39 Old Church Street
“If you create the stage setting and it is grand, everyone who enters will play their part.”- Morris Lapidus
“At the seaside there is always a tension between reality and artifice, the mundane and the fanciful, the everyday and the escape – and this is liminality is part of the seaside’s genius” - Jenny Steele
Jenny Steele is a Scottish artist who lives and works in Manchester. Her work spans across drawing, sculpture, decoration and installation but always with a focus on architecture. Steele is fascinated in the idea of architecture as a stage set for extraordinary activities and encounters with her work referencing twentieth century interwar seaside architecture.
Why Be Exotic In Private? is Jenny Steele's first solo exhibition in London. The exhibition relates to the performative nature of seaside holidaying and the stage set like atmosphere which this pleasure architecture creates. The exhibition is the result of her research into South Beach Miami's 1930's 'Seaside Moderne' architecture which was inspired by the long sweeping streamlined curves and details of ocean liners and the International Modernist Style.
Steele has created a 'mis-en-scene' a total work of art where she has drawn on the architectural ideas of Morris Lapidus who declared architecture as a movie set where the guest took on the role of an actor and the artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz who plays with he ideas of art, decor and domestic environments. Steele has carefully considered the fabric of the gallery as an integral part of her immersive artwork creating an exhibition which considers not only the surface of the walls but also the gallery's large windows.The walls have been painted in a pastel colour palette with paint from 'Little Greene Paint Company' and to frame the gallery's large front windows a faux jungle of pals and foliage, printed by 'The Graphical Tree' have been installed. The window is reminiscent of the 1920's staged tropical garden in Miami's Lincoln Road Mall which you were not allowed to enter, you simply had to stand outside and gaze in at this exotic private world.
Steele's work demonstrates a refined graphic sensibility and a sensitive use of colour. The way she works challenges the categorical divisions that exist between art, design and decor as she moves effortlessly between them. By exploring the formal and decorative aspects of architecture throughout he means of drawing, painting and printmaking she has developed a strong visual language that explores the very spaces between art, life and decoration.