Asya Geisberg Gallery
ANNIE ATTRIDGE 1st solo show in New York
Hearts of Oak
January 15 - February 12, 2011
Opening: Saturday January 15, ,
Asya Geisberg Gallery is pleased to present "Hearts of Oak", an exhibition of porcelain works, bronze sculpture, and charcoal drawings by British artist Annie Attridge.
Annie Attridge creates a universe of caves, mounds, entrances into flesh and exits into limbs, breasts, and flowery decadence. Her bawdy and sometimes brazen imagery explicitly contradicts the decorum of traditional porcelains, revealing what hides beneath a petticoat. The rococo curving lines of 18th century porcelain are evoked in arms and legs entwining, tree limbs twisting, and animal and figure amalgamations. In the intimacy and luminous delicacy within her pieces, Attridge expresses a torrent of emotion. Attridge's lush drawings create a velvety cover of compressed charcoal, adding drama to her cavorting carnality. Her bronze works emasculate while simultaneously endowing a symbol of timelessness and strength to soft breasts and billowing sails.
The process of making porcelain is long and difficult, but Attridge's playful pinched pieces exude a simplicity and ease. Similarly, in her bronze works, Attridge takes a complex and arduous process with a long history, and shrinks the patently megalomaniacal into toy-like scale. With Flogging a Dead Horse, instead of a super-sized statue of a general on his horse proclaiming victory in the public plaza, Attridge gives us a truly miniature pony, with a shiny breast for a hump. In Termite Boobie, Attridge takes gargantuan cathedral mounds where termites create a self-contained world of digestion, and turns them into another kind of symbol of nourishment. In Love on the Rocks, the termite mound, a colony for millions, has become a private cave for half-submerged lovers.
While porcelain originated as the expression of wealth, funded and bought by European royalty, in England it transformed into a commercial activity whose base was middle-class aspiration. The acquisition of objects in the home became more possible when ornate and elegant traditions slowly started the fall into kitsch that is now possible because of mass-production techniques. The title of the exhibition, "Hearts of Oak", is a Cockney expression, which in the rhyming slang of working-class British culture means "broke". A sly nod to the traditional penury associated with contemporary artists, it is also a witty joke on the upper-class origin of the decorative figurines that sit atop mantelpieces the world over. In Attridge's works, traditional British aristocratic referents -- the hunt, the private garden, gymkhana equestrian events, and refined behaviors such as courting -- are fused with private dramas of desire and longing. In the churning of art history, Roman mythology and Chinese technology are repackaged by 17th century workshops led by Meissen and Sevres, then later copied by centuries of English hands, and finally a young modern lass discovers a neglected art, and finds new stories to tell with this privileged medium. As Attridge says, "I have a love relationship with porcelain, and I hope we never fall out."
In Your borders, your rivers, your tiny villages, multiple figures prance and play within a maze of hedges, all on a scratched old ping-pong table. Metaphors multiply, as the landscape of the body is conflated with the arenas of play, sport, and games. Behind the charm and gaiety lies a melancholic air, where true happiness lies just out of reach, and the potential for romantic fulfillment might never be realized.
,Annie Attridge lives and works in London's East End. With a MA from the Royal Academy, and BA in Painting from the University of Brighton, Attridge was featured in the exhibition "Grand National - Art from Great Britain" at the Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway, and has had exhibitions at Galerie Maurer, Frankfurt, Nettie Horn, London, and will be in the exhibition "Material Worlds" at the Contemporary Art Society, and "Belle Laide" at Danielle Arnaud Gallery, both in London. "Hearts of Oak" will be the artist's first solo exhibition in New York.