Open Frequency 2009: Jodie Carey selected by Sanna Moore

Open Frequency 2009: Jodie Carey selected by Sanna Moore Jodie Carey, Untitled (Sideboard), 2008. 130 x 230 x 120 cm. Sideboard, table top, torchere, feathers, newspaper, blood, greaseproof paper, lard

Curator Sanna Moore profiles the sculptural work of Jodie Carey

Jodie Carey's work is often monumental. She creates sculptures that overpower and overwhelm the viewer. Whether suspended or floor-based, the grand scale of her work operates as a shrine to the past and its ongoing resonance in the present.

Memory and death are themes that weave consistently throughout her practice. 'Untitled (Chandeliers)' (2006) is a trinity of chandeliers, each 2.7 metres in length, constructed from vacuum cleaner dust and painstakingly rolled into centimetre balls attached to steel armatures. The dust signifies all that remains of the human body after we have departed, a powerful statement about the transience of life. As in many of her works, repetitive processes become ritualistic and give the work an intensity that the viewer can often find overwhelming. Highly baroque and ornate, 'Untitled Monument' (2007) is a 3m-high tiered sculpture constructed from over 2000 plaster-cast human bones - the overtly decorative structure of the wedding cake is suggestive of our hopes and aspirations for the future. Carey's use of materials often references the corporeality of the human body, such as 'The Daily Mail' (2005), a sculpture crafted from newspaper stained with blood, tea and coffee to form floral displays which stand in white ornamental vases like funeral wreaths. An aroma often figures in the work, and here a strong smell of decaying newspaper mixed with the sickly stench of tea and coffee filled the gallery space.

Still, Life is a recent series of sculptures. Each work, such as 'Untitled (Sideboard)' (2008), took a piece of reproduction furniture as its starting point which was then adorned with Carey's signature newspaper flowers, stained with blood and lard. The dramatic contrast between the blood-stained red and the dripped white lard is heightened by the plumes of white and black feathers (the colour is always derived from natural substances, never artificially contrived). The feathers spill out of the furniture across the floor, reminiscent of old furs hanging in a wardrobe, forgotten by fashion, yet too valuable to discard completely. Flowers often feature, and such as in this piece, there is an intriguing ambiguity in their use. Bouquets of flowers are seen as a symbol of life and beauty, and are presented at major personal milestones - but the reality is the flowers themselves are dying and are more symbolic of our own mortality than a gesture of life.

Carey’s sculpture plays with extremes, juxtaposing monumental scale with the intricacy of craftsmanship. Her installations are immersive spaces which confront the viewer with the sheer physicality of the objects and the labour intensity of their construction. It celebrates both life and death and considers what it means to be human.

Sanna Moore, 2009

Artist's biography

Jodie Carey was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, and studied at Goldsmiths College, London (BA Fine Art, 2002-2005) and the Royal College of Art, London (MA Sculpture, 2005-2007). Over recent months Carey has had solo exhibitions at Towner, Eastbourne (In the Eyes of Others, 2009), Daneyal Mahmood Gallery, New York (2008) and Alexia Goethe Gallery, London (Still, Life, 2008). Selected group exhibitions include Anticipation at Selfridges, Ultralounge, Selfridges, London (2008), Hearts and Bones, Galerie Gabriel Rolt, Amsterdam (2007), Anticipation, David Roberts Gallery, London (2007), Summer Exhibition, Royal College of Art, London (2007) and Deep Inspiration, Jerwood Gallery, London (2007).

Carey's work appears in major UK collections, including the Saatchi Collection, The David Roberts Collection and Hauser and Wirth. Carey is the recipient of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Studio Bursary Award, and lives in London.

About Sanna Moore

Sanna Moore is Exhibitions Curator at Towner (Eastbourne), a new visual arts centre designed by Rick Mather Architects opening in April 2009.

From 2001 - 2007 she was Curator & Gallery Administrator at the University of Hertfordshire Galleries, which comprises of two spaces - the Art & Design Gallery (Hatfield) and the Margaret Harvey Gallery (St Albans).

Moore has completed a BA (Hons) in History of Art and Film Studies at Middlesex University and a MA in Gallery Studies from the University of Essex. Between 1997 - 2001 she worked in a number of London galleries, including South London Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and Whitechapel Art Gallery- where she started as a volunteer and graduated to paid work. She also worked for a short time in commercial galleries but was never serious about a career in the commercial art world.

Open Frequency keeps you in touch with new developments in contemporary art practice from across the UK. The artists are selected and profiled by leading curators, artists and writers, presenting the work of artists to watch out for over the coming year. Open Frequency represents a forward-looking glance today of the artists who will be setting the agenda tomorrow.