Please see a preview of the show here.
I was absolutely delighted to have been selected for the project space this year at London Art Fair showing Sherry Kerlin and Marice Cumber. I would have loved to have shown clients these works in the flesh. Sadly due to covid we are online but I am very happy to bring any works to clients homes once lockdown has eased or we can do a virtual viewing.
Sherry Kerlin (US, b. 1944) and Marice Cumber (UK, b. 1961) are two female artists who, from a combination of personal experience and keen observation, shine a light on the darker, grittier human truths that exist in all and for all of us. Ageing. Vanity. Pride. Loss. Alcoholism. Depression. Loneliness. Rape. And this is just for starters. The list goes on. But this should not surprise – life will have exposed all its dark corners by the time you have lived over a hundred and thirty years combined.
Kerlin is a painter living in downtown New York. Wise, in her 70’s she paints works such as “The Smiling Widow”, with her stating “I found my life richer and happier as a result of my getting over the false need to have a husband”. Her work holds a sense of emotional and psychological force, but there is a lightness of touch that leaves the viewer unclear as to whether these are wholly autobiographical works or how much are borrowed observations of others. Either way, they acknowledge the bumps in the road (or in ourselves) that we can experience. Viewers may find it reassuring to see that they are not alone in either having been the ‘Drunken Schoolgirl’ or perhaps, more frighteningly, are mothering one. Kerlin’s ‘blurred’ style seen in each painting also hints at the notion of imperfection and perhaps suggests things are not always as they seem. Maybe her descriptions of the works should also be seen as fluid and a bit blurry – having seen at least two different ‘explanations’ of ‘The Fashion Conscious Nurse’ in the three years working with the artist, it is clear that Kerlin develops such a deep understanding and insight with each of her subjects that she paints, that she develops multiple narratives. Living with these works is to live with beauty, enigma and what it is to be human.
Things are also not what they first appear with Cumber’s bright, colourful hand built ceramic vessels. The pots are covered in messages but these are not trite, new age mantras or slogans in ‘the keep calm and carry on’ vein. These are extremely personal works that chart a journey of suffering, isolation, depression and human vulnerability. After suddenly finding herself in the midst of a breakdown during her mid-forties whilst in a high-powered job, she “spent a year crying, seriously depressed”. While also “trying to be normal” for her children, she sought extensive counselling while recording her inner most thoughts in little black notebooks she would conceal from the outside world. As she returned to health, she set up a charity that provides creative workshops for people who were homeless, and having had a creative background herself, and returned to making pots as part of her recovery. Using the little black notebooks as source for her inspiration, she describes her output as a ‘creative confessional process, which was cathartic and liberating’. Her work exposes inner thoughts and mantras that have much to give others who have suffered, are suffering or are to suffer yet. The work gives a voice to those who may be suffering silently, that there is always hope and show that out of darkness can come light.
This is the first time both artists have been shown in the UK.
Louisa will be giving 10% of sales to the charity weareagenda.org. This great charity “exists to ensure that women and girls at risk of abuse, poverty, poor mental health, addiction, homelessness and contact with the criminal justice system, get the support and protection they need”.
Louisa is an art consultant offering independent art advice. Please see here for her fees and charges.
Louisa Warfield 3rd January 2020