HUMAN. Flesh and Narrative

A joint exhibition between Marnie Glue and Iolanthe Sheen, exploring the relationship between the physical body and its emotional storytelling. 

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Butcher’s Shop

Initially the Butcher’s Shop idea was based on the immediate thought of flesh. Personally, the word “Flesh” makes me think of slabs of meat, so I decided to display it in this obvious form. I went to the local butchers (E Morgan and Sons Butchers) and took photos of their shop window, wanting to recreate it as similarly as I could, through the use of various fabrics, wadding and latex. During the creation of these sculptures, I began to think about the consuming of flesh, usually I look at flesh as a material something to be worn, used, and appreciated. However, in this case, it has become an object for food, purely to be bought, eaten, and digested.

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Digestive System

A mixed media installation of the abstracted digestive system. Using, resin teeth, latex, fabric, knitted yarn, and threads. 

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Nervous system

Based on the Human Nervous System, this piece is made from an old mattress protector that has been dyed in tea. The nerves were drawn from a photo of an intact nervous system that was dissected in 1925, they have been stitched on to give it a scratchy quality.  The tea dye acts as the preservative from the original documentation, and the size of the piece makes the nervous system roughly to scale. By using the mattress protector, I wanted to express the nerves as being constantly used and lived in.

https://www.livescience.com/61599-dissected-nervous-system-photo.html

Open Torso

To show the inside and outside of the body simultaneously, I had the idea of a suspended torso. By playing with a selection of materials, I ended up creating this soft sculpture piece. I started with the rib cage which was made by collaging material, and using a couching technique to add a mix of yarns for colour and texture. I stuffed the ribs before adding the sides, which also feature couched yarns, then added the fringing which I hope conveys the sinew of muscle that stretches beneath the skin. I decided to keep the back simple, using a sheet of latex to act as its skin much like the “Butcher’s Shop” pieces. The sculpture reminds me of meat hung up in the butchers, though in this case it is based on the human form.

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Stomach bag

This knitted piece has been made in the shape of a real stomach, whilst is it empty the shape is limp and hard to identify, though when it is full its true form is visible much like a full belly after eating. Inside, the threads that were used to change colour have not been stitched in, instead they are criss-crossing over each other like the ripples of stomach lining. The strap of the shoulder bag is loosely based off the tubes inside our bodies.

Human candles

I was thinking about how to experience the body through every sense when I chose to explore it through smell. Deciding the best way would be to make candles, I collected some of my hair, blood and toenails, I then used the dipping candle method, and poured each of the additives in as I went, the smell was horrific. Currently the candles are displayed in glass domes for health and safety purposes, and whilst they don’t smell too bad as they are, I did melt the bottom of them to position them in the domes and the smell was vile. When the candles are lit they will emit the true grotesque smell of human.

Skin cardigan

The Skin Cardigan piece was made to imagine the wearable body. Using my knitting machine, I made a cardigan which I dyed in tea to make a more realistic nude colour, I then stitched on some crochet nipples, which align with my own when the cardigan is worn, and chose the buttons which would align with my mole and belly button. I chose to make a knitted piece I wanted to show the body as cosy and comfortable.

Body scans

These scans were made using my domestic printer/scanner and were originally made to document every inch of the body, however through the process it was difficult to fold the figure onto the flat surface which resulted in the stark contrasting black. Instead of the complete documentation of the material skin, form has been given to fragments of the body which creates a dialogue. These exhibited images have been printed true to size, and are the most striking that were captured, they also happen to be the most appropriate.

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The Worm

Originally “The Worm” idea came from the tubes in our digestive system. Though as it grew it became its own personified tube, a digestive character that consumes and excretes without thought or real function. I decided to make the mouth a real novelty, in its caricature minimal approach it depicts a mouth that can speak and taste, whilst satirically commenting on our materialistic consumer culture.

Skin Jacket

Working with the idea of the wearable body, this skin jacket was made using latex, thread, glue, and real hair, and features a home-made coat hanger. I wanted to make the skin realistic, so used latex which ages like real skin, overtime it wrinkles stretches, cracks, and changes colour, the colour also changes depend on the lighting its displayed in. I stitched in real hair over the forearms and grew out my own armpit hair to stitch into this jacket. The shape was based on a skeleton, which I decided to dress, giving it its own skin, and designing the torso to fit around the skeleton’s ribcage. The piece itself is delicate and has a clammy feel. I hope that people can imagine themselves in it and appreciate how they live in their own skin.

Watch Our Artist Talk Here:

HUMAN. Flesh and Narrative book coming soon!