminist narrative; although slightly shocking when one realises how rare that is now. Explicit reference to the earlier exponents would have been welcome. X-hibitionism artists would, I think, have gained much from the expanded context. Chadwick, Spence and Wilke all died relatively recently, and very young, from preventable cancers. It is a fitting tribute to their extraordinary contribution to art history.