2010 by Sorcha O’Brien
Wimbledon College of Art MA Show
This years MA show as Wimbledon is well worth travelling south for; the work is varied, inspired and always interesting. Perhaps slightly more refined than Saint Martins, these pieces are subtly biting – enticingly curious – and O’Brien’s work perfectly demonstrates this quality. Her sculptures are miniature morphed bits of bodies, whole or in pieces, felt out in pale yellowing whites. They are often wax-like, tactile and soft, flesh looking as if it has been swelled and pulled with ease. O’Brien then displays these pieces through Victorian nostalgia – in a bell jar and wooden display cabinet, a plush cushioned seat, or a mantle-piece. Perhaps most haunting are those hung on ornate gold hooks, neat little contortions hanging like miniatures. They possess a fragility, encouraged by this decorative element, with an internal rawness, carried by the translucent and yellowing material. Ornamental is the epitome of this adjoining of themes, pairing O’Brien’s bodily transformations with the perfectly formed figure of the ornament. The pearly blue of the stiff dress hardens against the soft and malleable expansion of the face, falling from the crown of golden hair to weep onto the arm. These are almost drops of flesh – quietly expressive, not painful, but poignantly probing. It is worth exploring O’Brien’s expanding sculptures of body, where traditionalism is provokingly paired with the morphing and play of flesh.