CAN YOU FORGIVE HER?
11 DECEMBER 2014 — 30 JANUARY 2015
20 SOUTH STREET, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
The one with the soft shoulders and the ridges at varying angles I keep moving back, relaxed coat, neoprene. A’s everyday glasses are faux horn rimmed, she says when she works in the cinema older unexpected people always say how much they like them. They are big for her face and I remember when I was at secondary school friends wore the exact same style. You said wear white more often, recently I have been, mostly tailored white shirts, in silk or cotton lawn with small collars and tight cuffs, I button up the top button, it pulls me together, although I know you don’t like it. Neon yellow underwear seen through the thin cloth has a quiet pique, and then I remember I’m not sure where I left it, although I do remember how I wore it. When I was in C I bought some stuff in Pilsen, it took me an hour and a half to walk there, I got totally lost. I found a 70’s quilted jacket with a hand-blocked geometric design its kind of Elizabethan with curved pinched shoulders. I wore it to meet C and she immediately said hey that jacket looks like one of C’s paintings. I had wondered whether C would notice the jacket. I have these African bracelets too, black banding over pastel colours, sympathetic, gradated sections like some of the striated surfaces in C’s paintings, the morning before I met C I thought about wearing them and the jacket but later on when I was sat outside waiting to meet C I took the bangles off.
Working obliquely with the legacy of women artists, Nadia Hebson’s work has sought to comprehend the relationship between painting, biography, persona and clothing, most recently through a consideration of the work of both Winifred Knights b.1899 d.1947 and Christina Ramberg b.1946 d.1995. Having previously adopted a form of ‘subjective biography’ to comprehend the expanded legacy of Winifred Knights, (and taking her cue from Christa Wolf’s The Quest for Christa T.) the exhibition Can you forgive her? draws on a similarly digressive process to examine the work of the painter, Christina Ramberg. As with Knights, in Ramberg’s paintings clothing becomes a site for a nuanced exploration of the complexities of feminine experience. Concerned with how the resonance and comprehension of the work has shifted since its first reception and aware that Ramberg resisted any feminist reading relative to her work, Hebson is interested in the implications of this position and the climate that accompanied it.
How can an appropriate and responsive form be given to a lineage of female painters and their relevant concerns? For Hebson, Ramberg and Knights serve to activate an alternative history of significant yet critically under-recognised twentieth century painters, whose complex work is only beginning to be comprehended.
The exhibition at Drop City is an expanded version of Hebson’s solo exhibition for Mauve, Vienna, September 2014 and is the result of 3 months spent in the US working with the assistance of The Art Institute Chicago, Corbett vs Dempsey and Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty, Columbia University School of the Arts.
Nadia Hebson (b1974 UK) studied at Central St. Martins and The Royal Academy Schools, London. Solo and group exhibitions include: Can you forgive her?, Mauve, Vienna, Moda WK, Lokaal 01, Antwerp, Corridor Plateau, Autocentre, Berlin,;Walser Cycle, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle; and From Flemish Portraiture to Czech Cubism, Volta NY, New York. Recent residencies and scholarships include Vyt Program, NYC; Air Antwerpen, Belgium; and The British School at Rome.