Sunday Guardian Live

Antonia Filmer

There is a white cave in Fitzrovia that is home to Kim Savage’s gallery named FOLD,the entrance is very discreet but downstairs the welcome is warm. Herein Rosie Reed has curated her first exhibition challenging the traditional perception that man is the hero, because he hunts he provides. Rosie, 27 years and an art graduate from Oxford, borrowed her theme from the writings of Ursula Le Guin, the American novelist who famously introduced women into science fiction and who died earlier this year.

The exhibition called Flipside turns the hunter-gatherer man on his head. Le Guin’s essay “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction” is central to the displays, the carrier or bag is symbolic of the container used by women over the ages to transport their berries, roots, nuts and grains or today’s shopping. Women as the original provider, “carrying the container for the thing contained”. Looking at the Kira Freije’s cast aluminium and steel strapped frame of a kneeling woman, one can be forgiven for imagining the female form has been contained, is this figure pleading or praising, the figure is transparent, but the message is ambivalent.

Rosie has collected twelve young artists (10 female/ 2 male) who represent feminism and fantasy; the multi- medium exhibits are all very esoteric with references to gender, time, waste and recycling; most but not all have chosen to incorporate a plastic bag in their artwork. Rosie encouraged the fantasy element with some imaginative results: Rebecca Jagoe’s performance dress, in folds of visceral coloured marbled latex is like a body turned inside out. Roxanne Jackson from New York sent a giant ceramic hand witha hairy back and long creepy nails with a shell glazed palm holding a sea shell with an interior ofthe same colour and texture, mysteriously entitled Metal Goddess. There are illustrative negative reflections on parenting, an installation with a mike and an amplifier that gives the story of containment a voice; delicate ceramic octopus tentacles reaching out of a mango body, a flowering clay nature study that self-disintegrates…

Rosie’s own works are composed of marble dust, aggregate, paint, resin, plaster and glitter, they hang and lie beside each other. The hanging shrine of discovery reveals crushed small pieces of her previous works emerging from a clear resin lake, “it’s about the cyclical nature of recycling” she says. The larger work entitled Burying my Minimiser is a female figure lying decomposing, again fragments of crushed previous works emerge randomly from the colourfully decaying body, “this is about letting go of stored up female insecurities, the bold breasts represent not getting hung up about hiding yourself”.

Available is a booklet of poems and intellectual responses to Le Guin’s fiction. The spirit of the FOLD Gallery is to promote new art and challenge artistic conventions, Rosie Reed has presented just that.