Edith Pritchett

My practice is concerned with challenging conceptions that the contemporary art world is an elite domain, or impenetrable to those who don’t have the pre-requisite knowledge. Additionally, I want to address the way that national galleries, housing art historic “masterpieces”, are often treated as hallowed, almost quasi-religious spaces. In my own practice I want to level this attitude of enjoyment, encouraging the viewer to apply the same criticality to art historic works, and engaging with contemporary art in a more playful way. I often conflate works from the canon of Western art with a decisively 21st century visual language- in one piece, a neoclassical nude pours glowing radioactive waste over surrounding plants (in a bid to relieve her hayfever). In another, a sculpture becomes aware that she is no longer being observed and sits down for a cigarette. 

 

 

In looking to traditional masterpieces, I am concerned with rectifying the often voyeuristic tone of many of these works. To this end, the women in my work display their own bodily autonomy- they smoke, are pierced, and proudly display their unshaven legs. I often draw tattoos on my figures and I think of them often as feminist badges- these women assert authority over their own bodies by permanently inking them. This feels ever more pertinent at a time when controversies over sexual harassment and abortion rights make women ever more aware of who exactly controls their bodies.

 

Apps like instagram have increasingly democratised image-making, and so it seems appropriate that in trying to make my work accessible I utilise this forum. In keeping with the nature of online consumption, my work is fast-paced and somewhat capricious in style and tone. I feel that my work increasingly plays to the fleeting attention span of a millenial audience, but it also keeps me stimulated as a millenial artist.