Friday 17 March, 6- 8pm
A pommel is the upward curving or projecting part of a saddle in front of the rider; a pommel horse is a vaulting apparatus used for a gymnastic exercise consisting of swings of the legs and body. Tools to be ridden.
In the artist’s second solo show at the gallery, Elizabeth Jaeger presents a series of truncated reclining nudes. This new set of work confronts the “traditional” elegance and fragility of female form with a subtle violence: the torsos are sheared, immobilized, and propped on steel. The ceramic sculptures are active conflations, just as they are stark reductions, of various modes of seeing and forming the body – as object, as tool, as desire, as servant – multiple meanings across indistinguishable forms. Through tactics of reduction, replication and an acute awareness of display, the artist offers a unique vision of classical form suffused with the violence of mass reproduction, questioning and reconfiguring Modernist methodology.
Jaeger’s unglazed ceramic sculptures present subtle variation across hollow torsos, draped on custom-built steel display stands. Here we have an abstraction of a ubiquitous form repeated many times over. The romanticism is dispelled with. These rigid, fragile forms transform the figure into something else entirely, an un-individuated body, a set, a display, a theater, or a factory.
Concurrent with the exhibition, the artist has produced a series of 75 drawings, hand-altered digital pigment prints of classical paintings. Included in the set are various Reclining Nudes, Odalisques, Venuses, Lenas and Nymphs, whose compositions echo one another as copy. Each is drawn over with black colored pencil, both obfuscating and transforming the original works in equal measure. These drawings are collated into an available publication titled, “Denude”. This collection of images operates as per definition of the title, stripped of context, made bare, and organized into a loose flipbook of an empty rolling torso.
To pummel is to strike repeatedly, typically with the fists.