Circus is a boutique management consultancy specialising in brand strategy, brand purpose, brand proposition, vision and values.
We believe for business strategy to work, it has to have imagination at its heart. So we created our cultural programme to help bring a new perspective, a new set of experiences and wisdom from another place. In collaboration is a series of exhibitions and talks we host in our gallery and home on Marylebone High Street. The idea is to bring together art and business to encourage us all to see and do things differently. We invite rare, extraordinary artists and makers to present their work through the lens of contemporary circus – with a brief to illuminate, intrigue and delight.
Our new exhibition, Dressed in Pattern by Charlotte Hodes, has been curated in collaboration with jaggedart – a unique gallery a few minutes down the road from us.
Charlotte Hodes is one of the most innovative figurative female fine artists in the UK. She trained as a painter and now works across and combines collage, ceramics and glass into her work. Her career-long interest in decoration and the domestic led her to embrace and centralise the female form as the subject of her work.
As a brand strategy consultancy, we help clients define their reason for being and translate this strategy into practice and in many ways, Charlotte is doing the same through her work. She repeatedly defines and redefines the role of women. Whatever the vessel, be it woman or brand, our roles as definers are the same. And that’s to decode the past and imagine a different future.
A student in the 80s, studying fine art, with an interest in the decorative – Charlotte was an anomaly in the punk era. This confrontation must have had some impact because Charlotte is a subversive artist in a subtle way. She’s also unafraid to disrupt and deconstruct – creating fragments to build a whole and using a collaboration of skills and techniques across disciplines. Charlotte challenges stereotypical notions of the female form with a clear purpose; to position women as pretty and feminine in an empowering way. Often as an outline or silhouette, her signature women explore her long-standing discussion around the representation of women in art history. Charlotte plays with and confronts the way women were portrayed as decorative motif and domestic goddess. She is inspired by her love of the decorative arts and looks to fashion, costume and art collections past and present, to feed her and her future work.
Charlotte brings together new ceramics and paintings – influenced by decorative motifs sourced from the archive of engravings in the iconic Spode Museum Trust. This is significant for two reasons: Spode is a celebrated British ceramic brand, born in the 1800s, famous for their iconic Blue Italian range; delving into their historic collection is a rare privilege reserved for Charlotte, as she is the only contemporary artist to have been invited to work with the Spode archive.
This installation of ceramics, textiles, paper and paintings form part of a larger piece of work Spode Trees & Dress Silhouettes, commissioned by the British Ceramic Biennial in 2015. It appears to recreate the aftermath of a dinner, onto which the printed images found at the Spode archive have been deconstructed, re-ordered and collaged onto the ware.
For the first time, ceramic dishes are an integral part of the paintings, blurring the boundaries between materials and the intricate patterned backgrounds. In it, Charlotte continues her conversation on the female form. Her signature women, in silhouette, are dressed in pattern and are part of the landscape. Her females take ownership; Charlotte lifts them from being subservient domestic observer to an at the table feasting participant – a place normally reserved for men.
This exhibition marks the inaugural collaboration between jaggedart and Circus and is showcased across the two curator galleries. It builds upon Charlotte’s prize winning work on paper for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2006, her solo exhibition at The Wallace Collection 2007 and her participation in Glasstress: White Light White Heat exhibitions at both the Venice Biennial 2013 and The Wallace Collection 2013.
Exhibition dates and opening times:
Circus: 58 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 5HT London
19 – 22 April 2016 Mon-Fri; 10-5pm
Jaggedart: 28a Devonshire Street, London, W1G 6PS
19 April – 14 May 2016 Wed-Fri; 11-6pm and Saturdays 11-2pm
Other times by appointment
Closed May Bank Holiday – 30 April -3May