Showcasing a collection of artworks exploring, through craft, textiles, drawings and touches of humour, the complex story of female breasts. We desire, shame, fetishise and ridicule these sexual and functional body parts, the exhibition wanders through its complex story.
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Preview of show with the artist Friday 12th May between 18:00 to 20:00 where there will be breast cupcakes as well as the usual nibbles and wine.
Drawing from both past and new pieces, ‘Storm in a B Cup: a story of breasts’ showcases an imaginative collection of artworks which follow a period of research and development for a new artist to the city, Rebecca D. Harris. This show brings to play both serious tones and humorous ones, to explore the complex narrative of female breasts. Probing this, Rebecca’s use of handmade crocheted breasts, large and small scale hand embroideries, drawings and other sculptural textiles, delve into her personal story whilst leaving room for you to consider your own.
Talking of the exhibition Rebecca states:
“Since 1989 I have owned my own breasts, it is these bodily objects I insist on making artworks about. As a pubescent girl, during the time my physical body lost its gender neutrality, I taught myself to draw, embroider and crochet. I would also use objects in the garden to create assemblages and then take photos of them; obsessed with how ‘things’ can create other ‘things’.
My breasts are a constant bodily feature, I am often found not aware of, nor thinking about my forearms or the back of my head. They protrude from my body, they fall under the gaze of others and at certain times of the month they hurt. With my teenage years, weight gain and pregnancy; that history scarred itself on my breasts, riddled with stretch marks and a shape never to be regained: my skin displays its life story. My interest in breasts doesn’t just lie within my narcissistic fan/hate club of my own, I also appreciate the aesthetics of breasts of other women, and am fascinated by all the shapes, colours and sizes these come as. I think we would be lying to ourselves, straight, gay, male or female that breasts are not something we look at. From this fascination, I keep wanting to make artworks about them and it is these experiences that inform my ideas.”
Two years ago Rebecca was working on a embroidery commission for the Eden Project exhibition ‘Invisible You’, funded through the Wellcome Trust, a work that gained international attention. Not because it was for a new permanent exhibition at the world renowned attraction, nor because the piece was in collaboration with a professor of microbiology, which saw the artist hand stitching thousands and thousands of hand embroidered French Knots to present the diverse community of microbes that live on and within our bodies, no. This was because the figure had nipples, not just any nipples though, female nipples. Social media giant Facebook rejected an advert containing the image, due to being ‘overly sexual’, ‘promoting pornagraphic content’ etc, because the figure had breasts – sending the news story global. This was no David and Goliath story, Goliath won and they win time and time again against the female nipple. This is not, by far, an isolated case and furthered the artist’s interested in exploring these beguiling bodily objects.
In 2012 Rebecca was due to undergo weight loss surgery (later cancelled) and so started, through her artworks, exploring the effects dramatic weight loss would have on the female body. Artwork ‘Life Sucks’ uses tights to represent how breasts might look after their fat is removed or time has taken its toll. These pieces, which have later been developed for this show, are also about the metaphorical consumption of women, being drunk from and drained. In 2016 the idea is explored further with the eponymously titled artwork ‘Storm in a B Cup’, commenting on how women and their bodies are objectified by representing their breasts as cups, something to be drunk from, held, owned and also as in how they are measured, literally. Furthermore, it is also a commentary on how the whole issue about our cautious and prudish nature towards female breasts are all a bit of a storm in a teacup.
A small selection of artworks will be for sale and not forgetting a chance to purchase your very own copy of ‘A Story of Breasts: an A to Z adult colouring book’ designed by the artist exclusively in support of the show.