Edel Assanti Gallery
74a Newman Street, W1T 3DB
Until 25 April
One great facet of Jodie Carey’s work is that it is constantly evolving. From her earlier work, using blocks of lard, newspaper, blood, tea and coffee to make ‘feminine’ flower arrangements in concrete urns, to a 3-metre high ‘cenotaph’ made from 2,000 bones individually cast in plaster and decorated with handcrafted sugar-paste flowers and ivy. As she states herself, her work, “focuses on the traditions of ritual, artifice and mortality in contemporary western society.”
In another mixed exhibition called Vanitas in 2010, she crafted a beautiful floral arrangement from plaster, lace, chiffon and bone, and bones played a large part in three chandeliers that she made for another show, composed from some 9,000 hand-cast plaster bones and weighing approximately one tonne each. Last year, her work in the garden of the Freud Museum in Hampstead comprised two large, shallow, plaster bowls, one pristine and the other covered in moss, which explored life and death, love and loss, desire and rejection.
In her current show, Jodie has taken solid blocks of plaster, then hollowed them out and sculpted by hand, to produce five large “alibaba” jars and urns of varying sizes, around which she has left the chipped-out fragments that recall the megalithic Plain of Jars in a prehistoric burial site in Laos, China.
Alongside these objects of commemoration are wall hangings made of strips of canvas dipped in plaster and then woven together. Harking back to childhood seems to be behind another enormous panel, painstakingly drawn in coloured pencils, lending it a sense of transience and delicacy which contrasts with the solidity of the plaster bowls. Jodie is one of ten artists featured in a film by Susan Steinberg entitled Mirrors to Windows: The Artist as Woman, which had a preview screening at The Royal Academy of Arts on Sunday 8 March 2015, International Women’s Day, and she was, by far, the most articulate, candid and witty subject.