Polly Apfelbaum: Waiting for the UFOs (a space set between a landscape and a bunch of flowers)
In this major survey of new and recent works, Apfelbaum fills Ikon's galleries with large-scale, colourful installations of textiles, ceramics and drawings, exemplifying her preoccupation with space, obsession and otherness.
New York-based artist Polly Apfelbaum (b. Abington, Pennsylvania, 1955) places emphasis on essential formal qualities, especially colour and texture. Her work asserts the importance of popular culture and craft activity while subtly assuming a political, feminist position, in order to challenge notions of entitlement and promote social equality.
The title of this exhibition is taken from the 1970s song, Waiting for the UFOs by British singer-songwriter Graham Parker, and artist Rene Magritte's definition of a garden as "a space set between a landscape and a bunch of flowers", as depicted by his extraordinary still-life-landscape painting of 1940, The Plagiarism.
Apfelbaum likens the gallery space to a kind of landscape, populated by both her work - colourful, like flowers - and the visitors moving through it, as she explains:
“It's important to me that people have to move through the works so the spectator activates it and participates in the experience. As you move, the colour and the nap of a fabric change and the work plays a lot with light. I am always working with site, scale and the architectural setting.”
The Henry Moore Foundation awarded £6,000 towards this exhibition.
Polly Apfelbaum: Waiting for the UFOs (a space set between a landscape and a bunch of flowers) opens on 19 September at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, and continues until 18 November 2018. For opening times and directions see www.ikon-gallery.org.