Still translating, always challenging

Interview Emma-Kate Wilson / Image Bronwen Williams & Clare Powell

Bronwen Williams and Clare Powell interrogate the relationship between materials and lived in space. Hanging clothes, TV screens, and mini shell bath tub all create a personal relationship within the exhibition. “The feeling of being in a studio space is inherent in the shows conceptual basis,” Williams says.

The artists have remixed the visual arts as “two short blonde women”, contrasting the traditional male heavy art canon. ‘Flower Still Life’ is an underlying theme, featuring floral representations and rough, unfinished work to challenge the viewer’s perspective. The focus is on experimentation and personal reflection, rather than the aesthetics.

The visual elements do remain quite prominent in the show. The objects seem to be alive, twinkling and moving, interacting with me as I interact with the show. As a feminine woman I felt a personal connection to the exhibition, as though I had stepped into the Barbie house I built for my dolls when I was five. The sparkles, the glitter, and the pink were used by the artists to reject a masculine position. Although not exclusively ‘feminine’, the exhibition is rather an ambiguous or queer portrayal of sexuality.

The show came together as a process of experimentation and collection, fusing overly faux materials to highlight their criticism of the traditions of Still Life. There are hints of merged natural and artificial forms, with native flora and wooden platforms adjacent to plastic. The “Flower Still Life” theme is rearranged as you view it, from a video, to a sculpture, to clothes, to a picture.

Alongside restructuring ‘Flower Still Life’, an important theme comes from their collective female identity. Williams and Powell take no personal ownership over the works, instead expressing unity of friendship and mutual artistic and aesthetic interests. I loved reading though the interview with the two artists, with stellar quotes like: “I think the biggest factor is just being feisty young women. We are both pretty fierce and work really hard to get what we want and I think that plays a huge role in our everyday lives.”

They reflected on 107 Projects being a great space to experiment and to let them “have time to simply play.” Through this ‘play’ they have created an exhibition that speaks to the viewer on a personal intimate platform. The viewer is allowed to place themselves into the artistic process, to be part of the new dialogue surrounding art practice, the historical placement of artists and the direction we can head into more experimental thinking.

Bronwen Williams Clare Powell

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