Plane | Potty
By Peter Bradley and Laura Angell, curated by Stephan Roche.
126 Artist-run Gallery is delighted to present Plane/Potty an exhibition of work from Galway-based artists Peter Bradley and Laura Angell. Plane/Potty is part of 126’s ongoing project “Un-set In Stone”, conceived in light of recent activities surrounding the destruction of National Monuments overseas. In chorus with this, the theme contemplates an art object which can be considered a ‘monument of sorts’; a symbol of the time in which it was made; a representation of society or societal concerns.
Our identities are composed of a number of elements; how we feel, how we look, who we love, and how we choose to present ourselves to the world. A painted portrait is similarly constructed through a selection of fundamental elements; the figure, the environment, the surface, the frame, all relating to each other in a particular way to form a representation of the subject’s identity.
We understand portraiture by relating it to ourselves, much like we relate to everything else around us. When the expected formula of elements in a portrait has been interrupted or distorted, we are forced to shift our perception of what we are seeing in order to make sense of it. We are compelled to think differently about the subject and our connection with them, but is it possible to understand the lived experience of someone who identifies as a different gender, sexuality, or race to you? Or is that akin to attempting to understand alternate planes of reality? This body of work is a commentary on the perception of portraits and their subjects, and an investigation into acceptance of and respect for what we may not understand.
Identity, gender, sex, and sexuality are prevalent themes in the work of painter Peter Bradley. Having had an obsession with Identity and gender from a young age, Bradley’s investigation is driven by the artifice of social constructionism and is inspired by those individuals who do not feel constrained by outdated ideas of what is acceptable or expected of them. His paintings are an analysis of identity presentation between and beyond the gender binary and a celebration of self-expression.
Recent conquests regarding marriage equality and gender recognition have led Ireland into an age of advanced social change. Bradley’s newest works have become an analysis of these sociological and psychological advancements. Particular attention is paid to the evolution of modern masculinity and the increasingly widespread acceptance that what makes you male is not what makes you a man.
Laura Angell is a Galway based artist, originally from Sheffield, whose current work is directly influenced by Alain De Botton’s book ‘Status Anxiety’.
Growing up in a working-class area, as a child Angell would observe ornaments, crockery and decorative items in friends’ and relatives’ homes, used as a way of displaying status, a reflection of how successful they were, or at least believed to be. Angell states that she loved the kitsch appeal of these pseudo-trophies, finding humour and a hidden beauty in the flamboyance and often downright awfulness of the items. The image of those ‘vessels of success’ continues to inspire the artist in her practice.
Ornamentation and the decorative arts have been an important part of how society demonstrates success. Thinking in terms of Rococo and Baroque, stately homes, churches and homely living rooms embellished with porcelain ornaments and trinkets, Angell has elevated these societal ideals for a contemporary viewer: mixing together motifs and symbols from today’s social media, juxtaposed with geometric patternation and symbolism from historical porcelain, the installation is an over the top, exaggerated version of those ‘ornaments on a sideboard’. Highly embellished and decorative, somewhat overwhelming, humanistic and foreboding, accidentally phallic, it is as if Angell is saying, with tongue firmly in cheek, “mine is bigger than yours!” The interplay between symbols of anxiety and emblems of success
Laura Angell graduated from GMIT in 2012 with First Class Honours in Fine Art having been Awarded Student of the Year for two years running (2011 & 2012).She has subsequently exhibited in several notable group and solo shows .She has exhibited in two group exhibitions with the Office of Public Works and has 4 pieces of work in their Collection.Laura was awarded bursaries from Galway City Council in 2015 & 2017. Culture Ireland will be supporting her in a new Solo show in @Some Great Reward in Leeds,UK later this year. Laura is based in Galway and is a Member of Artspace Studios there, but is mostly(in fact almost always)based in her studio.
Since graduating from Limerick School of Art and Design in 2014 with a first class honours BA in Painting, Bradley has exhibited work in group shows with The Royal Hibernian Academy, The Royal Ulster Academy, The Hermione Annual Exhibition, and was shortlisted for the Hennessy Portrait prize in 2016. He has been awarded the Tyrone Guthrie Residency Award by the Galway City Council in 2017, and the R.C. L
Images by Emma Zukovič