Its beak caught firmly
In the clam shell,
The snipe cannot
Of an autumn evening.
from Utamakura 歌まくら (Poem of the Pillow), Kitagawa Utamaro, 1788
Teasing threads from art history, Beatrice Lettice Boyle and Jessie Makinson readdress a patriarchal past from a female perspective. They pluck themes and narratives from historical precedent, creating a bold new context for the motifs they select.
Shunga–the historical Japanese art of erotic prints–has been an inspiration to both artists. Explicit illustrations of sexual relations, Shunga prints depict a varied world of eroticised sexual possibility. Frequently tender and humorous, the woodblock prints were made for men and women of all classes to enjoy. In this egalitarian art form, women are active participants rather than passive permission givers.
Similarly, in Boyle and Makinson’s works, women have agency. They hold sexual power and disrupt societal standards and expectations. Their artworks feature unapologetically feminine references: to crafts, to the domestic and to the intimate. Their practices embody a confident contemporary feminism.
Beatrice Lettice Boyle lives and works in London. She completed a BA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in 2007 and is currently studying for an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art (graduating 2018). Previous exhibitions include Time Poor Dreamers, Cypher Space, Berlin, 2017, Quince Cabbage Melon Cucumber, ACME Studios, London, 2016 (solo), En Sorcele, AMP Gallery, London, 2016, Work Work Work Work Work Work, AMP Gallery, London 2016 and Villa Lena, Italy, 2014 (solo).
Jessie Makinson lives and works in London. She graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2007 with a BA in Drawing and Painting, before attending The Drawing Year at The Royal Drawing School in 2011 and Turps Painting Programme 2014-16. Awarded the Sir Denis Mahon Award 2014–15 and the Marmite Painting Prize in 2016. Previous exhibitions include Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (on the Bedpost Overnight)?, Justin Hammond Projects, London, 2017, Fake French, Roman Road, London, 2016 (solo), The Classical, Transition Gallery, London, 2016, 35 Works on Paper, Beers London, 2016 and Royal Drawing School at Christies, New York, 2016.