For her third solo exhibition at the gallery The Unruly Glove, The Green Bum and The Sickly Trickle, Zoe Williams has produced a series of drawings depicting a fantastical and erotically charged world.
These drawings are set within stained walnut burr frames and installed in relation to a selection of colourful rabbit skins, which scatter the floor. The skins place the drawings within a fragmented scene, acting as a physical echo to the recurrent, fetishistic materialities displayed within the drawings themselves.
The undulating fantasy vignettes displayed through the drawings depict recurrent figures and characters such as; flying gloves, an art nouveau glass fist, numerous glass and plastic sex toys, gems, rabid minks, octopus’ limbs, sausages/turds, green feather capes, whips, cream cakes, green women, embellished cooked skin like boots, and yellowing liquids, all frolicking in and out of the frame. The irreverent use of art historical references and mixture of fairy tale imagery with erotically charged content is also intended to subvert and interrogate the symbolism they embody. The absorption into these psychosexual fantasy realms, the indulgence in folly and the absurd is also intended to be a small practice of defiance and resistance against dominant forms of reason and control. Through this body of work, the artist hopes to consider ways to explore notions of pleasure and fantasy not just through the lens of indulgence, but as a powerful tool for re-imagining.
The drawings illustrate a kind of surreal and recurrent broken narrative focusing around some strong, mainly female orientated beings, whom swap personalities and form as often as their shoes or dildos. Their world is controlled by dominant mink like creatures, who are taking revenge on the glamorous fur and feather clad women they are biting. Meanwhile octopus and their kin are slowly taking an erotically charged hold on the world as it becomes steadily more like a swamp. The work draws on aspects of fashion illustration, art history, psychoanalysis, notions of power exchange, sci-fi and speculative fiction in order to create a lurid and surreal assemblage of interconnected broken narratives and fragments. Finger marks and scratches present the traces of multiple parallel realities.
As part of the exhibition Williams has produced a small run publication incorporating her drawings and reactions to them in poem form by Artist and Writer Susan Finlay.