I spent Tuesday afternoon in east London talking to Charlotte Hodes, an artist whose practice takes the form of painting, collage, ceramics and glass. (www.charlottehodes.com) I was there to see her latest body of work, a set of 37 intricate papercuts and a series of limited edition ceramic plates, all made in response to Owen Jones seminal 1856 treatise on decoration ‘The Grammar of Ornament.’
For those of you unfamiliar with the work, it begins with 37 Propositions for ‘the arrangement of form and colour in architecture and the decorative arts.’ Number one states that ‘the Decorative Arts arise from, and should properly be attendant upon, Architecture’, while number 37 states that ‘No improvement can take place in the Art of the present generation until all classes, Artists, Manufacturers, and the public, are better educated in Art, and the existence of general principles is more fully recognised.’ It’s all rather Victorian but beneath the bombast lies a template for modernism.
Hodes has taken these rigid Propositions as a springboard from which to develop her long-standing interest in the relationship between Fine Art, the Decorative Arts and the female experience. Her message is challenging but it is delivered quietly via images of exquisite beauty. Bookmark the date now.
Charlotte Hodes The Grammar of Ornament: New Papercuts and Ceramics runs at jaggedart, 28a Devonshire St, London W1 from 6th March – 5th April 2014. Contact 020-7486 7374; www.jaggedart.com. Opening times Wednesday – Fridays 11am – 6pm; Saturdays 11am – 2pm