Wednesday 16th December 2020 –
Sunday 31st January 2021
b. 1975, London; lives and works in London
1995-1999 Saint Martins School of Art and Design, London
2014-2016 MFA Slade School of Art, London
After obtaining her BA in Fashion at Central Saint Martins in 1999, Sara Berman founded and ran her eponymous fashion brand for 15 years. This involvement with clothing and the body led to a visual arts practice that combines painting and textile works.
Berman’s work deals with the spaces we occupy. Corporeal, haptic, cerebal, societal. Space as an extension of self. Clothing, textiles, the domestic interior and the female body provide the platform for an exploration of materiality through painting, weaving, assemblage, collage and drawing.
Berman has had solo shows in London, Hong Kong, LA and New York as well as being included in multiple group shows both in the UK and abroad. Her work is held in a number of private collections and institutions.
2019 Hauser and Wirth Hospital Rooms Fundraising Auction. Group 2020 Isolated Observations. Candida Stevens Gallery. Group show.
2020 We Could Apply Our Lipstick. C&C Gallery. Group show.
2020 Supastore. NIDA Art Colony, Lithuania. Group show
2020 Cure3 exhibition. Bonhams London. Group show.
2019 Exeter Contemporary Open
2019 Think In Pictures NYC curated by John Newsom and Matt Dillon
2018 ‘Matter Out Of Place’ Solo show at 93 Baker St London curated by VO Curations and supported by Outset
2018 ‘Between Community and commerce’ Solo Installation ZAZ10TS 10times Square, NYC curated by Tamar Dresdner
2018 ‘Double Ententre’ Solo show Anat Ebgi, LA
2018 ‘Solitaire’ two person show at Sapar Contemporary NYC
2017 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
2017 Solo show at Galerie Huit Hong Kong
2017 Dark Wood at Transition Gallery curated by Henry Hussey
2017 Young Gods at Charlie Smith Gallery
2016 ‘topophobophilia’ Gallery 46
2016 Slade Graduate Show
2016 ‘Names’ show Transition Gallery
2015 ‘Imagine’ at Londonewcastle Project Space
2015 Symposium for Drawing BAK Museum Utrecht
2015 BP portrait prize at National Portrait Gallery
Alison Lousada grew up in rural Cheshire near the Potteries border.
After a BA Hon’s in Textile design at Brighton she had a long and well established career as a print designer for several luxury fashion houses. A lifelong passion of pottery collecting led to a career change and Alison trained under the guiding eye of Nicola Tassie, who encouraged her to set up her own studio in 2016. She sells her work through The New Craftsmen and Matches Fashion in London, as well as Bergdorf Goodman in New York.
Alison specializes in creating distinctive and individual stoneware vessels. They investigate the collaboration between the domestic bellied form and the broken fragile painted surface. Using a combination of stoneware course clays and porcelain, pieces are repeat fired resulting in cracked and blistered finishes. The addition of volcanic engobes and lava stone deepen the textured and disrupted veneer which is so integral to her practice.
[scene unscene] is a conversation around ceremony and space, depth and domesticity? Presented like an exploration akin to an archeological dig, this show featuring new paintings, weavings, and transformed archival undergarments by Berman, and editions of enigmatic volcanic vessels by Lousada, is tantalizingly set in the domiciliary space of GALLERY46 in Whitechapel.
Like an excavation from which the scholars must extrapolate usage, the work is set out like evidence for the viewer to inspect, introspect, intuit. Ownership and meaning, these poured, manipulated, tenderized objects and paintings, vessels and weavings, garments transformed, require close attention. Unearthed, uncovered, revealed, flaunted; the gaze travels and traps. Meaning is thrown from the fabric of a past, distant yet distilled: memory of a form; memory of a function; memory of an evocation of a feeling of the feminine. They play in a new scene now, a new kind of seen, transported and transformed by their movement. And in the manner of all displaced objects, they are replaced, redrawn, reinvented by the artist, the viewer, and the space.
Berman’s painted figures are in position, occupying their frame, connected with each other, ready for action. Carefully casual, deceptively withdrawn, waiting for their underestimation, knowing in advance that it is coming, drinking it in, and throwing it back onto the viewer.
Weavings mix finesse and fury, spilling their beads like eggs, lie in wait for you, dare you to see them, dare you to think it, will not tell you. Sweaters formed from the lint of bodily detritus, undergarments stand stiff – disarmed, mute. Silence, bustle, frozen, brazen. An air of ritual to their texture, they witness archaeology of the body, the mind, the eye, the I.
Lousada’s clay vessels, poured, painted, fired, and cracked, occupy and harbor space by the glowering intensity of their presence. These are fragments of a life, of a time, of a form, of a function, the scene set anew. The gaze, the glaze, volumes created, volumes spoken. Volcanic disruption; pregnant pause. Lousada’s vessels hollow out the domestic and render it exterior, divorcing form and function, refusing to obfuscate any of the mess, any of the disruption such a liberation may and inevitably does cause, unabashed, bellied and proud of their flaws, worn as battle scars, prizes of their existence.
The works bring questions and answers deeply embedded in materiality. Clays, fabrics, fibers, paint, smooth, rough, tender, the work presents its process proudly, jogging memories, invoking imagined pasts, witness to work, craft, skill, minutiae, reliability: the feminine unseen. The rough textures, the bold looks, the emptiness and aimlessness of vessels jostling for position, crushing in their delicacy.