Carole Widdrington – 28th June to 22nd July

Carole Widdrington: Eternity
28th June to 22nd July.
p/view 29th June 7-9pm

I was born in France where I studied stone masonry and sign writing. Since then I developed a wide range of different skills with soap as my principal material. Soap has multiple uses in the creation of my sculptures, photographs, and prints. It can be seen as my colour palette in the making of my sculptures which I then bring to life with the use of light and photography, and the application thereafter onto canvas. Carole Widdrington.

Carole Widdrington’s body of work ranges from sculptures to photographs and paintings, each standing in their own right while demonstrating coherence as a whole.
Carole works with the artistically unusual and untraditional material of soaps, sometimes manufactured and bought in supermarkets, sometimes hand-crafted. In her creative process, she does not alter their actual composition, and as such, they could be said to act as ready-mades in her sculptures. This is quite literally the case in her sculpture in which four bars of translucent Pear soaps are geometrically arranged in a cube of darker soap, a potent and ironical introduction to her work, in which she otherwise plays with the extensive possibilities of her chosen material. She cuts, grates, and assembles. This process, reminiscent of more mundane tasks rather than typically artistic activities, echoes the everyday nature of her material. In this sense, her work raises interesting questions about the hierarchisation between the fine-arts, the crafts, and everyday skills. It also creates an unsual dialogue between art and life in such instance as the grated soap equating the use of coloured pigments in traditional oil paintings.
Moreover, Carole is interested in organic shapes found in nature, evident in her sculpture in which the layering of different soaps ressembles geological stratas of sediments which have slowly formed our natural environment. These organic shapes echoes Carole’s creative process itself in which chance and experimentation form determining tools in the creation of unexpected end products which have arisen from the language of the material rather than the forcefulness of the artist. Sometimes, the sculptures themselves become living things with the development of mushrooms responding to the organic composition of the soap. In addition, Carole’s creative process results in a great diversity of textures, combination of colours, and degrees of opacity in her sculptures, which are not only very appealing visually, but also trigger sensations of smell and touch in the viewer.
The intrisic transparency of the material is further emphasised in Carole’s photographs of her sculptures in which natural light plays an important role in the mise-en-scene. This is particularly evident in the close-up photographying of her sculptures, which are then transferred onto canvas and varnished. These become convincing two-dimensional artworks in between paintings and prints, even more so as their origin remains an unsolved mystery. Are they actual photographs of concrete objects – the sculptures -, or abstract paintings born from the imagination of the artist? This ambivalence between abstraction and figuration is translated into the ephemeral beauty of the works in which the blurring of the colours adds to the intense visual pleasure of the viewer.
Dr Caroline Perret, University of Westminster (September 2010)