ABODE: A Debut Solo Show by Miranda Forrester | It's 2020 For F*ck Sake – A Thirteen Artist, Back-to-Back Solo Exhibition Marathon
Queer companionship, joy, and solidarity are at the heart of these paintings, exploring the sensitivities of womxnhood.
“Abode” is a new series exploring the relationships of queer black womxn and non-binary people, both with one another and with themselves. The abode is where you are rooted; your space to dwell; where desire and tenderness exist without reservation. This series observes this essential interior, and the subtleties of the emotions, actions and happenings that occur there.
A number of these works were created during lockdown, where time and space to dwell was unlimited. This series explores this specific time period as well as other spaces that similarly allow for slowness and stillness; where silent desire that is simultaneously intensified by a long period of time without interruption can occur. The figures are granted the space to breathe, the right to spontaneity, independence and autonomy. The liveliness and soft energy of the bodies are on display: flexible, moveable, transitional. Queer companionship, joy, and solidarity are at the heart of these paintings, exploring the sensitivities of womxnhood. The paintings that use image transfer make reference to films that similarly explore enduring anticipation and a migration to freedom and agency, such as The Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma, 2019) and The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1996). The use of PVC also speaks to the dynamism of the body, seeing through, on, and around the surface, evoking a sense of community and the many voices that contribute to the formation of one’s identity.
Miranda Forrester’s practice explores the queer black female gaze in painting, relating to the history of men painting womxn naked. Her work is concerned with addressing the invisibility of womxn of colour in the history of art and combating the fetishization of our bodies. She has been investigating how her identity impacts the way in which she depicts her subjects, and how her paintings can rearticulate the language and history of life drawing through a queer black feminist desiring lens, and in doing so, depict what the male gaze cannot see. Her use of stretching plastic over stretchers and painting on highly primed smooth surfaces is fundamental to the work, as it allows the viewer to see through the pictured bodies; the surface becomes more than skin, allowing the figures to become real and alive, moving and breathing on the canvas. This layering of transparent materials alludes to the complexities and nuances of womanhood and femininity; gender and sexuality.
Exploring the significance of domestic environments for queer people, Forrester’s paintings capture intimate, insular moments of warmth and tenderness. Animating large expanses of emptiness with vibrant, fluid and assertive lines, her bold figures occupy their space with authority yet subtlety, speaking to the strength in vulnerability. Lines and translucent brush strokes roam across her paintings, often spilling onto the wall behind and around the stretcher, gathering complex and shifting observations into the nature of identity. The work, altogether, is a celebration of womxn’s bodies, the joy in occupying feminine identities and being in relation with one another.
Guts Gallery and Soft Punk Magazine are proud to collaboratively present “It's 2020 For F*ck Sake”, a thirteen artist, back-to-back solo exhibition marathon, running from 24 September 2020 to 21 December 2020, first in a railway arch under Haggerston Station, and now with a return to lockdown, online through VR content.
Born from a desire to refuse the conditions of silence, paralysis, and erasure brought on by our current social and political climate, this exhibition series has been conceived as a means of exhibiting some of the most promising practitioners of the new generation, creating space for display, experimentation, and artistic ownership in an otherwise compromising market.
Actively aware of the scarcity of shows for underrepresented emerging artists, each artist exhibiting has been given full license over the space. However, this is an exhibition marathon founded in community — while each artist has a solo show, the broader ethos is one of collaboration, accessibility, progress, and collective shouldering of one another.
Once more returning to “lockdown” as of Thursday, 5th November, the remainder of the solo exhibitions will be launched and viewed through virtual reality, a viewing room via Guts’ upcoming Artlogic website and of course, Instagram. All of these platforms will be made live at the same time each week on the date the private views were due to take place. We would like viewers to engage with the works as you would in our physical space, curating an environment specific to each show and artist.
At a moment when the arts sector is on the brink of a major crisis, we are committed to continue putting our community first, paying fair wages, and providing sustained support for artists in any way we can.