2010 by Katie Elder
Wimbledon College of Art MA show; http://www.katieelder.co.uk
Elder’s work was recently on show in New York – a small suspended Cubist-like body, held centrally in a square canvas with green paint. Since then, Elder’s work has continued to transform; further expanding her contorted bodies, further exploring their potential to express the pressures and preconceptions of the female human form. Cyborg 3 is an experimental sketch but, like so many drawings, is incredibly telling in its betrayal of thought process and expansion of ideas. Here Elder’s flesh is etched; the contours summoned and felt out through multiple colours, oppose to her paintings where often only one colour palette is focused on. The effect is a brightening, an illumination, of the bodily form as it morphs in rainbows, clutching itself as it balances precariously on its stilt like legs. The blackness of these dense legs carry the unnatural transformations Elder projects onto her bodies. Her contortions are carried further, now supported are they by mechanically inspired – cyborg – legs. These legs are far from Elder’s painterly flesh, yet they do betray a humanism. Their hard lines, their unforgiving straightness, appear almost stumbling; they are learning, like those of a giraffe teaching itself to walk. This emphasis on newborn transformation highlights the quiet innocence in Elder’s work; her bodies are never grotesque but deeply expressive. In Cyborg 3 particularly there is a sense of intimacy with hands visibly drawn; they reach to hold onto one another, balancing on new legs.