Exhibition Review: Ruth Dupré

Ruth Dupré – Arthouse1 Gallery

Ruth Dupré exhibits her work situated on the top floor of a town house in the middle of Bermondsey. The immediate thing noticed upon entering the room and seeing the work were the vibrant colours. The work is a selection of sculptures made by the combination of paintings, ceramics and glass exploring the themes of death, worship and humour of sex.

What I found most interesting about the work was the combination of materials used. Her mixture of glass and clay creates an interesting effect which makes the work stand out. Her use of colour on the sculptures makes the work come out even more, the combination of materials and vibrant colours works well.

The work produced by Dupré in this exhibition is inspired by the power of religious iconography, which explores how objects of ritual quickly become fetishes and idols. As well as the themes of the humour of sex, death, and worship, they also break the boundaries of this and go even further creating a lively, humorous feel with a slight serious tone. She was also influenced by such things as a mummified finger of a 16th century saint enclosed in its coffin and the palette of Goya.

Dupré’s exhibition combines a very interesting mix of materials, which reflects the subject matter well. It sort of creates juxtaposition between the conflicting themes represented through the work.

Dupré’s work can be related to Georgia O’Keeffe’s large close up paintings of flowers, which suggest a disguised representation of the female genitalia despite O’Keeffe denying this association. As well as O’Keeffe, Dupré’s work also has some resemblance to Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures. Dupré’s work almost seems to envision O’Keeffe’s paintings and Chihuly’s sculptures into one.

As the exhibition is to be viewed by appointment only, the experience for the audience is quite an intimate one, which perhaps may have been intended by the artist as the chosen space is one within a person’s townhouse.

The way the work is presented scattered around the room, some pieces are placed strangely by a fireplace or tucked into the corner makes these explicit pieces seemingly fit within a homely environment as if to be imitating religious ornaments that might be placed within a home.

From looking at the work of Ruth Dupré, I could apply it to my own work by experimenting with various materials and combing them. The idea of working with clay is quite intriguing and something I would like to try. I also really like the glass element of Dupré’s work, however this is something that would be quite difficult to get a hold of working with. I could also explore presenting my work in a ‘homely’ manner as I am already looking at culture and tradition.

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