British artist Samantha Donnelly will open her first major UK public show, Contour States, at Manchester’s Cornerhouse, tonight.
The media influenced exhibition is free for all and will be staged over two floors in the public gallery space on Oxford Road. The opening night starts from 6pm Friday January 27, with the artist introducing her work.
Contour States consists of a collection of photography, collage and sculpture; each explores the representation of female identity within the media as well as making reference to ancient Greek and Roman art, Brazilian cinema and George Orwell.
Drawing on themes seen in photography, TV, film and advertisement, Donnelly expresses concerns about how the portrayal of women in the media occupies our field of vision and ultimately shapes our future.
Samantha Donnelly, who hails from Manchester, is excited to be debuting Contour States in the city and says that it will not be touring elsewhere. She said: “It’s an exciting time, but also there’s a lot of pressure as it’s on home turf. I’ve lived all over the UK so it’s quite a varied influence.
“We’ve been working on the exhibition for two years and have been constructing it over the last six months. It’s a very subjective collection; I hope people enjoy it and have an experience that will affect them differently to others.”
Making reference to tabloid representations of women, the artist creates sexualised sculptures of the female body by using semi-painted plaster casts of mannequins, household cleaning cloths spray-painted with various shades of fake tan and uniquely incorporates lipstick, acrylic nails and other cosmetic products.
The Greater Manchester artist adds depth to the sculptures with the inclusion of buttons, lace, small mirrors, false eyelashes and ribbons. The finished work is fragmented with abstract quality.
Contour States creates an illusion of erotically charged nudity, but fundamentally only offers a fiction to buy into and invest in. Rather than just presenting a finalised work, Donnelly actively encourages her audience to engage with the process through which meanings are made and unmade.
The exhibition will run from January 28 to March 25 with further information available on Cornerhouse website.