Dr Sarah Taylor & Dr Lewis Paul: Backgrounds and Backdrops

24 February - 27 April 2022

Backgrounds and Backdrops is a curatorial research project that brings together two new short artists’ films and interdisciplinary materials such as photography, painting and domestic objects. The exhibition investigates concepts of class and gender in relation to value systems in art and design practice.

Inspired by domestic paint charts and the Contemporary Colour Guide, How controlled colour contributes to modern living (1947), the short film Ghost Grey, pays homage to the colour consultancy work of Elizabeth Burris-Meyer. Her books of the 1930’s–1940’s, are now rare. In the surviving examples, closed tight for decades, painted colour samples pressed against opposite pages of her often lyrical text have left ghostly imprints. This ghosting nods to the history of gendered design process, and hierarchical systems of value. Like these spectral imprints in Burris-Meyer’s books, this film work combines two images, one above the other, neither landscape nor portrait. This levelling transforms the usual viewing window of film and stacks two worlds, in a short visual call and response; a version of ‘is there anyone there?’ a staple of the séance and ghostly apparition. In Ghost Grey, the historic haunted house is dissolved into its component parts. It is staged in the non-space, the corridor, the route from one domestic laboured task to another, a passageway that is made like the female laboured staff as invisible as possible.

The second film L’amour Pouf Du Vent takes a wider vantage point. In a Brexit and Covid world where travel and togetherness become heightened emotional aspirations this film charts a contemporary re-evaluation of concepts of staging, value, class and looking. The romanticism of a continental image is re-imaged through a re-gendered consideration of painting history and colour historical settings.

Backgrounds and Backdrops considers how a curated space might continue the debate around a post studio practice, the concept of working together in a shared practice, in person or remotely, and the engagement that a curated site can offer as a situation of extending practice in a transdisciplinary way. Transdisciplinary in this context considers both the expectations of medium specific engagement such as film or painting and blends, morphs and identifies new threads made good for contemporary politicised consideration in relation to class, gender and hierarchies of value.

24 February - 27 April 2022 
B Gallery, Leeds Arts University, LS2 9AQ

This exhibition is available to view from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday by appointment only. Please email curatorial@leeds-art.ac.uk to make an appointment.

Still 1. Pouf du vent Taylor/Paul.Image: Still 1. Pouf du vent Taylor/Paul.

  • 24 February - 27 April 2022
  • B Gallery, Leeds Arts University, LS2 9AQ