Ikon’s Autumn exhibition of new work by New York-based artist Polly Apfelbaum will exemplify an art practice that places emphasis on the essential quality of materials, especially colour and texture, whilst asserting the importance of popular culture and craft activity. Her use of various fabrics – stained and dyed – and more recently glazed ceramics, is beguiling and refreshing in its offerings of simple pleasures. In this way, she subtly assumes a political, and feminist, position, challenging pomposity, notions of entitlement and hierarchies in cultural practice – against “high” fine art – to suggest an egalitarianism in society across the board.
Concerned to strike a balance with those encountering her work, 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.” Polly Apfelbaum