Marvin Gaye Chetwynd
At the start of the year I made a promise to myself that was to see at least one show outside of Leicester, something that so far I am doing. Last month in St Albans with the work of Augustin Rebetez & Friends at the University of Hertfordshire Galleries which affirmed my animation. Today a little closer to home in Nottingham I visited the Nottingham Contemporary where last time I saw and spoke (asked a question) to Thomas Demand who was in conversation.
Today I took in the show of Marvin Gaye Chetwynd whose practice is rather broad in terms of the work she produces. A performer, painter, sculptor, costume designer and dare I say model maker. Informed by
…”popular performing traditions such as medieval mummer plays, carnivals, communes, drag acts and political demonstrations, as well as the history of performance in avant-garde art. She is at home with the classics and with popular culture – and she uses one to give new meaning to the other. Her performances have referred to the ideas, images and storylines of Giotto, John Milton, Charles Dickens, Karl Marx and Dante, for example, but also Meatloaf, The Addams Family, Star Wars and Starship Troopers. Brought up on film sets (her mother is an Oscar-winning production designer), and studying both anthropology and fine art at university, Chetwynd moves easily between folk traditions, sci-fi, 60s Happenings and contemporary moral issues”
Of course not all of that applies to mine. You will see later on how she influences my work. At first I thought she was just a performer, how wrong was I when I found the cat bus from My Neighbour Totoro (1988) I was more and more at home in this hand-crafted show. A life-size fabric bus with cat face on the floor, cushions in the back to sit on. I was very tempted with my friend to throw myself onto the inside and go for our own personal ride.
The more I saw of the show, cardboard structures made themselves known to me, I was right at home here. Seeing the love and care that went into these pieces. They weren’t meticulous, which didn’t bother me, they are more human and real to me, rough and ready, I can see what has gone into these pieces, the skill, the love, time and cardboard.
The piece that really sold the show to me was Diorama (2012). To the average guy on the street “anyone could do that” stood at the other side of the space, 5 crudely held together and filled with blown up photographs of black and white backdrops. Again it’s rough, that’s how I like it, its instant allowing the models inside each of them to really come alive. I have 5 separate scenes here, otherworldly, from the past and other civilizations, straight out of B-movies. I want to make my own, they look thrown together, which they aren’t all considered like a film set, just a lot looser and more fun. I am so happy to see the work of artists, even turner prize nominees who produce work like this, reaffirming that I am doing exciting things myself.
Marvin Gaye Chetwynd’s show is on at the Nottingham Contemporary until 23rd March, If you can, get down and be inspired like myself