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Zoe Kendall

My practice currently works through three separate mediums: performance, woodwork and drawing. I reflect on themes of human behaviour, gender, sexuality, fetishes, loneliness. I focus on these themes through the character of Appy. Appy balances on the boundaries between labels. Asexual/non-binary/demisexual/queer/ trans/kid/adult. Their identity is fluid.

My performances incorporate text into lyrical verses and acapella songs. In my most recent performance ‘A Song for Feeckee and Appy,’ it utilised the fragility of an untrained voice, navigating through the vulnerability of a confessional text. I experimented in the piece on whether my audience could sympathise with somebody who had fallen in love with their mother’s poo. I collaborated with the Newcastle University Performance Troupe (a collective organised by myself and Lucy Heaton, and funded by the university), allowing them to create backing vocals to the song. Their acapella vocals were inspired by the sonic meditation scores ‘Angels and Demons’ and ‘Lullaby for Daisy Pauline’ by Pauline Oliveros.

My textile and woodwork are used as props for my performances, or ways to frame/hang my drawings. For the Fine Art Degree show 2022, I made enlarged duster rags, tiny combs, wooden tickle stools and wooden/fabric stands to hang my drawings from. I enjoy using these materials of wood and fabric because of their soft, porous texture, plus the time and energy that it takes to finish such materials. Small, even stitches to finish edges of fabric. Time spent sanding, polishing and beeswaxing wood. A laborious process, that takes time and care.

My performance work is used to serenade the story of Appy that exists in my coloured pencil drawing work. These drawing pieces capture Appy in a pattern of lines/strings, trapping them in a world of yellow duster fabric, sea waves and purple haze. Appy is depicted licking wounds, tickling toes, exposing their bum and embracing their mother’s poo. Appy is an alien to society, but the way they look at the audience with their big dome eyes, the drawings placed at mirror height, means that the audience often sympathises with Appy, seeing themselves through their strange behaviour.