Caryatid | Francesca DiMattio at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery
Through a feminist lens Francesca DiMattio will present a series of large-scale porcelain sculptures, which draw on the history of craft and decorative arts, re-evaluating their narratives and connotations with the domestic . The exhibition title, Caryatid, takes its name from the supporting columns, sculpted into female figures, found in ancient Greek architecture and DiMattio’s sculptures critically engage with this archetypal supporting role women have traditionally been placed in throughout history, as highlighted in this architectural tradition.
Reworking the female form, DiMattio explores conflicting expectations of womanhood, presenting feminine identity as a balancing act, precarious and full of contrasting possibilities. Totemic in structure, this body of work incorporates hybrid forms, which are simultaneously male and female, human and animal, animate and inanimate. Funeral wreaths are paired with pool floats, a bronze presidential memorial is paired with a gas tank and a mannequin torso is adorned with rococo floral glazes. By highlighting this instability of meaning, DiMattio collapses hierarchies between high and low culture destabilising fixed perceptions of identity.
shown: Telephone by Francesca DiMattio (2019). Image courtesy the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery. Photograph: Karen Pearson