By Suzanna Swanson - Johnston
From 14th September - 31st December 2015, the Riflemaker Gallery will play host to Judy Chicago once again with work both acquainted and un-introduced. Meet her Star Cunts & other attractions; a feminist-fired suite of her historic sculptures, paintings and archival pieces.
Artist, writer, educator, pioneer and artistic-punk-rocker, Judy Chicago created the feminist art movement; reacting to to social and political injustice during the revolutionary times of the 1960s and 1970s that she rose to prominence in. The history of art was the history of the white bourgeois man, till it was remoulded in the hands of Judy Chicago. Her art is dry-witted, dirty-talking, socially-pointed, intricate, fecund, frank, kick-ass-colourist abstraction. It dresses up in a history of representational feminine imagery in order to draw on the historical associations, and subvert them. Rifle-maker offers us a peep-show of the elements unseen.
In their exhibitive debut, on show are porcelain test plates which chronicle Chicago’s studies of china painting in preparation for the Dinner Party. In her key note work, Chicago created the symbolic history of women in Western civilisation and brought the diminished voices of 39 historical and mythological female figures to the table…literally. Using her distinctive multi-disciplinary-multi-media style, Chicago incorporated subject matter into the method by drawing on the traditionally feminine applied arts for the place settings. Along the 49ft triangular table sits embroidered runners, ceramic flatware, embroidered gold napkins, 2000 inscribed tiles and china plates with hand-painted vaginas; the studies for which are on show. Also featured are a series of steel dome sculptures and the eponymous Star Cunts - a set of prismacolour and pastels on paper - that lean towards her earlier minimalist style but still carry the prevailing feminist and feminine forms that characterise her work.
2015 marks quite the year for Chicago; she will simultaneously carry seven shows across Europe which stands as quite the testimony to her continuing influence, impact, relevance and status as ’America’s most important living artist’; this is one dinner party invitation I wouldn’t pass up.
‘Star Cunts & Other Attractions’ : Riflemaker Gallery, 79 Beak Street, London
14th September - 31st December 2015
All images courtesy Riflemaker Gallery