Collector II

 
“It sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision!”
— Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper
 wild tulip, 2005

wild tulip, 2005

For this exhibition Gallant produced a series of kirigami works based on William Morris and Sanderson designs. Gallant obsessively cuts all his works by hand, which references Morris’s own interest in the hand made. His process evokes the compulsive nature of pornographic consumption, as well as the Victorian era’s desire to equate and control the natural world and the feminine. The women in Gallant’s work become entrapped within his layered designs, portrayals of a natural world turned graphic.

The initial inspiration for this show was The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a Victorian feminist novel. The protagonist, whose sense of powerlessness in her marriage drives her to the brink of insanity, is representative of Gilman and a whole generation of women confined within similar circumstances. In the novel, the wallpaper of the home comes to symbolise the trappings of bourgeois domesticity, and the protagonist begins to imagine a woman contained within its patterns. Her effort to free this reflected identity causes the protagonist herself to become trapped within the paper. 

IRis a3, 2005

Artichoke (Wallpaper by John Henry Dearle for William Morris & Co) 2005 depicts an Artichoke, a Victorian aphrodisiac reserved for men. Gallant splits the design into two layers. In the lower layer opaque shapes barely hide a close-up image of anal penetration. The top layer, in contrast, is comprised of webs of intricate lines that delicately obscure the sexual content. The artichoke itself dominates the centre of the work and its symbolism hints at the carnal activities beneath. The show features six other pieces that similarly explore the juxtaposition of organically themed designs and transparently concealed sexual pursuits.

 wandle design, 2005

wandle design, 2005

In addition, Gallant has made a large-scale piece adopting Morris & Co designs to make a product of his own: a full-size Persian style carpet. Gallant mimics Morris and Sanderson carpet designs, which themselves were merely mundane, overly simplistic copies of their Persian and Afghan forbearers. Gallant’s carpet repeats familiar symbols such as the Artichoke and Chrysanthemum to create a regimented yet flowing organic composition. In these works Gallant turns the formulaic designs of Morris and Sanderson into a repetitious weave of pornographic scenarios enmeshed by intricate and elaborate patterns.

 bachelor's button, 2005

bachelor's button, 2005

acanthus, 2005

 
 chrysanthemum, 2005

chrysanthemum, 2005

Persian Rug, After Morris, 2005

 

photo credits: Andy Keat