'Two Steps Back' By Jane Andrews|
Looking at Jane Andrews's work 'Two Steps Back' and other paintings from her compelling body of work 'Station of the Skirt', I was immediately struck with nuances of artists as diverse as Carrington, Rego and Goya. To be honest, I didn't know anything about Andrews's work, yet I was intrigued to know more. So, I suppose it is not surprising that Andrews has made the BWA shortlist before. Her distinctive work is consistent, beguiling and accomplished. The recurring motif of a full, black skirt, is Andrews's metaphor for the straightjacket of the institutionalized female. The skirt is both full and black, both permissive and restrictive, its severe black, billowing folds do not offer the practical freedoms of a pair of trousers, but at the same time, its swathes of fabric conceal and hide. Evocative of fairytale, mystery, and the dark arts of the witch or crone, the black skirt resonates with all the stereotypes that demonize the feminine, those that in the west at least, have become normalized. Yet in Andrews's paintings, there are no flimsy misogynistic overtones of 'a bit of skirt', instead the garment and the wearer take on a sculptural and timeless monumentality.
Chiara Williams Director WW Gallery, London.
'Shipping Forecast' By Perdita Sinclair|
On seeing the 'Shipping Forecast' I was immediately intrigued by its visceral qualities embodied in the mark making, evoking a sense of motion and movement. A fleshy pallet that I am naturally drawn to and the hint of the feminine in the fragmented suggestions of the female form, for me highlights the beauty of this work. There is something of both the ephemeral and transient yet permanent and robust that guided me in wanting to find out more about this work and its creator. The concept of the personal and internal, suggested by a mental health diagnosis, yet the acknowledgment of a wider reaching, social and potentially political impact of the subject matter all being explored in the one image for me feels both ambitions and bold. A multi layered and difficult challenge, I feel executed with a beautiful and sensitive resulting piece.
'This Too Shall Pass' by Sophie Wellan|
Wellan's 'This Too Shall Pass' is an impressive installation that speaks of the inner world of feelings, isolation, helplessness and mental health issues. The eerie encasement of a hospital bed, could trigger many responses, I immediately projected claustrophobic amongst other things. Wellan invites us into a space to consider emotional states and inevitably, of course, in comparison, it is the complete sterile opposite of the much debated Tracey Emin bed.
Debra Wilson, Director WW Gallery London.