The Space Between Gender
11 June to 14 July
Yasmin was awarded her forthcoming exhibition as a prize for work in New Art West Midlands 2017. Her sculptures explore gender stereotypes, addressing the binaries of male and female.
She agreed to an interview with ART BLOG, explaining her thinking behind the themes she explores, and the medium she has chosen…
Your work explores gender stereotypes. Can you tell us more?
My practice tackles gender stereotypes through the symbol of the circle. The circle, the orb, the hole, the piercing, is an obsessive compulsion within my forms, personifying the anxiety and patriarchal control of woman.
My exploration of the circular is also reminiscent of mathematics, in particular the Fibonacci Spiral: the square becomes the model shape to personify man and the curve of a circle is female.
“We are all but circles, guided by the circumference, balanced within its centre point.”
My sculptural exploration of the round is also informed by the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. Her works still remain influential in my practical advancement, especially the inner space within her sculptures and her use of the hole. Hepworth’s spatial framing within the edge of the circle has enforced further circular teasing within my structures with reference to the body, the womb, the birth canal.
Space, in the physical sense is political when fastening the disputes of ‘femaleness’. Lily Markiewicz extends the latter by stating:
‘Space loses its neutrality and becomes territory, for women the definition of space is important. Space possesses a dual reality …in its physical and conceptual dimension… Women tend not to occupy space and allow themselves to be made to feel small.’
– Deepwell, 1995, P64
How does your chosen medium of sculpture help you explore the binaries at work?
MEASURE, CUT, FILE, CLEAN, PRINT, COVER, ROLL, MEASURE, DRILL, SCREW, TIGHTEN, CLEAN…
There is a compulsion to use traditionally male-associated processes to make my work, as a protest against male-associated mediums within our patriarchal society.
I also pay due consideration to the ‘heavy metal sculpture’ of artists like Richard Serra, skillfully turning this stereotypically masculine aesthetic back in on itself, imbuing it with a powerfully organic sensibility.
This sense of making can be seen in the brass form Unskinned corsetry enters stage right, 2018.
You are a NAWM prize winner – how has NAWM helped your career?
NAWM has given me a wonderful opportunity to share my practice more widely. This new RBSA solo show has also helped in furthering the scope of my practice> I have experimented with ideas, materials, scales and concepts that I may not otherwise have considered. NAWM has supported the progression of my artistic practice within my Masters and has also helped me think outside the Birmingham School of Art and how my work engages with the wider public.
What advice would you give emerging artists?
My advice to emerging artists is to not get obsessed with perfection, as this can obstruct the creative vision. Endeavour to accept a more playful freedom, steering to less perfectionism within making, in turn informing creativity and breaking free from creating perfect work.
I recommend reading Sol Lewitt’s ‘Stop it and Just Do!’ letters to Eva Hesse in which he urges her to banish overthinking, or what you think a work must be, thus using the ‘bad’ to trigger the great. This letting go, casting off, putting bolt to metal, placing paint brush to canvas, assigning pen to paper, allows us to just DO.
Next Wave (emerging artists): deadline 4 July
Our Next Wave exhibition aims to showcase the latest work by emerging and early-career artists. Check out the current call at the RBSA website where you’ll find a downloadable application pack and full details. Open to all early-career artists working in all media up to ten years post-qualification. Artists aged 35 and under receive a 50% discount on entry fees.
Benefits of responding to our Call for Entries include:
- The chance to be exhibited alongside national and internationally renowned artists
- Your work on the walls of a prestigious and historic art gallery
- Promotion across social media and to a network of collectors and art lovers
- Discounted entry fees for artists under 35
- No entry fees for Friends of the RBSA who pay display fees only