Informed by the investigation of domesticity, object utility and material interplay, Floordrobe showcases a series of works by Alice Chandler, which focus on the juxtapositions and repetitions found within routine. ‘Floordrobe’ is a vernacular for the storage of clothing in organised chaos on the floor, drawing attention both to domestic behaviour and a tactile aesthetic. The juxtaposition of clutter with organisation, demonstrated in pattern work, use of materials and their presentation, is an intrinsic theme of the exhibition.
Chandler’s abstraction of familiar objects into pattern and print reflects the mundanity associated with certain objects: a cup, a fork, a cushion. These abstractions manifest in ‘Friday Night At Home’ (2016), a trio of layered, tactile wall hangings with instantly recognisable motifs paired against the abstract and elusive. In ‘Sisters’ (2016), the use of techniques such as weaving, patchwork and quilting combined with unexpected colour and texture combinations are a contemporary update on traditional craft. In the past, craft techniques such as these were largely associated with women and domesticity, which creates an interesting lens through which to view Chandler’s work. Her combinations create a dialogue (whether intentionally or not) around femininity, craft and domesticity
In contrast, and central to the exhibition, are a trio of playful sculptures crafted from rigid metal and wood, ‘Shelving units for storage and display’ (2017). More ‘masculine’, modern structures and materials play off the soft and colourful textiles. A nod to storage and shelving, abstracted through scale, colour and material manipulation, these structures comment on the systematic organisation of domestic spaces. Intentional material interplay provides unexpected, engaging pairings which both surprise and aesthetically please; rigid metal interlocked with yarn in ‘Wardrobe for Taking Notes’ (2017) and cold glass positioned on plump looking fabric in ‘Peep Hole Pillow & Glass Cloth broken’ (2016).
Bold colour, playful pattern and skilfully crafted sculpture make Floordrobe an engaging series of works intelligently linked through themes of routine and domesticity. The constructed notions of femininity and masculinity are highlighted and questioned through the abstraction of everyday objects and material juxtapositions, invite further reflection and dialogue.
Floordrobe, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, Leeds, 27 January – 9 February 2017.
Lisa-Marie Dickinson is an artist and writer based in Leeds.
Image: Installation photo courtesy of Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.