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Constructed from basic materials including wood, clay and cement, coloured in subtle shades of off-white undercoat and unpainted plaster-pink, Catherine Story’s plinth-based reliefs, sculptures and paintings cleverly relate something of the intention and aesthetics of early filmmaking to that of cubist art.
As her two main starting points, Story has taken Picasso’s painting ‘Still Life With a Pitcher and Apples’, (1919), and Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 film ‘City Lights’. Picasso’s image of a sexily curved jug topped with equally suggestive fruit is rendered both in cement and mortar reliefs and drawn onto plaster, combining the original work’s cheeky anthropomorphic humour with the idea of the rough-and-ready prop or film set facade. The Chaplin references are less obvious, although the form of an old-fashioned movie camera is used both to hint at the idea of the angular cubist object and a squat human figure or sharp profile. But the comedy still comes through, as the detail on a blocky sculpture can just as easily be read as a grinning face.
Story’s interest here is to explore how experimentation in both art and film seeks to find ways of imaginatively representing the world in first two and then three dimensions. What could be a tricky notion to convey is, in Story’s capable hands, an intriguing struggle between a blank screen or plinth and a rich history of images. Between the two, she leaves enough time and space into which we can project our own meaning.