Taken Care : Rebecca Ackroyd
Hunter / Whitfield is pleased to present Taken Care, an exhibition of new sculpture by Rebecca Ackroyd.
For Taken Care, Ackroyd pushes and reimagines the human body in ways that are at once disarming and beguiling. Pairs of plaster legs, topped with ribcages which call to mind car grills, loom in the gallery space, striding purposefully – in flight or pursuit – away from the entrance. The elongated necks of dismembered female torsos tower above the room, reaching and fusing with the ceiling, so that the work seems to be in a symbiotic relationship with the gallery space itself.
The figures display their rears to the gallery entrance in a manner that is semi-mocking and which invites the viewer to move around them. They present a set of paradoxes: they are delicate yet brutal; carnal yet monumental; of peculiarly human scale, and yet uncannily oversized. The fragility of the figures is further heightened by the presence of coal in their hollowed-out abdomens, suggestive of bodily warmth and the sculptures’ material vulnerability.
Arranged throughout the gallery are box-like forms balanced precariously on rebar stands. Seeming at first to present a sealed, united front, they reveal themselves, via open backs or structural gaps, as enclosures. Reminiscent at once of shoebox theatres and prison cells, these works create strange interior environments, populated by wax body parts – ears, feet, mouths – whose bright colours and exact rendering highlight a stark contrast with the white, almost featureless bodies that dominate the exhibition. Melted wax plates stand neglected, as if forgotten, conjuring an eerie, hermetic domesticity and echoing a wider urban environment in which millions live crammed together.