Paula Chambers: Not at Home

26 January 2022 - 11 March 2022

Working with three-dimensional forms and installation, Paula Chambers explores feminist concepts and ideas of contemporary domestic spaces. Working with found objects, including familiar household items and furniture to reconsider associations with the home, Chambers creates sculptural installations that perform narratives of disobedience and disruption. But these objects are misleading, as the artist has manipulated their feminine associations through crafting techniques to suggest acts of feminist rebellion.

The exhibition will bring together new work for the very first time, displayed alongside her ongoing series which draws from personal experiences and seeks to re-present and unsettle our expectations of women and their relationship to the home. Chambers deconstructs and re-appropriates everyday, ready-made domestic objects, as in her ongoing work Domestic Front (2018–). Central to the exhibition, the sculptural construction sprawls across the main gallery floor consisting of kitsch furniture from the 1960s and 1970s, piled together to form a large barricade. Splitting the gallery in two and obstructing the visitors’ path, the artist places figures of women and girls holding weapons along the work. These toy solider-like cut-outs appear to have rebelled in a collective resistance. 

Also included in the exhibition are the works Kitchen Shanks (2017), a colourful series of household utensils wrapped and bound with tights and hair bands, Rupture (2018), six small shelf-like objects that display cut-outs of furniture and girls, and Balls (for girls) (2020), referencing children’s games where the artist has replaced soft balls with hard marbles into socks or stockings. Here the artist invites us to consider the circumstances in which women and girls might need to build defensive structures or protect themselves within the home. 

New works in the show include Feminist Escape Route: Attempt No. 2 (2020), and Feminist Escape Route: Attempt No.7 (2021), two works in a series developing the disruption of domestic objects through craft making processes, and Coming Home (2021), a work made in response to football related domestic violence during the Euros 2021.

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Image: Paula Chambers, Domestic Front (2016-), courtesy of the artist.