10 July - 7 August
TJ Boulting are delighted to present the first collaborative exhibition by Saelia Aparicio and Paloma Proudfoot. Ferine takes the garden as metaphor for the body, where boundaries between humans, architecture, animals, and plant life have folded. The exhibition imagines that the microbial life, weeds, and pests normally controlled and hidden in our bodies and cities have overrun and cross-bred with one another. This garden is populated with feminised hybrid animal-humans triumphing in a new landscape of open borders.
Proudfoot and Aparicio have been working together for the last three years on collaborative sculptures, but this is their first full exhibition together. Their work together focusses on the relationship between nature and the designed environment, and where they position themselves as female-identifying bodies in those entwined realms. Their work utilises a rich range of materials to communicate these tensions, oscillating between moments of control and physical vulnerability.
Combining Proudfoot’s interest in clothes pattern-cutting with Aparicio’s research into invasive plant and animal species, together they have created a series of bleach and ink painted clothes pieces. These pieces intentionally mis-use pattern equations and scaling methods to create multiplied, elongated, or oversized clothes, fit for the inhabitants of the garden body.
The title ‘Ferine’ infers something feral and existing in a wild state, not domesticated or cultivated. The ceramic tools that circle the hybrid creatures form a tool kit that represent a desire to keep this overgrowth in check, but their function has become blurred. Scissors with eyes, and callipers sprouting boots, could equally belong to a tailor, surgeon, barber, or gardener. Proudfoot’s ceramic hands are seen as another set of tools for taming and manipulating the environment but again they have merged with, rather than managed, the textures of plant and animal life.
The exhibition looks historically to the symbolism of animal-human hybrids, particularly at mythological creatures whose symbolism has been weaponised to control or insult the sexual and social desires of womxn in patriarchal society. Reoccurring painted and glass snakes referring to the syncretism of Medusa and Coatlicue run throughout the space, alongside amorous harpy, and anthropomorphised mantis figures. Through these characters Proudfoot and Aparicio explore how we attribute moral qualities to animals, and in turn use their characteristics to shame human desires.