THE TIGER'S BRIDE
6 – 29 April 2017
“…neither did the angel with the flaming sword nor the great booming voice outside the garden gates, the voice that wilted leaves and made the very stones tremble, ever pause to ask of Eve how sweet was the flesh, how tart did the juices run, when she sank her teeth into the stolen fruit…”
This is Rebecca Haysom's first solo exhibition. Working in the form of intimate narrative collages and installation elements that make use of nursery and craft materials like paper mache, she presents what could be scenes from alternative parables that seem to both affectionately yearn for and irreverently undermine ideas of romance. In these de-stabilized revisionings it is unclear who is prey or predator.
As critic Ivor Powell notes, “The sly, heady, yet ultimately toxic taste of forbidden fruit lies at the heart of Rebecca Haysom’s collage work in The Tiger's Bride exhibition. Working largely with images drawn from the kind of women’s magazines that serve to reinforce patriarchal dominance and female submission (as well as etched illustrations that served similar purposes in the pre-photographic age), she does something more than to remake and recontextualise the borrowed collage imagery to challenge the underlying narrative. As the novelist Angela Carter (one of Haysom’s references for the current cycle) did in retelling European fairy tales, so too does Haysom also wrest control of the narratives of visualisation in the images she constructs from what you might call the found semiotics of the borrowed imagery: in the mind’s eye of a looming female consciousness as conveyed in disembodied detail (elegant hands and cigarette smoke, giant patent leather fashion boot hovering menacingly over a Manhattan cityscape it could crush casually underfoot, without so much as a smudging of mascara); or in a bustle of illicit activity under a fine lady’s skirts, illustrated only through a deferred narrative of wanton limbs coyly protruding from the drapery; or again in wry relookings at the imagery of porn as totem covered in cat fur.
Rebecca Haysom’s vision is magic-realist at the end of the day, her landscapes of the mind at once lush with desire and electric with anger. This is work that is driven to tell truths, but you can be sure the artist is also licking her lips while she tells them.”