Jason Vass is pleased to present Brandy, an exhibition of works by London-based artist Nettie Wakefield. Demonstrating the plasticity of contemporary society – from aesthetic to moral – Brandy is the rendering of a cultural and sculptural metamorphosis.
Under five feet tall when fully inflated, Brandy is fashioned to be permanently young, small, and ever-available. She won’t answer back (though you can pretend she does if that’s your thing) and she has attained the alchemic pursuit of immortality. Even her plastic molecules will one day become part of the ocean’s food chain.
Her expiry date is not in her molecular structure but in our societal approach to it. She will be used, perhaps many times, but one day she will cease to be enough.
A new Brandy will be required and desired. She will find herself back on the shelf, deflated and crumpled. Brandy is a personal exploration of the idea that everything has a use by date. In an age of rampant social media use and Tinder – where modern love is commodified and traded more easily than stocks and shares – it’s the female sex who still find themselves on the back foot, ever more obsessed with the quest for material perfection and agelessness.
The sale of sex dolls is increasing as they become more realistic. Just as pornography drove the development of the internet, so the demand for more sophisticated sex dolls is part of the incentive for developing robotics. Scientists are building life-like robots that can fulfill sexual desire without the need for vulnerability, empathy, or indeed, any humanity at all. The latest dolls have Siri. But Brandy isn’t the biggest casualty of our search for inhuman perfection. We are. Our need to modify our own bodies and conform to the ever-changing definition of perfection runs in parallel, so the notion of self becomes ever more distant as we move towards conforming to the cardboard cut-out virtual ideal. But how does changing the surface of something impact what is underneath?
These are transitory and uncertain times. Cast in bronze, Brandy has permanence. Hung on a wall she retains her status as an object of value. The same Brandy in another context has a different persona. Discarded and broken, even in her solid, sculptural guise, she subverts the age-old idea of the male gaze, breaking parameters of tradition and signifying the undercurrent of social change taking place.”
Nettie Wakefield (b. 1987) is a British artist based in London. She spent summers at the Charles Cecil studios in Florence before completing a foundation year at Chelsea College of Art, a BA in Art History at Leeds University and her Masters degree in Drawing at Wimbledon College of Art, graduating September 2013.
Nettie has been exhibiting in London since early 2013. She was selected as 1 of 75 out of 3,000 shortlisted for the prestigious Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013 which was shown at Jerwood Visual Arts Space 2013, before touring to venues across the UK in 2014. Wakefield had her debut solo show at the Rook and Raven Gallery in Fitzrovia, February 2014, where she exhibited her Reverse Portrait series which she then gained recognition for. In June 2014 she donated work to a charity auction organized by Christie’s alongside work by Tracey Emin, The Chapman Brothers, and Jonathan Yeo to raise money for The Old Vic. The auction was supported by a pop-up exhibition in London’s Soho.
Wakefield also showcased her work at Banksy’s bemusement park, “Dismaland”, in 2015, alongside Banksy, Damien Hirst, and 55 other artists by doing a live demonstration of her Reverse Portrait series. She has recently been shortlisted for The John Ruskin Prize 2015 with supporting exhibitions in February and again in May 2016. During Frieze week 2017, Wakefield had a one woman, one night only show of hand-drawn found objects at the Groucho club in London’s Soho. The exhibition was about seeing the beauty in ordinary objects, toying with image and wordplay.
Wakefield has been in a number of group shows and fairs such as Art Below and British Art Weekend in November 2017, a tightly concentrated selection of art made by British artists, or artists working in Britain from the 1960s to the present. The selection consists of around 50 museum quality works on paper and editions, paintings, photography and sculpture by some of the most iconic and respected names in modern and contemporary art, alongside artists such as Sir Peter Blake. In between working on private commissions, Wakefield showed with Context Art Fair with LA-based Corey Helford gallery, in both New York and Miami 2017.
Wakefield has recently teamed up with Kodak and Jigsaw under the hashtah #KodakWoman to promote females working within the creative industries. Wakefield has been exhibiting between London and Los Angeles, and will have her third solo show in Downtown LA at Jason Vass gallery in June 2018.
Situated in the burgeoning arts district neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles in a 2,700 square foot, space designed to accommodate diverse exhibitions and related programs, the gallery aims to create an exhibition platform that offers a historical perspective through the lens of contemporary artists. The gallery is committed to cultivating emerging talent and supporting established artists from around the world. Exhibiting artists include: Luke Austin, Deborah Brown, Dan Callis, Tina Linville, Mark Dutcher, Nancy Evans, Constance Mallinson, Philip Mount, Robert Walker, Emiliano Gironella Parra, Sheree Rose, Douglas Tausik Ryder, Yvette Gellis and Nettie Wakefield.
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