Exhibition 33: Eyes Down, at The Notice Board features new collages and a fabric flag by Jayne Cooper.
The work is inspired by early Renaissance Maiolica floor tiles from a convent in Parma, Northern Italy. The tiles (now in a museum) are a mix of religious and secular imagery seemingly quite at odds with such a pious setting. Particularly as their strange depictions filled, and arguably compelled the downward gazes of the nuns as they went about their monastic business, helping or hindering their concentrations.
Pleasure is at the heart of Jaynes work be that through the joy of looking, the choice of subject or the act of making. We see a playful set of constructions, based on contested imagery, shown in this beautiful setting, which invites you, the audience, to join the ‘fun’. But let us not forget how pleasure can also be considered a violation and against social mores. Hence this work being perfect for The Notice Board, which aims to question, through contemporary art, what many consider right or wrong.
Jayne, who has recently been awarded the Claire Peasnall Memorial Award by the St Hugh’s Foundation for the Arts says: For me, the pleasures of making lie in the manipulation of materials; the joy in seeing colours and surfaces working with and against each other is probably what sustains me the most. Collage too can be seen as transgressive, an ‘unauthorised collaboration’ which relies on the pre-made – it offers a freedom to rip apart, deconstruct and recombine. By using cardboard and non-precious materials goes against the tradition of painting and perfectly primed canvas. But I like to think this sense of freedom is echoed in the nuns gazing on the provocative tiles, gaining pleasure against their order to find an inner freedom, that indeed we all have as gatekeepers to our own private worlds.