Bethany Marett | Proxy II
The Artist's Statement
My work concerns the corporeal - the body - and all the contrasting and conflicting aspects inherent; how bodies are sensual, beautiful, ugly, damaged, idealised, sexual, abject, gendered, delicate. Distorting and reconfiguring the body, I work in the liminal state between abstract and figurative. I am interested in implying the presence of the body, albeit not always representing it overtly; creating an uncanny sensation within the viewer in quite a subtle way. I want to challenge the notion of the abject, of the feeling of disgust, and in particular, of why this is a term that overwhelmingly applies to women’s bodies.
In this series, I am considering the notion of skin that becomes ‘poreless’ as a response to society’s pressure on women’s bodies and the quest for perfection. Our bodies are being ‘stopped up’ to the point that they become plastic, as the lines blur between human and cyborg. Our own borders are threatened when something comes too close and this creates an interruption, a disruption.
As an experimental and inter-disciplinary artist, I do not feel confined to working in one medium. At the RCA, I have grown more equipped to create images that are potentially difficult to comprehend and increasingly abstracted, becoming progressively ambitious in my approach.
I have been encouraged to explore materials with increasingly plastic and bodily ‘feel’ qualities to them, such as silicone or latex, and I began layering these materials on my own body, as in Proxy II. I cast parts of my own body in liquid latex and laid these new plastic skins back on my body, photographing them while they are still in the process of curing, creating a double skin surface.
Bethany Marett is a Lancastrian artist based in London. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of York in History of Art and is currently studying for an MA in Print at the Royal College of Art, London. Her work is held in both private and public collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Scarborough Art Gallery, and The University of Calgary. She has exhibited extensively both in the UK and abroad, including at the Royal Academy of Arts, The Wellcome Collection, Flowers Gallery, and Bankside Gallery. Bethany is part of two printmaking collectives - Greenwich Printmakers and the Printmakers Council, with whom she shows regularly. She is a recipient of the David Villers Award and Company of Merchant Taylors of York Award, and in 2017 was selected for a 6 week international residency culminating in her solo exhibition, ‘material corporeal’, at the University of Calgary, Canada.