Rachel Goodyear at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, (Thanks CultureVulture for the invite). An Autumn disguised as summer evening and all us arty folk (well, they are, I’m trying to look like I know what I’m talking about) are milling about, sipping wine and looking for a glimpse of The Artist. We’ve  been told she doesn’t want to address the crowd but is happy to chat in small groups. This has the effect of making her even more of an enigma. When she does eventually give in and say a few thank you’s, the nerves are apparent in her voice and I’m left feeling her reticence is not false modesty or arty temperament, but an apparent  dislike of public speaking. One of us then. Except with exceptional artistic talent.

And another thing. She is not the one I’d have picked out as The Artist. She’s a skinny lass (I mean that in the nicest sense) who looks like she’s off to a party after picking up a few cans at Morrisons. I like her. I’m glad I didn’t do the full arty headscarf thing. She would have made me feel like I was trying too hard.

Then there’s her art.  There’s a familiarity to it that I couldn’t quite grasp until I was halfway home – It’s as though she’s captured the essence of girldom. No, no, not that one, not clean and bright and all things nice;  the real version.

I look at my two year old who accompanied me – she is the picture of enchantment and femininity, and what are her obsessions? Roadkill, boobs and nature. Yes, yes, she likes pretty dresses (todays is a stiking red with polka dots), and princesses, but the dresses have to have pockets for her collection of leaves, stones and if she’s really lucky broken egg shell from a birds nest or a real bone of an animal. Princesses, ditto, they’re great but the attraction is in the macabre (we couldn’t figure out why she only ever took one bite of an apple until her brother helpfully pointed out she was being Snow White. That also explained why each bite was followed by her falling over and declaring she was dead). Her favourite recollection is of  “The squirrel with the tomato eye” – her fond observation of country walk road kill. That kind of girldom. Rachel Goodyear produces girly art. A disconcerting observation of people and nature and the nature of people. Eerie and enchanting. One drawing of a Stag looked pretty. On closer inspection, it caught my breath, literally, made me feel claustrophobic. I couldn’t breath.

Pop down, you’ll love it.

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