Walking along the Strand in London to Trafalgar Square to try on a costume I become someone else.
Through the darkness I sense the character of a lady of Henley who met her death hung on holy ground in 1757.
Mary was not granted the right to appeal her conviction for poisoning her father.
She fed him a powder her lover gave her so that the father would let him marry her.
I have written a show to explain other problems created a difficult situation for Mary that were not considered at her 15 hour trial.
The 18th century prison cell she stayed in for almost a year was harsh. Is imprisonment enough for the worst of crimes?
Mary paid with her life. I spent time at historic Oxford Castle Prison to walk in her final footsteps. When I portray her I feel her strength. And now the costume completes the woman.
Hear my work and the story of Mary in Brighton Festival May 10-12 12pm here
Outsized heads stand up as characters. Gender fluid perceptions result from the clean outlines of features of Nicolas Party’s work. Inspired by Japanese Noh masks and Egyptian Sarcophagi the faces project a bold expression. The eyes are open and seemingly absorb the room in this exhibition of ‘Speakers’.
The former graffiti artist Nicolas Party has created a 2 hour soundscape that plays on a loop. This interactive experience verges on theatrical as the visitor is immersed in the extremes of being female. The work is a response to the masculine architecture and institutions of Oxford, particularly the Emperors’ Heads outside the Sheldonian Theatre. These stone heads on the railings are thought to be crafted in the likeness of notable pillars of society from the 17th century. Party’s approach is different. These are not real people although they magnetise a full personality from their made up faces. Perhaps these women embody the dreams and achievements of the female body.
The gallery walls are orange and the space feels welcoming. Party uses it to bring a new way of looking at a city that has its style set in stone.
The heads on display are painted in situ in the gallery and use expressions of feminine identity e.g. hair styles and make up that the Artist believes viewers use to define gender. The stone heads outside the Sheldonian Theatre look decidedly male with their beards. But then, who knows!
Enjoy books of Party’s work at all good Art Bookshops
Unaffected by popular trends in Modern Art, Rose Finn-Kelcey puts the meaning of her work first.
Continue reading “Life, Belief and Beyond”