During my week of Artist Dates I got myself booked in on the first day of the new Grayson Perry exhibition "The Pre-Therapy Years" at York City Art Galllery.
The 3 room exhibition has been created to celebrate Grayson Perry’s earliest forays into the art world and will re-introduce the explosive and creative works he made between 1982 and 1994.
Using a traditional artform of pottery...and coil-built pottery at that, Grayson distorts our perception of this artform from domestic crockery to classical vases, into a punk challenge, using his words, his feelings, sexual imagery and iconic imagery to create challenging , dramatic art that makes you look, makes you talk about it, challenges your world view.
Grayson, using the coil-pot method (very traditional, and surprisingly tricky to control), made traditional shapes such as the classical vases above, platters and even toby jugs, and sub-verts them with fiercely expressive decoration.
Covering the issues of sexuality, violence, mother issues, shamanism, and his being a transvestite, but also being a rebellious youth with a big ambition...these make a potent mix that cannot fail to capture and challenge our imaginations.
We see sketchbooks too that show his explorations towards his alter-ego, Anna. Anna is the blonde, smart, conservative looking woman he dressed as in his early years. Modelled on someone between newsreaders and Thatcher, she is the utter pillar of conservatism...so seeing this subverted through transvestitism, is more shocking than the utterly bizarre (which is easy to dismiss) as it makes people uncomfortable and gets much more attention.
I came out feeling really excited, thinking how the punk attitude of individual liberty, anti-establishment and non-conformity enables self-expression when you do not see your place in the world, but feel fiercely that we should all be seen and heard for who we are...to push for it, to break the moulds and stand proudly in our uniqueness. Be bold and brilliant.
I truly hope to release more of my inner artist, my inner punk, through my work, in the hope, not only to express my own self, not only to feel seen and heard, not only to sell my work more widely, but also to enable others to feel they can do the same.
Let's make a tidal wave of expressive art!
The exhibition is on in York until 5th September. Book for your timed entry ticket and turn up a little early if you can! Grayson Perry: The Pre Therapy Years - York Art Gallery Exhibition