Review – CLOSER STILL – Jenny Gibson and Chantal Gillingham at Bowery Visual Arts

(featured image – installation view of Closer Still , Chantal Gillingham)

Jenny Gibson’s photographic prints at Bowery Visual Arts are both revolting and seductive. In a style reminiscent of Helen Chadwick’s Wreaths to Pleasure; Gibson has placed charity shop style china figurines in viscous fluids, like jelly, custard and cream. Photographs show a  gloopy, unctuous mess of wet matter, the texture of which contrasts pleasurably with the hard, brittleness of the kitsch ornaments; the scene decadently decorated with hundreds and thousands, jelly fruits and blueberries.

Gainsboro 3 by Jenny Gibson

Gainsboro 3 is a stand out piece; it’s porcelain couple are suspended in a voluptous red trifle-y matter, bringing to mind thoughts of hedonistic party excess, indulgence and perversity. It feels almost sexual – I imagined Mr and Mrs Gainsboro writhing in an orgy of excess (and glacee cherries!).

Vortex 1 – 4 are galaxies of more sugary treats, with Gibson using the saturated colours of the confectionery to suggest a world that might suck us in, to drown in silver balls, marshmallow satellites, and yet more jelly.

Vortex 2 and 4 by Jenny Gibson

Gibson warns us of the environmental costs of materialism, whilst simultaneously seducing us with the pleasure of eating bad, sweet food. After my own Christmas over-indulgence, I’m feeling the moral overtones!

In the second room, Chantal Gillingham also has large colour prints, which were made using a complex process of collecting photographs and objects, drawing them, then digitally manipulating the drawings.

The blurred abstract images are varied in colour and pattern, and as abstracts tend to do,  remind me of various real-life objects, such as dancers, Christmas lights, mould spores and bacteria. Gillingham states that she aims to create a visual spectacle for the viewer, and undoubtedly the patterns are pleasing to the eye. I would have appreciated more insight into the process and the source images, though perhaps others may prefer to be left guessing and filling in the blanks themselves.

by Chantal Gillingham


The exhibition continues until Friday 6th January 2017, so there is still time to catch it yourself at Bowery Visual Arts, Headingley, Leeds. More details below:





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s