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EVE at Amar Gallery, London
January 31, 2018
Having toasted the winter season with a moody and somewhat mystical show BLACK EXODUS at the end of 2017, Amar Gallery in Islington, north London, has rendered some colour in to its proceedings in preparation for the springtime.
Amar’s next exhibition sees their space filled with a representation of the Biblical character Eve, through a celebration of all things women and womanhood. Amar Gallery represents a sort of Genesis story in art, with ‘Eve’ (female nature) becoming the protagonist in several artist’s different bodies of work. However, the show explores the infamous fall from grace and the aftermath of that.
There’s obvious fire and brimstone courtesy of Sonja Braas, who provides evocative photographs of frenetic vistas to represent the hellbent wrath that we know to be the product of Eve’s temptation. This represents the power and change that Eve’s fall ignited, and is demonstrated in three photographs: Eclipse, Lava Flow and Wave.
Renée Cox melds history and her own African-American heritage together. She has used her own nude image in her works in order to represent gender and race. Her piece, Girl in Da Bush, is somewhat tribal, with its tropical setting. This conjures an imagery of Eden and could easily be the moment before, or after, Eve succumbs to temptation. There’s a look of both initial curiosity and retrospective regret as she emerges from the trees.
The feminist collective Guerrilla Girls tackle things in a much more contemporary and brazen manner with their works Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into The Met. Museum? and Women In America Earn Only 2/3 Of What Men Do. The messages here aren’t subtle. We are given written facts in these pieces that inform and educate – and while we’re faced with a further reminder that equality is still not where it should be, it’s still thought provoking.
A unique and interactive exhibit comes in the form of Jenna Burchell’s tortoise skeleton. This comes from her Cradle of Humankind collection and invites you to touch it. Once you do, it hums to you, supposedly regurgitating the sound of humanity.
More colourful are the works of Mekhala Bahl and her own interpretations of Eve. Bahl has produced tapestries that are intended to provoke reflection and meditation and hang from the Amar Gallery walls as a literal interpretation of creation and craft.
Amar Singh has been mindful not to be too predictable in this latest collection. Yes, it’s about Eve, yet refreshingly there are works from a man included as well. Antony Gormley contributes The Fall of Man, a drawing that re-imagines The fall as a product of Adam’s doing.
Words by Andrew J. Bullock