The NewBridge Project Gallery is closed throughout March. NewBridge Books will be open as usual.


Alish Treanor

I use a wide range of materials, such as; ceramics, silk prints, found objects and video, to achieve curious relationships between the human body and clothing. My sculptures seek to highlight the politicised and threatened nature of female bodies, both socially and historically. They also relate to how I view my own body as something beautiful and capable, but also unruly and treacherous.

All of my sculptures are carefully posed and poised, yet they constantly threaten to slip and bulge from their composed state. This dysfunction is both playful and hostile.

I’m interested in how clothing and objects can be deployed as feminist strategies of solidarity, support and protection. Some of my sculptures can be worn as headdresses and others are made from ceramic and suggest a relationship with the body which is stiff and uncomfortable. A kind of constrictive support-structure for the body.

Veils appear in my work often. Veils illustrate the political nature of a woman’s freedom to conceal or reveal her body.In my sculptures there is often an interplay between ‘the revealed’ and ‘the concealed’. Clay veils conceal the openings of urn-like vases, and in others a hoofed foot is concealed by terracotta, and rebelliously peaks out. Veils interest me as they are symbols of sublimity and femininity but they also refer to a patriarchal system, I’m interested in exploring this tangled association.

In my films I explore ways in which materials can be used in a simple way to achieve a transformation. In one film a sheet of wet kitchen roll becomes a veil. In another, a hot water bottle is made into a soft sculpture, which can be used to calm menstrual cramps.

I think of the female waist as the centre of strength for the whole body, and women’s shape-wear, support-underwear and corsets influence my work a lot. I like how these items have the potential of giving the wearer a choice to sculpt their own waist and shape, yet how this can create something perverse and abject when taken to an extreme. The potential of sculpting one’s own body can be viewed as an act of self-objectification, and through this achieve a sense of self-possession.