Young Masters is delighted to introduce Guest Artist Joy Gregory.
One of the major artists to emerge from the Black British photography movement of the 1980s, Joy Gregory (b. 1959, UK) takes a cross-disciplinary approach to her practice and the vehicle of photography. Her work is concerned with social and political issues with particular reference to history and cultural differences in contemporary society.
Much of Gregory’s photography deals with the physicality of the object, its potency and associations. The series ‘Girl Thing’ (2002-10) deploys the 19th-century cyanotype process, a technique which involves placing her still life objects onto paper painted with light sensitive emulsion. When exposed to light, these objects of cultural and sentimental value are fixed in a deep blue shrouded by a ghostly aura. The process adds a dimension of time and suggests a narrative structure of a different era. ‘Girl Thing’ addresses the power of stereotypical feminine clothing – kitten heels, silk bras and corsets and feminine accessories, such as a delicate handkerchief. These photographs present perceived images of femininity and act as an exploration of gender through female belongings. Gregory states that “this work combines my tendency for collecting objects associated with the female form with my fascination with narrative and history. These seemingly innocuous objects placed within an historical or social context result in surprising and sometimes chilling implications.” In ‘Lilac & Gold Sheened Kitten Heels’, the shoes are contorted and suggest pieces of meat.
Joy Gregory, Hair Grip, From the series ‘Objects of Beauty’. Kallitype on Paper. 44.5 x 58 cm.
Critical of the pressure the fashion and beauty press place on women to be “young, thin and conventionally beautiful regardless of our natural features”, in 1993 Gregory produced a series of photographs of the objects women use every day to make themselves more attractive. As well as this hairpin, the series ‘Objects of Beauty’ (1992 – 1995) includes a corset, a comb, false eyelashes, curlers, jewellery, stockings and lace knickers. Each object is photographed on its own and printed as a calotype, a photographic process also popular in the 19th-century which is characterised by subtle tonal differences. These formal qualities give the individual objects an iconic status and ironically, they themselves become beautiful in their still life guises. ‘Hair Grip’ was recently used on the cover of a new edition of ‘The Second Sex’ by Simone de Beauvoir.
Joy Gregory is a graduate of Manchester Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. She is the recipient of numerous awards and has exhibited all over the world showing in many festivals and biennales. In 2002, Gregory received the NESTA Fellowship, which led to a major piece around language endangerment. The first of this series was the video piece ‘Gomera’, which premiered at the Sydney Biennale in May 2010. Her work is included in many collections including the UK Arts Council Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, and Yale British Art Collection.
Gregory is currently exhibiting at the Diaspora Pavilion for the 57th Venice Biennale alongside artists such as Isaac Julien, Yinka Shonibare, Hew Locke, Barbara Walker and Ellen Gallagher. Her exhibited work, ‘Overlooked and Underreported‘, consists of two components – a textural golden plaque and a figurative image based piece. The Diaspora Pavilion is presented by International Curators Forum (ICF) and University of the Arts London (UAL), and runs from May 13th until November 26th 2017 at the Palazzo Pisani S. Marina. She currently lives and works in London.
Hair Grip and Lilac & Gold Sheened Kitten Heels will be on display at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery as part of the exhibition ‘Young Masters Tour 2.0’.
The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery
5b Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4UY
Exhibition Dates: 2nd – 14th October 2017
Opening Hours: daily 11am – 7pm or by appointment
Private View: Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 6 – 9 pm | RSVP essential
Featured Image: Joy Gregory, Lilac & Gold Sheened Kitten Heels, 2003, From the series ‘Girl Thing’. Cyanotype on Paper. 63 x 84 cm.