MK Gallery website sets cookies on your computer to help improve the user experience. Read our cookie policy hereAccept

New Art MK: Stuart Southwell

Baron Von Vogler. Born 1913.

Baron Von Vogler. Born 1913.

Doctor Pinter-Bell. Born 1951.

Doctor Pinter-Bell. Born 1951.

Mr Skellen. Born 1945.

Mr Skellen. Born 1945.

Mrs Pinter-Bell. Born 1933.

Mrs Pinter-Bell. Born 1933.

Baron Von Vogler. Born 1913.
Doctor Pinter-Bell. Born 1951.
Mr Skellen. Born 1945.
Mrs Pinter-Bell. Born 1933.

Baron Von Vogler. Born 1913.

New Art MK

Stuart Southwell

 

Grotesque Identities is a photographic installation where identities adopted within societies are explored. With Southwell posing as every character the project investigates the idea of ‘self’ through the means of a family tree.  Creating latex masks and using found clothing Southwell applies theories of the grotesque to create a macabre family that challenges our defined ideas of beauty and representation.

 

“…We live in a world where coherent cultural and political centres create conditions whose faces wear grotesque masks and whose voices speak its words. Conditions related to matters of order and chaos, to violence and forms of oppression, to sexuality and the body, to birth and death, to cynicism and madness, to apocalyptic despair and utopian visions – all visit us in grotesque forms, and, given their deep embeddedness in our cultural and psychic experience, they shall remain a part of the human journey as they have from our beginnings.”

 
Wilson Yates, The Grotesque in Art & Literature Theological Reflections. (1997) p.4

Applying this idea to identity in modern Western society, one starts to see how we could view the modern human as grotesque. It could be argued that this is due to identity being heavily shaped and formed by the mass media. This constantly promotes ideas of looking younger and gaining more wealth and we are told that through this we can gain self-fulfilment and a better life. However, whilst we are being shaped by the mass media and their ideas of success and beauty, we do not accept our true self. Instead we create an identity that has been manipulated through the influence of popular culture and all that the media promotes. With this in mind we have become puppets through use of mass media and been manipulated to change the way we think about our bodies and identity. No longer can we walk down the street and see people for who they are. People are judged by how they look and dress. If they don’t fit into our preconceived ideas of beauty, one expects them to change and manipulate their body. It could be argued that Western cultures have forged their societies into perfect representations of the grotesque, through its own media. Hell no longer exists as an idea, we are living in it.

 

Back to all artists

New Art MK 

Eight Artists From Milton Keynes 

8 July – 18 September

 

An exciting group exhibition by eight emerging artists from Milton Keynes.

 

Artist Website

www.stuartsouthwell.wordpress.com

 

Twitter

@JacknifeStein

 

 

Which artists have been most influential to your practice?

Cindy Sherman

David Lynch

Francis Bacon

Otto Dix

Hieronymus Bosch

 

What has been your most memorable exhibition at MK Gallery?

Marcus Coates: Psychopomp

 

What's your favourite YouTube clip?

Francis Bacon, on Life Death and Gambling