Spotlight: Shawanda Corbett’s Signs and Symbols
13 July 2020
Recent Turner Bursary recipient Shawanda Corbett's interdisciplinary practice encompasses performative dance, ceramics, and painting. Her position as a woman of colour with a disability has led her to question preconceptions around the body and gender. Donna Haraway's cyborg vision of a changeable gender is adopted and expanded upon throughout her work.
Exhibition view: Shawanda Corbett, Neighbourhood Garden, Corvi-Mora, London (16 June–31 July 2020). Courtesy Corvi-Mora.
In her current solo exhibition at Corvi-Mora in London (Neighbourhood Garden, 16 June–31 July 2020), ceramic vessels play the role of figures remembered from Corbett's childhood. Nameless stereotypes are transformed into vivacious characters, each uniquely painted in gestural marks and colourful patterns. Apparently, Corbett decorated the 'bodies' in synch with various jazz musician's music, invoking a rather pleasing antidote to the great American Modernist painter, Marsden Hartley. Corbett's curvy sculptural forms and painted lines exude sensuality and rhythm.
Specific memories rather than people are transformed onto paper in her own distinct abstract style, using acrylics; each work hangs on the gallery walls, containing her choreographed figures within the space. Bright, almost otherworldly colours clang together to form startlingly strange and exceptionally beautiful grids and patterns reminiscent of signs or symbols yet to be deciphered.—[O]