Essence of Gender
2 August - 9 September 2016
Curated and organised by Exhibit.Leeds, Essence of Gender showcases 4 artists each with a unique and different approach to representing gender in art. Exploring cultural and social gender roles and gender norms, Essence of Gender primarily celebrates the quintessential human form through the artwork of four Leeds-based artists.
Bobbi Rae aka ‘Cubs’
A designer and maker based in Leeds. Having graduated from the University of Leeds in 2013 and since pursued a multi-disciplinary creative path, Bobbi is a graphic designer by day, moonlighting as a freelance artist, illustrator and creative practitioner.
As a thumb-twiddling, nail-biting foot-tapper, the office day job inspires busy hands in the evening and Bobbi loves nothing more than playing with loose forms, mixed mediums and handmade textures to create bold and brazen images (and objects) that reflect her essence of being.
Bobbi Rae’s work is a hand-picked selection of illustrative prints, alongside a collection of experimental ceramic work. Enjoy tasty colour palettes, fun-loving figures and the blurred lines between objective and abstract forms, all with a pinch of humour and a thinly veiled message about the artist’s experience of her early womanhood.
Romily Alice is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work explores gender, feminism, the Post-Internet age and the physical act of making.
Essence of Gender features neon pieces from a selection of new projects; more information about Romily’s work can be found at romilyalice.com.
Megan Helyer’s work focuses on freedom, empowerment and acceptance. Her photography creates colour analogue images without the use of digital manipulation. A print may be grainy, even contain a hair or some dust, but these natural elements enhance her aesthetic, which is built upon advocating the liberation of real beauty and the search for truth. Contemporary ideologies around the human form and identity processes (especially female) are interrogated by her honest, provocative, and no frills approach. The images lay bare the grotesque hyper-real world of social media, societal pressure, celebrity culture, pornography and advertising, in
the process exposing the manipulation and exaggeration of the fantasized images portrayed and widely reproduced as ‘normal’. There is a beautiful and powerful synergy between the muted tones of her honest and intimate portraits of the naked veiled female form in the series Thigh Gap, her witty harshly cropped images of body hair paired with dreamy cuts of flowers in bloom in her series Full Bloom and her disturbing yet sensual portrait images of her partner with everyday objects in Closer. Her body of work nurtures the anxieties, feelings of displacement, and unconscious emotions which nestle in human being’s darkest corners; this artist demands you to stop and evaluate personal feelings and actions directed towards the self and one’s own body.
‘The Transfigurations’ painting explores social conjuncture using the biblical allegory of The Fall of Eden to explore the separation and alienation of the individualised self. From a primal perspective it confronts themes of sexuality and the restriction of the flesh as it also seeks to question what the divine nature of living is; be it of physical pleasure and joy, or an ascetic journey through social interactions.