LondonCathie Pilkington: Estin Thalassa
Cathie Pilkington’s new exhibition, Estin Thalassa at Karsten Schubert London’s Room 2, is an extravagant and claustrophobic response to the dislocation and disorientation of the current times, an accumulation of manically cobbled and carefully composed elements and images, combining furniture-like structures – screens, dividers, fabric banners and richly painted velvet wall-hangings with traditionally modelled and polychromed sculptural objects.
Pilkington’s installation presents the spectator with optically dazzling patterns and motifs that flow unconstrained across disparate decorated surfaces alternately emphasising or camouflaging three-dimensional form and volume in a kind of excessive Gothic Vorticism.
Interwoven themes of disintegration, death, rebirth and reparation reveal a reflexive picturing of the creative process itself, an extended poemagogic meditation on the inheritance of the Grand sculptural tradition filtered through lowly derivatives such as garden ornaments, toys and dolls. The result is a confusion of heterogenous styles and registers, a collision of folk culture and canonical high art motifs in a mass of dirty, glittery art historical laundry.
About Cathie Pilkington
Cathie Pilkington (b. 1968) is an artist whose work engages passionately and critically with the canonical history of figurative sculpture. Crossing the borders of traditional, modern and contemporary idioms, her work combines intensively modelled and painted sculptures within immersive installations comprising a diverse array of props, materials and studio furniture. Her site-responsive installations are balanced ambivalently between chaos and precision and have been described as a kind of art historical fly-tipping.
She studied at Edinburgh College of Art (1985–91) and the Royal College of Art (1995–97). In 2014 she was elected a Royal Academician, and was awarded the Sunny Dupree Award for her work Reclining Doll. In 2016 she became Professor of Sculpture and in 2020 she was elected Keeper at the Royal Academy Schools.
Selected solo exhibitions: The Value of the Paw, V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, 2012; Life Room Anatomy of a Doll, Royal Academy Schools Life Room 2017, The Life Rooms: Brighton, Brighton Festival 2017; Doll for Petra, Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, 2017; Dorich House Museum studio residency 2018; Working from Home, Pallant House Gallery, March 2019.
Her work is held in the collections of Pallant House Gallery, the Deste Foundation, Athens, Manchester City Art Gallery, Hunterian, Glasgow University, Omer Koc Collection and the David Roberts Art Foundation.
Courtesy of the artist and Karsten Schubert, London