Enchanted by the Betty Woodman ‘Theatre of the Domestic’ exhibition at the ICA yesterday. If you are looking for fresh, original, life-affirming work, this is for you. It’s the first solo institutional exhibition in the UK by one of the most important contemporary artists working with sculpture, painting and ceramics, and, at the age of 85, one wonders why this has taken so long (one knows, unfortunately….)
For Betty Woodman, the vase can be a vessel, a human body, an animal figure, a metaphor, or an art-historical reference.
The ‘Kimono Ladies’ at the end of the gallery have been ‘dressed’ in pieces of fabric. This works very well from a distance, and creates a strong sense of theatre, but close up I found myself wanting to see the ceramics alone.
This painting/sculpture of Fra Angelico’s room is completely joyful. If Betty Woodman’s name had been Matisse, people would be queueing round the block (down the Mall). Here are some of her ‘cut-outs’ – leftovers from the main pieces that she glazed and put on the wall for people to take home – not here, I hasten to add.
The exhibition is on until 10th April, and Betty Woodman will also be participating in the Liverpool Biennial in July 2016. Best to catch it while it’s in London (and only £1 to get in, or free with concessions).