Elsa Rouy’s solo exhibition is now open and features as the next presentation in our virtual viewing space, Platform. Our online exhibition programme enables artists to interact with a broad spectrum of current social concerns in a focussed and succinct way. The digital space is open to all and available to a universal audience. In line with the central social beliefs of the programme, 10% of all sales proceeds from each Platform exhibition will be donated to a charity or non-profit organisation nominated by the artist.
For her solo show, Rouy has nominated The Trussel Trust, which supports a national network of food banks and campaigns to end hunger in the UK. Rouy’s exhibition will also support Basis Sex Work Project, a charity that supports female and transgender sex workers who work on the street, indoors or online in Leeds, UK.
Rouy’s artwork concentrates on the female sexual gaze, addressing the conflicting emotions of anxiety and pleasure that often accompany it. Rouy frequently presents her figures as completely exposed, revealing their sexual organs. As such, the artist’s subjects are always conscious of their physical selves, making her artworks visceral in their corporeality. Rouy ultimately aims to enter her viewer into a voyeuristic relationship with the erotic scenes she presents. Her works strike an interesting dichotomy, inciting feelings of eagerness and excitement while triggering subconscious reactions of revulsion and disquiet.
The series of paintings Rouy presents in her Platform exhibition conveys feelings of apprehension and trepidation that can stem from social interactions; this is a familiar thread that runs through her work as a whole. Equally, the Platform works communicate Rouy’s artistic examination of bodily fluids, a subject that continually appears within her oeuvre. This time, however, Rouy explores these concepts through more maternal imagery. Rouy pivots away from a concentration on the sexual towards an exploration of the mother figure. Instead of sexual bodily fluids, Rouy examines the natal fluids of blood and breast milk. These works are strengthened through their personal resonance with the artist. Through the artworks, Rouy wishes to address her own ideas about reproductivity and the notion of maternal instinct.
Baby Shower, 2020, ink, acrylic and oil on canvas, 102 x 92 cm
Rouy’s artworks frequently explore the concept of dependency, particularly notions surrounding sexual dependency. The body of work presented in Platform takes these ideas further to address emotional dependency. Through these works, Rouy uncovers the realities of the human condition to realise that our individual emotions, whether negative or positive, are largely contingent on those of others. In order to convey and investigate these ideas, the artist engages with the mother and child relationship. Rouy draws attention to external pressures placed on mother figures to be consistently calm and composed. These ideas possibly stem from the archetypal image of the mother, the Virgin Mary. Conversely, Rouy’s mothers are unprotected and vulnerable; they struggle openly with the real-life difficulties of motherhood. As such, Rouy captures the intensity of the emotional dependence that exists between mother and child.