Wilma Cruise – The Alice Diaries
The Circa Gallery is pleased to present the opening of The Alice Diaries – An exhibition of works by Wilma Cruise.
The Alice Diaries features ceramic sculptures and drawings which work on several levels, the most central of which catalogues the artists experience and interpretation of the liminal space between animals and humans. She explores this through references to the texts of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. Cruise finds inspiration in the inversion in the human/animal relationship that she observes in her childhood texts where the character of Alice, as a human, is naïve and ignorant of the ways of the “wonderland” in which she finds herself and the animals are knowledgeable and seem to have quite specific, if rather unusual, agendas. Alice is confronted with an arcane kind of an existential crisis in this fantastic, eerie and frightening “wonderland” as the various creatures she encounters question her existence: “Who are you?” questions a smug, pipe smoking caterpillar, “What are you?” asks a suspicious pigeon.
In The Alice Diaries Wilma explores her own ideas and observations as a way of, in her own words, “…making sense of an increasingly confusing and seemingly dangerous world.” Her works do not dictate a message and do not ask a very specific question but seem to be observing from a distance. Their dark stares and knowing glances create an atmosphere that both intrigues and unsettles the viewer – an atmosphere that moves one to consider what it is that the armless, sometimes featureless creature - save for its glaring eyes - before them is observing. They appear both innocent and wise, both repellant and captivating.
Accompanying Wilma Cruise’s exquisite and unusual ceramic sculptures are her “Diaries” which take the form of drawings, writings and musings on paper. In these “Diaries”, Cruise catalogues her observations and ideas, turning them over on paper as one would in one’s head when trying to get to the end of a rather complicated problem. In Cruise’s case, the problem hasn’t got a solution but is rather an ongoing questioning of what it is that moves us as human beings to behave, think and react to the world around us in the way that we do.