slits and a skull
31 October 2020 - 21 November 2020
The paired oil paintings ‘Slits and Skull’ (both 2020), are exhibited for the first time, along with supporting studies. The large diptych depicts food and reminds us of our own touching and tasting, but the images are modelled into body suggestions that also connect such invisible inner sensations with our lives as political bodies – as consuming participants in a wider ecology. They are shown alongside cultural theorist Elke Krasny’s written response to the work: ‘Feeding Ecological Empathy’.
This exhibition expands upon the artist’s PhD research, ‘The Ghost Artist’. This speculative experiment in art history writing blends exploratory painting with an auto-fictional narrative of a woman artist’s life and historical research into three other women artists working over the last three centuries. McNab traces how they each created their own ghostly languages of portrayal, conjuring body stand-ins out of the materials of their daily lives. The spectres they created performed embodiment but aesthetically resisted the silencing pressure of being a person understood only as image – a feminist gesture found within the ‘Cells’ of Louise Bourgeois, ‘The Ten Largest’ by Hilma af Klint, and the hermetic imagery of a previously unrecognised C18th woman artist.
‘Slits and a Skull’ unfolds the next step in this project. These are the first two of ten paintings of stand-ins, a new serial work that will re-imagine methods and resources that are currently being discovered as underlying the making of Hilma af Klint’s 1907 serial work: ‘The Ten Largest’.
Dr Janice McNab is originally from Scotland and now lives in The Hague, where she is Head of the MA Artistic Research at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK). From 2020 – 2022 she is a post-doctoral scholar with The University of the Arts, The Hague/ Leiden University. Recent exhibitions include ‘A New World’, at Stroom, Den Haag, and ‘Hollandaise‘, a Dutch Embassy production at New Art Projects, London.
Prof. Dr. Elke Krasny is a cultural theorist and curator. She is professor of Art and Education at The Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. Her scholarship focusses on care in relation to emancipatory practices within art, architecture and urbanism.