Returning artist: Constance Slaughter

Constance Slaughter is an artist working with sculpture, installation and painting. For the show ‘Lluis Barba | Travellers in Time & Young Masters’, 4 – 22 November 2015, at Site/109, New York, Slaughter is displaying a group of sculptures, ‘A Song For Watteau’, made from wire and semi-transparent fabric. The airy and suspended impression is both playful and dark. ‘A Song For Watteau’ plays on the theatrical and romantic works of the French painter Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) who revitalized the French Baroque with light colours and movement. In a similar way to Watteau’s fête galantes, Slaughters figures twirl and sway, like the characters of half-remembered games, songs and stories.

The use of wire and scrim, allows the artist to sketch in 3-D. She sews rough garments for the figures or moulds them into hybrid shapes. How the so-called sketch and textile come together is an act of chance. The way Slaughter chooses to group the figures as well as their illusion of transparency creates a sense of absence and ambiguity. She is interested in the unsaid, what is not there, what might happen. As a result, the work offers only the prelude of a narrative. The story is left for the viewer to develop.

My sculptures are characters from dreams half-remembered, like actors in Watteau’s ephemeral bucolic theatre. Absorbed in the pleasures of late eighteen century’s France, they are singing and dancing to the precipice. – Constance Slaughter (2015)

Slaughter has previously expressed an interest for narrative within the visual arts and how it can be created. In her first contribution to the Young Masters Art Prize in 2009 (for which she was shortlisted), Slaughter’s painting ‘Art of England’ (2009) juxtaposed warrior figures, inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, with kitchen tools and everyday objects. This playful visual approach is characteristic of Slaughter’s work.

Constance Slaughter received her BA in Fine Arts from Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design, London (2007) and an MFA (2014), specialising in painting, from Pratt Institute, New York. She recently had a solo show ‘Running Out of Thread’ at FiveMyles Gallery, Brooklyn, New York (July 2015) and is currently shown by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery at Lluis Barba | Travellers in Time & Young Masters, 4 – 22 November 2015, at Site/109, New York. Other exhibitions include the ‘Summer Exhibition’ at The Royal Academy, London (2014 & 2008) as well as Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Liverpool Biennial, London (2007).

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