‘Not a Champagne Life’
Emma Elliott – Penelope Harrall – Ian Wolter
21st April to 1st May
Private View: 21st April. 7 to 9:30 pm
With a nod to the recent all-female exhibition in a male-run corporate space, Not a Champagne Life brings together the works of three emerging artists in a female-run independent gallery, and addresses the subjects of social order, gender equality and freedom of speech.
Not a Champagne Life features three dimensional works by Emma Elliott, Penelope Harrall and Ian Wolter, and makes reference to the luxury lifestyles enjoyed by a privileged minority compared to the increasing burden of austerity on the majority of people.
The selected works combine strong figurative and symbolic elements with performance, sound and movement while commenting on the hidden metaphor of each respective medium: Ian Wolter’s busts implying status and authority; the assumption of aesthetic beauty in bronze as illustrated by Emma Elliott; while the items of feminine care at the core of Penelope Harrall’s work are generally expected to be hidden from view.
The exhibition will be closing with a panel discussion on May Day, a date of cultural and social relevance that is observed as Labour Day in many countries. Led by gallery director Montse Gallego, the artists will comment on their respective works and practice and about the role of political art in post-modern society. Sunday 1st of May from 3 pm. Free entrance
Emma Elliott is a British artist whose central concerns are the incongruous aspects of humanity. In her work she explores the relationships between the refined and the primitive, the physical and the spiritual, the influences of our pre-human past on present-day behaviour. Emma was classically trained in painting and figurative sculpting both in the UK and Florence. Her excellence in craftsmanship and technique is matched by a fearless questioning of ideologies, religion, ancient and modern society – the universe.
Emma’s work is held in a number of private collections, including No. 10 Downing Street and The Alexander Soros Foundation. Most recent awards include Winter Pride 2014 and Passion for Freedom 2015.
Ian Wolter is based in London and Cambridge and graduated as a mature student in Fine Art at Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, in 2015. Winner of the Global Sustainability Institute Art Prize 2015 and most recently the Arte Laguna Prize 2016, his work has generated headlines nationally and internationally, and continues to probe the boundaries between politics, art and community.
Ian is fascinated by lying and liars, and by those who connive to put their own interests ahead of society’s. He is also interested by the ways in which people edit their personal past, memories and justifications; to make them fit their self-image or reputation. His new experimental works are sculptural and kinetic carriers of political messages. By seeking to make ‘solid’ or ‘permanent’ sculpture from industrial fluids, powders and unctuous waxes or petroleum jellies, he is led to create machines, with very human, ethical messages.
Born in 1994, Penelope Harrall recently graduated from Cambridge School of Art with a First Class BA (hons) in Fine Art. Using video and performance art Harrall aims to expose key issues in our society we choose to ignore. Previous works include a series of videos and photographs that explore the issues caused by sugar consumption in society. By creating overwhelming and kitsch videos, she bombarded the viewer in an enticing extravaganza of sugar and sex. “A baroque pop nightmare” is a phrase that has been used to describe her disturbing yet enticing sugar series.
The female body plays a strong role in Harrall’s practice and it is important that female body is hers. She aims to scrutinise the objectification we witness everyday in the media and the humiliation we have all felt due to our ‘imperfections’. Penelope Harrall uses her own imperfections and insecurities to not only overcome them but to also tackle this warped image of what an ideal female should be. These issues combined she endeavours to create comical yet serious videos and performances to expose these integral issues.
Above: Penelope Harrall ‘My luxury item 1’; Ian Wolter ‘The ectoplasm of self delusion 1’; Emma Eliot ‘Beating the eardrum’,