Thu 5 Oct 2023 to Sat 28 Oct 2023
Tue-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-4pm
Artist: Alma Berrow
LAMB Gallery presents ‘Echo’, a new installation of ceramic work by British artist Alma Berrow.
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With playfulness and humour at the heart of her practice, Berrow’s meticulously hand-moulded ceramic objects transport us to moments of nostalgic familiarity, creating vignettes inspired by everyday life, human interaction, and shared experience. Having shared a cottage bathroom with her mother and two sisters, for Berrow the bathroom was always full of life, a place for daydream and wild imagination: from elaborate gowns made from towels and deep-sea diving in the bath, to mimicking the daily rituals of older siblings or parents.
At first glance, Berrow’s new work appears to be a functional, run-of-the-mill bathroom installed within the gallery space. Viewers are invited to physically step into the work, and on closer inspection, minute details are revealed to suggest that the room has been recently inhabited. Ceramic toothbrushes, open pill boxes, towers of empty loo roll, a pile of dirty mags and pube-covered soap, half-smoked cigarettes in ashtrays, and an abandoned backgammon reanimate the seemingly static space. Berrow reminds us that the bathroom is a space where the unimaginable becomes possible, adorning an uncanny bathtub with large surrealist-like hands, taps shaped like noses and a plughole disguised as a mouth. These ornate bathroom fixtures give the impression of nymphs caught mid-play, evoking notions of escapism, joy and coming of age. As Berrow elaborates:
“I use a lot of my own memories in my work, so many of the objects are odes to my own upbringing. What I wanted to do with this installation is capture what this very intimate, usually shared space means to the many. From watching a parent shave and mimicking them to becoming an adult and shaving, hiding at parties, standing naked in front of the mirror, sneaking cigarettes out the window, the loo that doesn't flush, your first period...there is something very vulnerable about a bathroom. The bathroom is very clean and unaged, with black and white checked floor, I want to make it as ubiquitous as possible. It's a playground of action and nostalgia, dark and light. Hopefully something for everyone to relate to, shock or giggle at.”
Often inspired by intimate day-to-day experiences from her formative years, Berrow’s nostalgic and sometimes uncanny artistic vocabulary is inextricably linked to personal memory. From an intimate standpoint, she explores the aesthetics of the surreal through the reconstruction of her family bathroom combining ready-made objects with her highly detailed ceramic works, which she refers to as ‘fake-real’ objects
This installation encompasses Berrow’s ability to transform ordinary objects into art pieces that are both humorous and other-worldly beautiful, inviting us to revisit our own memories through these site-specific, ceramic pieces.
All woodwork in the exhibition has been made in collaboration with Poppy Booth.
About the artist
Alma Berrow (b. 1992) is a British artist who creates intricate ceramic sculptures. Her bold practice playfully redefines the still life genre, depicting overflowing ashtrays or elaborate plates of food that convey contemporary, familiar moments of everyday life. Berrow originally studied Art and Textiles at Falmouth University but over the first lockdown, due to covid-19, she decided to explore the field of ceramics. Since then Berrow has been part of various international group exhibitions and fairs including IRL: In Real Life, Timothy Taylor (2021), Miami Nada, Nino Meir (2021) and most recently at Dallas Contemporary Museum (2023). In 2021 the artist was part of Sotheby’s (Women) Artists auction, her work presented alongside works by Lavinia Fontana, Dorothea Tanning, Cindy Sherman and Helen Frankenthaler. She currently lives and works in London.