Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic

Installation shot: Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic 3 February – 10 April 2016 Institute of Contemporary Arts Photo: Mark Blower Installation shot: Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic 3 February – 10 April 2016
Institute of Contemporary Arts Photo: Mark Blower

There is, perhaps, no better way to herald the dawn of Spring than with the work of Betty Woodman. Her energetic ceramic works are an explosion of colour, which are currently splattered across the white walls of the ICA.

Unbelievably, this is Woodman’s first UK solo show and presents work created in the last ten years. Woodman transports the bold vibrancy of Matisse’s work into the domestic realm of clay. Woodman plays with the traditional, homely view of pottery, often displaying her vases in an installation. These painted indoor settings are reminiscent of Van Gogh’s paintings of domestic spaces due to their use of patterns and blocks of colour. Betty Woodman also creates reliefs on the wall of the ICA, reminiscent of Matisse’s cut outs, but this time formed of shards of clay that are vibrantly scribbled on.

Installation shot: Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic 3 February – 10 April 2016 Institute of Contemporary Arts Photo: Mark Blower Installation shot: Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic 3 February – 10 April 2016
Institute of Contemporary Arts Photo: Mark Blower

Woodman’s combination of different media, like painting and ceramics, to form a larger work, which resonates with the increasing amounts of multi-disciplinary practices seen in contemporary art. Woodman combines the realms of abstract painting with ceramics, mixing unlikely materials such as earthenware and terra sigillata in order to create three-dimensional paintings. The vase is a significant object in art history, within Woodman’s oeuvre that history is honoured and updated. It’s often easy to dismiss ceramics, but there is no getting away from Betty Woodman. Her works have a chaotic visual rhythm, bombarding the viewer with vibrant shapes and colours.

These are not ceramics that shy away. These are works that leap outwards and engulf the viewer in a cacophony of joy.

Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic is at ICA until 10th April

Installation shot: Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic 3 February – 10 April 2016 Institute of Contemporary Arts Photo: Mark Blower Installation shot: Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic
3 February – 10 April 2016
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Photo: Mark Blower

About Jesc Bunyard

Writer and artist Jesc Bunyard is primarily concerned with modes of spectatorship. Her interests in installation, film, sound and performance span both aspects of her practice. Jesc Bunyard has also written for Hunger Magazine, Rooms Magazine and ArtZip. In her artistic practice, she has shown work at the Whitechapel Gallery, Wysing Arts Center and the ICA.