‘forever' - new work by Frances Goodman
Goodman's presentation of new work titled ‘forever' revolves around the unveiling of marriage as both an institution and a relationship. Wedding vows, the ritual significance of wedding dresses, confetti and beaded and sequined dress bodices are stripped bare of their sentiment. A triptych of three large-scale photographs of worn wedding dresses reminds us that a visualisation of the quintessential dream wedding may not be as eternal or as romantic as we imagine it to be.
Our social milieu places value on status symbols and this is echoed by her placement of a brand new Audi A3, shiny blue car bonnet with text in hand written cursive created with metal pop rivets that reads ‘till death us do part'. Are weddings, like fast cars, a commodity?
The objectification of human relationships is expressed in a series of layered embroideries that depict mathematical formulas, charts and diagrams that attempt to describe neat ways of understanding what are quite often untidy human behaviours. Goodman's intricate rendering of embroidered text lends the work an ethereal beauty and fragility.
The installation of 100 kilograms of confetti on the Gallery floor - each single piece a cut out of the word ‘forever' invites the viewer to literally immerse themselves in the work. The viewer by walking through the confetti is quite literally disturbing, and by dragging it out of the Gallery adhering to their footwear, dispersing ‘forever'.
Our perception of the sanctity of marriage does not always live up to its reputation.
Forever is a big word like ‘planet' or ‘universe'. Goodman's title for a work presented at the Goodman Gallery earlier this year was ‘The Dream'. Which raises the question...are we ‘forever dreaming'.
One of her embroidered works reads "I want to have what others can only dream of." Perhaps that says it all.
Bren Brophy, KZNSA Gallery Curator, in conversation with Frances Goodman, 27 June 2011.
NATURE OF THE WORK:
Unveiling everyday routines, obsessions and social interactions.
Frances Goodman creates atmospheric and immersive sound pieces, presented as installations, audio monologues and sound sculptures, that cross the boundaries between visual and media arts and unveils everyday routines, obsessions and social interactions. She operates within a local South African context, with a specific focus on the least tended subject of the middle class experience.
The ‘middle class condition’
On the surface my work looks at everyday obsessions and superficial behaviour (for example fanatic exercise culture, conventions of marriage and beauty), yet what I am actually exploring is the way people respond to, and the often idiosyncratic coping mechanism they develop in order to cope in our contemporary and highly materialistic society.
We see a major focus on the body and beauty in the mainstream media. The pervasive and consumerist influence of this media creates an economy of desire in which the luxury of time and monetary stability leads to obsessive self-indulgence.
I believe that these luxuries contribute to certain neuroses and obsessions, which are also fueled by our consumerist, capitalist and competitive society. Perhaps one could say that I’m looking at the ‘middle class condition’. A life dictated not by needs but by wants.
Keeping up Appearances
A term that always comes to mind when I’m making work is ‘Keeping Up Appearances’. I think there is a rupture in our contemporary reality that my work unveils.
From prescription drugs that help smooth the emotional or physical cracks in our lives, to marriage which many people believe completes them and makes them whole (regardless of how functional or happy the relationship itself is), there is a dislocation between how things appear, and what is actually going on.
These undercurrents inform my interest in creating ‘beautiful’ or seductive objects, environments and installations, which I use as a ruse, to obscure the subject matter itself, which is often dark and complicated and messy.