Lana Harper discovers a deeper side to domesticity in a new exhibition at Upstairs at the Three and Ten
Exploring the banality of domestic home life and our roles within it, ‘Domestication’ succinctly demonstrates the superb technical skill of artist, Emer Gillespie, most notably through her striking use of bright, simple blocks of colour and inspired compositions.
Although apparently intended to be an affirmation of everyday modern domesticity, there are eerie undertones, with the scarcity of people and objects lending a loneliness and isolation to the study which may be unintentional.
Gillespie states that she aspires for her life to have ‘no distracting elements, complicated or erratic movements’. It seems indicative of hectic modernity to aspire to bland ghost town-ish serenity, and this is underscored by the continual dominating presence of garish domestic artefacts such as rubber ducks and luminous fridge magnets.
Nonetheless, there are affectionate and even comic aspects to the photographs, stemming mainly from the absurdity of everyday objects and situations in the voyeuristic context of an exhibition such as an intimate, amusing fridge note and a child’s bee costume hung next to a skeleton poster.
The pervasive sense of disquiet remains, however, particularly in the Diane Arbus-esque ‘Baby in fridge’. Amusing at first, a doll placed among everyday groceries, the use of shadow and glaring artificial light suggests an ominous aspect to the surreal image, again apparent in the film exhibit which uses distorted sound and jerky time lapse sequences.
Despite the exhibition lacking in some ways a clear and overriding aim, ‘Domestication’ is worth visiting for its interesting, attractive aesthetics and technical excellence.
‘Domestication’ runs at Upstairs at Three and Ten, 10 Steine Street, until the 26th of October between 4-6pm on Fridays and 12-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Entrance is free.