Weird wonders in YSP show

critically acclaimed artist Rachel Goodyear exhibits her extraordinary drawings at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in a show opening this week.

Friday, 7th October 2011, 11:02 am

The show, Modifications of the Host, is open at the Bothy Gallery until January 3, featuring commissioned works alongside recent drawings.

Goodyear’s drawings have rapidly attracted award nominations, public and private collectors and critical acclaim.

The compelling cast of characters she has created inhabit a strange and complex world of contradictions, existing somewhere between the macabre and mundane.

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Exploring themes of fear, desire, vulnerability and isolation, Goodyear invites the viewer into a dark place, where human psychologies and animal behaviour collide and merge.

The exhibition includes a new series of work, inspired by time spent walking and discovering the physical and imagined landscape at YSP, resulting for the first time in small-scale sculptures.

New works on paper offer curious situations – a faceless bride led to the altar by a pack of labradors, while elsewhere Goodyear draws on mythologies, including manifestations of the ‘trickster’ who appears in doorways, or in poorly constructed disguises and waits to be discovered.

New animations show devils locked in an endless spiral, their dance more than tinged with menace.

Goodyear’s current work is informed by her recent residences at the Banff Centre, set within the stunningley remote mountains of Banff National Park, Canada.

There, she imagined feral women simultaneously vulnerable and defiant, their delicate skin covered in scratches and their tough bare feet black with mud.

In Goodyear’s scenario, bears emerge from hibernation early and creep into towns, half-formed, unable to hold their own weight, inciting both pity and fear in those who encounter them.

The artist exploits these contrast and ambiguities – between anxiety and compassion, good and evil, friend and enemy, pain and pleasure.

Her characters can be found embedded in destructive relationships, each party involved in either a state of resignation, or else trapped in an eternal loop of repetition, preoccupied by a pointless task or locked in a moment of resignation.

An accompanying YSP publication will be the first to offer a survey of Goodyear’s work to date, with archive images and a commissioned essay by Laurence Sillars, chief curator at Baltic.

Rachel Goodyear was born in 1978 and studied at Leeds Metropolitan University. She was selected in 2008 by ArtReview as one of the future greats, nominated for the Northern Art Prize in 2009 and has exhibited in group and solo shows including Tate Liverpool, Contemporary Art Society in London and Cornerhouse Manchester.

She is also exhibiting at Manchester Art Gallery in a display celebrating the success of Manchester-based artists.