Roll Up! Roll Up!
Come a little closer ladies and Gentleman…
See ‘Carminativum’ and her flatulent tunes
‘Sucker’ and ‘Sucked’ a pair of baby milk machines
See ‘Chicken Little Syndrome’ and her fear mongering that the sky is falling
Don’t miss ‘Enantiodromia’ and her plural personas
For it’s first reveal…
And not for the faint hearted
Meet ‘Vore’ served on a silver platter to fulfil hungry appetites
Now don’t be scared
Step a little closer…
A working-class, country girl, tainted by the industrial backdrop of the iron and coal industries, yet enamoured by the revolution of Victorian splendour, Michelle has always dreamt of ‘Great Expectations’. Spirited by the melancholia of Miss Havisham and Pip’s moral struggle to hold onto his youthful hopes and dreams, her creative journey is bent with a tragic and melodramatic air of romance.
Reared a stones throw away from the iconic, Gothic town of Whitby, she recalls being seduced by her frightfully, fascinated childhood memories of a former sideshow attraction on Church Street. Her recollections of witnessing a pickled dicephalic baby and the exposed, staked bones of Dracula, began the blurring of her boundaries between reality and fantasy.
Attuned to the paralytic lullabies of Mark Lanegan and the Queens of the Stone Age, alongside the twisted, Faustian, folk tales of Tom Waits, Michelle is spellbound by her experiences of false awakenings and pre-lucid dreaming. Akin to the character Ofelia, in the parable ‘Pans Labyrinth’, her vision is surreal and perplexing like a Lynchian film, through which she searches for lessons and principles along her labyrinthine journey.
Trying to understand the world and her place within it, Michelle’s practice probes situations of mortality and belief. Taking an existentialist perspective to explore why we make meaning in the world, she creates sculptural forms and installations that transcend everyday reality, encouraging the viewer to search for a feeling of security in the presence of uncertainty, to take an encounter with the apprehension of things, while allowing for the possibility of bestowing something evocative, enchanting and empowering beyond the promiscuity of our own being.
Taking reference from psychoanalytical theories, such as Freud’s hypothesis of uncanny encounters in ‘Das Unheimlich’ and Kristeva’s psychological analysis of abjection in ‘The Powers of Horror’, Michelle employs the act of subversion upon everyday objects, to bestow something new in the ordinary. Inciting a cathartic communion through the acknowledgement and liberation of repressed fears and anxieties, she encourages an empathetic understanding towards psychological states that can oscillate between the depressive state of mourning and the euphoria of dreaming.
Mourning the loss of the big top and sideshow guests that celebrated her marriage, ‘Fairground Fables’ was conjured to question the satirical and moral ambiguity of fringe entertainment, presented behind the curtains of Vaudeville theatres and Victorian Side Shows. Following a process of loss and renewal, Michelle realizes potential, enlivening everyday objects with an air of uncertainty, drawn from the traces of life that befall the discarded or well loved.
Kindred to the magic and mayhem of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s hopeful, carnivalesque personalities and the anthropomorphic characters of the brothers Grimm or Lewis Carroll, Michelle plays with the truths, tragedies and fortunes taken from the archives about her objects, to conjure characters that juggle contradictory messages of benevolence and malevolence, telling tales of endurance, through the polarities of defiance and despair, innocence and knowledge, humour and tragedy, and possession and loss.An avid forager and collector of antiquities, vintage treasures and bric-a-brac, ‘Fairground Fables’ was conjured by the artist and maker Michelle Forrest-Beckett. Questioning the satirical and moral ambiguity of fringe entertainment presented behind the curtains of Vaudeville theatres and Victorian Side Shows, she takes an anthropological and playful approach to consider her acts of categorization and assemblage.
Reminiscent to the anthropomorphic characters from the surreal dark fairy tales by the Grimm brothers or Lewis Carroll, Michelle’s latest collection of ‘Figurative Assemblage Sculptures’ draw reference to Freud’s psychoanalytical hypothesis on ‘The Uncanny”. Being close to homely, this collection of inanimate objects have undergone a metamorphosis, through the act of being repurposed and rearticulated, presenting a collection of extraordinary forms that are enlivened with an air of uncertainty, and juggle contradictory messages of benevolence and malevolence.
Exploring the idea of the home as a museum of social history, transfigured with the idea of home as an interactive funhouse that distorts conventional perceptions, Michelle presents a wunderkabinett of oddities and mementoes that tell tales of the polarities of possession and loss, humour and tragedy, defiance and despair, and innocence and knowledge. Questioning hidden truths, social beliefs and challenging psychological states of being, Michelle has created a collection of conversation pieces, which you can curate, collect and exhibit as a talking point behind the closed curtains of your own home.
- By Ceeaych
- Email: email@example.com