‘Flumps’ is now a technical term. At least it is the phrase the artist Amanda Coogan in a recent discussion felt most appropriate to describe the collapsed, pneumatic, body parts scattered across the floor of the Talbot Gallery. These are the meticulously constructed sculptural works of Sinead Onora Kennedy who has been engaged as the gallery’s artist in residence for the last year after winning their Most Promising Graduate Award for 2013.
But these deceptive dismembered softly marshmallow sculptures are laced with hidden themes. The candy coloured ballerina legs and skin toned latex on display hint at our duplicitous view of the human form. There is that which we wish the body to be and that which is manifest – the fatness, the lard, the cuts, nips and tucks. Large stuffed doughnut shapes ‘flumped’ on the floor reflect our obsessive examination inch by inch of our own body mass. In some of the pieces sugar spills freely on the floor from these burst limbs. But sugar and spice and all things nice do not necessarily constitute a wholesome sight. The stitched torsos are Mary Shelley in playful mode. Stuffed tights, lurid sex toy latex and a propensity of large hatpins lend a fetishistic twinge. But there is sly humor present too. The exquisitely rendered drawings of tumescent fleshy and flatulent body parts are the clear spark for the eventual realized sculptural forms on display.
The artist has painstakingly fabricated these anthropomorphic sculptures to examine our image of self. It is perhaps not surprising therefore that Sinead Onora Kennedy has emerged from a background in fashion design. Society purports to expect artists to be uncategorizable. Yet we often secretly expect artists to emanate from a common traditional art school background. Sinead Onora Kennedy does not quite fit that neat career path. The result is an artist who is distinctively cutting her own very exciting path.
Cloy – by Sinead Onora Kennedy continues at the Talbot Gallery, Dublin until June 27th.
This year’s recipient of the Talbot Gallery’s admirable Graduate Award scheme will be announced at the culmination of this exhibition on the 27th June.