Conscious Developments

Gazelli Art House, London, introduces their new exhibition toute seule this January. An all-female show containing works from Rebecca Allen, Charlotte Colbert, Elizabeth Murray, Nancy Spero and Rachel Whiteread, the event draws together influence and collaboration as the artists respond collectively to the modern world.

Nancy Spero (1926-2009) had a prolific career that lasted 50 years. Amongst many of the other artists whose interests lie in social and political contexts, Spero chronicled wars and apocalyptic violence as well as articulating visions of ecstatic rebirth and the celebratory cycles of life. Her works echoed the collective consciousness of the 1970s and carried messages of growing instability, the US financial system and the Middle Eastern oil crisis.

In an interesting contrast, Elizabeth Murray (1940-2007) documented the optimism of the 1980s, where the USSR had diminished and technological advancements were looked upon with bright and hopeful spirits. This is reflected in her playful and expressive canvas works with wide and brightly positioned palettes of colour. Drawing up interesting juxtapositions, this free-flowing process towards her artwork was matched by a future where youth would have control. Computers, TV and the rise of the internet would be a way to connect and create their very own world.

Heading into the 1990s, Rachel Whiteread’s  (b. 1963) works reflected something different entirely. Social obsession, identity issues and cuts in spending were existed within the realised climate. Within her sculptures, Whiteread began to address space as something which could be manipulated, changed and made solid in uncertain times. In this way, she transformed negative places into her idea of home, where imagination is free to run wild and there is a chance to create stability.

Finally, pieces from Charlotte Colbert come into the view of unprecedented innovation and technology. Mirroring the outlook of post-millennium citizens, she highlights the way that people were, once again, at risk from themselves. With a heightened sense of voyeurism and critique, screens would become a way for political comments to be made, and a new source of language to be carved. Her multi-disciplinary works make use of these perceptions and augment them: video, moving image and sculptures tell personal stories with the undercurrents of a world which is heading further and further down the path towards total digitalisation.

toute seule runs from 13 January – 26 February, Gazelli Art House, London. Find out more: 

1. Charlotte Colbert, A Day at Home (2013). Courtesy of the artist and Gazelli Art House.