A selection of my performances over the past few years, performed alone or with friends. The backdrops of which range from photography studios to back alleys here in Leeds, and include hand-made props.
Deunydd Hiraeth (2020)
Performance with handmade soft sculptures, photographed by Emerson Pullman
Deunydd Hiraeth is a material form of grieving. Through reconstructing scenes of play from childhood with ‘gwenny’ materials and a playful attitude, I’m reminded of a simpler time playing with blocks in my Nain’s front room.
The work references the soft blocks babies play with when they are young, yet created at a scale and style more fitting to adults. I find comfort in the process of making the cubes and intend that their soft and squeezable form also comforts those who encounter them.
The material quality of the cubes has nostalgic links to my home and childhood. I source the material from charity shops, repurposing old curtains, valances and quilt covers into objects of play. The second-hand nature of the materials is important as I can imagine how they used to furnish and decorate a home not unlike my Nain’s, who had a deep green floral sofa in her front room. In an exhibition setting the cubes would be piled high in a corner, and the audience would be welcome to come and play with them in any way that they choose.
My Womb Belongs to You (2019)
Performance with modified balloon, photographed by Sam Joyce
In this series, the viewer looks at the photographs through rose tinted glasses, which often happens when looking back to eras such as the 1940s. The links I make to the 1940s emphasise the negative aspects of the era in relation to how people with wombs were marginalised, and how reproductive health has been, and still is, controlled by outside forces.
I subvert the sweet sentimentality of the balloon by blocking out the word "heart", and replacing it with "WOMB" in bold lettering. The contrast between the original soft, slanted lettering and the bold capital letters is jarring which ensures the viewer isn't tricked by the colour palette and soft lighting into thinking this series is romantic in the slightest. The use of the terms 'my' and 'you' directly involves the viewer in an almost accusatory way. Irony is heavily implied with this series, as the balloon insinuates that a person's reproductive abilities are more important than the person themselves.
Performance with bricks and wheelbarrow, photographed by Sam Joyce
Burden is a piece focused on the idea of the patriarchy, in the piece I repetitively construct and destroy different brick structures, primarily walls. I use bricks for their masculine connotations, and I dress in vintage clothes with pin curled hair to depict a 1950s housewife. This is reminiscent of a time when women were encouraged through advertising and propaganda to return to their homes and give up the jobs they acquired while their husbands were at war.
Performance with vintage props, photographed by Sam Joyce and edited by the artist
Frolic! is a series of works which appear in a fabricated advertisement campaign for an ambiguous brand. I orchestrated the shoot through the clothes and styling while collaborating with Sam Joyce on the photography and direction. Inspired by the style of vintage advertisements I wanted to create a campaign which was inclusive and used positive language, as opposed to the depreciating language used in vintage advertisements to sell products to 'improve' the target audience.
To complete the finished pieces I created a colour palette for each image which compliments the outfits and vintage props. I digitally added colour and stylistic elements which I hadn't done in my work previously.