Tim Noble & Sue Webster's bawdy "dick and slit" sculptures explore relationship dynamics & self-image
Artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster have gone all-out–pretty much literally–in their first London show in five years, brazenly entitled STICKS WITH DICKS AND SLITS (all caps for even more impact, we imagine.)
The series of new works comprises three pairs of stick man-like bronze sculptures that stand at three metres tall, yet retain the sketchy and dynamic feel of a hurriedly scrawled sketch, or the maquettes the artists made out of twisted electrical wire. It's amazing how human the stances of these strange figures feel: they lurch and stoop in an oddly recognisable caricature of our movements. The elephants in the room, of course, are the "dicks and slits" of the show's title, which make their presence very much felt on otherwise unadorned bodily frames. We also feel we should give a special shout-out to bronze Sue's excellent boobs, arranged like well-rounded cherry bakewells careering out of a spindly spine.
The odd interactions between the man and the woman in these new bronze pieces is at once humorous, disquieting and oddly poignant; wrestling between intimacy and the absurdity of presenting such relationships in scrap material in a white-walled gallery. According to the gallery presenting the show, Blain|Southern, "the sculptures are an act of upscaling playful ephemera into physically domineering artworks with a permanency and scale that transcends human limitations."
Noble and Webster have collaborated since shortly after meeting in 1986 as Fine Art students at Nottingham Trent University. They married in 2008 but divorced in 2013 after 20 years together. The pair's work frequently found form through discarded materials such as rubbish, detritus and animal carcasses; exploring the idea of the artist as the artwork and presenting candid interpretations of their lives together.
Tim Noble and Sue Webster's STICKS WITH DICKS AND SLITS runs from 3 February – 25 March 2017 at Blain|Southern London.