Matilda Sutton

Six months later than originally scheduled, ‘Lips Like Honey’ is a solo exhibition of works by Newcastle-based artist Matilda Sutton. Her work is an exploration into the relationship between women and wild animals. At a time where we are witnessing Instagram and globalisation create an eerily homogenous aesthetic across women’s markets including fashion and beauty, Matilda’s paintings and ceramic pieces evoke a response that goes beyond ‘refreshing’; through comedy and the mildly grotesque we can’t help but feel that some balance is restored, and that the beauty standards of social media never were real.

The allure of Matilda’s work lies largely in two places: lovingly personal textures and the marriage of the familiar and the surreal. Women are conditioned to not only hate their bodies, but also be sexy all the time, regardless of whether or not they are actively on the pull. Matilda’s women are hairy, they’re unclothed, their legs are spayed… one looks over her shoulder at you, devoid of the Bedroom Eyes and availability that is supposed to be switched on 24/7. The fact that the figures we see in these works are immersed in nature feels very fitting, yet ironic; that which is expected of women is, and always has been, rooted in the misnomer of being “natural” and ordered: subordinated, clean, domesticated, kempt, bleeding but discreet.

Framing this exhibition now in the context of global crises involving bodies and the environment concurrently, we can see more than ever how absurd and atavistic the critique of women really is. Matilda’s paintings of woman and beast as bedfellows highlight this perfectly, and this winter we ask you to escape reality for a moment and experience a different kind of chaos, a different kind of wildness; one that the social being in us has been conditioned to resist.

Given the intimate nature of Back Room Gallery, in addition to society’s over-saturation of images, ‘Lips Like Honey’ will give visitors the chance to meditate upon a small number of works closely. A playlist will accompany the show.

Matilda Sutton is an artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne, and graduated from BA Fine Art at Newcastle University in 2019. Working between painting, sculpture and textiles, Matilda’s practice deals with two ever-present and usually synonymous subjects, the woman and the animal. Made on constructed surfaces, her paintings depict female characters caught in various actions, somewhere between human-ness and animal-ness. She uses cloth, clay and paper to create objects, embellished with or imitating, tools and implements, bodies and objects, which live alongside her paintings and their inhabitants. Matilda is a recipient of the Final Year Student Prize from Newcastle University and a current member of the Collective Studio Programme at The Newbridge Project.

Issey Scott is a writer and curator based in London, with interests in independent art scenes, deep ecology and meaningful engagement and accessibility in art spaces. Issey has run the art blog Let’s Make Lots of Monet since July 2013, and her writing has appeared in various publications including Candid Magazine, The Big Issue, RIBA, Floorr Magazine and has produced exhibition essays for Castor Gallery and Wimbledon Space. She has curated projects at South London Gallery, Anise Gallery, Geffrye Museum of the Home and arebyte. Issey is currently studying MA Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London; ‘Lips Like Honey’ is her first solo curatorial project.

A solo exhibition of works by Matilda Sutton, curated by Issey Scott.

Back Room Open Call

The twenty five successful artists from the Open Call will each host a week-long exhibition in the Back Room.

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