Home is pleased to be exhibiting work by Deborah Kelly in our ‘The Portrait’ exhibition opening this Wednesday.
Taken from Kelly’s 2018 ‘Seven Eves’ series, this body of work recasts the despised figure of the first woman as ancient hope for female learning, as a counterclaim to the malevolent mythologies underpinning Catholic misogyny.
Damning revelations of clergymen’s sexual abuse provide context for this extended meditation on the character of the ‘first sinner’ and her ongoing resonances through human history. She is the original female; the disobedient woman; the emasculating witch; the threat to clerical authority; she through whom man fell: all these women are valorised here in faithful revision of masculinist orthodoxy.
As a biblical character, Eve is alone in a world full of men. Her longing for knowledge is the first and worst sin, the fall of our species whose shame is punished still.
Using images excised from discarded books of western art history, this work suggests insurgent female solidarities, the glories of our mitochondrial ancestress, women’s defiance of religious oppression; and repudiation of the virgin/whore binary informing the deathgrip of the patriarchs.
Pictured is Eve x Eve (Shazzam) from Seven Eves, 2018, Collage, Japanese metallic and Sennelier honey-based watercolours, ink on handmade cotton paper.
Deborah Kelly appears courtesy of Wagner Gallery, Paddington.