Me & You

Gaffney, Sheila (2018) Me & You. [Show/Exhibition]

Abstract

The output is an exhibition, ‘Me & You’, curated by Sheila Gaffney, and featuring the work of Linda Schwab. Research process: The exhibition is a curated display of material outputs from Gaffney’s artistic research that defines a particular approach in sculptural practice as ‘Embodied Dreaming’. This making approach is informed by the psychoanalytical writings of Christopher Bollas. The artefacts, individually and as a group, demonstrate the traditional sculptural processes of modelling and casting to be pertinent manual techniques for contemporary identity formations that have class, gender and multigenerational ethnicity in their scope. The source material for life modelling was personal family photographs in which Gaffney featured aged 5 or 6 years old, that provided her with a register of classed and gendered subjectivity, situation, place and an internalised knowledge from her lived experience. Gaffney used casting processes to simultaneously predetermine the production and reproduction of objects identified in the photographs. Casting enabled the systematic investigation into the selected entities which both established knowledge of them and produced material conclusions. Research insights: The exhibition contributes to the histories of sculpture in Britain, a phenomenon that Gaffney argues has no register of identity formation within it. The ‘Embodied Dreaming’ approach embeds the psychic life of the maker within the action of making, bringing together critical and analytical practices with action based, manual processes in a way that has relevance to contemporary identity questions. Gaffney asked questions about how sculpture can convey what it is like to inhabit a woman’s body as she, the researcher, knows it, which is differently positioned from the masculine contributions to the history of figuration that constitute the European and British sculptural canon from Rodin to the present day. Dissemination: The research was disseminated at Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax, 17 February- 20 May 2018.

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